Happy Fathers Day Rumors
Flyers, Blues, Blue Jackets, Habs and more draft day rumors.
After Halak, What’s Next Move for Flyers?
What’s interesting here is that Halak was a dominant goalie for much of the playoffs this year. A legit team MVP. Now that he’s gone, the Habs are basically anointing Carey Price, who was expected to be traded at next week’s NHL draft, as their new No. 1.
The Flyers had interest in Price. TSN reported on Thursday that the Flyers were among the bidders for Halak, along with Tampa Bay and San Jose.
Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren denied his team was even in the bidding when asked by CSNPhilly.com.
“No,” he said in an e-mail.
Multiple sources asserted the Flyers were not players in the Halak auction.
Stunningly, there were Internet reports stating Les Canadiens didn’t even have contract discussions with Halak’s agent, Alan Walsh.
Davidson was happy.
“Jaroslav’s play in this year’s regular season and Stanley Cup playoffs was remarkable,” he said in a statement released by the Blues. “He has had very impressive numbers in the NHL, and we are thrilled that he will be wearing the Bluenote for us.”
The Flyers go into next weekend’s draft in Los Angeles with one objective: find a goalie.
They have no first or second-round pick. In fact, their five picks, spread out from the third to seventh round, each come at the very end of the selection process because they were Stanley Cup runner-ups: 89, 119, 149, 179 and 209.
In other words, this figures to be among the poorest drafts ever for the Flyers, and their top priority can’t be found there. They need a young goaltender with a strong, promising future. Preferably one who has already shown he can play in the NHL.
Although Michael Leighton remains in the mix, the Flyers seem non-committal to Leighton. At least as their No. 1.
That leaves them two choices: trade for a goalie or sign one out of free agency, even though the pickings there are older veterans with expensive price tags.
Thoughts about the Halak Deal
Here are some other thoughts on the deal:
–Forward prospect Lars Eller was a high price to pay for goaltender help. He has the skill and the temperament to become an impact NHL forward. His departure makes the further development of David Perron, T.J. Oshie, David Backes and Patrick Berglund all the more important. That foursome has he ability to double its scoring output of last season.
–With Eller off the depth chart, the Blues need restricted free agent Alex Steen to build on last season’s breakout. He scored 24 goals in 68 games, a career high, while assuming a larger-than-expected role in the Blues’ offense. Was that scoring spurt a fluke? Or can he become a consistent 20- to 25-goal scorer? That is the question GM Doug Armstrong will mull while negotiating a new deal with Steen.
–Eller’s exit made the retention of forward Matt D’Agostini at minimum dollars more logical. With Paul Kariya and Keith Tkachuk also headed out the door, the Blues need depth up front. The addition of forward T.J. Hensick from Colorado falls into the same category. Both players have the skills to make the supporting cast here, but can they make the most of their opportunities here?
–That lack of depth up front could prompt the acquisition of another scoring forward, perhaps from a cap-strapped rival. As Armstrong noted, the Blues were counting on Eller for next season. Now the team must fill that void.
–Give departing scouting czar Jarmo Kekalainen credit for drafting a significant asset in Eller. Other franchises valued him, as Jeremy Rutherford reported. The Wild offered up goaltender Josh Harding for him. The interest in Eller speaks well of Jarmo and his scouts.
Moving up from No. 4 pick will cost too much; no one has offered a good deal to drop down
The NHL entry draft is six days away, so there’s plenty of time for the Blue Jackets’ plans to change. All it takes is one phone call.
But as of today, Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson expects to hold on to the No. 4 overall pick when the draft begins Friday in Los Angeles.
Moving up to Edmonton’s No. 1 pick or Boston’s No. 2 is out of the question, Howson said, because the cost to acquire Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin – the presumed top two picks – would be so steep that it would gut the Blue Jackets’ roster of key players.
Giving up much of anything to acquire Florida’s No. 3 pick doesn’t make much sense, because the next tier of players is considered almost interchangeable. Defensemen Cam Fowler, Brandon Gormley and Erik Gudbranson, and forward Brett Connolly are seen as the next cluster of talent after the top two, and the Jackets are all but guaranteed to have a crack at three of them.
“The only way that changes,” Howson said, “is if we get to Los Angeles, put together our final list of players and the guy who’s in the No. 3 spot is clear and away the best in the next group of players. I don’t anticipate that happening.”
There have been reports around the NHL that the No. 4 pick is being shopped by the Blue Jackets for immediate help. Not true, Howson said. He’s merely listening, as any general manager does this time of year.
Asked how the conversation might go should a rival GM call him asking for the No. 4 pick, Howson agreed to play the role.
“I’d say I’m willing to listen, sure,” Howson said. “The fourth pick in this draft is something that’s really valuable. It’s hard to imagine moving it, other than going back a little bit.
“I’m certainly not going to move it for an older player at the end of his contract. Not a chance.”
That would seem to quash the fading rumors that Toronto would send defenseman Tomas Kaberle to the Blue Jackets for the pick.
Howson said he’s had one phone call expressing interest in the No. 4 pick, and it hasn’t materialized into a trade offer.
Asked how far back he’d be willing to move, Howson said he sees the “No. 7, 8 or 9 range as probably the limit.”
“But we also may get to the point where we say we’re not going to move back at all, and I’m close to being at that point,” he said.