Kukla's Korner Hockey
The first round of the draft is getting ready to start. KK won’t be updating with every pick, but you can watch the action live on TSN, Versus or online at NHL.com streaming online. (You can even see it blogged live online. update: also being blogged here)
Any other stories will be updated as normal, depending on how long I stay sober. (Kidding, Paul, honest!)
Good luck to everyone’s favorite teams.
From Eric Duhatschek at the Globe & Mail,
It looks as if the Phoenix Coyotes will move into the top spot in the 2007 NHL entry draft, by flipping picks with the Chicago Blackhawks in order to draft Kyle Turris of the BCHL’s Burnaby Express. Phoenix was positioned at No. 3 and in theory, Turris could have fallen to them anyway.
But by stepping up, they get the player that they wanted a 6-1, 170-pound play-making centre who finished the year as the top-ranked player in the Central Scouting rankings.
Or as one NHL coach said of the decision made by the Wayne Gretzky-led Coyotes: “He (Turris) probably reminds him (Gretzky) of someone.”
Update 7:20PM EDT:
So much for that story. Chicago retained it’s #1 pick.
So, while I’m slaving away at a hot laptop (I am!) Paul is running around Columbus, having fun no doubt. He promises he’ll be sending more updates and I’ll add them to this post as they arrive.
Message #8 Update 5:45pm EDT June 22 The view on the floor of the draft…
Message #7 Update 12:30pm EDT June 22 The talk in the hotel lobbies of Columbus… The Toskala deal (mentioned earlier) plus the Leafs looking at Mark Bell; and the possibilities of the Bruins going for Fernandez. The rumor mill churns…
From Donna Spencer of CP,
To be the first player taken in the NHL draft is prestigious, but it’s no guarantee of future stardom in the NHL.
Yes, Mario Lemieux and Guy Lafleur were chosen No. 1 in their respective draft classes. But so were Alexandre Daigle and Patrik Stefan.
The chances are good that a team will at least get a solid NHL player at No. 1 and will get productive years from him. Ottawa defenceman Chris Phillips is an example of that.
But even the top pick is a risk. Why? Scouting 17-year-old hockey players is an inexact science, says the director of NHL Central Scouting.
From Kevin McGran at the Toronto Star,
Many questions will be answered tonight when the first round of the NHL Entry Draft gets under way. Will Patrick Kane or Kyle Turris go first overall? Will Chicago trade the first pick?
But there are many more intriguing plots for draft watchers to follow. Here’s a sampling:
The Malkin Factor: Russia’s Alexei Cherepanov, on talent alone, deserves to be among the top four picks. But the NHL lacks a transfer agreement with the Russian hockey federation. A team that drafts him risks lengthy legal battles — a la Malkin — to get him in North America. He may drop as a result.
From Jim Kelley at Sportsnet,
Lang is 36, and that’s likely the beginning of the end for him as a top-tier center in the NHL, but he likely can still be an effective power-play performer and second-line set-up man who would qualify for our list of five of the better bargains available in the free-agent pool come July 1.
He has good hands, scores in bunches, plays extremely well with the man advantage and knows how to get open ice for himself or find teammates who have it.
He’s also likely to accept a price cut from his just-completed salary of $3,800,000.
Which makes him a bargain and the center on our Free-Agent Bargain team.
more… (*including Zubrus, O’Donnell and more “specials”)
From Tony Gallagher at The Province,
With the salary cap expected to be just a nudge over $50 million US this season, virtually all the clubs will have more money to spend than many had expected; the league’s efforts to keep the cap around $48 million evidently meeting with ice from the NHLPA in whose best interests it is to have it rise as high as possible. Given the stagnant growth in revenue in the game of late, it’s likely to mean escrow payments in the 7 to 9 per cent range when all is said and done next year, but that is just something the players will have to live with given they themselves handed the league that hammer.
more… (*with a listing of “deals likely to happen”)
From the AP via Orlando Sentinel,
Kyle Turris and Patrick Kane, expected to be two of the top picks in the NHL draft, skated around the ice on Thursday afternoon, trying to sidestep a collision with any of the 25 mites and pigtailed power forwards joining them at a hockey clinic.
It wasn’t all that long ago that the baby-faced Turris and Kane were about the same size and skill level as the 10-year-old kids who were flopping and teetering around them. Now they’re about to step onto the big stage and carry the hopes of a franchise.
Updated 4:03pm EDT:
More on Kane via USCHO,
If Scotty Bowman gave you career advice, would you take it?
The winningest coach in NHL history told one young man from Buffalo, N.Y., to play college hockey, but Patrick Kane — favored to be the top pick in the opening round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft — had other plans. With Boston University and the University of Michigan vying for the future pro star, Kane chose a third option.
From Craig Custance at AJC,
What’s harder than predicting where an international cast of hockey prospects will end up during this weekend’s NHL draft in Columbus? Easy. Hosting a three-hour Thrashers draft party and radio show on a night when the Thrashers aren’t scheduled to make a single selection.
That’s the challenge Dan Kamal, Jeff Odgers and Darren Eliot face tonight as hosts of the Thrashers draft party at Jillian’s.
Elite prospects like center Kyle Turris, forward Patrick Kane and forward Alexei Cherepanov are expected to go early in tonight’s first round. But thanks to two trades — the deal with St. Louis for Keith Tkachuk and the trade with Anaheim for Vitaly Vishnevski — the Thrashers don’t pick until the third round. On Saturday. Long after those three prospects are gone.
continued… (*noting that GM Waddell has made deals during the Draft every year since 1999)
From CP via the Prince George Citizen,
If an NHL team wanted to start contract talks with Pat Kane, they’d have to negotiate with him.
Kane, a possible first overall pick in the NHL draft Friday, doesn’t have an agent.
The 18-year-old forward from Buffalo, N.Y., said agents ignored him early in his career and he carries a chip on his shoulder about that.
‘‘The reason I don’t was because when I was a younger kid, the agents would come up to the bigger, stronger kids and talk to them,’’ Kane said Thursday at a prospects lunch with the media.
‘‘I felt that I was kind of left out. The last couple years, they’ve started to come around and really hound me. I got here by myself. I don’t need an agent to represent me now.’‘
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org