Spartans Go "Levesque" On Draft Day

Team moves assets in effort to focus on quality over quantity on draft day.
by Sean Gallagher | September 27, 2008, 1:14 PM ET
"Sure, it's a move we saw him do every year in this league as a general manager. Now that he's our coach, some of that attitude may have rubbed off on us, you bet." Spartans general manager Sean Gallagher admitted that he may have stolen a page out of head coach Martin Levesque's playbook to build a better team. Levesque, as GM of the Hartford/Montreal franchise for many years, always managed to package assets in order to acquire higher draft picks. This year, Gallagher tried to win what he called "The Levesque Trophy" for most moves on the first day of the entry draft. In three separate deals the St. Louis franchise traded away young netminder Pascal Leclaire, whom many expected to become the franchise goalie of the team, and all of their picks in the early rounds. In addition, former first rounders Marek Zagrapan, Jim O'Brien and, surprisingly, Gilbert Brule were sent in a package to Toronto. The return to the team was two high draft picks (second and seventh overall), a new backup goalie in Patrick Lalime and two younger defensemen (Paul Ranger and Aaron Johnson) to bolster a weak blueline corps. The picks were used to draft defenseman Alex Pietrangelo and left wing Nikita Filitov, two players the organization expect to become mainstays on the team. "We specifically wanted Pietrangelo," admitted Gallagher, "we felt like we needed that franchise defenseman to add to our team and expect him to be one of the best. But at the seven spot we were looking at about three guys we thought might be there depending on the teams picking ahead of us. We would have been happy with any of them, but we're ecstatic about Filatov. We've wanted a guy who could be a pure goal scorer for us for a long time. We think we got one now." When asked about "The Levesque Award" Gallagher admitted that while an unofficial trophy, it's one he's happy to have taken today. "Martin was a GM that I always admired. The deals he made were always fair and helped the other team, but they always seemed to net him the players he really wanted. That's the way I feel about our deals today. I think everyone we dealt with got everything they wanted and so did we. I love trades like that."

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