NHL Draft Notebook
Bell Centre: Pep Bands and Cheerleaders?
Storied franchise turns to American-born
college players again in 2008
By Joe Gladziszewski
and Mike Eidelbes
|Danny Kristo fits Montreal's
style of play, and the Canadiens used their first pick
of the draft on a college-bound player for the third
OTTAWA, Ontario – The Montreal Canadiens,
the most successful NHL franchise of all time, have turned
toward the college route and American players in recent
years and they obviously like what they're seeing.
The Canadiens continued to place high value
on American-born players by selecting Danny Kristo in the
second round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft with the 56th overall
pick. It marked the third consecutive year that the Canadiens
organization took an American-born college-bound player
with their first pick, following David Fischer (Minnesota)
in 2006 and Ryan McDonagh (Wisconsin) in 2007. Also in 2007,
the Canadiens used a first-round pick on Max Pacioretty
This year, Montreal traded their first round
pick to Calgary for Alex Tanguay, but were thrilled to welcome
Kristo when they selected on Saturday morning. Montreal's
Director of Player Recruitment and Development, Trevor Timmins,
was enamored with Kristo immediately.
"The first time I saw him I fell in love
with his game because he plays the type of game the Montreal
Canadiens play, and have played in the past," Timmins
said. "He's a great skater, great quickness, he plays
a very high-tempo game and is on the puck right away. He
competes, he's a warrior, he's on the puck all the time."
Montreal's second pick of the day, a third-round
selection, tabbed Steve Quailer from the Sioux City Musketeers
of the USHL. Quailer has committed to play at Northeastern
this fall. With the addition of Quailer, the Canadiens have
now selected a total of eight college players in the first
three rounds of the draft since 2001, a string that started
with first-round selections of Michigan's Mike Komisarek
in 2001 and Yale's Chris Higgins in 2002.
Last year's first round tandem of McDonagh
and Pacioretty have impressed Montreal thus far following
their freshman college campaigns.
"We thought they had great development
seasons," Timmins said. "They were go-to guys
on their teams. Pacioretty played on the number one line
for the number one team in the country and McDonagh was
a horse on the back end. They're only going to get better."
Burlon expects to fit in at Michigan
Throughout the week and early on Saturday
morning, Brandon Burlon talked with some of the other highly-rated
prospects who were either selected in Friday night's first
round or projected as possible first-rounders. Burlon heard
their tales about nervousness and difficulty in getting
good sleep as thoughts of their hockey futures raced through
That wasn't a problem for Burlon, who will
play on the blue line for the Michigan Wolverines beginning
this fall. Burlon was selected by the New Jersey Devils
in the second round with the 52nd overall pick. He carries
a calm, relaxed demeanor in everything he does.
"I don't really panic on the ice, and
it all carries over from on the street to hockey. In the
dressing room before the game I'm loosey-goosey, not fretting
much. I'm not the kind of guy who sits in the corner with
his head between his legs listening to his iPod or anything.
I'm up and about, talking to guys, not to psyche myself
up, just to keep myself calm. That's the way I am,"
Since that's the case, it sounds like he'll
fit in just right with his teammates in Ann Arbor this fall.
During last season's outstanding campaign for the Wolverines,
veteran players like Chad Kolarik and Kevin Porter often
remarked about how the freshmen and sophomores on the Wolverines
kept things light during practices and games. Welcome to
Yost Ice Arena, Brandon Burlon, who saw those traits during
"They were the same kind of guys, loosey-goosey,
and want to have fun. I think I'll fit in there because
that's how I am," Burlon said.
SEEN AND HEARD AT SCOTIABANK PLACE
• Shattuck-St. Mary's (Minn.) defenseman
David Carle was expected be selected in the first three
rounds of this year's draft. But the Anchorage native lasted
until seventh round, when Tampa Bay took him with the ninth-to-last
pick. Turns out there's a very good reason Carle was still
on the board.
According to Doyle Woody of the Anchorage
Daily News, Carle withdrew from the draft after
doctors at the Mayo Clinic Thursday diagnosed him with hypertrophic
cardiomyopathy. HCM is a thickening of the heart that has
been linked to sudden death of young athletes, most notably
Reggie Lewis of the Boston Celtics and Loyola Marymount
All-American basketball player Hank Gathers. The defect
was first discovered at the NHL scouting combine in Toronto
earlier this month.
"It's really not the end of the world,''
Carle, who was set to play for Denver coach George Gwozdecky
this fall, told Woody. "I'm really quite fortunate
they were able to find it."
Gwozdecky told Woody that the Pioneers will
honor Carle's scholarship, and that the coaching staff will
find "an important position" for Carle in the
The full article can be found in Saturday's
• U.S. National Team Development Program
forward Danny Kristo, who'll don a North Dakota sweater
in the fall of 2009, was taken by the Montreal Canadiens
in the second round with the 56th overall pick. The NTDP,
which has seen its players go very early in recent years,
hasn't waited this long to see its first player selected
since 2004, when Edmonton used the 57th overall pick on
Geoff Paukovich, who then went on to a three-year career
at the University of Denver.
• Of all the NHL organizations, few
— if any — have a poorer track record of drafting
college players than Toronto. How bad? When the Maple Leafs
used its second-round pick, the 60th overall selection,
to grab Boston College-bound forward Jimmy Hayes, it marked
just the third time in the last 15 years that the franchise
used a first- or second-round pick on a player with college
ties. The others: Boston College forward Jeff Farkas (57th
overall in 1997) and defenseman John Doherty (57th overall
in 2003), who spent two seasons at New Hampshire, then transferred
to Quinnipiac for one season.
