Draft Day: The Big Winners

In BAL, GLP, PIT, SCA, Special Features on October 23, 2011 at 3:08 pm

It’ll take a few years until there’s really a “win” or a “loss” from today’s GWMHL Rookie Draft (when we promise to mercilessly mock the losers) and really, every team made some smart choices and picked up intriguing young talent. But some teams stand out for us as having made the most of their picks – or lack thereof. Here’s our top four.

4) South Carolina Fire Ants

The Ants dealt away their final two picks, but they shored up an injury-prone defense. Travis Hamonic (15th overall) could well blossom into a key on this injury-prone defense, someone who could play with Zdeno Chara while Sami Salo is on IR. The acquisition of veteran blueline Filip Kuba also helps in the short run.

3) Baltimore Crab

They traded away one of the game’s best in Evgeni Malkin, but they got what they wanted: picks, picks, picks. Never shy about making a splash, the Crab came away with a lot of long-term talent, including potential impact forward Nino Niederreiter (10th overall) and goalie Jacob Markstrom (30th). Ryan McDonagh (8th) and Michael Sauer (48th) give them an instant defense pairing – and they need one.

2) Pittsburgh Hornets

It seems impossible that a team with no picks in a draft could walk away a winner. But the Hornets made a bold move in sacrificing all their selections and came out of it with their deepest roster in years. Malkin is still young, if injury-prone, and may well end up on Brad Richards’ wing, while both Bryan McCabe and Cal O’Reilly should be able to contribute this season.

1) Great Lakes Pilots

The Pilots were the big winners at the draft lottery, moving up from 6th to 2nd, so it’s no big leap to say that they won the draft, too. Defenseman Nick Leddy will help shore up the back end, but the addition of Taylor Hall finally gives them a left-winger to play with Martin St. Louis. The team still has some big holes to fill up front, but the future’s looking a lot brighter than it was yesterday.


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