Saturday, June 21, 2008

A place to live, a place to grow, seven of ten for Ontario

Steve Stamkos was the first Ontarion of the class of 2008 but he wouldn’t be the last resident of Ontario to make the grade, as the NHL filled out the first thirty names on their annual selection cards for this draft year of 2008.

Stamkos the anticipated first round pick was selected by the Tampa Bay Lighting, just as predicted by many who have been following hockey’s young talents on their hopeful journey to the NHL.

This year was a draft that as far as the top ten picks went was heavily weighted towards those that played in the OHL. Of the first ten picks on Friday night, seven played in the Ontario Hockey League, with only the Western League, the NCAA and the Russian junior system standing in the way of an Ontario sweep.

Overall the OHL were the big winners as far as placements go in this years first round.

Of the thirty picks Ontario’s Junior A factory produced 11 selections, the WHL accounted for 9, While International or lower tiers of junior hockey provide nine picks, the NCAA delivered one while the Quebec league was shut out of the first thirty picks.

Day one of the draft was a lengthy affair, with a number of trades that slowed the flow a little bit but added to the drama of the event as teams traded picks for a better placement to try and secure that player they had been watching for most of the year and through the early stages of draft day.

The second through seventh rounds will get underway on Saturday morning, with much less of a media presence and no doubt a faster pace to the proceedings without the speeches and interviews that Friday’s opening round always provide.

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