It’s no secret that Calgary needs to make some changes, and word on the street is Jay Bouwmeester may be available. Speculation started when new Flames coach, Bob Hartley, left Bouwmeester’s name out on a list of his team’s core players. It may have just been an oversight, but Bouwmeester hasn’t really performed to his contract since joining the Flames in 2009-2010. Before that season, Bouwmeester scored 10+ goals for three straight seasons with the Florida Panthers, and was one of the few positives on those struggling Panthers teams. Since signing a 5-year deal with the Flames that has an annual cap hit of $6.68 million/season, Bouwmeester has had seasons of 3, 4 and 5 goals respectively. He has been a minus player all three seasons, going minus-21 last season with the Flames.
Despite his struggles with the Flames, Bouwmeester boasts good size at 6’4” and 212 lbs. Bouwmeester is a strong skater that can move the puck well. The Flames may not have been the right fit for Bouwmeester, but at 28 years of age, he’s still at the prime age for a defenseman in the NHL. His contract has two years remaining, and for teams needing to get to the cap floor, presents an opportunity to meet the league’s salary cap requirements.
That’s where Colorado comes in. While it’s unclear if Flames GM, Jay Feaster would move Bouwmeester within the same division, the Avs would make an ideal trading partner for Feaster. GM Greg Sherman has shown a desire to bring in bigger, mobile defenseman and Bouwmeester fits that mold. He would pair with Erik Johnson very nicely on the first unit, and after coming off a career worst minus-21, his value has never been lower which should make acquiring him easier. His cap hit will by no means be a value at $6.68 million but that deal only has two years left, and the Avs have plenty of cap space to still fit Bouwmeester in.
While the obvious preference for the Avalanche would be to sign a defenseman like Matt Carle or Ryan Suter and not give up assets, Bouwmeester would be a great alternative especially given the possibility that Shane O’Brien may leave this offseason. A change of scenery would do Bouwmeester well and let’s not forget the fact that he’s very durable playing 82 games the past 7 seasons and eating up a large amount of ice time.
Depth Chart (assuming SOB moves on)
Erik Johnson – Jay Bouwmeester
Ryan Wilson – Jan Hejda
Ryan O’Byrne – Stefan Elliott
I see him as a good fit. Do you agree???
The Colorado Avalanche, like many other NHL teams, have a lot to think about heading into this year’s trading deadline. They’re a bubble team who has run hot and cold all season long, and could just as easily fall out of playoff contention as they could make them. Their best players haven’t played as well as they should, but the surprise performances of JS Giguere, Ryan O’Reilly, Daniel Winnik and Gabriel Landeskog have this team on the verge of making the playoffs. But as this team approaches the trading deadline, they’ll be one team to keep an eye on.
Last season GM Greg Sherman made one of the biggest deals heading into the trading deadline. It was a deal that surprised pretty much everyone because you saw youth, talent and a former number 1 pick changing teams when they swapped Kevin Shattenkirk and Chris Stewart to the Blues for Erik Johnson, Jay McClement and an exchange of draft picks. Surprising to say the least considering the potential that the young stars involved possess.
So Sherman has a history of making deadline deals and looking ahead, there are only 8 players signed for the 2012-2013 season. Some notable free agents on the team include Matt Duchene (RFA), Ryan O’Reilly (RFA), Milan Hejduk (UFA), David Jones (UFA), Peter Mueller (RFA), Kyle Quincy (RFA), Erik Johnson (RFA), and Daniel Winnik (UFA). Duchene, O’Reilly and Johnson aren’t going anywhere. Mueller’s health history will likely scare off any GM from inquiring about his status. I think the one that stands out the most is David Jones. Jones hasn’t played nearly as well as he did last season. He’s somewhat of a passive power forward but has the ability to get 30 goals if he’s clicking. He’s definitely streaky and has been used a lot on the 3rd line recently instead of his position alongside Paul Stastny on the 1st.
