Montreal selects Juraj Slafkovsky No. 1 in the NHL Draft
San Jose made a move in the first draft for general manager Mike Grier, who took over the role this week and became the first black general manager in league history. The Sharks sent the No. 11 pick to Arizona for numbers 27, 34 and 45. Arizona selected forward Conor Geekie, brother of Seattle center Morgan Geekie.
Arizona also made a trade with Edmonton, acquiring Zack Kassian, No. 29 and two future picks in exchange for No. 32 in a deal that gave the Oilers some salary cap margin. The Coyotes selected Canadian defenseman Maveric Lamoureux 29th overall, and Edmonton selected Canadian winger Reid Schaefer with the final first-round pick.
After Slafkovsky and Nemec became the highest drafted players in Slovakia, Rutger McGroarty made Nebraska hockey history when he went 14th to the Winnipeg Jets. McGroarty, an Omaha-born forward, became the state’s highest-drafted player.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman opened the first in-person draft since 2019 in French by saying, “Bon soir, Montreal.” When fans booed him, as tradition dictates, he said, “Thank you for the welcome. It’s a return to normal. »
It was also the first time the host team had picked No. 1 since the Toronto Maple Leafs selected Wendell Clark in 1985. With rival hosting Montreal, the Leafs received the loudest boos during the game. roll call, with some in the crowd chanting “’67!” in reference to the last year Toronto won the Stanley Cup.
Recent hockey deaths were also recognized before the Canadiens hit the clock. Bettman asked those in the draft and in the stands to observe a moment of silence for retired defenseman Bryan Marchment, who died Wednesday at age 53 in Montreal, where he was attending the draft as a scout for San Jose. Grier, a former Marchment teammate, paid tribute to him ahead of the Sharks’ selection of Swedish center Filip Bystedt at No.27.
The children of Hall of Famers Guy Lafleur and Mike Bossy, who both died in April, also addressed the crowd.