The names kept rolling, but Cass Mappin’s was not one of them.
And then the 2009 NHL entry draft was complete, and Mappin’s name was nowhere to be found among the 210 that were posted on the oversize draft board from the second to seventh rounds on Saturday at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
That the Red Deer Rebels winger slipped through the draft while four of his teammates were selected, was somewhat of an eye-opener. Nothing was guaranteed, of course, but the Big Valley native was ranked 73rd by Central Scouting in regards to North American skaters, so it would have been difficult to even classify him as a bubble player like 132nd-ranked Rebels forward Willie Coetzee, who was also passed over.
“I was disappointed more than anything,” Mappin admitted on Sunday. “But it’s just a stepping stone. These things happen and there’s always next year.”
Rebels owner/president Brent Sutter anticipated that the six-foot-one, 185-pound forward would be taken in the draft.
“I know I was surprised, but it tells you that there’s still work to be done with Cass,” said Sutter. “He has to make himself a better player and I don’t mean that in a bad way. What I mean is that now that he hasn’t been drafted, he has to dig in and get better so that he’s drafted next year.”
Mappin received a consolation prize when he took a call from Columbus Blue Jackets assistant GM Chris McFarland immediately following the draft, offering him an invitation to the team’s rookie camp in September.
The offer, which he accepted, will give him even more incentive to work out with a passion this summer.
“Basically, I have to work on my speed, my acceleration,” said Mappin. “This upcoming season is going to be another important one for us, not just for me personally but for the team as well.”
After Rebels centre Landon Ferraro was taken by the Detroit Red Wings with the second pick of the second round, 32nd overall, defenceman Justin Weller was picked by the Phoenix Coyotes in the fourth round, netminder Darcy Kuemper went to the Minnesota Wild in the sixth round and rearguard Tommi Kivisto, who has signed with a team in Finland and won’t be back for a second season in Red Deer, was drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes late in the seventh and final round.
Weller wasn’t ranked by Central Scouting after appearing in only 32 games last winter due to injuries, but the snub hardly bothered the Coyotes.
“Justin was certainly affected by injuries last season but when he did play we had (NHL) teams talking to us about him,” said Sutter.
The Daysland product was pleasantly surprised when he received a call from Coyotes assistant GM Brad Treliving.
“I didn’t really expect (to be drafted) because I had kind of a rough season,” said the six-foot-three, 200-pound blueliner. “Going 105th (overall) in the draft . . . I was really surprised, actually. That’s pretty early for someone who played only 32 games.”
Weller will attend a Coyotes rookie camp starting July 7 in Phoenix.
Kuemper was at his Saskatoon home on Saturday, watching the entry draft unfold on the NHL Network.
“I got up early because it started at 9 a.m. our time,” said the 19-year-old goaltender. “When I eventually saw my name come up on the board I was pretty excited. I talked to a few scouts during the season so I thought there was a good chance of it happening, but I definitely wasn’t sure. It was kind of 50-50 in my mind.”
Kuemper, the 161st pick in the draft, will check into a Wild rookie camp in July.
“I’ll be ready to go for that and I’m really looking forward to it,” said Kuemper. “I have a chance to move on to the next level at some point and I have to make the best of it.”
Ferraro was sporting a Red Wings jersey shortly after being snagged by one of the NHL’s most successful teams in recent years. The Red Wings traded their first-round pick, 29th overall, to the Tampa Bay Lightning, obviously feeling they could get Ferraro with pick No. 32.
“It’s a franchise with a history and a history of winning,” said Ferraro. “I’m obviously really happy and honoured to be their first pick this year. That’s something to be really proud of and I’m excited about going to their prospects camp early next month in Detroit.”