The St. Louis Blues selected American defenceman Erik Johnson with the first pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft on Saturday.
The 6-4, 220-pound American emerged as a force at the 2006 World Junior Championship and was the consensus pick as the top player available. He is the fifth American to go first overall.
While Kevin Lowe was helping build the future of the Oilers organization at the NHL Draft on Saturday, the general manager was dealing with the “disheartening” reality that one of his stars does indeed want out.
Lowe admitted Saturday that defenseman Chris Pronger has officially requested a trade and that the team has heard from his agent.
“We’ve been aware of it for a period of time,” Lowe told reporters before the start of Saturday’s draft. “Just let me say, yes, we have heard from his agent, that [Pronger] prefer to be traded.
Goaltender Roberto Luongo says the trade that sent him to the NHL Vancouver Canucks came as surprise since he believed he had a long-term deal worked out with the Florida Panthers.
“I’m really sad because I didn’t think this was going to happen,” Luongo said Saturday in a telephone conference call.
The Calgary Flames picked up the scoring winger they wanted. The Flames sent defenceman Jordan Leopold to the Colorado Avalanche for winger Alex Tanguay.
The Los Angeles Kings shipped forward Pavol Demitra to the Minnesota Wild for Patrick O’Sullivan and the Wild’s No. 17 pick, which was used to select USHL center Trevor Lewis.
Demitra, scored 25 goals and 37 assists for 62 points. The 31-year-old was limited to 58 games due to an eye injury. Demitra’s scored 241 goals, 340 assists and 581 points in 611 NHL games.
The Toronto Maple Leafs had to give up a netminder to shore up their goaltending situation.
General manager John Ferguson dealt the rights to Finnish prospect Tuukka Rask to the Boston Bruins in exchange for goaltender Andrew Raycroft during the NHL entry draft Saturday.