Huge Rumor update – June 22, 2011

Trade winds start for Jackets

Sens need second-line centre

Will Panthers trade up for Nugent-Hopkins?

Stars trying to deal Richards rights
Trade winds start for Jackets

As the NHL draft draws near, talk among the league’s general managers will get more serious and more specific. So far, Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson said, there has been an “exchange of ideas” between him and his peers, with a few names of “available” players surfacing.

For Howson, who is intent on trading the No.8 overall pick and is willing to listen to any offer that doesn’t include Jackets captain Rick Nash, this is good news.

“I’ve had a few surprise calls, players who might be available,” he said. “It’s not been specifically about the pick, but just, ‘Here’s what I’m thinking about doing’, and, ‘Here’s who might be available.’

“There’s a lot going on, more than normal. Teams realize we’re more open to trading a top-10 pick than we’ve been in the past for immediate help. That has generated some interest.”

The draft, which starts on Friday, and free agency, which begins on July 1, give clubs two prime chances to dramatically change the look of their roster.

The Blue Jackets are looking for, in order, a skilled defenseman (or two), a top-six center and a backup goaltender.

With a scarcity of centers available through free agency – it’s looking like Brad Richards and a bunch of backup singers, at this point – it would seem logical that the Jackets would attempt to address the need at center this weekend.


“There’s a scarcity of centers available by trade, too, at least the kind that we would want,” Howson said. “I don’t think that changes what we’ll be thinking about when we get to the draft.

“Those are two areas of need. If something comes our way in one of those areas, we won’t question it. We’ll make the move as long as it makes sense to us and we’re excited about it.”

The Blue Jackets’ pursuit of Philadelphia center Jeff Carter has been well-chronicled in both markets. At this point, it looks like the Jackets are more interested in acquiring Carter than the Flyers are in trading him, but that could change.

Sens need second-line centre

Bryan Murray is on a hunting trip.

Not for moose or deer or partridge or anything that requires a gun or trap.

No, for the Senators GM, it’s once again “second-line centre” season.

Murray is off to the Wilds of Minnesota, where his primary goal must be to bag an offensively skilled pivot, someone qualified to follow as closely as possible to Jason Spezza on the depth chart.

By hook, by crook, by draft or by trade.

A productive No. 2 centre is a need the Senators have had for … for forever? Mike Fisher had 59 points in 2009-10, but everyone said he was more the quintessential third-liner. Antoine Vermette had all the skills, but never more than 53 points as a Senator. Bryan Smolinski’s best days were behind him by the time he arrived in Ottawa.

Granted, last season was an aberration as Spezza led the team in points with 57, while missing 20 games to injury, but can you name Ottawa’s second-highest scoring centre? How about Ryan Shannon, a part-timer at the position, with 27?

Good teams are strong up the middle. Boston with David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron. Vancouver with Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler. Pittsburgh with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal. The second-line centres on good teams score more than 27 points.

Murray doesn’t have to get one in Minnesota. He could wait until July 1 and the free-agent fishing waters open up. But there’s a catch with most of the centres who will be available in that.

Brad Richards will be the best, and he’s the guy the Senators should net, but he made $7.8 million last season and will command an even higher salary this time around. So they won’t be chasing him.

Will Panthers trade up for Nugent-Hopkins?

A source told me last week that Panthers GM Dale Tallon was smitten with center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and today the Hockey News is reporting that two well-placed sources say the Oilers are in talks to trade the No. 1 pick overall and that one likely trade partner is Florida, which currently owns the No. 3 selection.

The assumption is Edmonton would pull the trigger if it thinks it can still get Swedish defenseman Adam Larsson with a lower pick and grab another asset – for example, a prospect – in the process. Florida would likely pick center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins with the first overall selection.

Oilers GM Steve Tambellini addressed the draft in a morning press conference before he left for Minnesota.

“To have people want to move down a couple spots,” he said, “you really need to present something that is almost a no-brainer for the organization and that’s a hard thing to deliver sometimes.”

