I’m still waiting (and waiting, and waiting) to hear from Dean Lombardi, but for now here’s a new story on the drafting of Justin Azevedo by the Kings in the sixth round. This is shaping up to be one of the more compelling picks of the entire second day of the draft.
Third time’s a charm for Azevedo
Dean Lombardi: “When you’re in the later rounds of the draft, you’re looking for a player that has one side of the game and you hope the other side develops. He has an unbelievable amount of heart and character. Guys like that you never can count out.”
Justin Azevedo: “When you see how successful Derek Roy has been [with the Buffalo Sabres], you think, ‘I could be like that.’ Even [Richards], he brought the [Philadelphia] Flyers to the Eastern Conference final. They are outstanding and they work hard every night. It would be nice if I could do something like that.”
Just to tie up the two remaining loose ends…
The Kings traded their No. 179 pick (sixth round) to Chicago for the Blackhawks’ sixth-round pick in 2009.
The Kings traded their 185th pick (seventh round) to St. Louis for the Blues’ seventh-round pick in 2009.
The NHL draft is done…seven rounds, 211 picks.
If you just woke up and want a quick-and-easy recap of what the Kings did, you can click here. Or, the NHL website has the ability to sort all picks by team, round, position, etc.
Again, there will be quotes from Dean Lombardi later, once things wind down in Ottawa.
Garrett Roe, the Kings’ seventh-round pick, had 18 goals and 27 assists in 39 games as a freshman for St. Cloud State. He is 20 years old and spent time in the junior-level USHL.
Roe grew up in the hockey non-hotbed of Vienna, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C.
Bob Motzko, St. Cloud State coach, said this about Roe on the College Hockey News website last November:
“(Roe) is a whale of a competitor. He brings a high energy level every night, and he’s been finding a way to put it all together. He’s been a big part of the success of our forward group, and if we keep making progress the way we have (the last two weeks) we’ll be a tough team to beat.”
“(Roe’s) a tremendous student. We just got our grade reports, and he’s got straight A’s going. He’s a hard-working, likeable kid … the prototypical student athlete.”
Roe feature on WCHA website
College Hockey News feature on Roe
Perhaps most importantly, Roe is from St. Cloud State, the alma mater of Kings communications director (and part-time radio personality) Mike Kalinowski.
With their seventh-round pick (No. 183 overall) the Kings drafted Garrett Roe, a left winger out of St. Cloud State University. Roe is 20 years old and listed at 5-8, 162 pounds.
The Kings have traded their second seventh-round pick (No. 185) to St. Louis…which is where the pick started. In return, the Kings got a 2009 seventh-round pick.
This SHOULD be the end of the Kings’ draft. We’ll see what happens, and I expect to get Dean Lombardi on the phone sometime this late morning/afternoon.
Big surprise, huh? The Kings traded their second sixth-round pick (No. 179) to Chicago for the Blackhawks’ sixth-round pick in 2009.
Brett Hextall, son of Kings assistant general manager Ron Hextall, was drafted in the sixth round (159th overall) by Phoenix. Hextall, a center, is scheduled to attend the University of North Dakota.
Justin Azevedo in the sixth round is a very interesting pick. As I said, he won OHL player of the year honors playing in Kitchener, in the same league as Steven Stamkos and John Tavares. But his size (5-7 or 5-8, roughly 180 pounds) apparently had a lot of teams doubting his NHL future.
His coach at Kitchener was Peter DeBoer, recently hired as coach of the Florida Panthers.
DeBoer told the Canadian Press, “I think he just needs someone to give him an opportunity. You’re going to be reading about him five years from now and guys are going to be kicking themselves for missing out on him. He’s proven all his critics wrong from the day he arrived in Kitchener and this tops it all off. An amazing season for an amazing kid.”
Of winning the player of the year award, Azevedo said, “I’ve had to do it all my life in every league I’ve played in. I had to prove that no matter how small I was, I could play in every league. Coming into this league, I knew it would be the same. Being recognized for it, is awesome. I never really thought about winning anything. I just went out there, played my game and worked as hard as I could to help the team. There were a lot of great names who won this award before me. I’m just ecstatic about winning it.”
There are some good stories out there about this kid:
Hockey’s Future Q&A
London Free Press
With their first pick of the sixth round (153rd overall), the Kings drafted center Justin Azevedo from Kitchener of the OHL. Azevedo is listed at 5-7, 183 pounds and is 20 years old.
Azevedo was the OHL’s leading scorer, with 124 points (43 goals and 81 assists) and was voted player of the year by media. He played in the same league as No. 1 pick Steven Stamkos and John Tavares, the consensus No. 1 pick in the 2009 draft. Interesting pick.
The Kings have now officially bought out the final year of goalie Dan Cloutier’s contract. He’s off the roster, but a portion of his salary will still count against the salary cap. The Kings will take a salary-cap hit of roughly $1.03 million in each of the next two seasons.