Dynasty Hockey League

DHL Y25 Draft Review Part 1 (1st round)

DHL Y25 Draft Review Part 1 (1st round)
Somewhere in the Great White North

A hectic offseason that started off with the expansion draft, the DHL then looked towards the entry draft of Y25. The draft lottery had already been conducted and Calgary had won the prized #1 overall selection. Like the past several drafts, there was quite a bit of intrigue, second guessing and plenty of pick movement. In fact, before the draft even started, the 1st overall selection was traded.

Some GMs called it a questionable deal to move that much for the #1 pick in a draft that didn’t seem to have a clear cut guy. Adam recently joined the DHL taking over the Buffalo Sabres and made the big splash so far in the draft. Sending Montreal’s 12th overall pick (previously acquired in the offseason for cash) along with recent 1st round pick Lias Andersson, the Sabres were able to acquire that 1st overall pick. And then he proceeded to use the pick on previously consensus top player, Nolan Patrick. That led to even more questioning the choice as well.  Adam said, “I don’t think we’ve seen close to Patrick’s best yet.”

But it seems that Buffalo was able to have the last laugh in this draft. Already owning the 4th and 6th overall picks, the Sabres were able to draft a franchise d-man in Cale Makar at 4 and a franchise top line goalscorer in Eeli Tolvanen at 6. Philly’s GM Nick had to say about the Tolvanen pick, “What a steal getting him at #6…I would have went with him at #1.” And that wasn’t all folks, Buffalo moved up from 13th (previously acquired as well) to 11th and seelcted d-man Juuso Valimaki who should easily be a top 4 defender in the DHL. There were even rumors that Adam was working the phones to acquire one last 1st round pick but apparently it was just not meant to be.  When asked how he felt about the draft, Adam went on to say, “Happy as fuck with my haul.”

And like many of the recent DHL drafts, San Jose GM John Lu was active in making a splash and trading for a high pick. While not the 1st overall like several of the last few drafts, Lu was able to acquire the 10th overall pick from Tampa and used it to select Jesper Bratt. A 19 year old who’s already in the NHL and producing at a rate of 50 pts, Bratt looks like another coup for the Sharks and a core piece for them. Seriously, why do GMs continue to give that guy top 10 picks??! Mr. Lu continues to make shrewd trades and picking up core young players in the draft that will bode well for his roster down the line (this move will pay dividends by next season for sure).

Besides Buffalo, there were also a few teams with three 1st round picks (and Florida would’ve had 4 had they not traded away #30). Florida, with a little lottery luck, ended up with the 2nd overall pick and chose potential franchise center Cody Glass. In addition, thanks to some shrewd moves in the expansion draft, Florida also had 2 more picks in the top 20 selections. They still moved around a bit (moving up from #19 to #17 and moving down from #11 to #13) and yet still picked up 2 more valuable prospects in C Aleksi Heponiemi and Alexander Volkov. Anaheim was another team that possesed 3 first round picks and was able to land some really talented players in Shane Bowers (#16), Jesper Boqvist (#21) and Michael DiPietro (#29).

Florida’s GM Rich Basterd was interviewed after the first round, “Its been an extremely tough couple of weeks for me. Planning for the expansion draft was hard enough but then to go right into the entry draft, it was crazy. After landing the #2 pick, I had to figure out what were the likely scenarios at #1. Glass was my top choice at #2 but I almost didn’t think he would be there. My pick at #11 got thrown out of whack as I wanted Vesalainen or Tippett and both were gone by then. So trading back a few spots and still getting a player the quality of Heponiemi was just smart. I had previously moved up to 17 as I was targeting Volkov and wanted to make sure to get the guy I wanted. Seems like I wasn’t alone in coveting the Russian.”

There were a few other surprises in the draft that may have caught some people off guard. The Rangers decided to target a guy that they really liked and selecting an undrafted prospect in Aaron Luchuk at #22. Luchuk is currently top 5 in the OHL in scoring and could actually be a smart selection. Another interesting situation was the fall of Uhro Vaakanainen to #27. Vaakanainen was rated as a top 10 choice so getting him so late for the champion Blues could be a great pickup (either for the future or as a trade asset).  And then in the end, only 7 teams retained their own selections in the draft while the rest were moved (and many picks were moved multiple times).

As the 1st round came to a close, there were plenty of reactions by the GMs in the league. Toronto’s GM Alex commented about the Sabres draft, “God damn, what a haul.” Alex also threw out the idea of holding “a 1st round live set up, but having GM’s in multiple time zones is challenging.” It came about with some complaining as the draft slowed down in the latter part of the round as several pick holders were looking to move their picks. Some GMs saw guys go earlier so they were looking to move their picks for other assets (often cash). “That’s the good and bad of drafts and prospects. One person’s trash is another gold and vice versa. And it’s so up and down that it makes watching them develop so interesting,” from Blue Jackets GM Kris.

The full results of the 1st round can be found here.  Part 2 of the draft review will cover the rest of the draft so stay tuned.

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