The Avs will also have to consider what to do with Shane O’Brien and Jay McClement who will both be a unrestricted free agents following this season. Both players have played well this season and provide balance and consistency for this young squad. The Avalanche have a number of good, young defenseman in their system so it’s likely they could part ways with O’Brien. McClement is a solid penalty killer and strong 3rd/4th line center. He would be a good trade chip if the Avs are willing to part ways with him.
Of course the big name is Paul Stastny. His name has been popping up in the rumor mill for over a year. He’s a talented player and can do a good job when put in the right situation. His numbers are down this season but he’s only 26-years old. Stastny has a $6.6 million contract and with the Avs barely over the floor as it is, would need a sizable return to move him.
The rumors surrounding Stastny come largely because the team has faith that Matt Duchene will be the number one center they covet and Ryan O’Reilly has proven he can contribute good enough offensively to line up on a second scoring line. Their depth at center would give them the luxury to move Stastny but it’s not a necessity. The team is weak on the wings but hopefully they can continue to develop some of their prospects and/or make a free-agent signing or two in the offseason to fill those holes. They don’t need to move Stastny. The team can roll with 3 scoring lines like other strong NHL teams. Duchene has looked good on the wing at times this season as well so that could be an option if they’re desperate for help on left wing.
There are pieces in place if the team feels confident they can sign their free agents in the offseason to make a run but GM Greg Sherman and company certainly will have some decisions to make in the next few weeks. Decisions that will likely affect the team’s future.
So many rumors have surrounded the Buffalo Sabres the past few months. The team has failed to live up to the expectations set in the offseason when GM Darcy Regier was allowed to open up the team’s checkbook and pay big bucks for some notable free agents. The Sabres had a history of being a tight team that traded away key players when they earned big contracts like Chris Drury, Danny Briere and others in the past.
This season they spent to the cap and not winning games. Many of the team’s top offensive weapons are having dismal seasons. Ryan Miller hasn’t been playing like Ryan Miller at all and the team was seen as too weak to even come to his defense after he was railroaded by Milan Lucic early in the season.
The team’s lack of success despite the high cap level has found players like Ryan Miller, Derek Roy, Drew Stafford, and others’ names tossed out there for potential trades. With the deadline looming, and the team hoping for a spark in the second half, it’d be wise for the Sabres to stay the course and not blow the team up.
Should they make a trade? Definitely! Should they trade all of Miller, Roy and Stafford? Absolutely NOT! The team’s biggest weakness is size. When Miller went down, no one was there to protect him. Even the big guys don’t necessarily play a mean game. This team has a lot of smallish, skill players that would be attractive to other teams. If the opportunity is there, it’d be wise to test the waters on a deal.
Because of Ville Leino’s contract and horrid performance thus far, he’s likely untradable, but he’d be the first on my list of players to get rid of. He plays well in a secondary scoring role for a good team. But really, who’s going to take a chance on him given his high contract? Brad Boyes is another guy who hasn’t played up to his contract. He has soft hands and a history of scoring though. Combine that with the fact he’s a UFA after this season and he could be a notable trade chip for the Sabres. The aforementioned Derek Roy is another possibility. He would command a high price tag but he’s a good player with a lot of skill and two-way ability. He would make any playoff contender better and has an affordable cap hit at $4 million for his output. Jordan Leopold is another player who could help a potential playoff team and help the Sabres acquire the help they need. Leopold eats up a lot of ice time and is on pace for 13 goals this season. He’s found his game in Buffalo but doesn’t play the greatest in his own zone. If the Sabres could find a nice return for Leopold, I’d say take it.
Stafford and Miller have a lot of upside (as does Roy), and if the team’s goal is to make a run at the playoffs/Stanley Cup next season, they’d be wise to keep both players. Roy can be moved because of his size, or lack thereof, and because they have similar players in Tyler Ennis, Nathan Gerbe and Leino to fill his void. Roy’s return would likely be a draft pick and if they could find a top-four defenseman they’d make out well. So the Sabres don’t need to blowup the team; they just need a little face lift. If they can do that, they’ll remain very competitive next season with their young core.
