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It was a long, but exciting day at the Prudential Center, in Newark, New Jersey, as the NHL held it's annual entry draft. With the first overall pick in the draft, the Colorado Avalanche did little to hide who they would be selecting: center Nathan MacKinnon of the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL. No surprise here, as the Avalanche have been telling anyone that would listen that their first choice would be MacKinnon. Here's where it gets interesting.

Seth Jones, a defenseman for the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL, was projected to be selected with the first or second overall pick in the draft. Instead, the Florida Panthers picked the fourth ranked player, Aleksander Barkov, who played for Tappara in Finland. 

With the third pick, the Tampa Bay Lightning selected MacKinnon's line mate, Jonathan Drouin, who was expected to be picked third. Seth Jones had now fallen to fourth overall, and was immediately scooped up by the Nashville Predators, who were equally as stunned as everyone else that Seth Jones had fallen to fourth overall. This, however, is the best fit for Jones, as the Predators have a very young and promising defense, headlined by team captain Shea Weber.

Soon after, at the ninth pick, held by the New Jersey Devils, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman made an announced that stunned everyone in The Rock: The Devils had traded their ninth overall pick in the draft to the Vancouver Canucks for goaltender Cory Schneider. To say the arena was electrified would be an understatement. In this trade, the Devils acquired their successor to Martin Brodeur, when he eventually retires. The Canucks used the ninth pick to select Bo Horvat, a center for the London Knights of the OHL.

Another team that was active on the trade front was the Chicago Blackhawks, who had to make cap room as the free agency period starts on July 5th. They made three trades in this draft, with two of the trades sending away players. The first trade sent Stanley Cup game-winning-goal scorer Dave Bolland to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a second round pick and two fourth round picks. The second trade sent Michael Frolik to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for a third round pick and a fifth round pick. Shortly after that, the Blackhawks announced they had re-signed soon-to-be UFA Bryan Bickell to a four year contract extension.

This was one of the most exciting drafts in years, and it was a great way to kick off the 2013 off-season. 




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