(This was originally posted as an entry to a Hockey Wilderness First Round Prediction Competition. However they have a rule that says Europeans aren't actually allowed to win. Apparently Don Cherry is now one of the editors at HW and he insisted. Anyway, I've edited it a bit to make it more Hawks-Centric.. which basically involves being at least 42% ruder about the Blues and moar Bigg Buff jokez)
So, it's Draft time again. Hopeful young Hockey Players who have spent their entire lives working hard to increase their Rankings try to smile when they realise that all their effort and sacrifice will be rewarded by playing in Edmonton or Columbus. European players grit their teeth as their names get pronounced in new and creative ways. Everybody gets to sport the "Hockey jersey/collar and tie" look, which is only slightly behind the "Superdry T-Shirt and Jorts" look in terms of "making you look like an asshole".
I figured I'd maybe need a little help on this one, not being used to studying the early picks in the Draft so I sought the sage advice of a man who KNOWS the lower reaches of Hockey the way that Ryan Reaves knows every lamppost around the DrinkScotch Centre. Therefore I dropped in on my old buddy Zap Stranghorn of the great website HFBUZZLEVEL.com at his day job cleaning the toilets in the Gastric Ward to elicit his aid.
No.1 : Nail Yakupov to the Edmonton Oilers
There can be little doubt that the Man With The Golden Name will soon be providing easy fodder to Edmonton headline writers. Despite the fact that it's actually pronounced Nye-ill. He must be excited at the prospect of getting fast-tracked into the NHL and having an immediate impact, like his predecessors Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Although hopefully without the skate-to-face lacerations and 20 game absence that enlivened their seasons. Anyone who believes different is living in denail... denail? De-Nail? Anyone? Bueller?
Zap Sez: "Wowee, can't wait to see THIS one blow up in the Oil's face? I mean, he's a Russianarian, right? And as we all know, that's code for "Lazy, moody and weak". I'll bet he has a return ticket to Russialand that he'll use the second Comrade KHL starts wavin' the Roubles. Russkies! Since when has any of them ever amounted to anything in the NHL?"
No. 2: Alex Galchenyuk to the Columbus Blue Jackets
The good old Beej topped off a disaster of a season by failing to even win the Draft Lottery. Galchenyuk is a decent consolation prize, some consider him to be at least the equal of his former team mate Yakupov. However, he has had serious ACL problems that many feel puts a big question mark over his NHL future. More so than moving to Columbus, that is. Expect to see him hobbling at the draft until it's the Caps turn when he will suddenly yell "I'm cured, it's a miracle!" and cast his crutches aside.
Zap Sez: "Just take everything I said about Yakupov and change the names. Hey! That was easy! Job as a Hawks Beat reporter, here I come! Wait.. whaddya mean 'He's from Wisconsin?'"
No. 3: Mikhail Grigorenko to the Montreal Canadiens
After a terrible season full of upheaval both on and off the ice there can be little doubt that the Habs have one huge priority for their draft pick that addresses their most urgent need. Sadly Francophones are thin on the ground this year so instead they're going to take the 6'3" 200lb Grigorenko to beef up their aging and Smurf-Like forward corps.
Zap Sez: Sadly Zap is temporarily unavailable to comment as he has gone red, is foaming at the mouth and attempting to phone Don Cherry with trembling hands.
No. 4: Ryan Murray to the New York Islanders
This highly rated D-man from White City, Saskatchewan, will be dreaming of the dizzy lights of New York, the City That Never Sleeps. We hope that Uniondale isn't too much of a let-down (although after 4 years in Everett, WA, we're sure his expectations are low)
Zap Sez: "At last, a good Canajun boy. He's used to large, empty spaces, coming from Saskatchewan, so I'm sure he'll feel right at home in Nassau"
No. 5: Filip Forsberg to the Toronto Maple Leafs
A large Swedish lad who has yet to put enough muscle on his 6'1" frame to be a genuine power forward. It's believed that it'll be years before he is ready for an NHL post-season but he's in luck: so are the Leafs.