When Ilya Kovalchuk signed a 15-year, $100 million contract with the Devils last offseason it raised a lot of eyebrows. Not only because the deal circumvented the CBA, but because the Devils signed a “flashy,” high-profile free-agent like Kovalchuk. The Devils have long been a team built on hard-nosed hockey and building from within. They have a rich history of strong two-way play and draft well – developing their prospects to fit within their system.
So when they signed Kovalchuk, it obviously shook a lot of heads. A lot of money was paid out to a player who has never had a reputation for good, if even decent two-way play. Kovalchuk has been one of the league’s best snipers since coming into the league. He’s a dangerous player but obviously things didn’t go well for Kovalchuk or the Devils in his first season. They finished with a 38-39-5 record and missed the playoffs, albeit by only 6 points. Kovalchuk totaled 31-29-60; his lowest point totals since coming into the league in 2001-2002.
Kovalchuk is playing better this season, as are the Devils. This can be partially attributed to the fact Captain Zach Parise has returned from a knee injury which kept him out of most of last season. Parise will be a UFA following this season and trade rumors have been abuzz since Parise signed a 1-year deal with the Devils in the offseason. It’s been rumored that Parise will command a 10-year, $80 million contract this offseason. Both sides maintain they want to get a deal done to keep Parise in New Jersey for the remainder of his career. But how likely is that?
The Devils are reportedly a financial mess at the moment. The team is losing money and is receiving advance payments for league revenue. The team is reportedly close to bankruptcy but already owe Kovalchuk $6.6 million/season for the foreseeable future. Some notable contracts will come off the books following this season – Martin Brodeur, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Bryce Salvador, Johan Hedberg and Kurtis Foster which will certainly help, but will it be enough to help the team sign Parise?
Parise wants to win – plain and simple. He’s a competitor and has a ton of heart. Every team in the league will want him. If he hits the open market, teams will be lining up to get him and $80 million could go up to $90, who knows? Do the Devils have enough to win? The team will have to address their goaltending situation this offseason. Johan Hedberg has played well but is 39 years of age. Brodeur has been ok at times, but he’s going to be 40. Kovalchuk is one of the best snipers in the league and there are some youngsters who have shown they can contribute – Adam Henrique, Adam Larsson, Jacob Josefsen, and Nick Palmieri, not to mention veterans Patrik Elias and Travis Zajac. A good core but when you compare it to organizations like the Blues, Red Wings, Canucks, etc, on paper it doesn’t seem like enough.
Parise is the heart and soul of the Devils. He was drafted by the organization in 2003 and has worked his way into becoming one of the elite skaters in the league. With all due respect to Kovalchuk, Parise is the guy the Devils need to win. He’s their captain and if the Devils can’t find the cap space to keep Parise, they’ll look back on the Kovalchuk signing and wish they were able to use those dollars towards keeping Parise and adding a better supporting cast.
It wasn’t that long ago that Patrick O’Sullivan was considered a cornerstone to the LA Kings franchise, and one of the best young names in the game. He’s long been considered a talented scorer, undersized, but good speed and hands that made up for that lack of size. After scoring 47 goals and 93 points in 78 games with Houston in 2005-06, O’Sullivan was traded to the LA Kings and split time that season with the Kings and Manchester. He scored 5 goals and 19 points in the NHL that season, and followed it up with a 22 goal, 53 point performance the following year.
Following his breakout season, O’Sullivan was due for a new contract. Talks between O’Sullivan’s camp and the Kings didn’t go so well. Talks went on for a long time and got a little personal. O’Sullivan missed most of training camp that season, but signed a three-year, $8,775,000 contract in early October. He’d play 62 games for the Kings that season before being traded to the Oilers where things really fell a part.
