The 2019 NHL Draft weekend has come and gone and what a weekend it was, huh?? Personally, it’s my 16th Draft and third working for the University of North Dakota. For those stories about Shane Pinto, Harrison Blaisdell, Judd Caulfield, and Brad Berry’s reaction— go to those links in the name.
Shockingly– there was more that went on. I know. So, here’s a rundown of that from me…with the most tepid of takes.
First, you can’t really talk about what happened after before you talk about the salary cap being set at $81.5M, which was a bit of a lower figure than many people thought it would be. Luckily, having it happen before the draft gave teams the time to scrambled to see what they can get done. Which…some did.
Toronto was the first to make a salary dump– which they needed to do anyway if they wanted to re-sign Mitch Marner to a big money deal. They unloaded the Patrick Marleau contract to Carolina, along with both swapping picks. Marleau’s contract has a year left and with the uncertainty of Justin Williams’ future– it’ll provide a veteran presence with this team– just in case they needed it coming off of last year’s wonderful run.
With that move, it effectively took the Maple Leafs out of the running for PK Subban; which was actually a possible destination for the Nashville defenseman….well, ex-Nashville defenseman.
Subban was moved to the New Jersey Devils for prospects and picks going to Nashville– which probably moved the Predators in the running for Matt Duchene. But to Subban– this is the second trade he’s been through, which is odd for a guy that is considered one of the premier defensemen in the league. Three years left on the contract for Subban and the Devils needing some experience back there seems like a good fit.but as much as he wants a Stanley Cup in New Jersey– it could be quite and uphill struggle to get that.
As for the Draft itself, it was a Draft that USA Hockey won’t soon forget. Seventeen players from the US National Development Program were selected and 59 US players were picked overall. It’s a huge boost to the program in itself and really shows how much the USA program is evolving and catching up to their Canadian counterparts, who had 63 players picked overall.
Overall, players jumped, players fell, the Draft is usually something you can’t tell will pan out until five years down the line and they graduate where they’re from and maybe make it to “The Show” in that time frame.
Vancouver was fun overall, personally. It’s the first re-run for me and I didn’t have my running buddies with me all the time and didn’t have a Dufferin experience– but overall it was a good time.
Next up for the NHL, it’s the free agency talking period leading into the free agency period and everyone forgetting they own a calendar and asking if it’s October yet.