NHL Draft Notebook: Gibsonia's Saad falls further than expected


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ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Brandon Saad likely did not expect to slip quite so far.

Not many people in the hockey industry seemed to believe he would, either.

But after Saad -- a left winger from Gibsonia who once had been projected as a top-10 choice in the NHL entry draft -- was claimed by Chicago in the second round at the Xcel Energy Center Saturday, he insisted that when he was chosen was not a major issue.

Instead, he emphasized how pleased he was to be with the Blackhawks.

"I'm really just happy to be part of this organization," Saad said. "It's an honor to get picked."

Perhaps, but more than a few people were taken aback that Saad lasted until the 43rd selection overall.

Prominent on that list was Vincent Trocheck, an Upper St. Clair center selected by Florida in the third round and Saad's teammate with Saginaw of the Ontario Hockey League.

"I was definitely a little bit surprised that he lasted as long as he did," Trocheck said. "He's a great player. I think it's a steal, getting him where he went."

Saad and Trocheck weren't the only local players taken on the second day of the draft. In fact, neither of them was the first to go.

John Gibson, a goalie from Whitehall, was taken by Anaheim with the 39th overall selection.

He had been an almost universal favorite to be the first goaltender selected, but Nashville claimed Magnus Hellberg, a Swede, with the No. 38 pick.

Gibson also had been considered at least an even-money bet to be taken in Round 1, but that didn't happen, either.

"It's obviously everyone's goal to go in the first round," he said. "But it doesn't really matter where you get drafted."

Gibson said he was not aware the Ducks had a particular interest in him, but believes Anaheim is a nice fit.

"I'm in a good situation there," he said, adding that "obviously, you have to prove yourself."

None of the local prospects acknowledged disappointment that the Penguins didn't select them; all seemed to share Trocheck's contention that, "it would have been an honor, no matter where I went."

Trocheck, though, noted that he has relatives in south Florida and seemed genuinely enthused about joining the Panthers.

And he, like Saad and Gibson, stressed that he was not fixated on when he had been chosen.

"I expected to be [selected] a little higher, but where you get drafted is just a number," he said.

"It's what you do down the road that matters."

Decision time for Shero

With the draft in his rear-view mirror, general manager Ray Shero said he is ready to shift his focus back to free agency.

He said nothing of consequence happened during the past few days with his free-agents-to-be, and that he has not spoken with Petr Svoboda, who represents Jaromir Jagr, during that time. Svoboda had been scheduled to attend the draft, but changed his mind because of a family issue in the Czech Republic.

"I may have a conversation with him in the next day or so, just to touch base," Shero said.

He also has to try to get deals done with forwards Mike Rupp and Pascal Dupuis before July 1, when they will qualify for unrestricted free agency.

"I have to start making some decisions," Shero said.

Significant deal

Although there weren't made trades of great consequence Saturday, one significant deal that had been worked out the previous day was finalized.

Calgary sent defenseman Robyn Regehr, winger Ales Kotalik and a second-round draft choice to Buffalo for defenseman Chris Butler and center Paul Byron. Regehr had to waive a no-movement clause in his contract before the trade could go through, something he agreed to do after reportedly speaking with new Sabres owner Terry Pegula.


Dave Molinari: dmolinari@post-gazette.com .


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