Category Archives: HTR Feature Article
Expensive accomplished players like Patrick Kane, Nash, Jay Bouwmeester and Roberto Luongo are possibly available for trade. Ryan Suter and Zach Parise appear set to leave Nashville and New Jersey respectively as free agents. Teams are getting set to make moves lockout or no lockout ahead.
Which brings us to the Maple Leafs.
It’s an intriguing time for GM Brian Burke and his staff as they contemplate the future. The expectation among many is that Burke is plotting aggressive ways of making sure the Leafs don’t miss post-season play again next season eyeing a veteran goaltender (Luongo?) in search of quality veterans to bolster Dion Phaneuf and the leadership group in the Toronto dressing room and searching for ways to get the No. 1 pick in next week’s draft.
There’s just not enough there yet even with some promising players with the Marlies to start aggressively thinking short-term like the Kings.
The likeliest scenario then is for something in between:
• A play for Luongo that might cost one good prospect.
• A mid-range NHL free agent.
• An aggressive bid for unsigned Anaheim blueline prospect Justin Schultz.
• No deal for Nash who may have scratched Toronto from his list of preferred destinations anyway.
• No move up from No. 5 in the draft and therefore ending up with a blue-chip youngster who will be back in junior or Europe next season.
The message? Staying the course no short-term fixes or at least none involving players who can only help for one or two years. Luongo, maybe, because he’s a long-term solution in the crease.
It would be a statement that the Leafs aren’t yet in the prospect-rich position L.A. was last summer but also that they believe enough in what they have put in place — Phaneuf as captain, Phil Kessel as the centrepiece up front — that a goaltending upgrade would make everything look better.
Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson has many ideas running through his mind about how to improve his team. Trading the second-overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft is one of them and Howson says the pick has already garnered some interest from around the league.
“We’ve certainly listened to people. We’ve had a couple of expressions of interest on the pick in terms of moving down,” Howson told The Morning Show on Sportsnet 960 The Fan on Thursday. “We wouldn’t want to move too far down so we’ll just see how it plays out next week. Traditionally, and if history repeats itself, teams get a little more serious about exchanging picks as we get closer to the draft on the draft floor.”
Howson, who has been the Blue Jackets GM since 2007, said he is looking at any and all avenues to improve his squad and is open to dealing his top pick if the right offer is made. But he also admitted that trading away a high draft pick can be quite difficult.
“We’d be open to any suggestions,” Howson said. “It’s not an easy trade to trade out of the two slot, or one slot or three slot for that matter.”
The Blue Jackets are no strangers to making deals close to draft day either. One day before last season’s draft, Howson traded Jakub Voracek to the Philadelphia Flyers along with the eighth-overall pick (which the Flyers used to select Sean Couturier) in exchange for forward Jeff Carter.
In February, Howson then flipped Carter to the Los Angeles Kings for defenceman Jack Johnson and a conditional first-round pick. Although disappointed Carter didn’t help his club like he anticipated, Howson has no regrets about the signing and was pleased he was able to get a good return when they traded him.
While there are a number of logical reasons why the Flyers would want to pursue Nashville defenseman Ryan Suter, who is headed for unrestricted free agency this summer, the question remains: Is Suter interested in them?
Recall the Flyers had serious interest in Jay Bouwmeester several summer ago, but it wasn’t reciprocal. As such, they turned their attentions elsewhere by going after Chris Pronger.
According to a well-placed source, Suter has a potential list of clubs he would be willing to talk to even if his rights were traded before July 1. Suter is represented by Neil Sheehy.
Alas, the Flyers are not one of them.
In fact, the source said, all of Suter’s preferred destinations, should he leave the Predators, are in the Western Conference – not the East.
Detroit is generally conceded to be his top choice.
It’s no secret the Flyers have some work ahead of them in the coming weeks to solidify their defense, especially given it appears Pronger’s status as “out indefinitely” with post-concussion syndrome will continue into next season.
Nashville general manager David Poile, the source said, has thus far refused to talk with any clubs about moving Suter or even restricted free agent Shea Weber’s rights right now.
The market for Columbus Blue Jackets winger Rich Nash is heating up ahead of next week’s NHL Draft.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, as many as seven teams have had ‘significant discussions’ with the club in the last 10 days about acquiring Nash.
The report adds that the New York Rangers, San Jose Sharks, Philadelphia Flyers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Carolina Hurricanes are among the teams that have expressed interest.
Blue Jackets’ general manager Scott Howson said that the club had, “significantly more discussions this week,” but would not comment directly on the most recent trade talks regarding the team captain.
Jon Cooper used to stand before the bench as a lawyer, now he stands behind one.
And if he used to defend people, nobody has to defend his record as a hockey coach.
Everywhere he coaches, he wins. Midget AAA in Michigan, junior in two different leagues, in the pros with the Norfolk Admirals in the American Hockey League. He’s a rising star.
