VANCOUVER — The 2019 NHL draft wrapped up in Vancouver on Saturday, June 22, and the host Canucks substantially beefed up their future prospects. The team added Russian right-winger Vasily Podkolzin with the 10th overall pick on Friday, then drafted left-wingers Nils Hoglander (40), Ethan Keppen (122) and Aidan Mcdonough (195), right-wingers Karl Plasek (175) and Jack Malone (180), centres Carson Focht (132) and Arvid Costmar (215) and goalie Arturs Silovs (156) on Saturday.
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) June 22, 2019
The Canucks also made a splash Saturday, acquiring forward J.T. Miller from the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Canucks sent goalie Marek Mazanec to Tampa with a 2019 third-round draft pick and a 2020 conditional selection. If Vancouver is involved in the 2020 draft lottery, the pick will become a first-rounder for 2021.
“J.T. Miller is an experienced and versatile offensive contributor,” Canucks general manager Jim Benning said in a statement. “This deal is about acquiring a player who can have an immediate impact in our top-six forward group for term.”
OTHER CANADIAN TEAM UPDATES
Nicolas Robertson has long wanted to wear the Toronto Maple Leafs logo on his chest.
The 18-year-old finally pulled on a Leafs jersey with his name emblazoned on the back on Saturday after Toronto picked him 53rd overall at the NHL draft.
“It was definitely exciting,” Robertson said. ”Toronto was kind of one of the places I wanted to go to and to be their first pick in (this year’s) draft is something special.”
The southern California-born forward moved to the Toronto area with his mom when he was 14 to play hockey, and he knows the city’s passion for sports well and hopes he can add to the franchise’s storied history.
Robertson spent last year playing for the Ontario Hockey League’s Peterborough Petes, tallying 27 goals and 28 assists in 54 games.
He’s hoping to one day bring that offensive prowess to the Leafs.
“I think they play my style,” Robertson said. “They have a big, skilled game with Matthews, Marner. I’m not saying I’m that calibre player yet. I hope to be.”
The Leafs also selected defencemen Mikko Kokkonen (84th), Michael Koster (146th) and Kalle Loponen (204th), and centres Mikhail Abramov (115th) and Nicholas Abruzzese (124th).
|Vancouver Canucks fans Tanner Barnett, 14, left to right, Micah Sacks, 14, and Sidney Tolensky,14, during the second round of the NHL draft at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Saturday, June 22, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito|
Shane Pinto was the first prospect to hear his name called in Vancouver on Saturday. The 18-year-old centre from Franklin Square, N.Y., was taken 32nd overall by the Ottawa Senators.
“It’s crazy. It’s pretty surreal. I’m shaking right now, but I’m just going to try and enjoy the whole moment,” he said. “It’s awesome though. I’m really excited.”
Pinto had 59 points in 56 games with the U.S. Hockey League’s Tri-City Storm last season.
He was Ottawa’s second pick of the draft, coming after the franchise took Finnish defenceman Lassi Thomson 19th overall. The Sens also picked up goalie Mads Sogaard (37th), centres Viktor Lodin (94th) and Mark Kastelic (125th), and defenceman Maxence Guenette (187th).
The Montreal Canadiens picked up a multi-talented blue-liner on Saturday, taking Jayden Struble 46th overall.
Hailing from Cumberland, R.I., the 18-year-old spent the last two years playing high school hockey.
But Struble’s also had success in other sports and played first base in the Little League World Series when he was 12.
Playing basketball, baseball and lacrosse growing up helped the teen develop into a well-rounded athlete, but his first love has always been hockey.
“My poppa taught me how to play when I was three years old. I always loved it,” he said. “I always knew that was going to be my sport. So I’ve just stuck with it ever since.”
The Habs also took right-winger Cole Caufield (15th), left-wingers Rhett Pitlick (131st) and Rafael Harvey-Pinard (201st), centre Arsen Khisamutdinov (170th), defencemen Mattias Norlinder (64th), Gianni Fairbrother (77th), Jacob Leguerrier (126th) and Kieran Ruscheinski (206th), and goalie Frederik Nissen Dichow (138th).
The Edmonton Oilers added centre Raphael Lavoie to their prospect pool with the 38th selection on Saturday.
The 19-year-old native of Chambly, Que., won a Memorial Cup with the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last month and put up 32 points in the playoff run.
Lavoie said he’s looking forward to joining some of the world’s best hockey players in Edmonton and wants to work on his “explosion” to better fit in with the squad.
“If I want to be able to skate with (Connor) McDavid, I need to be a lot faster,” he said.
