Draft Notebook: Oilers Surprise, Goalies Finally Go

The Edmonton Oilers made one of the most interesting selections on Saturday when, in the third round, they called the name of Troy Hesketh. Hesketh is committed to attend Wisconsin but won’t do so until September of 2011. He is heading next year to play junior hockey in the U.S. Hockey League.

Hesketh was not ranked by the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau yet ended up the 71st overall selection. The move to take Hesketh was considered risky as the 18-year-old’s current timeline for junior and college hockey could make it difficult to sign him before he becomes a free agent. Teams have no more than four years to sign a player after he is drafted, so given that Hesketh will play two years in junior then arrive at Wisconsin, that could create problems.

Something similar happened with former Minnesota forward Blake Wheeler. Wayne Gretzky and the Phoenix Coyotes tabbed Wheeler as the fifth overall pick in 2004 but Wheeler then played two years of high school hockey and two years at Minnesota before becoming a free agent. Wheeler signed with the Boston Bruins last summer and played his first season for the Black and Gold this past season.

Kieran Millan of national champion Boston University was drafted Saturday by Colorado (photo: Melissa Wade).

Kieran Millan of national champion Boston University was drafted Saturday by Colorado (photo: Melissa Wade).

Net Gains

After Friday’s opening round was absent any goaltenders, it took no time at all on Saturday for a netminder to hear his name called. Mikko Kiskinen from Espoo, Finland (the hometown of former Boston College goaltender Matti Kaltiainen) was the first selection in Saturday’s second round.

Ottawa also took a goaltender in the second round, selecting Sweden’s Robin Lehner with the 46th overall pick. The first collegiate goaltender picked was Michael Lee, a freshman-to-be at St. Cloud State, who was chosen as the final pick of the third round (91st overall) by Phoenix.

Two current Hockey East goaltenders were also selected as Colorado snagged Kieran Millan (fifth round, 124th overall) and the Vancouver Canucks tabbed Merrimack’s Joe Cannata in the sixth round, 173rd overall.

Boyle Gets Shipped

Former Boston College forward Brian Boyle was traded from the Los Angeles Kings to the New York Rangers during Saturday’s sixth round. The 6-foot-7-inch center might be humbled when he learns what his value was in the deal — Boyle was shipped for the Rangers’ third-round pick in the 2010 Draft.

Since graduating from BC in 2007, Boyle has played just 36 games for the Kings over the past two seasons, spending the bulk of his time with L.A.’s minor-league affiliate, the Manchester Monarchs.

Lonely Times

During the later rounds of the Draft, it’s typical that the players who are selected are not on hand for the festivities. That, of course, makes it challenging to talk to players to find content as writers. One Boston Bruins scribe bemoaned the fact none of the team’s selections Saturday were on hand, including Ryan Button, who was 23rd in the final CSB rankings among American skaters.

Said the writer, “I guess he had something more important to do.”

Very Swede Weekend

Sweden had easily its greatest Draft in history this weekend. After six Swedes were chosen in Friday’s opening round, an additional 24 Swedish-born players were selected on Saturday, including six in the second round. Leading the way for the “Tre Kronor” was Victor Hedman, the number-two overall selection in Friday’s opening round.

Final Tallies

Here is the final breakdown of the numbers for college-affiliated players drafted this weekend:

Total collegiate players chosen: 62
WCHA players: 25
Hockey East players: 13
CCHA players: 12
ECAC players: 12

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