Sully played a total of 92 games for the Oilers in the 2008-09 and 2009-10 campaigns. He scored 13 goals and added 27 assists going -42 in that time. He was then traded to the Phoenix Coyotes that offseason with the intent for the Coyotes to buy him out. He eventually signed a deal with the Carolina Hurricanes playing in only 10 games before going to the Minnesota Wild splitting time between the Wild and AHL Houston Aeros. While he didn’t do a lot in Minnesota (21 GP, 1 G, 6 A, 7 Pts, -1), he lit up the AHL (36 GP, 19 G, 29 A, 48 Pts, +3). Minnesota did not tender a qualifying offer this offseason, making O’Sullivan a UFA.
So what next for Patrick O’Sullivan? He’s a guy with the speed and skill that could play top-six minutes, but he hasn’t been able to find the consistency needed to keep those minutes. He hasn’t developed the two-way game most teams would like. But the kid has talent, and for all the things he’s gone through in his life, it’s hard not to root for him to succeed. With the finish O’Sullivan had in Houston, he’ll have options at the AHL level. Whether anything goes beyond that will be the question mark. As the list of UFA’s gets smaller and smaller, teams will have to address their depth charts and identify their needs.
With the versatility to play either wing and center, O’Sullivan would be a nice, cheap option to fill in a depth chart. He won’t command the type of contract he did in 06-07 so that will help cap-strapped teams as well. Some likely destinations could include Anaheim who is in search of secondary scoring, Boston, Columbus, New Jersey, Ottawa and Phoenix. Depending on the moves those clubs make between now and the start of camps, O’Sullivan could fill in nicely as a depth player, and if given the opportunity, could even find his way into the top-six again. With a good finish in the AHL last season, perhaps O’Sullivan has regained the confidence needed to be a consistent scorer in the NHL again. For this kid’s sake, it’d be nice to see him bounce back from his roller coaster ride and solidify himself as an NHL regular again real soon.
Update: Patrick O’Sullivan was signed by the Phoenix Coyotes to a two-way, one-year deal. Many are seeing it as a depth signing and figure O’Sullivan will be starting the season in the AHL next season. However, when you glance at the depth chart you’ll notice there’s not a lot of scoring high-end scoring talent in Phoenix at the moment. Both Kyle Turris and Mikkel Boedker have high-end talent, but are still young, developing players. Turris is also still waiting on a contract for next year. Shane Doan and Ray Whitney are probably the only constant performers up front on the team, although you could argue Radim Vrbata has been fairly consistent and has a place in the top-six reserved this season. With so many question marks this season in Phoenix and O’Sullivan’s versatility to play any forward spot, if Sully has a good camp, he could easily find his way on one of the top lines in the dessert.
It’s a great time to be a fan of the Minnesota Wild. The Wild followed their major draft day trade of Brent Burns for Devin Setoguchi, Charlie Coyle and a 1st round pick with an Independence Day deal of Martin Havlat for Dany Heatley. Havlat and Burns were among the scoring leaders on the Wild last season, but after missing the playoffs for three straight seasons, GM Chuck Fletcher understandably needed to make a change.
Havlat has been an up-and-down player for most of his career. He can score goals, but relies heavily on his teammates to carry the load. He also comes with an injury history but a much cheaper hit on the cap than Heatley.
Speaking of Heatley, he’s a superstar in this league no question. He’s twice scored 50 goals in a season, and averages over a point-per-game in his NHL career. That’s the good … the bad is he’s coming off a season where he scored 26 goals (the lowest since his rookie season), was largely unproductive in the playoffs and has somewhat of a poor reputation around the league. He’s requested to be traded twice, and refused to go to Edmonton when Ottawa had a deal in the works to meet his request.
A change in scenery could likely do Heatley and Setoguchi very well. After down seasons for both players, they’re eager to prove their value and take the Wild back to the playoffs. In San Jose, Heatley and Setoguchi shared the limelight with other big stars like Dan Boyle, Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski and others. With the exception of Mikko Koivu, Heatley and Setoguchi will be the stars in Minnesota. They’ll get top-line minutes, power play time, and be the guys reporters want to speak with after games.
