The Buffalo Sabres did exactly what many of us hoped they would by selecting Zack Kassian, a big power forward from the Peterborough Petes. Kassian brings grit and toughness to a team that desperately needed it. The rest of the first round was full of surprises.
Sure the first few picks went exactly as they were scripted with Tavares going first, Hedman being selected second and Colorado selecting Matt Duchense with the third pick but there were plenty of surprises throughout the first round.
Who wasn't surprised when the Toronto Maple Leafs selected Nazem Kadri? Apparently the Leafs fans weren't surprised because they went crazy when Brian Burke made the selection. There was even a chant of Kadri...Kadri...Kadri that rang throughout the Bell Centre.
It was mildly surprising when the Dallas Stars selected Scott Glennie but the ultimate surprise was saved for the New York Islanders. Many thought they were going to surprise the world by selecting Matt Duchense instead of John Tavares but they didn't. They did however surprise everyone by trading up and eventually taking Calvin de Haan. "I was surprised and I was not ranked in the teens at all this year" de Haan said. "It was a very big surprise for me. I was ranked towards the latter end of the first round" he said.
There were other mild surprises throughout the first round. Dmitri Kulikov was supposed to be selected higher than number 14. Jacob Josefson was projected as high as 10 but he fell to number 20 and John Moore was not expected to drop to number 21.
There were also some highlights in the draft tonight. The hometown kid Louis Leblanc being selected by the Montreal Canadiens was certainly the biggest highlight outside of the Sabres taking Kassian of course. The other highlight was the smile on each of these kids faces when they met the media. There is no way to describe the euphoria that these kids were feeling.
There will be plenty more to come tomorrow. The Sabres don't have a selection until the third round so I will wait until the draft starts to preview the Sabres day two picks. Look for the open thread at 10 am.