Here is a look at what the Edmonton Oilers, Blue Jackets, Buffalo Sabres, Calgary Flames, Montreal Canadiens, Winnipeg Jets, and Pittsburgh Penguins are doing to prepare for the 2012 Entry Draft.
After selecting forwards with the first overall selections in the past three drafts, Mike G. Morreale of NHL.com wonders if it’s time for the club to select a defenseman. The Oilers once again own the first choice. Stu MacGregor, the organization’s head amateur scout, didn’t tip his hat which way the Oilers would go.
People have talked about how strong a draft this is from a defensive standpoint, and I think that’s true. Still, there are some real good forwards that are still going to be impact players once in the NHL.
If they were to select a defenseman, here are some of their options:
The Columbus Blue Jackets have declined to sign goaltender Mathieu Corbeil — a 2010 draft pick — according to Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch. Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson said it wasn’t an easy decision to make.
It was obviously a very difficult decision. We debated it all year, really. It’s fair to say the Memorial Cup wasn’t the deciding factor, but it didn’t push us from where we were, toward wanting to sign him.
Corbeil will be going back into the 2012 draft.
Speaking of the 2012 draft, the Jackets own the Los Angeles Kings’ first round pick — either number 29 or 30, depending on the outcome of the Stanley Cup Final — through the Jeff Carter trade, according to Adam Kimelman of NHL.com. The club has the have until two selection before the Kings’ spot to decide whether to use the pick this year or next year. That decision ha snot been made yet, says director of amateur scouting with the Blue Jackets, Tyler Wright.
We haven’t talked about that yet.
The Buffalo Sabres have also parted ways with three players they selected in the 2010 draft, according to John Vogl of The Buffalo News.
Buffalo, who had two years to offer the forward trio of Steven Shipley, Gregg Sutch and Cedrick Henley contract because played in the Canadian junior leagues, declined to offer contracts to the trios.
All three will be available for selection in this year’s draft.
Another player that went unsigned and will go back into the 2012 draft was Kootenay Ice defenseman Joey Leach, a 2010 pick of the Calgary Flames, reports Kristen Odland of the Calgary Herald. The Flames passed on signing Leach because they already inked a pair of 2010 picks, and the blueliner was deemed to be “a longer-term” project by Flames assistant general manager John Weisbrod.
They said just the way the numbers worked, there wasn’t any room for me this year.
According to RDS the Montreal Canadiens have also refused to offer one of their 2010 draft picks a contract: John Westin. The Swedish forward will be eligible to return to the upcoming draft.
Meanwhile, Canadiens director of procurement and player development Trevor Timmins tells Arpon Basu of NHL.com that him and his staff have focused on the top 10 prospects for the draft since it was clear that the club was going to have a poor season in the standings.
The most important selection is that of being No. 3 overall. Going into the latter part of the season and knowing you’re going to have a high draft pick alters what you do in your scouting the last couple of months. I turned my attention to looking at the top 10 specifically and spending a lot of time on those players.
According to Tim Campbell of the Winnipeg Free Press, the Winnipeg Jets would like to add a forward via the Entry Draft but may not get to with their pick at number nine if you believe the experts. Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff appears more hopefully optimistic that one of the highly-ranked forward in the draft might trickle through.
I think that this year’s draft, it’s going to be really tough to predict. You’ve got a lot of guys who have had injuries throughout the year and missed a good portion of the year. You’ve got a lot of team dynamics, different teams that may want to draft more for position than player. I think you’ll see a lot of players ranked very differently on each and every team.
Campbell lists a number of options for the Jets if they get shut out of drafting one of the forwards they want.
Pittsburgh Penguins Director of Amateur Scouting, Jay Heinbuck, tells Josh Yohe Pittsburgh Tribune Review that the club will select the best player available with the 22nd pick.