No. 6: Teuvu Teravanian to the Anaheim Ducks
If I recall correctly, the Ducks have had some success with ex-Jokerit Finnish forwards whose names start with "T". We'll know if
Teemu Teuvo is the Second Coming when he scores his first annoying goal against the Hawks
No.7: Mathew Dumba to the Minnesota Wild
Solid D-man with considerable offensive upside and good abilities on the PP? This sounds strangely familiar... hey, whatever happened to that Zidlicky guy? Hopefully he doesn't turn into a whining douchebag when next years crop of injuries get him promoted to the big club.
Zap Sez: "This is Zap's sort of player, you betcha. He uses his size well to deliver HITS and when he's done he can SHOOOOT! And SKAAATE! and then HIIIIT! again. What else do you need?"
No. 8: Morgan Rielly to the Carolina Hurricanes
With Jaroslav Spacek's best years so far behind him that they're.. well,.. hang on.. I'm sure he had some good years, sometime..right? Anyway, there is a need for a defensive D-man in Carolina. O Rielly?, yes Rielly.
No. 9: Griffin Reinhart to the Winnipeg Jets
With the coolest name in the Draft, his size and two-way abilities and a professed total lack of interest in boating, Reinhart could be seen as a natural successor to
Brunch Bryggle Brugh Big Buff in the Peg. Although at 207lb he probably counts as a bit underweight.
Zap Sez: "Wow, big body, great offense, size, hockey smarts and physical presence. And size. I miss Buff. Oh, how I miss Buff.." (at this point Zap breaks down weeping for ten minutes)
No. 10: Jacob Trouba to the Tampa Bay Lightning
Apparently doesn't have much of an offense but with Stamkos around that's hardly going to be a problem now, is it?
No. 11: Radek Faksa to the Washington Capitals
Yet another Eastern European forward with buckets of talent and skill. Apparently he also has an amazing work ethic, but no doubt the Caps will knock that out of him in time for his NHL debut.
No. 12: Cody Ceci to the Buffalo Sabres
Big D-Man with a booming shot who has apparently never had a fight in his 196 game OHL career. Which means he'll be a vital asset next time someone runs Ryan Miller.
No. 13: Brendan Gaunce to the Dallas Stars
No description of the young Center comes without the adjective "gritty" thrown in somewhere. And since the departure of Brad Richards the Stars have about as much grit in the middle as I-20 in August.
Zap Sez: "If only more players had as much grinding grit as this gritty young grinder. I look forward to seeing him grinding in the NHL soon. With gritted teeth."
No. 14: Olli Maata to the Calgary Flames
With the prospected rebuild of Calgary due to happen.. oh, one of these years, there is an urgent need in Alberta for
improved goaltending more offensive firepower reliable Defense. Yeah, that last one will do. The Flames are in such dire need of everything that it seems harsh to only give them one pick.
No. 15: Matt Finn to the Ottawa Senators
Apparently the Guelph Storm Blueliner has an incredible "Hockey IQ", whatever that means. Maybe he can use it to explain to Matt Carkner that it's actually fairer to wait until the other guy is on his feet and looking at you before unleashing a flurry of punches.
No. 16: Hampus Lindholm to the Washington Capitals
The Caps will use the "Varlamov Pick" they got from the Avs to seek to bolster their blue line prospect pool with this Swedish D-man. Of course, they could draft an Inanimate Carbon Rod (no, not you John Scott) and still be the winners of that particular trade. (I know the Caps actually got the 11th pick for Varly, my Poetic Licence just got renewed, mmkay?)
No. 17: Slater Koekkoek to the San Jose Sharks
A shoulder injury caused the Peterborough Petes (damn, they have some dumb team names in the OHL) blueliner to miss the entire second half of the season. Reports from San Jose are that they feel, with careful development, he can be brought to a stage where he only goes missing in the Playoffs.
Zap Sez: "The only thing harder than spelling Koekoekkoekkoek? Knowing when to stop"
No. 18: Malcolm Subban to the Chicago Blackhawks
It seems a foregone conclusion that, based on their current woes in net, the Hawks will pick up the highest-ranked Goalie at the Draft. Subban is considered quite raw and obviously Netminders typically take longer to develop so don't expect to see him in the Indianhead unitl, oh, December?
