Most of the drama at the first ever draft in Chicago was gone after only one pick.
After weeks of buzz around the Vegas Golden Knights, so-called protection lists, the expansion draft and a flurry of interesting trades, the draft at United Center came and went with only the occasional flurry.
The fireworks finally died down.
Of highest intrigue beyond the Devils opting for Nico Hischier with the first overall pick in franchise history was Calgary landing 26-year-old defenceman Travis Hamonic from the Islanders. Active on draft weekend in each of the two previous years, the Flames surrendered a first round pick in 2018 and two seconds to add the right-shooting Hamonic on Saturday afternoon.
“He’s certainly a guy that we’ve had our eye on for a while,” Calgary GM Brad Treliving said. “At the end of the day you pay a price.”
A second round pick in 2008 with three years left on his contract ($3.86 million US cap hit), Hamonic is coming off a troublesome, injury-plagued season with the Islanders, one that saw him play only 49 games while ranking last on the team with a woeful 44 per cent puck possession mark.
The Flames are hoping a return to earlier form will bolster a defence that’s topped by Dougie Hamilton and Mark Giordano. Swept in the first round of the playoffs by Anaheim, the Flames also tried to shore up their goaltending by adding Mike Smith from Arizona.
Calgary made a similar attempt in goal at the draft last year, landing Brian Elliott from St. Louis. A year earlier they picked up Hamilton from Boston — also for a first and two seconds.
Flurry of activity surrounding expansion draft
Though the Flyers dealt Brayden Schenn to the Blues on Friday, most trades of significance came ahead of Wednesday’s expansion draft — when teams had limits to protecting their rosters from Vegas. There were more in the immediate aftermath with the Oilers finally parting with Jordan Eberle and the Blackhawks flipping 2016 Calder Trophy winner Artemi…