Jets, Jets, Jets
The biggest story of the day had to be the official return of the Winnipeg Jets. The team tried to wait until the draft, but word leaked out that the Jets were back prior to the draft. It was probably the right choice to get the old name back. "It rolled off the tongue pretty smoothly," said Jets' GM Kevin Cheveldayoff. There was a huge contingent of fans that made the trip down from Winnipeg, and they made themselves heard at the draft.
Strangely enough, with the raucous chanting, and the puzzled silence after the team made an off-the-board pick in the first round, it felt more like the New York Jets were the ones drafting than the Winnipeg Jets, but regardless, the future seems extremely exciting for Winnipeg.
Whether it was the pressure of being the host, or just the fact that their team is terrible, the Wild finally started going all-in on a rebuild by trading Brent Burns and a 2nd round pick next year to San Jose for Devin Setoguchi, Boston University's Charlie Coyle, and a first round pick later in the evening. I don't mind that trade if it was just Burns the Wild were giving up, but given the option, I'll take whichever player gets selected in the Wild's second round slot next year over Zach Phillips, who the Wild eventually selected with that pick. Burns is expensive for what he provides, but it seems like he could have drawn more than Setoguchi and Coyle.
Ottawa Has A Busy Day
Ottawa's farm system was pretty light on forwards, and they took a huge step to correct that by selecting three forwards in the first round in Mika Zibanejad, Stefan Noesen, and Matt Puempel. All three were maybe considered reaches at where they were picked, but they are all also capable of putting the puck in the net.
Despite the NHL moving towards a faster, more skilled game, size is still a very important factor for teams. Only three picks: Sven Baertschi, Ryan Murphy, and Alexander Namestnikov were listed at under 6 feet tall, while the diminutive Rocco Grimaldi went unselected in the first round, almost entirely due to his size.
Rising and Falling
People talked about the decline in stock of players like Brandon Saad and Seth Ambroz, but part of that is because teams seemed to favor players that showed a sharp incline in their draft year. Players such as Ryan Strome, Mark Scheifele, Jamie Oleksiak, Stefan Noesen, Stuart Percy, and Rickard Rakell were barely talked about last year, but had great years this past year, which helped move them up the draft rankings.