Bringing in these two superstars in addition to the prospects Fletcher has brought in the past two seasons should make Wild fans excited about hockey again – not that anyone needs an excuse to get excited about hockey in Minnesota. The future (and the present) finally looks bright in Minnesota once again!
The Colorado Avalanche have made a number of moves in the past year. No move got more attention and head scratches than the Kevin Shattenkirk & Chris Stewart for Erik Johnson & Jay McClement deal. The deal also included a swap in draft picks which turned out to be defenseman Duncan Siemens for the Avalanche – a solid prospect indeed.
There’s no questioning that Erik Johnson is a stud on defense loaded with potential. He’s got great size, mobility and has a howitzer of a shot from the point. The problem is, the Avalanche have been preaching rebuilding from within for a few years now, and they sent two of their best young players away. Now I understand, you have to give to get, but moving both Stewart and Shattenkirk in the deal made it a little hard to swallow. Couple that with the fact the Avs had to use their draft pick to find a replacement for Stewart it kind of makes me say, “Huh?”.
With the second overall pick in this summer’s NHL Entry Draft, the Avalanche drafted forward Gabriel Landeskog as the potential replacement for Chris Stewart. Landeskog was touted as one of the more NHL-ready prospects in the draft and projects as a leader and power forward with 60-70 points/season potential. Certainly not bad!
Say the Avalanche didn’t trade Chris Stewart, and for argument’s sake, they still had the second overall pick in the draft; do they still draft Landeskog? Or do the Avs select talented defenseman Adam Larsson who many have compared to future Hall-of-Fame defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom? No disrespect to Landeskog, but Larsson could have arguably been the second best (or heck … even the best) overall player in this year’s NHL Entry Draft.
Landeskog will be a great player for the Avalanche, and I certainly hope he’ll stick around for awhile. The question is would you rather have Chris Stewart, Kevin Shattenkirk, Adam Larsson and a 2nd next year or Erik Johnson, Jay McClement, Duncan Siemens and Gabriel Landeskog, because that’s how this trade is breaking out? I lean towards the Stewart side myself a bit. The alternative certainly has some nice upside, and I’m definitely rooting for them to succeed, but there are a few more question marks involved. For the sake of Avs fans, let’s hope the front office follows through on developing a contender through the rebuilding process, and we’ll see more championship banners hanging from the Pepsi Center soon.
Yesterday kicked off the NHL’s Free Agency period – a day that was anything but quiet. With a number of teams below the NHL’s salary cap floor, a lot of money was thrown around in what many consider a weak free agent class. The big name of this year’s free agent class went unsigned on day, but that changed early today as the New York Rangers signed center Brad Richards to a 9-year, $58.5 million deal. That of course led the Toronto Maple Leafs to sign center Tim Connolly to a 2-year contract. The Maple Leafs’ GM is overseas in Afghanistan with the troops, and losing out on the Richards sweepstakes will certainly come with a lot of criticism from Leafs fans.
There were several teams, meanwhile, that made a number of significant signings, and improved their position going into next season. The Buffalo Sabres are one such team that did a great job on day one of free agency. The first deal of the day was the signing of defenseman Christian Ehrhoff to a 10-year, $40 million deal. The length is a bit of a question mark, but there’s no question Ehrhoff immediately improves a soft Sabres defense. The Sabres followed that up with the signing of winger Ville Leino to a 6-year, $27 million offer. Leino has impressive skill and really turned things around when he was traded to the Flyers two years ago.
The Panthers are another team that kept busy on day one of free agency. GM Dale Tallon needed to spend money, and he did by significantly improving his team, which started with a couple of draft day deals in acquiring defenseman Brian Campbell and Tomas Kopecky. Tallon was able to convince both to play in Florida, and was able to re-sign Kopecky in a multi-year deal. Tallon was also able to sign goaltender Jose Theodore, forwards Scottie Upshall, Marcel Goc and Tomas Fleischmann, and defenseman Ed Jovanovksi. Add the acquisition of winger Kris Versteeg from the Flyers, and Tallon had one of the better days yesterday.