Like the Oilers, the Panthers are rebuilding and have a pretty good stable of prospects to dangle in front of Edmonton. And though there are many great options in this year’s draft, positioning is going to be crucial, hence the trade talk.

Stars trying to deal Richards rights

The Dallas Stars remain hopeful in their efforts to move Brad Richards’ rights in order to recoup some asset value.

But the clock is ticking toward July 1, when Richards will be an unrestricted free agent, and he holds all the cards thanks to his no-movement clause.

“We continue to chip away here,” Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk told on Tuesday. “Our intention is to move his rights and hope to do that prior to the draft here.”

Nieuwendyk would not offer up any other details, but our suspicion is that he’s had some serious offers for the rights to the star center. The question is whether the Stars can ever convince Richards to waive his no-movement clause. Of course, if you’re Richards, why not just look at all your options July 1?

Winger Jamie Langenbrunner, meanwhile, is also UFA-bound July 1. The Stars will try to keep him within financial reason.

“We’ve had an initial discussion,” Nieuwendyk said. “We’d like to keep Jamie, but obviously it has to be worked out the right way for both sides. I anticipate we’ll have another discussion before July 1.”

23 Responses to Huge Rumor update – June 22, 2011

  1. JoelLeafs says:

    Ryan Shannon is listed as a RW. Also, I assumed 'part timer' meant he did not play a full season, but he played 79 games last year.

    Fact check, Ottawa Sun.

  2. Jets_Back says:

    It really looks like the Oilers hold all the cards for Friday's draft.

    Do they trade the pick to Florida?
    Do they take Hopkins?
    Do they take Larsson?

    What they do will lead to the fallout in the top 4.

    Say they take Nugent-Hopkins first. Then my guess is the rest of the picks go as follows:

    Colorado: Landeskog
    Florida: Huberdeau
    New Jersey: Larsson

    But if they take Larsson 1st,

    Colorado: Hopkins
    Florida: Landeskog
    Jersey: Huberdeau

    If the Panthers acquire the 1st overall pick, my guess is Larsson slips to 3rd to Edmonton.

    I guess much of it depends on their philosophy. The best player available or draft based on need. Larsson is exactly who they need, but at the end of the day, they probably don't want to regret passing on a Western Hockey League player and offensive star.

    Their 1st pick as well may impact what they do with the 19th and 31st picks. The team is just way too thin on defence and there are a lot of good players hovering around that area of the draft.

    I think it would be a great idea for Edmonton to maybe move up and try and select Oleksiak as I feel he will be gone by 19th. Take Hopkins 1st and then grabbing this 6-7 defenceman would be a big addition literally and figuratively. They lack a presence back there that is for sure.

    It's possible too that a Stuart Percy or Connor Murphy will be available at 31. That would be a nice draft by Edmonton.

    But if Larsson goes first, the team may target players like McNeil, Phillips or maybe even Grimaldi to add to the thin centre spot.

    It's going to be a pretty fun draft to watch I think. The Canadian teams will be busy to spark interest.

  3. reinjosh says:

    This is going to be a very interesting draft to watch. It has such a weird potential to it. It may not have top end talent, but some of the top players are very strong and yet there really isn`t a defined order they should go in. After them the players are all very much projects with some nice potential and it just makes this draft a lot of fun. I think it will come with a lot of movement. 

  4. reinjosh says:

    Kypreos and Friedman are saying that the Flyers and Bryzgalov essentially have a deal for 7 (or 7.1) million a year for 7 years. Holmgren is going to get his ass kicked in a trade if this is true. That or the two sides are waiting to announce it till a trade is announced. 

  5. MystifoLeafs says:

    If the oils don't pick Hopkins I still seeing Colorado picking Gabe 2nd, he is what they need and he will be a franchise player, they have a franchise center (2 atm.) they just need a winger and Gabe is their man.

  6. Leafs_Wallace says:

    Bryzgalov is the next Khabibulan.

    It's funny that Philly denies their goaltending issues for decades and now is desperate to offer one whatever terms they demand.