Would the Edmonton Oilers ever hire Cooper? Who knows?
He grew up in Prince George, went to school in the U.S. on a lacrosse scholarship, worked on Wall Street, then got his law degree and opened his own practice, before hockey took over his life and he decided to do it full-time about nine years ago.
At the least, the Oilers should be interviewing the young bright coach.
The Oilers are keeping their coach search ultra secret, although one of the leading candidates, Brent Sutter, has not had an interview with Oilers since working the bench for Canada at the world championship in May. Oilers team president Kevin Lowe was Canada’s general manager.
Oilers associate coach Ralph Krueger, who could very well be the front-runner because he knows the team and the players, is still waiting for a decision, too.
The Devils captain, scheduled to become the most coveted commodity of this summer’s free-agent crop on July 1, broke his season-long silence on his pending unrestricted free agency Wednesday. He said he would not consider crossing lines in the heated Hudson River rivalry.
Instead, Parise insisted he has never imagined himself wearing a sweater other than that of the Devils, the team he led to the Stanley Cup Finals this spring in his seventh NHL season.
“I’ve said all along, I’ve loved playing here,” Parise said. “I’ve always appreciated everything that this organization’s done for me. My feelings have never changed.”
Several teams, including his home state Minnesota Wild, are expected to bid for Parise’s services once he hits the market, but when asked if he could ever see himself playing in a Rangers jersey, the 27-year-old laughed nervously and said: “No.”
When asked again about signing with the Blueshirts, he said no three times.
Parise’s agent did not return calls, but such comments are not exactly the way to attract a high-spender such as the Rangers to the bidding war.
If the Blueshirts do not pursue Parise, they would likely have to make a trade to acquire their stated need of a star scorer.
Most notably, Blue Jackets captain and top-line winger Rick Nash remains on the trading block
1. Rick Nash, LW, Columbus: If talk indeed turns to action, Nash will be dealt this summer.
The New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs and San Jose Sharks were left at the alter at the February trade deadline because they weren’t willing to pay the massive price being demanded by Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson.
2. Roberto Luongo, G, Vancouver: There are a lot of teams looking for goaltending: Toronto, the Tampa Bay Lightning, Columbus and the Chicago Blackhawks to name a few.
The issue is the contract given to Luongo by Canucks GM Mike Gillis. He always considers himself the smartest guy in the room, but giving Luongo a deal through with a cap hit of $5.3 million through 2021-22 was ridiculous.
3. Jordan Staal, C, Pittsburgh: This guy would attract plenty of attention. He is the best third-line centre in the league.
The Penguins are going to have to clear cash if they’re going to keep this team together. That could mean moving out a player like Staal because Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin aren’t going anywhere.
4. Jonathan Bernier, G, Los Angeles: He could do just fine sitting behind Jonathan Quick.
If there’s anything this run to the Stanley Cup final has proven, Quick is the man with the Kings and Bernier, 23, is going to have to be happy playing the No. 2 role until a trade is made.
5. Tim Thomas, G, Boston: The Bruins have a huge headache on their hands with this guy.
Thomas, 38, has declared he has no plans to play next season. He says he wants to spend more time with family, but many believe he wants to make sure he controls his own destiny when his “no-move” clause expires July 1.
Zach Parise declined to discuss his future on Monday night after the New Jersey Devils’ season came to an end with a Game 6 loss to the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Finals, but the expectation remains that the Minnesota Wild will make a very strong push to sign the unrestricted free agent.
Former North Stars president and general manager Lou Nanne confirmed as much on Tuesday during his weekly appearance on “Reusse and Mackey” on 1500 ESPN. Nanne said that after talking to Wild owner Craig Leipold last week he believes, “the Wild are going to throw the kitchen sink” at the winger in order to land him.
Nanne said he thinks the fact the financially strapped Devils lost in the Cup finals make it less likely that Parise will stick with that organization. Parise has spent his seven-year NHL career with New Jersey and served as the team’s captain.
“I was under the belief that he would have to win the Cup to come to Minnesota until I talked to Craig Leipold last week,” Nanne said. “I’ve gotta tell you, the Wild are going to throw the kitchen sink at him. I think there’s a good chance he ends up in Minnesota, because I don’t see anybody in the National Hockey League willing to give as much to Parise as the Wild are going to be willing to give. So I would not be surprised if Zach Parise came home.”
Nanne went on to say that the Wild will pursue Parise and Nashville defenseman Ryan Suter, who also will be a free agent on July 1.
“They’re going to do everything in their power to get them,” Nanne said. “And I would not be surprised if they got them. I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t get them. But I have to tell you, if they don’t get them it’s going to be confusing to me — especially Parise, because I really believe the Wild will pay more than anybody else for him.”
