3 takeaways from the 2015 NHL Draft's 1st round
The hockey world is still catching its collective breath after a wild opening round to the 2015 NHL Draft on Friday.
A flurry of trades and a few surprises accompanied the official NHL introductions of generational talents Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel. Here are three takeaways from the first round:
Size still matters
Old habits die hard.
All of the talk about Tyler Johnson's success changing the way undersized prospects are viewed went out the window when teams hit the draft floor. The first round was once again dominated by the big and tall, as only six players listed under 6 feet heard their name called.
Mitch Marner was the only sub-6-foot player to go in the first 13 selections, while Mathew Barzal fell to 16th overall. Highly touted diminutive prospects like Travis Konecny and Nick Merkley nearly dropped out of the first round entirely, with Konecny going 24th and Merkley ending the round at 30th.
Meanwhile, bigger prospects like Dylan Strome, Pavel Zacha, Mikko Rantanen, Lawson Crouse, and Denis Gurianov were all among the top 12 selections. As the old saying goes: you can't teach height.
Trades, trades, and more trades!
The 2014 draft saw six transactions in the opening round - two pick swaps and four trades involving players like James Neal and Ryan Kesler. Friday's action put all of that to shame.
The Ottawa Senators got the ball rolling by dealing Robin Lehner and David Legwand to the Buffalo Sabres for the 21st pick. Not to be outdone, the Boston Bruins stunned everyone by jettisoning Dougie Hamilton and Milan Lucic in separate trades for a plethora of picks and prospects.
The Sabres weren't done after acquiring Lehner and Legwand. Buffalo sent a package including Nikita Zadorov and Mikhail Grigorenko to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for disgruntled forward Ryan O'Reilly.
The Toronto Maple Leafs moved out of the first round with their 24th pick after a pair of deals. The New York Islanders were also busy, picking up a pair of first-round picks in trades once the draft began. The Islanders dealt defensive prospect Griffin Reinhart to the Edmonton Oilers to select 16th overall, and traded a couple late picks to grab the 28th spot.
Bruins flip the script
Boston's blockbusters left the team with three consecutive selections - 13th, 14th, and 15th - marking the first time any team had held three straight picks in the first round since the Montreal Canadiens in 1968.
Many thought the Bruins were stockpiling picks as part of an effort to trade up for defenseman Noah Hanifin, who went fifth overall to the Carolina Hurricanes. Boston also got goaltender Martin Jones in the trade that sent Lucic to the Los Angeles Kings, fueling speculation he or Malcolm Subban would be involved in a potential trade for a top-five pick.
But the Bruins surprised everyone by holding firm with their hat trick of first-rounders, using the picks to make some off-the-board selections. Jakub Zboril and Jake DeBrusk could be considered slight reaches as mid-round picks, but the selection of Zachary Senyshyn at 15th overall came out of nowhere.
Boston general manager Don Sweeney will look like a genius if Zboril, DeBrusk, and Senyshyn all become productive NHL players, but that's a massive if. Considering the hefty price the Bruins paid for the extra picks and the talent they overlooked by reaching for Senyshyn, this could be a draft day Boston will regret for years to come.
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