Top 10 draft week storylines
Here are the NHL’s top 10 storylines for this week:
Will Columbus finally move Rick Nash? Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson put the power forward up for bidding again. Nash is ready to waive his no-trade protection to go to the right team. Trade talks are heating up. The Sharks and Rangers appear to be the front-runners and New York is especially eager to upgrade its offense. But the number of serious suitors could reach double figures. The Blue Jackets should hire Blues president John Davidson before letting the hapless Howson make this move – but when was the last time this franchise made the right move?
Will Edmonton Nail its first overall pick? The Oilers have lots of young offensive talent. They need to strengthen their defensive corps. The organization loves young Ryan Murray. The Oilers are also smitten with defenseman Griffin Reinhart. But . . . most everyone agrees that Russian scorer Nail Yakupov is the top talent in this draft. Trading down from the top pick seems like a good idea, but will another team make an offer than the Oilers can’t refuse? This decision could go down to the wire.
Can the Devils retain Zach Parise? He would love to stay in New Jersey, but he needs to get paid. As the top potential unrestricted free agent, he can look at teammate Ilya Kovachuk’s $100 million contract as his guideline. Parise rejected the Rangers as a suitor, but the Red Wings, Kings and Maple Leafs are some of the teams that could interest him should the Devils fail to come up with appropriate money. The Devils franchise needs new investors and fresh cash to make this deal happen.
Can the Predators retain Ryan Suter? Nashville GM David Poile is holding out hope that he can re-up Suter and his running mate Shea Weber for the long haul. But Suter would attract top-dollar interest from the Red Wings and other attract teams in free agency, so he seems determined to play out that process into July. Should Suter stay put, the value of other potential UFAs like former Blue Dennis Wideman would rise precipitously.
Will Roberto Luongo move on from Vancouver? Young Cory Schneider replaced him in the postseason and seems ready to do the same for the 2012-13 season. Ideally the Canucks will off-load Luongo’s massive contract – a $5.3 million salary cap hit until 2022 – and gain the flexibility to keep the rest of its core group together for years to come. The draft would be a good time to make that move, since Florida or Toronto could make a big play for a cornerstone netminder.