T-minus one hour until the first round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft kicks off in Pittsburgh and it should be a good one with about as much uncertainty surrounding the draft order as we've had in recent history, right down to it still being largely unpredictable as to who goes first overall. With all 30 GMs sharing the same floorspace, there are bound to be trades tonight as well with the likes of Roberto Luongo, Bobby Ryan and Jordan Staal all rumored to be on the block. Here's a rundown of what you need to know heading into the proceedings:
Good news, everyone! David Pollak reported yesterday and Sportsnet contributor Greg Thomson confirmed earlier today that the Sharks appear to no longer be in the Rick Nash derby, with the Senators closing in on the Columbus winger.
- As for who the Sharks might take at 17th overall (assuming they keep the pick), both the TSN and NHL Network mock drafts have them selecting uber-skilled Quebec Remparts center Mikhail Grigorenko which would be cause for a parade down Santa Clara St. but, realistically, is probably just as likely as the Sharks selecting Ron Francis with that pick. Our own mock draft had them picking Czech center Tomas Hertl.
- Speaking of the Blue Jackets, they were involved in what has so far been the lone trade of draft day (regardless of what the fake Darren Dreger twitter account has to say) by shipping three picks, including a second rounder, to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.
- Finally, The Copper & Blue and The Cult of Hockey beg the Oilers, owners of the first overall pick at these things in perpetuity, not to totally screw the pooch by picking a defenseman with the draft's inaugural selection over Nail Yakupov, clearly the best player available. Literally the only thing Steve Tambellini has managed to avoid screwing up during his tenure as Edmonton's GM is choosing Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins first overall after his ineptitude earned the franchise those selections. So, naturally, it would be hilarious for everyone outside Northern Alberta when Griffin Reinhart is the first name called this evening.
We'll update the site with coverage and analysis of any and all Sharks-related moves that happen today. In the meantime, feel free to discuss the draft here and please avoid self-harm when Doug Wilson and Tim Burke go off the board to select a German-born goaltender from Massachusetts who split time between the Ottawa 67s and Boston University last season.