Published June 25, 2011
Quality defensemen were the hot commodity during Entry Draft weekend.
After Philadelphia altered the NHL landscape with a pair of huge trades Thursday, other teams combined to make 18 trades that involved 14 players with NHL experience. Four of those players were defensemen who figure to have big impact on their new organizations.
The biggest deal of the weekend was San Jose's addition of blueliner Brent Burns from Minnesota. Burns, who scored 17 goals for the Wild last season, came at a big cost -- forward Devin Setoguchi, 2010 first-round choice Charlie Coyle and the 28th selection in the 2011 Entry Draft, who became Zack Phillips.
Florida general manager Dale Tallon signed Brian Campbell when he worked for Chicago, and he traded for the veteran defenseman late Friday night to help anchor a young Panthers blue line. The cost was forward Rostislav Olesz.
Toronto general manager Brian Burke tried to pry John-Michael Liles away from Colorado at the trade deadline last season, and he finally got his man just before the draft began Friday. Liles will likely replace the departed Tomas Kaberle on Toronto's top power-play unit. The irony is Burke used a 2012 second-round pick -- the conditional compensation from the Kaberle trade after the Boston Bruins reached the Stanley Cup Final -- to secure Liles from the Avalanche.
Buffalo was looking for more size and experience on the blue line, and the Sabres added defenseman Robyn Regehr from Calgary, along with former Sabres forward Ales Kotalik and a second-round pick in 2012 for rearguard Chris Butler and forward Paul Byron.
The Washington Capitals hope they found their next great Russian star with the 26th pick in the 2010 Entry Draft when they selected Evgeny Kuznestov -- but General Manager George McPhee went searching for a more immediate return with the 26th pick this year. McPhee acquired forward Troy Brouwer from the Chicago Blackhawks for the pick.
A pair of talented but enigmatic Russians were traded Saturday for third-round choices in this draft. Columbus sent Nikita Filatov, the sixth pick in 2008, to Ottawa, while the New York Rangers sent Evgeny Grachev, a third-round choice in 2008, to St. Louis.
Three other first-round picks in the 2011 Entry Draft were exchanged Friday night. Anaheim sent the 21st pick to Toronto for the last pick in Round 1 (No. 30) and the 39th selection. Detroit traded the No. 24 pick to Ottawa for a pair of second-round choices (Nos. 35 and 48).
Florida traded the 47th overall selection to San Jose for pick No. 59 and a third-round choice in 2012. Minnesota sent the 71st and 101st picks to Vancouver for the last selection of the second round (No. 60) and proceeded to thrill the hometown crowd by grabbing a familiar name -- Mario Lucia, son of the University of Minnesota coach Don Lucia.
Winnipeg's first trade since returning to the NHL involved adding a third-round pick from Montreal (No. 78) for a pair of fourth-round choices (Nos. 97 and 108). The Jets made another deal later in the day Saturday, adding a fourth-round pick from San Jose (No. 119) for a fifth (No. 133) and seventh-round selection (No. 194).
Nashville made a pair of deals during the second day of the draft. The Predators sent pick No. 82 to Los Angeles for No. 170 and a third-round choice in 2012, then later they swapped their sixth-round pick (No. 172) for a sixth-rounder in 2012 from the Rangers.
Anaheim added a sixth-round pick (No. 160) by dealing its sixth-round choice in 2012 to Toronto. Phoenix and Tampa Bay combined for the final trade of the draft, as the Coyotes acquired the rights to Marc-Antoine Pouliot for a seventh-round pick (No. 201).