Big trades headline 2012 NHL Draft

By Ian Altenbaugh

Photo: A few trades highlighted the first day of the 2012 NHL Draft, including one that allowed the Buffalo Sabres to choose Latvian forward Zemgus Girgensons (courtesy of Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)


The 2012 NHL Draft started out routinely enough, the consensus top pick of the class, Nail Yakupov, went first overall and the second ranked player, Ryan Murray, went second overall. By an hour into the draft though things changed dramatically when the host team, the Pittsburgh Penguins, traded budding star center Jordan Staal to the Carolina Hurricanes for center Brandon Sutter, defenseman Brian Dumoulin, and the eighth overall pick, which the Penguins used to select WHL defenseman Derrick Pouliot.

The news did not come of much of a surprise as it was revealed Thursday evening that the Penguins offered Staal a 10-year, 60 million dollar deal to which he turned down. Not wanting to risk losing Staal for nothing via free agency in 2012-13, the Penguins traded him to the Hurricanes where he will be join his brother Eric.

The Penguins also traded defenseman Zbynek Michalek to the Phoenix Coyotes for prospects Marc Cheverie and Harrison Ruopp. Pittsburgh also received a third round pick in the deal in which they used to select goaltender Matt Murray.

The Penguins were not the only team wheeling and dealing at the draft however. The New York Islanders acquired offensive defenseman Lubomir Vishnovsky for the Anaheim Ducks second round pick in 2013. The move was made with the idea that Visnovsky can not only help the Isles at both ends of the ice, but mentor many of their young defensemen such as Matt Donovan and Calvin de Haan.

The Washington Capitals shipped off prospect Cody Eakin and a 2012 second round pick (Mike Winther) to the Dallas Stars for veteran center Mike Ribeiro. The move was viewed as mutually beneficial, as the Caps were looking to upgrade their offense and the Stars appear to be amidst a full on rebuild. The Stars also exchanged seventh round picks with the Los Angeles Kings.

The Columbus Blue Jackets and Philadelphia Flyers made also made a trade on Friday, though it did not involve Rick Nash. The Blue Jackets sent their second and fourth-round picks from 2012 and a fourth-rounder from 2013 for 23-year-old goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. It would be one of three goaltenders the Blue Jackets would acquire over the weekend, the other two being draft picks Oscar Dansk and Joonas Korpisalo.

Philadelphia made an even bigger right after the draft was completed however, bringing in defenseman Luke Schenn from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for forward James van Riemsdyk. The deal unites Luke with his brother Brayden, who was acquired by the Flyers this time last year.

Toronto sent goaltender Jonas Gustavsson to the Winnipeg Jets for a conditional seventh round pick in 2013.

The Tampa Bay Lightning made a minor deal on day two of the draft, sending minor-league forward Michel Ouellet and the 131st pick of the draft (Seth Griffith) for the rights to Boston Bruins forward Benoit Pouliot.

In addition to the 13 players and prospects who were traded, several teams made trades to either move up or down in the draft order.

The biggest exchange of picks came between the Buffalo Sabres and the Calgary Flames, where Buffalo, armed with four of the first fifty picks of the draft, sent the 21st and 42nd pick to Calgary for the right to select talented center Zemgus Girgensons 14th overall.

The Nashville Predators headed into the draft with nine selections and left with nine picks, though they were not all the ones they started with. Nashville sent their 2013 third round pick and their 2012 fifth round pick (142nd overall, Thomas Spelling) to the New York Rangers for their 2012 third round pick (89th overall, Brendan Leipsic). The Preds then sent their 2012 seventh round pick (194th overall, Jonatan Nielson) for the Florida Panthers seventh round selection in 2013.

The San Jose Sharks made a minor deal to move up in the draft, sending their seventh-rounder (191st, Brandon Whitney) and a fourth round selection in 2013 to the Chicago Blackhawks for the 109th pick in the draft, which they used to select forward Christophe Lalancette.

By Ian Altenbaugh.