NHL Feels a Draft

What can you say about the NHL’s draft weekend?
It’s basically legalized gambling. Teams spend all this time and energy going after unproven talent, when logic says you spend time and energy going after proven talent.
But maybe I’m crazy. Or dull.
The Globe and Mail says last year’s class was shockingly strong &#151 perhaps the strongest since 1979.
Damien Cox at the Toronto Star says the draft is getting dull, though. He blames the NHL’s general lack of offense for not giving rookies a proper stage to shine on. Without a stage, it’s hard to even remember who was drafted first or fiftieth. Cox is more into the trade deadline.
The deadline is cool, but this year’s was exceptionally nuts. I’m not sure I would call it representative of most other trade deadlines.
I was pleasantly surprised to see the St. Louis Blues grab a goalie with their 17th pick in the first round. They took Marek Schwarz from the Czech Republic. I can’t remember the last time St. Louis had a decent goalie (Jeff Gordon tracks St. Louis’ goalie woes here). It’s nice that they’re finally starting to realize their inability to escape the first round might be related to their goalie problems. Not that Chris Osgood, this season’s goalie, was so horrible. The Blues just need an exceptional goalie to make up for their perennial subpar offense and defense. They also needed someone to pin this season’s failure on. That’s why they’re not picking up his option. That and the fact that they got goalie Patrick Lalime from the Senators.
Of course, looking at what Lalime did for Ottawa this season, I’m not sure he’s an appreciably better way to kill time until Schwarz is ready for the NHL.
Meanwhile, over in Phoenix, they just kind of threw away their first-round pick on high schooler Blake Wheeler. Sure, he has a great name, but what did Phoenix see that every other hockey mind in the universe didn’t see? Do the Coyotes have so much hubris that they think they’re that much smarter than everyone else?
We’ll see what Wheeler is doing in three seasons. I could be wrong but I’m guessing he’ll be checking out frat parties and making sure he has enough credits to graduate college.