Hey guys! Between the craziness of the draft itself, as well as the plethora of blockbuster trades that happened throughout, Draft Weekend sure gave us a lot to talk about. In this article I am going to be going through the Top 5 Biggest Surprises of this 2021 NHL Draft Weekend while elaborating on how a lot of these major trades went down. So without further ado, let's get into it!
-Quick Disclaimer- This article will not include the Logan Mailloux pick for obvious reasons. If you want to find out more about Montreal's polarizing pick, check out Steve Dangle's newest video: "Everything Happened" and skip to 8:45-
5. Jakub Voracek Traded Back to Columbus in Return for Cam Atkinson
Drafted 7th overall by Columbus back in 2007, Voracek's career appears to have gone full-circle, as he was flipped one-for-one in a trade that sent long-time Blue Jacket, Cam Atkinson to Philidelphia on Day 2 of Draft Weekend. While the two players are about even in value, this deal is a particularly tough pill to swallow for Blue Jackets fans who have reaped the benefits of Atkinson's contributions to the city of Columbus throughout his career. I believe hockey Youtuber and Columbus native Andrew Telfer said it best: "Cam Atkinson was a huge advocate for the city of Columbus, started the Battery Hockey Academy, and runs camps weekly for kids in the area. I don't get it. This is just sad."
I feel bad for Blue Jackets fans, I really do. However, from the outside looking in, I see this trade as the final move Jarmo Kekäläinen needed to make in order to induce a culture change in the locker room. When Kekäläinen acquired Patrik Laine from Winnipeg, he did so with the intention of building a team around him. Unfortunately, as the season went on, Laine did not mesh well with John Tortorella's system in Columbus which led to Kekäläinen being forced to make a choice: Do we believe in the culture Torts is trying to instill with Patty here? Or should we tear everything down and make this Patty's team? Needless to say, the Columbus Blue Jackets are now Patrik Laine's team. Cam Atkinson just happened to be one of the last core guys from the Tortorella era to go.
Note: Prior to this trade, Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno was shipped off to Toronto, long-time Jackets defenceman David Savard was sent to Tampa, and assistant captain Seth Jones was moved to Chicago. Oh, and John Tortorella was let go. Complete culture overhaul in Columbus.
4. Colorado's Future with Starting Goaltender Phillip Grubauer Looking More and More Dim as Free Agency Looms
After captain Gabriel Landeskog signed a 7-year, $7-million contract extension to stay in Colorado, star goalie Phillip Grubauer's future as a member of the Avs is looking more and more dim. It has been highly rumoured that he will sign with the Kraken come free agency!
3. Seth Jones is Traded to Chicago for Adam Boqvist and a 2022 1st Rounder... Is Awarded a MASSIVE Contract Extension Upon His Arrival
Chicago seems to be pushing for playoffs one more time with their aging core, flipping young D-man Adam Boqvist and a 1st round pick to Columbus in return for a more polished Seth Jones. However, what surprises me is the extension! The Blackhawks will be paying Jones $9.5-million for the next EIGHT years. To put that into perspective, Jones' extension holds more average annual value than Cale Makar and has a longer term 😳! Ouch.
2. McTavish and Boucher Rise to 3 and 10; Eklund and Lysell Fall to 7 and 21 Respectively
If you checked out my predictions before watching the draft, you'd know how wrong some of them were 😂! Mason McTavish rose 9 spots from my ranking to be selected third overall by the Ducks, William Eklund fell from first to seventh, Lysell dropped from sixth to twenty-first, and Ty Boucher came in from left field to round out this year's Top 10. I'm expecting there to be some HUGE steals in this draft class as players continue to progress.
1. Brotherly Love Wins Out On Multiple Occasions
When was the last time we saw two brothers playing on the same NHL team? Maybe the Sedin twins back in 2018? In my opinion, brotherly love was the biggest winner of this year's Draft Weekend. As soon as next season, fans could see Seth and Caleb Jones playing alongside one another in Chicago, Cale and Taylor Makar as a duo in Colorado, Kirby and Colton Dach reuniting (also in Chicago), and Jack and Luke Hughes together in New Jersey!
This concludes my Top 5 Biggest Surprises of NHL Draft Weekend! Did I miss anything? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below! And as always, thank you for taking the time to read this article. I really appreciate your support and am committed to providing you with more awesome hockey content in the coming days. Stay tuned!