From the first choice, Canadian Alexis Lafreniere to the New York Rangers, to the last, American Declan McDonnell to the Cup-winning Tampa Bay Lightning, the draft provided plenty of stories that will be worth following in the coming years.
A quick breakdown of nationality shows that of the 216 players selected, 93 were from Europe, the most since 2004 when 97 were chosen. More impressively, that total represents 43.1 per cent of the total, the highest percentage since 2001 when 142 of 289 were European (49.1%).
(Note: the draft consisted of 217 selections, but the Arizona Coyotes forfeited the 49th pick overall because of violations of the NHL’s combine testing policy.)
Indeed, the Russian resurgence continued, with 24 Russians selected this year. This comes on the heels of 28 last year, and both are numbers not seen since 2003 when 30 were taken.
Some 17 players from Finland were taken, eight from the Czech Republic, three each from Germany and Austria, two from Slovakia (Samuel Knazko, 78th to Columbus and Martin Chromiak, 128th to Los Angeles) and Belarus (Yevgeni Oksentyuk, 162nd to Dallas, and Ilya Solovyov, 205th to Calgary), and one from Norway (Ole Julian Bjorgvik-Holm, 145th to Columbus) and Latvia (Raivis Ansons 149th to Pittsburgh).
Canada led the way as usual, with 73 players drafted, 33.8 per cent of the total, and the United States had exactly 50 players (23.1%).
“It was really special because since my childhood, it's been a dream to play in the NHL one day,” Rossi said after hearing his name called by the Wild. ”It was so emotional for everyone because when you get drafted, you're one step closer to the NHL. There were a lot of mixed emotions because my family has sacrificed so much for me. It's incredible.”
"We are thrilled to welcome Tim to the Senators, to Ottawa and to the National Hockey League," said Eugene Melnyk, Senators’ owner. "Tim's acquisition represents yet another core piece in our quest to build momentum towards icing a consistent, elite-level team."
As usual, the draft also featured a plethora of recognizable names, and this year was no exception. Sons of father-NHLers include:
-Lukas Reichel, son of Martin, 17th to Chicago
-Kody Clark, son of Wendel, 47th to Washington
-Mattias Samuelsson, son of Kjell, 32nd to Buffalo
-Jack Drury, son of Ted, 42nd to Carolina
-Tyler Madden, son of John, 68th to Vancouver
-Kienan Draper, son of Kris, 187th overall to Detroit
-Mason Langenbrunner, son of Jamie, 151st to Boston
-Juho Markkanen, son of Jussi, 112th to Los Angeles
-Jake Sanderson, son of Geoff, 5th to Ottawa
-Kyle Aucoin, son of Adrian, 156th to Detroit
-Ryder Rolston, son of Brian, 139th to Colorado
-Ridly Greig, son of Mark, 28th to Ottawa
-Jacob Perreault, son of Yanic, 27th by Anaheim