Quick Hits - Caps Nab Ribeiro, Staal to the Canes, NHL Draft
The first round of the NHL Draft is over. Nail Yakapov was selected first overall by the Edmonton Oilers, who, under much speclulation, decided to pick the highly touted centerman despite their need for a defenseman. The Oilers have had the first pick the last 3 years and many believed they would draft defenseman Ryan Murray or trade the pick for an established defender. Murray went second overall to Columbus and Alex Galchenyuk went third to the Montreal Canadiens. The Washington Capitals made a big splash yesterday drafting Sweden's Filip Forsberg 11th overall. Forsberg had been spotted in the top 10, but fell in the Capitals hands. Forsberg (no relation to the great Peter Forsberg) could crack the lineup next season. He's a power forward and adds size to the Caps roster. The Caps also pickd up Canadian Tom Wilson at #16. Wilson is an enormous 6'3" power forward that a lot of teams wanted, including the Bruins and Flyers. Wilson was touted as the "biggest and toughest kid in the draft" and is something the Caps desperately need up front. I am personally very excited at these two picks. They seem like really good kids and they are the kind of players the Caps have shyed from in the past. Other notable teams were the Bruins, who selected goaltender Malcom Subban, P.K. Subban's little brother, at #24. The Bruins and Canadiens, P.K.'s team, are bitter rivals. The Panthers made the most bizarre pick at #23 with Michael Jankowski, a high school player from Stanstead outside of Montreal - I'm sure the kid is good, but he's gonna need a lot of work. Who knows though, he could be the diamond in the rough.
Draft Day wouldn't be complete without trades. The Philadelphia Flyers started the day trading goaltender Sergei Bobovsky to the Columbus Blue Jackets for three draft picks, including two in this years draft - 2nd round, 4th round and next years 4th round. The Blue Jackets now have their goaltender that they so desperately need which will make trading Rick Nash much simpler - right?
The Penguins made the biggest trade of the day with center Jordan Staal heading to the Carolina Hurricanes for center Brandon Sutter and the Canes #8 pick, who the Pens used to draft D, Derick Pouliot. Staal, who was getting married last night, turned down a 10-year contract from the Penguins a couple days before the start of the draft. He joins his brother, Eric Staal, in Carolina. The Pens also shipped Zybnek Michalek to the Phoenix Coyotes for minor leaguers D, Harrison Ruopp, G, Marc Cheverie and a 2012 3rd round pick, #81.
The trade I'm most interested in is what the Caps pulled off. After Yakupov was selected, the Caps traded C, Cody Eakin and a 2nd round choice to the Dallas Stars for C, Mike Ribeiro. Ribeiro has spent the last six years in Dallas and gives the Caps a fantastic second line centerman. His cap hit will be $5M and has averaged around 67 points in the last 6 seasons. General Manager George McPhee had this to say:
"We wanted to add a little bit of skill to our lineup. We liked the way we played in the playoffs. We've got some big, gritty forwards, but we wanted to put another skilled guy in the middle of it to see if it helps. I think it makes our team immediately better."
The Caps have been without a real #2 center since Sergei Federov left in 2009. Brooks Laich has been filling the role off and on, but he is a natural winger. GMGM also said the Caps have been trying for Ribeiro for some time:
"We talked to them last year at one point and around the deadline, but they were in the playoff hunt and we were in the playoff hunt," McPhee said. "It was hard for them to take him out of their lineup when you're in the hunt. They wanted to make a change at center, and we've been after this player for a while."
I'm really excited for Ribeiro, who has one season left on his contract. He could just be a rental for a year, but it could be a key missing piece. Cody Eakin leaves having played just over 30 games in a Caps sweater, having spent most of his time in Hershey. He was a solid two-way player, but the Caps needed someone to make an immediate impact.
LOTS of more draft to come today. LOTS of interesting rumors out there.
More to come...