Zap Sez: "Ya know, all this talk of "goalie problems" could be easily fixed if we just traded dat lazy bum Kane to Buffalo for Mill.. "(sound of blunt implement connecting with skull)
No. 19: Zemgus Girgensons to the Tampa Bay Lightning
I have no idea if the Bolts want or need Zemgus Girgensons. I'm just going to sit here and repeat his name over and over again. Zemgus Girgensons. it sounds like a clear brook babbling through a meadow in the Spring, doesn't it? Zemgus Girgensons. Zemgus. Girgensons. Mmmm.
No. 20: Derrick Pouliot to the Philadelphia Flyers
The Flyers must be wishing they were picking further up. There is no question that they will go for a D-man and, with Pronger out indefinitely and Matt Carle possibly on his way too there are immediate promotion prospects for a talented young blueliner. Gained vital experience of losing a Playoff Final with the Winterhawks this year so there's that, too.
No. 21: Pontus Aberg to the Buffalo Sabres
Did you know 'Pontus Aberg' is an anagram for 'Sabre Top Gun'? Well, you do now.
Zap Sez: "AAAgh! It's another sign of the conspiracy: Bettman and Shanahan have a secret plan to stuff the weaker teams full of genetically modified freaks who have been grown in special labs in Toronto. All just to make sure the Canucks never win the Cup"
No. 22: Thomas Hertl to the Pittsburgh Penguins
A Center well used to playing successfully above his age-level in the Czech League. This experience of being around older and nastier individuals should stand him in good stead if he ends up with Matt Cooke and Pascal Dupuis on his wings.
No. 23: Ludvig Bystrom to the Florida Panthers
Now let's see... Puck Moving D-Man? Check. Graceful passer who occasionally overcomplicates? Check. Plays a clean game with very few PIMs? Check. He's got red hair? Ch.. no, Dale, sit down. You don't have to sign him to a $70 Million/10 year contract yet, it's the Draft, remember?
No. 24: Stefan Matteau to the Boston Bruins
Big, bruising power forward and son of Stephane.. (so there's that legacy of beating the Canucks in Game 7 of the SCF, too) Has had serious disciplinary problems and multiple suspensions. It's a match made in Bahstahn Heavahn, really.
No.25: Martin Frk to the St Louis Blues
A known agitator from the QMJHL, Frk is a power forward who has a reputation for skating right up to the edge of what is acceptable and frequently overstepping it in the heat of the moment. So, he'll be a calming influence on the Blues in adversity then, right?
Zap Sez: "Fuck the St. Louis Blues"
No. 26: Mark Jankowski to the Vancouver Canucks
A beanpole who is outgrowing his muscle, Jankowski is also known as a finesse player who dislikes the physical aspect of the game. Scouts believe that his current lack of body mass will cause him serious problems with his balance. On any other team Jankowski would be years away from the League, however, with the Nucks, I'm sure he will be collapsing to the ice at an NHL level in no time.
No. 27: Tom Wilson to the Quebec Nordiques
With a bright new start in Canada, there is little doubt that the former Phoenix Coyotes will be looking to create a pool of prospects that more accurately reflects the preferences of their passionate fanbase in Quebec City rather than the rows of empty seats in Glendale. With this is mind, a big, bustling power forward should sit quite nicely with Nordiques Nation. Bonne chance, Tom!
Zap Sez: "Wait.. whut?"
No.28: Colton Sissons to the New York Rangers
The buzz word around this Center is "Versatility". He is.. you know, I'm starting to run out of energy, here. It's not as easy as it looks, this Draft-Comedy lark. YOU try making jokes about the Flyers without using the word "Bryzgalov". See what I mean?
Now, where was I?
No: 29: Cristoval Nieves to the New Jersey Devils
With Steve Bernier's bullet-riddled carcass due to wash up on a Joisey beach any time now, there is a potential need for a Right Winger. Plus "Boo" Nieves is a proper posh, Prep-School boy cast in among the rough kids from the Garden State, so I smell a sitcom.
No. 30: Dalton Thrower to the Los Angeles Kings.
Let's face it, I could have said "Barney McMoonstaple" here and no one would notice, least of all the Kings, who may or may not have sobered up in time for the draft. So let's chuck Thrower in here, just because he's got (yet another) awesome name.
So, there you have it. I'd just like to say thanks on behalf of myself and Zap, who has had to run back to the Hospital as he's forgotten it was Chili Night.