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After a five-month dizzying ordeal, forward Rick Nash has been traded from the Columbus Blue Jackets to the New York Rangers in exchange for forwards Artem Anisimov and Brandon Dubinsky, defenseman Tim Erixon and the Rangers’ first pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. The Blue Jackets also send to the Rangers a conditional 3rd round pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft as well as minor-league defenseman Steven Delisle.
The national pundits have viewed the trade as an abomination for the Blue Jackets yet the Blue Jackets organization, while local observers and fans have viewed the trade as a great move by Blue Jackets General Manager (GM) Scott Howson.
While I view the trade, on the surface, as neither great nor devastating in the overall sense, with consideration to all of the parameters and the length of time needed by Howson to make this trade, I feel the trade is simply a case where Howson, in baseball jargon, was entrusted by ownership to hit a home run and settled for, at best, a ground-rule double.
In my previous article on Rick Nash I outlined the variables and complications associated with the foregone conclusion in some league circles that Columbus Blue Jackets lone franchise player, Rick Nash, will be traded prior to or during the upcoming National Hockey League (NHL) Entry draft, scheduled for Friday, June 22nd.
The Columbus Dispatch’s stellar beat reporter Aaron Portzline disclosed “that as many as seven teams have had “significant” trade conversations with Blue Jackets General Manager (GM) Scott Howson about Nash during the past 10 days and that a handful of other clubs – three or four, maybe more – have ‘kicked the tires’ to see what a deal might cost them.”
Much like the limited potential list of suitors who Nash had provided to Howson – those for which Nash would consider waiving his No Movement Clause (NMC) – no one except Howson knows who has made the specific offers. However, it is known that specific teams were actively pursuing, and appear to continue to pursue, the possibility of a trade with the Blue Jackets for Nash.
Assuming that Blue Jackets General Manager (GM) Scott Howson can broker a deal to garner the necessary return associated with one of the NHL’s elite power forwards, I now offer my analysis of the potential trading partners – NHL organizations who covet Nash – and what type of proposal could entice Scott Howson.
It’s expected that the Columbus Blue Jackets will trade their only true All-Star player and face of the franchise Rick Nash on or before the upcoming NHL Entry Draft on June 22nd. Rumored trade discussions and speculated trading partners have been flying almost as quickly as trying to keep the hottest of DVDs on a Blockbuster store shelf.
And while some pundits and local observers believe this long-speculated trade of Nash is a forgone conclusion and will go down before the draft, I believe that doing so is a lot more complicated than that and I’ll explain why.
The NHL draft will begin on Friday and it is a chance for every team to have some hope about their future. This draft is very interesting because after Nail Yakupov (the consensus number one pick) there are a plethora of differing opinions among experts and scouts as to where players should be rated. This makes an exercise like a mock draft very difficult, but also a lot of fun.
I am not considering any potential trades in my mock draft as that is just too difficult to predict. Seeing as the number one pick is definitely in play I think we are going to see plenty of action at the Consol Energy Center on Friday night.
The Toronto Marlies had a great season and although they were swept in the Calder Cup final on the weekend, they had an excellent playoff run as well. What is most impressive with the Marlies playoff run is that they have done it with a minimal amount of AHL “veterans”. Other than Mike Zigomanis, the rest of the squad is made up of legitimate NHL prospects.
The Marlies great run is getting Leaf fans thinking about how their success might translate to the big club next year. There have been some recent cases where AHL success from the previous season appeared to help the NHL clubs with big improvements the following season. Most recently the Ottawa Senators jumped up 18 points in 2011-12 after their affiliate, Bighamton Senators, won the Calder Cup in 2010-11 and the Montreal Canadiens had a 14 point jump in 2006-07 after the Hamilton Bulldogs won the Calder Cup in 2005-06.
I decided to look back at 18 seasons from 1991-92 to see how NHL teams fared the year after their AHL affiliate played in the Calder Cup finals. I used difference in points from the previous season as my criteria for judging “improvement” at the NHL level.
I recently completed a series of articles analyzing the Maple Leafs organizational depth at each position. After completing that exercise I thought it would take some time to rank the top 25 prospects in the organization and give some projections. For each player I give their ceiling, a projection and for the top 15 prospects I also give a comparable player.
1. Jake Gardiner, D
a. Ceiling – top pair defenseman, Norris trophy candidate
b. Projection – top four defenseman, 40+ points
c. Comparable – Dan Boyle
2. Matt Frattin, F
a. Ceiling – 30+ goal scorer, All-Star forward
b. Projection – top six forward, 20-25 goals
c. Comparable – TJ Oshie
This is the final article in a series looking at the Toronto Maple Leafs organizational depth by position. Thus far I have completed my review of goalies, defensemen, centermen, and left wingers, which leaves us with right wingers to finish things up. As I stated in my previous articles, most forwards can play multiple positions and often do throughout a season. I will do my best to categorize players as centers, left wingers or right wingers. For example, I am including Nazem Kadri in the right winger evaluation. Although Kadri plays center with the AHL Toronto Marlies, he has almost exclusively been a right winger in his stints with the Maple Leafs, which suggests that he will be a winger at the NHL level.
Right Wingers on 2011-12 roster:
Second of a two-part preview of the 2012 Stanley Cup finals.
History: The New Jersey Devils boast three Stanley Cups (1995, 2000, 2003) and plenty of experience. Although goalie Martin Brodeur is the only player on the roster to win all three titles, Patrik Elias has captured the last two. According to Puck Daddy, the Devils are the best No. 6 seed in Eastern Conference history, and one of only three to crack the century mark (the others being these same Devils in 2004 and the Rangers in 2006, both of which had 100 even). Furthermore, while the team’s trapping system has changed, its building blocks of defense and goaltending have not.
It is time to complete my playoff predictions today by looking at the Stanley Cup finals. Here are my first round predictions, here are my second round predictions and here are my semi-final predictions. These predictions haven`t gone well. I have a 5-9 record, which is worse than a random coin toss should be able to do. I see that as a success in Gary Bettman`s aims for the NHL. One thing Bettman wants is parity. Essentially this means that no team is better than any other. There are no best teams. Anyone can wind up in the Stanley Cup finals. It can be an eighth seed versus a sixth seed. Neither of those teams is particularly memorable but they will give us a Stanley Cup final. It may be the worst Stanley Cup final in terms of the talent playing in it - its major competition here is 2006 when Carolina and Edmonton met in the finals. Those two teams have only been good enough for one playoff berth since that year. The fans do not get a memorable Stanley Cup final. They are cheated by the NHL system. Their prize is a potential shutdown of the league for the beginning of next year.
First of a two-part preview of the 2012 Stanley Cup finals.
History: The L.A. Kings are in rarefied air for many reasons. It’s only the second Stanley Cup finals berth in franchise history. Second, they’re only the second No. 8 seed to ever reach the finals (the other was the 2005-06 Edmonton Oilers, who lost in seven games to the Carolina Hurricanes). Thirdly, this is only the fourth time that a team from California has reached the finals; the other two berths were by the rival Anaheim Ducks, who won the Cup in 2007 and lost in the 2003 finals to the New Jersey Devils. The Kings are undefeated on the road this postseason (8-0), becoming the first team to go unbeaten away from home on the way to the finals. Finally, this is the lowest combination of seeds (the Devils are the No. 6 seed) in the Stanley Cup finals since the NHL switched to the current format for the 1994 postseason. (It’s hard to determine official conference seeding before then.)
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