Kukla's Korner

Draft Weekend Brings Hope and Help, Turning One Season Into the Next

The NHL Entry Draft is one of those annual “hope springs eternal” events. If the awards show bids farewell to a season gone by, the selection process for the latest prospect crop marks the league’s transition into next year.

Just like that, every club starts anew.

Just like that, the page is turned for all.

The Boston Bruins reign as Stanley Cup champions has just begun and yet, as of tonight, even they have work to do. 29 other teams are now gunning for what they have. And for some, reshaping their franchises to make a run at hockey’s iconic chalice will start with their first overall selection tonight.

Of course, it’s been said that there aren’t any immediate game-changers to be had among this crop – and certainly not beyond a half-dozen or so prospects atop most draft boards. But the draft itself has become such an integral aspect of building a championship-caliber team, even the late round selections will be a product of weeks and months of internal debate and study on the part of a team’s decision-making hierarchy.

For other clubs, the leap from 2010-11 to 2011-12 will be aided during draft weekend by trade. This year, with the Philadelphia Flyers kicking things off with a pair of earth-rattlers a day in advance, shipping key components Mike Richards and Jeff Carter out of town in separate deals yesterday, the expectation is that trade activity in St. Paul could be high. As teams gear up for free agency next week, some will look to get a jump on crazy season by filling holes and altering their salary scales with a deal or two and there is a wealth of big-name talent reportedly on the trade market already.

This year, there is even the complete rebirth of NHL hockey in Winnipeg to monitor, with the former Atlanta Thrashers franchise expected to be officially given a name some time this weekend and Claude Noel set to be named head coach this morning as well.

No matter how you look at it, draft weekend always comes with plenty of excitement and expectation.

With no shortage of storylines to follow beginning this evening, this year’s event is no exception.

***

Note: Transitioning into a bit of a new routine so far this summer has yielded a bit less production on my part than I would have liked to this point but that’s slowly starting to get better. I anticipate this week will see an uptick in that department, culminating in the opening of free agency on Friday, where I’ll be hunkered down in my own personal war room all day and monitoring things as they unfold, before a mini-family vacation for a few days thereafter that will take me clean off the map (intentionally). Beyond that, everything should set itself right.

Your patience and loyalty, of course, is much appreciated.

JJ
jj@kuklaskorner.com
JJ on Twitter

Filed in: Anaheim Ducks, Atlanta Thrashers, Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, Nashville Predators, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, NHL Entry Draft, Ottawa Senators, Phoenix Coyotes, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, Washington Capitals, Winnipeg Jets, | Beasts of the Southeast | Permalink
 

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