Getting Drafted…and Qualified…

Finally getting a chance to get an update in, long weekend for me after my first Yankee game of the year (planning on an entry about it this week) and work/family related stuff. But on to some updates:

Friday night and Saturday came the annual NHL Entry Draft in Minnesota. On Friday night, with the 4th pick, the Devils selected Swede defenseman Adam Larsson. The 18-year-old spent the last 3 seasons playing for Skelleftea in the Swedish Elite League, recording 1 goal and 8 assists in 37 games. He also represented Sweden in the last 2 World Junior Championships.

Saturday the Devils chose 5 more players in the draft:
-3rd Round: Blake Coleman, center, Indiana Ice (USHL). League’s leading scorer with 92 points (34 G, 58 A), named Player of the Year. The Texas native will be attending Miami (OH) in the fall.

-4th Round: Reid Boucher, forward, U.S. Development Team. 20 points in 24 games (14 G, 6 A). Michigan native will begin at Michigan State starting in 2012-13.

-5th Round: Blake Pietila, left wing, U.S. Development Team. 4 goals and 5 assists in 24 games. Also a Michigan native, will be attending Michigan Tech in the fall.

-6th Round: Reece Scarlett, defenseman, Swift Current Broncos (WHL). Alberta native had 24 points (6 G, 18 A) in 72 games.

-7th Round: Patrick Daly, defenseman, Benilde-St. Margaret’s High School (MN). 40 points (3 G, 37 A) in only 27 games. Will be attending Wisconsin in the fall.

Usually I don’t pay too much attention to the draft, because most of the time these players won’t be here right away. In this case, all but 2 are just starting in college, which means they’re about 3-4 seasons away from even signing. Larsson may get a chance to crack the New Jersey lineup in training camp if he signs this summer, maybe even make an appearance in Albany. We’ll just have to see about that.

Today was the deadline for NHL teams to tender a qualifying offer to their restricted free agents for next season. Out of the 11 restricted free agents on the current roster, 9 were given qualifying offers: Matt Corrente, Mark Fraser, Jeff Frazee, recent acquisition Maxim Noreau, Nathan Perkovich, Matt Taormina, Alex Vasyunov (despite signing with the KHL), Steven Zalewski, and Vladimir Zharkov. The 2 that weren’t? Defenseman Anssi Salmela (making him an unrestricted free agent) and Zach Parise (who is already scheduled for arbitration; this does not make him unrestricted). Friday the real fun begins with the start of free agency. I hope to release my 10-11 Devil player tracker at some point that day once I see all the names.

In league news, the affiliation silly season is in full effect, with 4 teams switching parent clubs. Chicago switched from Atlanta (oops…now Winnipeg) to Vancouver after the Canucks’ former affiliate Manitoba moved to St. John’s and signed on with the newly minted Winnipeg Jets. The Buffalo Sabres officially bought the Rochester Americans franchise on Friday, reuniting the Sabres and Amerks after being apart for the last 3 seasons (sounds familiar…hmmm…). Rochester’s former parent club, Florida, is expected to team up with the San Antonio Rampage after its parent club, Phoenix, signed on with Portland (Buffalo’s former affiliate). Got all that?

Now we just sit back and wait for schedule hints. Anything to hold us over till the actual schedule arrives in August…

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