Speaking of doing well on day one, Washington Capitols GM George McPhee did everything right on day one of free agency. McPhee had been working on re-signing goaltender Semyon Varlamov to a contract extension and reports were that talks weren’t going well. There were a number of rumors that Varlamov wanted to be the guaranteed starter for the organization and paid as such. There were also many rumors that if he didn’t get what he wanted, he’d bolt to the KHL. McPhee was not only able to trade Varlamov, but get a significant return from the Colorado Avalanche. The Avs gave up a 1st round pick in 2012 and a conditional 2nd round pick in exchange for Varlamov’s rights. Granted, there’s a lot of upside to Varlamov, but the goaltender hasn’t proven anything, has an injury history, and wasn’t going to be re-signed by the Caps anyways. That’s a lot to give up considering the situation.
McPhee wasn’t done as he signed forwards Jeff Halpern, Joel Ward and Ryan Potulny and defenseman Roman Hamrlik. When you include the addition of grinder Troy Brouwer whom McPhee acquired at the draft, the Caps had a nice makeover this offseason.
The Flyers were also very active on day one acquiring Jaromir Jagr, Maxime Talbot, and Andreas Lilja. Sure, they didn’t add the biggest names yesterday, but these role players will make a difference next season. There were rumors that Jagr had as many as 5 offers yesterday, and left money on the table to play with the Flyers. The Flyers’ moves will very likely add even more heat to their rivalry with the Penguins as the team stole a couple away from them yesterday. The Flyers have also re-signed recent acquisition Jakub Voracek to a 1-year deal.
As we move on, there are still a few big names on the market headed up by goaltender Tomas Vokoun and defenseman Tomas Kaberle. Vokoun will be the interesting one to watch as so many people had him linked to the Colorado Avalanche, which would seem unlikely after the Avs’ acquisitions of Varlamov and JS Giguere. Perhaps the Leafs take a long look at Vokoun to mentor James Reimer for a few years??? Stay tuned for more from thehockeychef.com!
The number of big names that were traded this past weekend at the NHL draft kicked off what will surely be an exciting offseason in the NHL. The Philadelphia Flyers started off the movement by trading Mike Richards and Jeff Carter to clear cap space to sign Ilya Brygalov. Following those deals, the Minnesota Wild traded Brent Burns for Devin Setoguchi, Charlie Coyle and a draft pick – a move that will certainly help both squads. Colorado traded veteran defenseman John-Michael Liles (sad face) to the Maple Leafs in exchange for a 2nd round pick. Columbus gave up on prospect Nikita Filatov and traded him to the Senators for a 3rd round pick (steal). The Florida Panthers acquired Brian Campbell for Rostislav Olesz. Ryan Smyth’s name was mentioned all weekend long and was finally dealt this morning back to the Edmonton Oilers and the list goes on.
No doubt draft weekend set the tone for the rest of the offseason. The biggest name out there this offseason is Brad Richards who will become and UFA July 1. Many teams will be calling on Richards in hopes to sign the veteran center. The Toronto Maple Leafs are certainly going to be one of the more aggressive teams looking to acquire Richards’ services. The Leafs are in need of a top center and Richards is far-and-away the best out there.
The Red Wings need to sign a defenseman to replace puck-mover Brian Rafalski. Coach Mike Babcock expressed a dissatisfaction over the Burns-Setoguchi deal citing that their playoff rivals just got that much better with a stud defenseman like Burns. Tomas Kaberle could be a viable option to replace Rafalski but will likely command a large salary.
