Kukla's Korner Hockey
The draft starts at 10:00am ET.
You can watch the live stream at the following link or after the jump cut, plus the draft is on the NHL Network in the US and Canada.
from Gare Joyce of Sportsnet,
With 18- and 19-year-old talent scattered like so many flecks of confetti at the draft, you would think that the balance of power would not be significantly tilted in the short run. The face of the league or a conference doesn’t change Friday night. Keep in mind that Sidney Crosby didn’t change the balance of power immediately when Pittsburgh drafted him in 2005 — the team remained a bottom-feeder with him and significant veteran talent on hand. So now we look at tonight’s draft and ask: How does the Eastern Conference look different than it did a few weeks ago? Not so very significantly, when you get down to it.
Is Florida — with first overall Aaron Ekblad — going to slip into the playoffs? Probably not but even if they do contend or sneak in, it will have more to do with moves that they make henceforth than the addition of an 18-year-old defenceman, however physical and gifted. Ekblad is not Drew Doughty. Ekblad might be Zack Bogosian or Luke Schenn, players who made the league in their teens and are struggling to find their place in the league.
Likewise, does Sam Reinhart change the picture so significantly in Buffalo? The Kootenay centre is probably quite capable of taking shifts with the Sabres next season but a lot of scouts that I’ve spoken to have suggested that he’d be best served by a return to junior next year and waiting out what should be another rebuilding season in Buffalo. And even when Reinhart is installed in the Sabres lineup, a year doesn’t start to turn the foundering program around.
from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe,
It’s likely that Iginla will find a suitor more willing to give him better security, in years and dollars, than the Bruins can offer. The question, however, is whether Iginla would be in better position to chase his first Stanley Cup in a destination other than Boston.
The Black-and-Gold bosses remain confident in their group. Tuukka Rask (Vezina) and Patrice Bergeron (Selke) won awards in Las Vegas for being the best at their job descriptions. Zdeno Chara, runner-up to Duncan Keith for the Norris, is still within his window of dominance. There are many GMs who’d like to swap rosters with Chiarelli, especially if Iginla comes back.
“In a broad sense, I feel good,” Chiarelli said. “With Jarome or that type of player, it would obviously be better. We’ve got some players that are going to come up and bubble up. I always like that energy and enthusiasm these guys bring. I feel good. Our younger guys are getting better.”
The hangup is more about term than dough. The ideal scenario would be for Iginla to sign a one-year extension. The Bruins could stack Iginla’s contract with bonuses, keeping the cap number low, because he is a 35-or-older player.
It would be tougher for the Bruins to go beyond one year. The NHL does not allow 35-or-older players to earn bonuses on multiyear contracts. The Bruins would have to ship out salary to make it work.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Neal can score but people say he isn’t a life of the party kind of guy. The feeling in some quarters is he thinks he’s better than he is, too, also he’s been suspended for some foolish stuff. Everybody gets traded in this game but Neal–a scorer in a league where teams crave scorers– has been dealt twice and he’s only 26. From Dallas to Pittsburgh, and now from the Penguins to the Predators, where they’re also trying to get more offence, although they still need a centre for Neal. Hello Paul Stastny, if they can afford the unrestricted Colorado Avs’ playmaker and he might have a hankering to play with Shea Weber on defence, as well.
Neal’s a one-shot scorer. “Exactly,” said Preds’ GM David Poile.
Hornqvist is a better skating Tomas Holmstrom. “Exactly,” said Poile.
Scores his goals 10 to 15 feet from the net. “Closer than that,” laughed Poile.
“He can get 30 goals if he plays with Malkin. This might be one of those trades that turn out for both teams.”
Aaron Ekblad was mic'd up on draft day including hearing his name called as the #1 pick by the Florida Panthers.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
The Senators want to use their off-season to sell season tickets and if they don’t get a deal done for Spezza while teams are engaged in the process this could be another summer-long saga.
“The player has signed a contract. I would suspect that there will be further conversations,” said Murray.
“This is not a deadline by any means. We don’t start hockey until mid-September.
“We have a number of things that could happen. It’s just a matter of having conversations with the right people. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t we have a really good player on our team.”
This doesn’t mean a deal is dead by any means, however, Murray is willing to be patient to get what he wants that wasn’t on the table here.
from John Vogl of the Buffalo News,
Tim Murray made it clear he doesn’t want the Sabres to be the worst team in the NHL next season. The general manager is also well-aware Buffalo is far, far away from being a Stanley Cup contender.
So when the NHL approved changes to the 2015 Draft Lottery, he wasn’t thrilled.
“Greedily, I’m upset because I think we have more of a chance of next season being one of the lower teams, which I don’t like, but it’s just reality,” Murray said Friday. “I just think it affects the teams you see at the bottom now, so you know who you’re affecting. I’m not sure that’s fair. I think if you did it three years out, you know you’re affecting somebody, you’re affecting a bad team, but you’re not sure who that team is.”
If the Sabres follow up this year’s 30th-place finish with another one, their chances of winning the lottery and getting the No. 1 overall pick will fall from the current 25 percent to 19 percent or 20 percent. That’s a big thing with franchise talent Connor McDavid available in the top slot.
The good news for Buffalo is a bigger change won’t take place until 2016, when the top three selections will be subject to the lottery. Under that system, the last-place team could pick as low as No. 4. For 2015, the 30th-place club will pick no lower than second overall.
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
As for the Kesler trade, the more we think about it, the more we like it for Vancouver. There are a lot of hard miles on Kesler, who may never again be the guy who dominated Nashville and San Jose, then limped through the rest of that Stanley Cup Final in 2011 like the consummate thoroughbred. Surgical procedures have robbed Kesler of the ability to be that guy anymore — at least for prolonged stretches — and perhaps his medical file is the primary reason for a return from the Ducks that came in a tad short of what many of us expected.
And we forget that a player of Kesler’s experience has a long track record, which in this player’s case would hurt the Canucks’ position almost as much as his short list of destinations did.
Here’s the deal: Kesler wasn’t well liked by many of his teammates, and Anaheim GM Bob Murray’s intelligence would have taught him that. We’re willing to say that on the record, even though NHL players do not go on the record with confirmation of something like that.
The guy is prickly, and by my contacts within the Canucks organization, that attitude went well beyond his dealings with media and stretched to team employees, few of whom will be sad to see this transaction finally get made.
Oilers TV's Tom Gazzola caught the Florida Panthers' #1 overall pick meeting the press after exiting stage right:
Gary Bettman isn't kidding when he shakes the hand of every kid who shows up to the draft and takes the stage in the first round and says, "Welcome to the NHL."
In the 2nd through 7th rounds, picks are made at teams' draft tables, but the Globe and Mail's James Mirtle noted that Calgary Flames prospects will see something that might stick out a weeeeee little bit, as posted by the Score's Thomas Drance:
Welcome to the Flames, where truculence is mandatory and flow is optional.
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.
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