The Red Wings, Rangers and Penguins also have been mentioned as potential landing spots for Parise, whose father J.P. played with the North Stars.
Up next for the Los Angeles Kings: First, a parade. Then, the pursuit of free agent Zach Parise come July 1.
These Kings have no intention of winning just one Stanley Cup. They want more. And they are not in any kind of salary cap conundrum, the way past winners have found themselves . They won’t have to dish off quality players – or any players really – the way the Chicago Blackhawks did after winning two years ago.
And while they won’t say so because they can’t legally say so, the captain of the New Jersey Devils is No. 1 on their off-season shopping list.
They want Parise, as do many teams, and they want him badly.
Parise fits perfectly into the Kings’ ultra-competitive philosophy, led by general manager Dean Lombardi and his able assistant, Ron Hextall. What they determined on their way to the Stanley Cup was what so many have known already. But until you witness it up close, experience it with your players – that fine line between success and failure often comes down to little more than effort.
And it’s not just effort. It’s a willingness to compete at a level beyond the norm. That willingness, when combined with superb goaltending by Jonathan Quick, terrific team altering leadership from coach Darryl Sutter, and all-world play from defenceman Drew Doughty, is why the Kings came out of the eighth seed and won 16 playoff games, losing just four, and now have an entire summer to celebrate.
In the post-game hysteria, Hextall, who was once the ultimate competitor himself, approached defenceman Rob Scuderi in the all the noise and spray of the Kings dressing room. He saw Scuderi, with a broken nose, a cut on his lip, a cut on his chin, is face looking like a work of abstract art, all from the game and series changing hit by Steve Bernier of the Devils and had to tell him rather loudly. “You’re the reason why we won the Stanley Cup.”
With the draft coming up a week from Friday, there’s a lively debate over whether the Canadiens should try to move up – or down – from their No. 3 position.
Given the talent available this year, No. 3 appears to be a good spot. While there are a handful of players with the potential to be useful NHL players, there’s no Sidney Crosby, no Evgeni Malkin. Nail Yakupov has emerged as the consensus No. 1 prospect, but there’s a case to be made that defenceman Ryan Murray is closer to play in the NHL or that Alexander Galchenyuk would have been No. 1 if he hadn’t been injured.
Because there is little to choose from among the top five prospects, there seems little reason to contemplate giving up an asset to move up.
There might be more of an argument to be made for trading the pick or moving down. But the only way that makes sense is if the Canadiens get an established NHL player in return.
There is some precedent for this route, but it falls into the you-should-learn-from-your-mistakes category.
In 2008, the Canadiens might have had a shot at John Carlson, Tyler Ennis or Justin Schultz, but they traded their first-round puck to Calgary for Alex Tanguay. He was so underwhelming as a Canadien that general manager Bob Gainey let him go after one season.
No matter which way the Canadiens go, the one thing they shouldn’t do is trade defenceman P.K. Subban. I’m sure this idea isn’t being thrown around when Marc Bergevin assembles his braintrust, but the idea seems to have some traction on fan websites and there are a few folks in the media who feel this would be a better team without Subban.
Brian Burke’s disputes with the Mother Corp just don’t seem to be going away.
The Maple Leaf president/GM was furious on Monday over a Hockey Night in Canada report that suggested there are “rumblings” throughout the NHL that Burke is prepared to trade defenceman Luke Schenn to the Edmonton Oilers for the No. 1 overall pick in this month’s entry draft.
“Typical of Hockey Night,” said Burke. “I have never discussed this trade or any trade involving Luke Schenn to Edmonton.”
The report was part of HNIC reporter Elliotte Friedman’s popular “30 Thoughts” blog on various goings-on around the NHL. Friedman said he doubted the deal would happen, but added that “many teams” think Schenn will be a better player outside of Toronto.
“There are rumblings that Toronto will offer Luke Schenn to Edmonton for a swap of first rounders,” wrote Friedman. “No doubt Brian Burke would like to make a huge draft splash. He loves the big stage. And I do believe the Oilers like Schenn and have discussed his availability before. But I just can’t see it happening for the first overall selection.”
To continue Flyers like Rick Nash and a “possible” trade really can’t happen until JVR is 100 percent. JVR delaying surgery on torn Labrum
The Toronto Maple Leafs are rumoured to be shopping defenceman Luke Schenn to the Edmonton Oilers as part of a deal where both teams would swap 1st-round draft picks in this month’s NHL Draft, according to Elliotte Friedman of CBC Sports.
The trade would allow the Maple Leafs to move up and select consensus first overall selection Nail Yakupov, a 5′ 11” right wing from the Sarnia Sting. In 79 games this season, Schenn matched a career high with 22 points and posted a plus-minus rating of -6. He will entering the second season of a five-year contract worth $18 million. Meanwhile, Yakupov tallied 270 points in 107 games over the past 2 seasons in the OHL.