The Devils and Predators meanwhile have two of the best players in the league that are due for new contracts. Both Zach Parise of the Devils and Shea Weber of the Preds are RFA, and both teams have respectively filed for arbitration to restrict other teams from putting an offer sheet on them. The Devils are in a tough position as they try and resign Parise to a long-term deal with limited cap space. The Devils have roughly $12 million dollars available for next season and have 17 skaters signed at the moment. With an uncertain future, it’ll be curious to see how long Parise will want to sign for.
Weber, meanwhile, will demand top dollar for his services. He’s one of the best defenseman in the league, and plays for a team that historically has been very frugal. The Predators have a number of notable players who will be free agents after this season as well, including Weber’s defensive partner, Ryan Suter. With over $23 million available in cap space, Weber could certainly see a nice pay day.
All of this along with a number of other stories will likely yield a very exciting offseason in the NHL.
Tonight’s NHL Entry-Draft in Minneapolis, MN will surely mark a historic night. It’s an exciting time for teams, players, and fans as they get a glimpse into the future of their respective clubs.
Judging by yesterday’s activity, there will likely be no shortage of surprises at this year’s draft. Big names have already been moved and more could be on the way as TSN has reported the LA Kings are talking with the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers on a possible deal for Ryan Smyth. No doubt there will be some movement of draft picks as well throughout the draft – the Florida Panthers are rumored to be looking for the first overall pick from the Oilers.
Edmonton Oilers: The first overall pick isn’t as clear as in the past, but most likely Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will be selected with the top pick regardless if the Oilers or Panthers are selecting. Nugent-Hopkins has probably the most offensive upside of guys in the draft, but will likely require some filling out before making the jump to the NHL. Another year or two of seasoning and this kid will look very good centering Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle on Edmonton’s first line.
Colorado Avalanche: The Avs are looking for immediate help and like guys with a high compete level. Enter Gabriel Landeskog. Landeskog was the second rated North American skater coming into the draft and fulfills all what Colorado is looking for – high skill level, high compete level, leadership, etc. Landeskog may not have point-per-game potential, but he’ll be a solid contributor for years.
Florida Panthers: The Florida Panthers weren’t able to move up and select Nugent-Hopkins like they would’ve liked but get a rising prospect here in Jonathan Huberdeau of the Saint John Seadogs. Huberdeau moved up the charts higher than any other prospect in this year’s draft because of a strong finish to his season.
New Jersey Devils: A no-brainer pick at this point, the Devils select Adam Larsson to be the future of the Devil’s dee. Larsson, who could have gone as high as first overall, will no doubt be relieved at this point in the draft to hear his name called especially to an organization with a history such as the Devils. The team may have its issues now, but no doubt are looking to right the ship. It starts with a great draft pick here at number 4.
Ottawa Senators: The talent level may drop off a bit after the top four, but the Senators will get a good player here in Sean Couturier. Couturier will fit in well behind Spezza on the second line in Ottawa with his responsible two-way game.
New York Islanders: Ryan Strome would be a nice selection here for the Isles. Strome projects to be a point-per-game player with high-end playmaking skills. He would fit in pretty well centering the second line behind John Tavares; giving Isles fans something to finally cheer about.
Winnipeg Jets: The newly named Winnipeg Jets will select the best player available at this point and that has to be defenseman Dougie Hamilton. Hamilton was ranked 4 by NAS and is no doubt the second best blueliner in this draft. With Hamilton in the fold, the Jets could look to move Bogosian this offseason.
Philadelphia Flyers: The Flyers made a lot of noise yesterday by moving Jeff Carter and Mike Richards but will look to center Mike Zibanejad to replace some of the void left by those skaters. Zibanejad will be a good two-way center with a big shot.
Boston Bruins: The Cup champions will select defenseman Ryan Murphy 9th overall. Murphy projects to be an offensively gifted defenseman who can run a powerplay. Picturing him setting up Chara on the point makes me smile!
Minnesota Wild: You could argue this to be a bit of a reach, but I believe the Wild will select Sven Bartschi in this spot. Bartschi has a high compete level and good skill. He plays very well offensively – something the Wild desperately need. It’d be a good selection here in my opinion.