When day two of the NHL Draft gets underway just after 10 a.m. ET on June 28, one of the busiest people at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia could end up being Buffalo Sabres GM Tim Murray. Barring any last minute deals, the Sabres will have three picks in the second round for the second consecutive season.
This will be the second straight year the Sabres have three second-round selections, joining Dallas (2002-04) and New Jersey (2000-01) as just the third team in the last 15 drafts to have three or more picks in the first or second round in consecutive drafts. Since the 2000 Entry Draft in Calgary, a total of 38 teams have had three or more picks in the first or second round.
Second-round picks have become the most common form of currency on the NHL’s trade market in recent years. Going back to 2000, there have been 106 teams with two or more second-round selections. In that same time span, only 60 teams have had the luxury of picking at least twice in the first round.
This year is no exception, as there are already nine teams with multiple picks in the second round (via 12 different transactions), compared to only two in the first round.
So what does it all mean? Depending on the draft, the end results are all over the map.
Take the Devils for instance. In 2001, they drafted Igor Pohanka, Tuomos Pihlman and Victor Uchetov in the second round. Pihlman was the only one of the three to play in the NHL, and his career totals consist of 15 games and two points. That same year, Buffalo’s trio of second rounders were forwards Derek Roy, Chris Thorburn and Jason Pominville. They have combined to play 1,859 NHL games with 1,114 career points.
In 2004, the Chicago Blackhawks had four second-round picks. While Ryan Garlock and Jakub Sindel never dressed for an NHL game, a couple of fellas named Bryan Bickell and David Bolland became key contributors to the Hawks two Stanley Cup championships in 2010 and 2013. It was Bolland who scored the OT Cup-winner in Game 6 to defeat Boston in 2013.
Quantity also doesn’t result in quality. The Dallas Stars made 10 second-round picks in three years, going 4/3/3 from 2002-04. They hit a home run with Trevor Daley (688 career games) in 2002, but swung and missed on Jonas Vas (0 NHL games), Tobias Stephan (15 NHL games) and Marius Holtet (0 games). Things worked out better for Stars in 2003 with the selections of Loui Eriksson (562 games) and BJ Crombeen (387 games). Their other second rounder that year was Vojtech Polak, he of five career NHL games. In 2004, Dallas hit on defenseman Nicklas Grossmann (463 career games). But they couldn’t say the same about goaltender Ray Sawada (11 NHL games) and Swedish blueliner Johan Fransson, who, unlike his namesake in Detroit, has never played a game in North America.
There’s also a fine line of success and failure in the second round, as evidenced by the New York Islanders and Nashville Predators who each had three second-round selections in the 2003 Draft.
With picks 35 and 37, the Predators took Konstantin Glazachev (0 NHL games) and Kevin Klein (433 NHL games). Using their first of three picks at 48th overall, the Islanders grabbed Dmitri Chernykh whose only North American action would end up being 37 games with the ECHL’s Dayton Bombers in 2006-07. One pick later at 49, Nashville drafted a defenseman from the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets named Shea Weber.
In case you’re wondering, Tim Murray was the assistant GM in Ottawa in 2011 when the Senators had three first rounders. Ottawa took center Mika Zibanejad from Sweden at sixth overall, and he’s already scored 54 points in 120 NHL games while still only 21 years old. The Sens also owned the 21st pick that year because of the trade that sent Mike Fisher to Nashville, and that became forward Stefan Noesen from the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers. Two years later, Noesen was dealt to Anaheim along with Jakub Silfverberg (2009, 39th overall) in exchange for Bobby Ryan.
But Ottawa still wanted to get back into the first round that year, and had three second-round picks in their back pocket. So in true NHL fashion, they traded a pair of second rounders (35th and 48th) to Detroit to move up to the 24th overall spot. With that pick the Senators took Matt Puempel, a winger who was coming off a junior season that saw him score 34 goals in 55 games with Peterborough. The 21-year-old Puempel just completed his first pro season in 2013-14 with the Binghamton Senators, and finished second among all AHL rookies with 30 goals.
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