On second thought, maybe that's a good thing,
given the Leafs' history of developing home-grown talent.
• Danny Kristo answered questions in
front of a crowd of approximately 30 media covering the
Montreal Canadiens, and the same fate befell Boston College-bound
Jimmy Hayes, who was selected in the second round by the
Toronto Maple Leafs. With the draft being held in Canada's
capital city within reasonable driving distance between
both Montreal and Toronto, there was great interest in both
Kristo and Hayes by the assembled masses.
One thought that came to mind was that these
young players now have a much brighter spotlight upon them
than any night they've ever played, past or future, in the
United States Hockey League. A second thought … we
wonder if we'll see any of these newspapers, radio and television
stations at upcoming Frozen Fours or Beanpots. Probably
• If you cocked your head ever so slightly
and pointed your ear skyward about 11 a.m. EDT, you may
have been able to hear Minnesota coach Don Lucia's hair
turning just a touch grayer. That's about the time the New
York Islanders used the second of its three second-round
picks on Gopher defenseman-to-be Aaron Ness.
As you may recall, tensions between Minnesota
and the Isles boiled over last December when general manager
Garth Snow lured forward Kyle Okposo to the pros midway
through the 2007-08. Snow, the former Maine goalie, cited
Okposo's lack of development with the Gophers as a reason
for the move.
• For some teenagers, sorting out their
future plans can be a seemingly endless process. For Derek
Grant, a high-scoring forward for the British Columbia Junior
Hockey League's Langley Chiefs, it took about four days.
Just this past week, the Abbotsford, B.C.,
native gave a verbal commitment to Michigan State, where
he'll be a freshman in 2009-2010. On Saturday, Grant was
taken by Ottawa in the draft's fourth round with the 119th
Grant scored 24 goals and added 39 assists
for 63 points in 57 games for Langley in 2007-08. The Chiefs
are coached by former Spartan Harvey Smyl.
• U.S. NTDP forward Robbie Czarnik had
a little bit of the drama sucked out of his draft moment
Just as the Los Angeles Kings were about to
announce it was taking the Michigan freshman-to-be in the
third round in the third round with the 63rd overall pick,
the selection was cut short by NHL vice president Jim Gregory,
who moderates the second day of the draft.
"Hold it, hold it," Gregory shouted
from the main stage, cutting off the Kings rep making the
pick in mid-Czarnik. Turns out a glitch in the league's
computer system was the reason for the brief delay.
• The New York Islanders had a total
of 13 picks in this year's entry draft, and used four of
them early Saturday on college-bound prospects. Corey Trivino
(Boston University) was the 36th overall pick and Aaron
Ness (Minnesota) was taken 40th overall. North Dakota-bound
David Toews (66th) and future Denver Pioneer Matt Donovan
(96th) were also tabbed by Islanders' GM Garth Snow and
his management team.
• North Dakota-bound forward Brett Hextall,
who played for the BCHL's Penticton Vees last season, was
chosen in the sixth round by the Phoneix Coyotes with the
159th overall pick. Brett is the son of former NHL goalie
Ron Hextall, winner of the 1987 Vezina and Conn Smythe trophies.
The elder Hextall is now the assistant general manager of
the Los Angeles Kings, the Coyotes' Pacific Divison rival.
• Somewhere deep in the NHL rulebook,
there must be a statute that requires franchises selecting
one hockey-playing twin brother to also select the other.
San Jose did just that Saturday, using the first pick in
the third round to take Kent (Conn.) Prep forward Justin
Daniels, a 2009 Northeastern recruit. The Sharks then nabbed
Drew Daniels, who also played at Kent and is headed to Northeastern
in 2009, in the seventh round with the 194th overall selection.
We didn't ask, but we presume Sharks brass
hope the Daniels duo are closer to the Sedins (selected
by Vancouver with the second and third overall picks in
the 1999 draft) than erstwhile Maine forwards Peter and
Chris Ferraro (tabbed by the New York Rangers with overall
picks no. 24 and no. 86 in 1992.)
• The Columbus Blue Jackets used a seventh-round
pick (187th overall) to take Sean Collins. No, not Sean
Collins, the former New Hampshire forward. He was picked
by Colorado in the ninth round of the 2002 NHL Draft. Nor
is it ex-Ohio State defenseman Sean Collins. He was an undrafted
free agent who spent 2007-08, his first professional season,
in the Washington system.
This Sean Collins is a 6-3, 187-pound forward
who spent last season with the Manitoba Junior Hockey League's
Waywayseecappo Wolverines. Collins, a Saskatoon native who's
headed for Cornell this fall, scored 89 points in 70 games
for his club in 2007-08.
• Tampa Bay has already launched a marketing
blitz around first overall pick Steve Stamkos. The Carolina
Hurricanes, who ply their trade smack dab in the epicenter
of college basketball fandom, might be able to boost RBC
Center ticket sales with a similar campaign starring its
fourth-round selection, forward Michal Jordan.
Yeah, they're pronounced the same. But while
the tongue-wagging Jordan is a North Carolina native, Basketball
Hall of Famer, six-time NBA champion, and Olympic gold medalist,
the skating Jordan is from the Czech Republic and played
for the Ontario Hockey League's Plymouth Whalers this past
And in case you were wondering — and
we know you are — the hockey Jordan wears no. 32 on
his Plymouth sweater.