The Oilers also took Swedish defenceman Philip Broberg (eighth), goalie Ilya Konovalov (85th), right-winger Matej Blumel (100th), centre Tomas Mazura (162nd) and centre Maxim Denezhkin (193rd).
Finnish defenceman Ville Heinola joined the Winnipeg Jets franchise with the 20th pick on Friday. The Jets then added defenceman Simon Lundmakr (51), centres Henri Nikkanen (113) and Harrison Blaisdell (134), and goalie Logan Neaton (144) on Saturday.
Jakob Pelletier, a left-winger from Quebec City, was scooped up 26th overall by the Calgary Flames, who also took centres Ilya Nikolaev (88) and Joshua Nodler (150), left-winger Lucas Feuk (116), and goalie Dustin Wolf (214).
|Young hockey fans order from the concession during the second round of the NHL draft at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Saturday, June 22, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito|
Ray Shero knew he’d be leaving the West Coast with star centre Jack Hughes.
The New Jersey Devils general manager was less sure about his other big target until Saturday morning.
After selecting Hughes with the first pick in the NHL draft Friday night, Shero swung a big trade moments before the second round got underway, acquiring defenceman P.K. Subban from the Nashville Predators.
“Those were two good days for us,” Shero said. “We added some marquee (players) and talent.”
The trade was just one of a bevy of moves by GMs after a lot of chatter and not much movement over the previous 24 hours.
The Toronto Maple Leafs also got in on the action, dealing veteran winger Patrick Marleau to the Carolina Hurricanes.
Nashville and Toronto each got a measure of salary cap relief in the swaps.
The Subban deal, which saw the Devils give up two depth blue-liners and two second-round picks, marks the second time in three years the 2013 Norris Trophy winner has been traded after Nashville acquired him from the Montreal Canadiens for Shea Weber in the summer of 2016.
“I’ve always been a huge fan of P.K. Subban,” Shero said. “He’s a competitor. His legacy in terms of off-ice stuff is well-known, but on the ice he’s a competitor and he wants to win.
“I love the fact he hasn’t won a Cup yet. He’s hungry for that and so are we.”
#Smashville – I love you! Thank you to the @PredsNHL team, teammates, fans and community for embracing me over the past three years. Ready for this next chapter… @NJDevils are you ready for the Subbanator? 😈☝🏿👀 pic.twitter.com/rkPkkqRKRT
— P.K. Subban (@PKSubban1) June 22, 2019
Subban’s contract carries an average annual value of US$9 million over the next three seasons. Predators GM David Poile — who has a stable of stud defencemen in Roman Josi, Mattias Ekholm and Ryan Ellis — said the move will help him to bolster his team’s forward group.
Nashville now has just over $68 million committed to its roster for the 2019-20 season. The salary cap ceiling for the 2019-20 season was announced at $81.5 million Saturday evening.
“There’s a lot of teams that are under pressure cap-wise, and they were one of them,” Shero said. “(Poile) was into some different things. I didn’t know if it was going to come back around or not.”
Subban posted a goodbye message on his Instagram on Saturday, thanking the Predators fans, staff and his teammates.
“I’m not going to be a stranger. I’ll be in and out of Nashville and I’ll be thinking of you guys,” he said, before adding a message to supporters of his new team: “Are you ready for the Subbanator? ‘Cause I’m ready to go!”
Toronto, meanwhile, had been looking to get Marleau’s US$6.25-million cap hit off the books as the club endeavours to re-sign Mitch Marner and fellow pending restricted free agent forward Kasperi Kapanen and Andreas Johnsson.
To get the deal done, Leafs GM Kyle Dubas had to sweeten the pot by including a conditional first-round pick and a seventh-round selection in 2020 for a sixth-rounder next year. If the first-round selection falls in the top-10, Toronto will instead send Carolina its 2021 first-rounder.
The Leafs now have roughly $61.5 million committed to 16 roster players next season.
Marleau issued a statement via his wife Christina’s Twitter account moments after the trade was announced, thanking the Leafs and their fans.
“It was an honour to play with the iconic Maple Leaf on my jersey, and to be a part of Leaf nation,” Marleau wrote. “There are so many incredible experiences we had while in Toronto, things my boys will remember and cherish for their entire lives.
“But the very best I will take away from my time there are the people that we all met.”
Marleau also singled out a pair of young teammates — Marner and Auston Matthews — in the post.
“You will always have a spot at our dinner table and extra sticks in our hockey room,” he added. “I’ll miss seeing you at the rink everyday. Never forget how good you guys are.”
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