    The same thing happen to the Leafs in the post Quinn era, a team haunted by the persistent criticism of a weak blueline that was willing to go to any lengths to fix their blueline.  Well seven years of have the league most expensive blueline didn't solve the situation.  It'll be interesting to see how it will work out for Philly if they have the most expensive goaltending.

  7. hockey_lover says:

    Shit.   I typed up this really long "LOL" post as I thought Holmgren was an idiot for signing a 34 year old goalie to a 7 year contract.

    Then I realized that Ilya is only 30. Oops. Guess the LOL is on me 😛

    Even still … as much as Ilya is awesome .. $7mil?  That seems like a lot. If Im not mistaken, that would make him the highest paid goalie in the game, correct? He certainly isnt the best goalie in the league, which begs the question … why THAT much?

    And yes, Holmgren is going to get RAPED if this is true. At $7mil for Ilya, they'll be at $66mil in salary cap. So they have to CLEAR $2mil AND sign 3 forwards and 1 dman (to get to 13 forwards and 7 dmen).  Their depth, which has always been awesome, is going to take a SERIOUS kick in the nuts.

  8. 93killer93 says:

    I think Stastny to Toronto becomes alot more realistic if Edmonton take Larsson 1st.

    would have Duchene, RNH, O'Reilly, Hishon at centre.
    Something like
    Stastny, Liles
    1st(25th), 1st(30th), 2nd(Bos 2012), 3rd(86th), Bozak, Gunnarsson, Lashoff, Komisarek(**If they need help reaching the cap floor), Gustavsson
    That would give Colorado more than enough to move pick 11 up and grab a guy like Landeskog. 
  9. Leafs_Wallace says:

    That would give Colorado four selections in the first round in a deep draft which would pretty much cement their rebuild however as the draft approaches I'd like to see Burke just keep his picks.  I don't think Statsny is the answer, he's more of a number two guy than number one.  

    Stastny would be nice but he's not a must have.  I'd rather over pay on Richards and not sacrifice a chance to add some quality prospects.

    Also Riemer/Gustvasson  have huge upside, if Gustvasson can have a good year and Riemer prove consistent that alone can make us a playoff team.  No need to trade Gustvasson when he holds little value, he could be a good chip to play at a later date.

  10. realistic_leafs_fan says:

    So much money could simply come from the fact that the owner has set a mandate. "We will solve the goaltending issue". Could be that Snyder has also said "get Bryzgalov" to Holmgren.

    Bryzgalov's agent knows Snyder's statement about solving the goaltending issue and basically has Holmgren by the short hairs.

    Another possibility is Holmgren trying to save his job by getting a number 1 goalie(at any cost), which up until this point, he had not done and Philly has suffered because of that.

    As far as I understand, they can't actually sign that offer unless they are only a certain amount over the current cap…being $59mil? I think. The contract would put them over the allowance , so a trade will have to come first.

  11. hockey_lover says:

    I was under the impression that teams could go over the cap by something like 10% during the offseason. AS long as they are under the cap by the start of preseason.   I could be wrong but I thought that was the case.

  12. reinjosh says:

    I don't think the cap has officially been set yet so he may not be able to announce it till then. To do so before hand, he would need to clear just under 1 million.

  13. albertateams says:

    This is going to be a very interesting draft. I am really interested in who will be available after the 40th pick as there has the potential to have some huge risers and fallers in this draft in the first 2 rounds. A couple of guys that I hope the Flames target are:

    Victor Rask- Big center, who at the beginning of last year was mentioned as a possible top 10 prospect. Knocks on him are he over handles the puck, is inconsistent and is soft.

    Seth Ambroz – Another preseason projected top 10. Power forward with good shot. Has fallen due to questions about work ethic/partying and concerns about skating.

    Both are boom bust prospects, but if either pans they could be an impact player.

