The real star of the expansion draft wasn’t Marc-Andre Fleury or James Neal, it was George McPhee. The general manager’s draft has set Vegas up to be contenders sooner rather than later.
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Here are six happenings on the first day of the NHL draft that may have flown under the radar:
Red Wings drafted a giant: Owning the earliest draft pick the Red Wings have known in 27 years, they selected 6-foot-6 center Michael Rasmussen with the ninth pick. He weighs 221 pounds and skates impressively for a big man. Red Line report chief scout Kyle Woodlief, owner of the independent scouting service, said Rasmussen has as much potential as anyone in the draft. He scored 32 goals in 52 games for the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League.
Backlash over Penguins’ and Blackhawks’ deals: Fan bases in both Pittsburgh and Chicago expressed disappointment over trades their teams made on the opening day of the draft.
Some fans in Pittsburgh didn’t appreciate Jim Rutherford giving up a first-round pick and younger center Oskar Sundqvist for St. Louis 225-pound tough guy Ryan Reaves. Likewise, Chicago fans used social media to express their dismay over GM Stan Bowman’s decision to trade Niklas Hjalmarsson and Artemi Panarin.
Rutherford said that he was tired of his team getting beat up. Clearly, the Penguins are trying to protect Sidney Crosby.
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Bowman was trying to freshen up his roster.
Considering that Rutherford has won back-to-back Stanley Cups, and Bowman owns three Cups, the fan bases would have unwavering trust that these two guys know what they are doing.
Power of the Troll: Josh Norris, a center on the U.S. National Team Development Program, brought his team’s Dustin the Troll good luck charm to the draft with the hope of having a good day.
It worked. Norris was…