SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — This much is certain: Jeremy Roy waited long enough to hear his name called at the NHL draft.
The actual length of that wait depends on perspective.
Was it 12 years, the amount of time he’s been playing hockey? Was it 17 hours, the time that passed between the draft opening Friday night and his name being called as the 31st overall pick when festivities resumed Saturday morning? Or was it really just the 90 seconds that spanned the formal opening of the second round and the actual announcement?
Regardless, it’s over. He’s a draftee, finally.
Roy went to the San Jose Sharks — who swung a deal with Colorado to move up and get him moments before the 10 a.m. start of the second round on Saturday — with the day’s first selection.
“It’s definitely great,” said Roy, who had trouble falling asleep Friday night because of all the excitement and hubbub that surrounded the opening round. “Just having a team moving up for you, you think it’s like they really want you. So it’s a great feeling.”
It was a decidedly different feeling from that of late Friday, when the first round ended and Roy — along with plenty of other hopefuls — walked into a South Florida night unsure about their futures.
Only the first round of the seven-round draft was held Friday. Most of the fanfare, predictably and deservedly, went to Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel after their long-awaited selections as No. 1 and No. 2 overall by Edmonton and Buffalo respectively. McDavid was back on Saturday morning, hanging out with the Edmonton brain trust.
“The eyes that are on these players … that’s something a little bit unique to my experience,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said Saturday.
That’s a strong assertion. After all, Bylsma coached a guy named Sidney Crosby in Pittsburgh not long ago.
McDavid knew he was going No. 1, and was a stressed-out mess in the moments before Edmonton’s selection anyway. If he had jitters then it’s tough to imagine the level of butterflies for the mere skating mortals in this draft, who endured what’s best described as a rapid-fire Saturday session with picks and trades being made at a pace that’s usually somewhere well past frenzied.
For Roy, at least the wait was brief.
“I wanted to go first round,” Roy said, as he wore a newly issued Sharks jersey for his first interviews moments after the pick was made. “But at the same time, it’s not the end of the world. … It’s always a little kid’s dream getting drafted in the first round but this morning is a new day and I’m as proud today as I would have been yesterday.”
There were teams that couldn’t contain their excitement about joining the second-round party, either. Or in some cases, financial realities going forward simply forced some teams into moves.
The New York Rangers, who weren’t slated to make their first pick until No. 58, moved up to 41 after a deal that included sending Carl Hagelin to Anaheim (in what largely amounted as a salary-cap-driven move, and a mildly surprising one at that) and took left wing Ryan Gropp.
Earlier, the Rangers sent backup goalie Cam Talbot — for whom they were trying to get a first-rounder — to Edmonton for three picks. Talbot was 21-9-4 with a 2.21 goals-against average for the Rangers this past season.
Another big goalie move went down early Saturday when Vancouver sent Eddie Lack to Carolina for two picks, one this year (the 66th pick, which became defenseman Guillaume Brisebois) and one next year.
“We were going to have to make a big commitment or lose him to free agency,” Canucks President Trevor Linden said of Lack, who went 18-13-4 this past season. “If you’re not prepared to do that you need to replace him with a young asset. … These decisions are difficult, but the circle of life is one that you have to give up things to get younger.”
In other developments Saturday:
–Arizona made seven picks through the first three rounds, including Christian Fischer, who went No. 32 overall. That meant he had the second-shortest wait to hear his name Saturday. “I’m pretty happy now that it’s over with,” Fischer said. Boston also had seven picks in the first three rounds, bolstered by its historic haul of three in the top 15 on Friday night.
–Stanley Cup champion Chicago made its first pick at No. 54 overall, grabbing left wing Graham Knott.
–St. Louis was the last team to actually make a pick, taking defenseman Vince Dunn at No. 56.
–The New York Islanders took Andong Song, the first Chinese player ever drafted, at No. 172.
–Swedish forward John Dahlstrom was the final pick, No. 211 to Chicago.
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