  14. reinjosh says:

    Interesting read. Basically the authors of the study the paper is commenting on concluded that teams are probably missing out on players in later rounds because they are focusing to much on the first 100 picks and not putting enough effort into the final four rounds. 
    Another interesting tidbit, they concluded the Red Wings were overrated in their scouting ability. While they said this, they did say it was more that the Red Wings had a disparity between the NA and European scouting, with the European staff out performed the NA staff, under Hakan Andersson (not really a surprise). Between 1995 and 2003 they found that 5 drafts the Red Wings failed to produce a player (defined as a player who played more than 160 NHL games).
    In contrast, the Leafs were one of the better teams, failing to produce NHL talent (again 160 or more NHL games) in only 2 of the 9 drafts. 
  15. reinjosh says:

    There seems to be a lot of those types of prospects. Even in the first round. Some players with some really nice potential and upside but with questions to go with all the pluses. 

    Go back to the October ISS rankings and you have Rask ranked at 5th overall, Saad ranked at 7th, Puempel at 8th, Musil at 9th, Ambroz at 12, Jurco at 14, Clendening at 17. All are ranked at 24 or later now. You had Klefbom, Brodin, Zibanejad, Barstchi, McNeill, Scheifele, Oleksiak, Miller, Ritchie all have huge rises into the top 30. 
    The movement has been ridiculous. This is going to be a fun draft. This draft has the potential to be one of the worst in while (keep in mind that we had some really deep years since 2003 excluding 2004), or one of the best for impact players. Hell it could even turn out to have 30 – 40 solid players (2nd or 3rd line players and 2nd or 3rd pairing dman). It just has a very weird potential to it. 
  16. albertateams says:

    Yeah its crazy how much movement there has been among draft prospects. It's so tricky this year to say I want my team to target a certain player. For example Calgary at 13 (assuming they take a forward but its roughly the same concept for D-men) could have a shot at Couturier or Zibanejad (doubtful but not completely impossible) or they could draft Mcneill, Armia, Scheifele, Biggs or Jurco but some of those players could also be available at the end of the first or even early in the second.

    What I want Feaster to do is hold on to the draft pick until he is on the clock and hope some team decides to overpay because they really like a guy. Teams taht may want to move up and have late first early second rounders to trade: EDM, TO, CHI, OTT and STL.

    Chicago has 4 picks in the top 50 so if they want to move they have the picks to play with. Maybe the 18th and 36th for the 13t, not really sure who they would target.

  17. Jets_Back says:

    From reading all the rankings out there, it would be interesting to see who ends up rising/falling.

    Toronto holds the 86th pick. I am wondering if the other Granlund would be there. He is a highly skilled player.

    Or perhaps one of the questionable Russians. There is lots of skill to be had and Toronto having 5 picks in the top 100 will benefit them.

    Ottawa has 7 picks, Vancouver 3, Montreal has 2, Winnipeg 3, Calgary 3 and Edmonton 6. I am sure with lots of "solid" players, there is much to be had for the Canadian Squads.

  18. TheLeafNation91 says:

    So whats the point of trading up for the Leafs?

    Burke even mentioned that 10-50 is a crapshoot (boom or bust) for prospects.

    Calgary I can see to get more picks as they only have 3 in the top 100.

    They took a page out of the Leafs handbook.

  19. reinjosh says:

    Calgary has their first and two 2nd, not exactly bad. 

    I do agree though on the trading up. Not sure why unless a player like Strome or Couturier is falling. Maybe that's what Burke is betting on. 
    I'd personally prefer to keep the 25th and trade the 30th down to grab another 2nd rounder or two. 
  20. reinjosh says:

    Regehr just got traded to Buffalo. Here's hoping their first and Adam are part of the deal. 

  21. realistic_leafs_fan says:

    Yea, last years cap number is in effect until the new one is announced.

  22. tyd2k says:

    Shannon is a RW who also saw playing time @ centre. Hence, "part-time centreman". It's not that difficult to understand. Perhaps you should brush up on your reading comprehension before accusing others of not checking their facts.

  23. Rickstricker says:

    Every year, Columbus began to build a Serious plans to strengthen the team. That here and there slips information about that now everything would be for real. And every year span from Playoffs. I'm determined skeptic. Though it may this year will benefit from the experience of Vancouver


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