Jagr to the Penguins?

Word is that Pittsburgh has made him a one year offer.

That bulge in my pants just tripled in size. I may have trouble walking.

Paul Kariya retires

One of my favourite players ever, and a good (if not great) candidate for the HOF, the speed merchant Kariya has decided to hang up his skates.

Despite repeated injuries, especially a pair of horrific concussions (and one last time for the record; 'Fuck You Gary Suter'), the counting stats for his career are excellent;

989 games, 402 goals, 587 assists, 989 points.

The long time Severed Heads FP will be missed.


Great Quote

Bruce Dowbiggin of the Globe and Mail announces that HBO will be doing another 24/7 with the NYR and Philly here.

When discussing the high ratings the NHL Draft captured on TSN, he gets off a great quote that I had to repost: "Other ratings bizness: The NHL draft, which is kind of like watching a convocation without knowing the students, captured an average of 1.6 million for its four hours Friday night on TSN. The peak of 2.1 million came as the Winnipeg Jets revealed their new/old nickname and their first draft pick since returning to Manitoba."


Entry Draft 2011 for the FUNHL

Well,time to set our ED2011

The NHL Season begins Oct 6.

Ergo, I think the logical ED Weekend should be either Sat. Oct 1st or Sun Oct 2nd in Calgary somewhere...

Book it off now as I'll be booking my flight to Calgary for that weekend.

The last weekend in Sept. is bad for me so I hope this WeekEnd Works!

Additionally, the Slot Selection NEEDS to be done ASAP.

Please email me your preferences to me b0bc@yahoo.com

Any problems or thoughts about the ED date please post here or email me.



FUNHL News and Notes

- Well that was unexpected.

I think everyone saw the possibility that Carter would be moved on from Philly. The Flyers were logjammed at center with Carter, Richards, Briere, Betts and Giroux, and moving Carter's big ticket on for prospects/picks was the clear choice to make a run at Bryzgalov.

But Mike Richards? Really?

The return on Carter is the #8 overall pick, a 3rd rnder, and Jakub Voracek. All in all a nice little haul for a 30g pivot with size and speed.

The Richards trade to LA brings in power winger Simmonds, and top prospect Brayden Schenn - but represents a huge move by the franchise.

Carter immediately makes the Bluejackets a more balanced team. He jumps to the top line, and gives highly rated prospect Johanssen room to develop on a lower unit (likely 3rd line behind Umberger) until he is ready to take over. By bumping Umberger and Johanssen down the depth chart like this, they make their entire team more formidable. Carter can center a scoring line with Nash (though there may be some chemistry adjustment as both are shoot firsters), Umberger can do the heavy lifting on the 2nd line, and the rook and others can split the rest of the time. The 8th overall wasn't going to get the BJ's into the playoffs, and Voracek, while talented, was not overwhelming anyone offensively, so this deal clearly works well for them.

LA getting Richards is a major coup, and he provides a similar benefit to the Kings that Carter does for the BJ's. Kopitar will continue to see the ice in all offensive situations, Richards will do the knife-fighting on the 2nd line, and Stoll will slot back into a 3rd line role where his talents are best suited.

Philly moves out two of the best young pivots in the game (both Olympic caliber guys), and gets back; a high 1st, perhaps the best prospect in the game in Schenn (and not coincidentally he plays a game a lot like Mike Richards), a young power winger in Simmonds, a scoring winger with finesse in Voracek and a depth pick in a weak draft. All in all about what you would hope for. The key though is that it also gives them enough cap space not just to sign Bryzgalov (9 years $51M), but to also take a run at FA Brad Richards.

Two years ago they were in the Stanley Cup finals, and now Carter and Richards are being moved out for prospects and picks. Strange game.

- Along with the big news regarding the Flyers, Calgary has asked Robyn Regehr to waive his NMC to allow for a trade to Buffalo. No details yet regarding what the return would be from the Sabres, but the speculation is that it would be Buffalo's pick (#16), and Luke Adam. Adam is a grinding type of center likely best suited to the 3rd line. Colour me unimpressed if that is the prospect coming back, as I would hope for something more like Tyler Ennis. Should Calgary land the pick at #16, it bodes well for the chances of the Flames packaging it with their own pick at #13 to move up higher.

I've mentioned previously that I think the best move for the Flames is to find a taker for Regehr. His skillset is duplicated by Bouwmeester, and his salary - while commensurate with his talents - would create the cap space necessary for Calgary to re-sign Tanguay.

- A separate bizarre rumour involves Calgary apparently being interested in former Oiler Ryan Smyth. The 35 year olds best years are way behind him, and I don't see how he fits into the plan to make the Flames younger and more talented. If we were inches from the finish line, he's the kind of guy you want to help push you over, but the Flames are moving away from the Cup at this stage, not towards it.

- Some interesting parallels between the recent NBA draft and the NHL one. In both cases there were two players regarded as most likely being the best (Irving, Williams), but none that were likely to be superstars. A lot of projects, raw talents, mystery Euros, a commissioner who gets booed lustily, and expectation that the following years draft would be a much superior place to be picking high in. If there is a chance that someone at the NHL draft gets a snogging as good as Jan Vesely got upon being drafted the parallels will be eerie. The good news is that the Raptors selected a nice piece in Jonas Valanciunas - a 6'11" center who is the ant-Bargnani (he isn't much of a scorer, but he rebounds, blocks shots, plays defense, and lives in the low-post). The bad news (for the NBA) is that they are facing a lockout - one that could get very nasty.

- Looks the PV will get to avoid having to replace Lidstrom for at least another year. Which sucks.

- My suspicion is that Bryzgalov moves way up on most draft lists as a result of signing in Philly.

- I also suspect that Kopitar's draft stock improves - but I don't think Richards' does.

- Voracek's arrival all but buries the chances that Zherdev stays with the Flyers - or the NHL.

- One rumour I heard is that Toronto was VERY interested in Mike Richards (which makes sense), but were unwilling to part with both Kadri and Kulemin in the deal to get him. If true, Burke is an idiot.

- One reason why the Flyers had to act now is because the new contract extension for Richards kicks in July 1, and he would have had a NMC. If you are ever going to move him, now was the time.

- No coincidence that 20 years of contract were unloaded in these deals. The next CBA is likely to frown upon deals longer than 5 years.

- My best guess is Jagr doesn't sign in the NHL, and all of this noise is to crank the pressure on KHL teams to pony up more cash. That said, if he were to sign for a year or two in Pittsburgh I would likely orgasm in my pants.

- Speaking of Pittsburgh, I keep hearing rumours that Crosby isn't improving, and that there is serious consideration he may be looking at retirement. I'll believe it when I see it.

- Found out why Heatley had such a terrible time getting around the rink in the playoffs - he was playing through a high-ankle sprain.

- Last but not least, it's time for the ROYAL CROWN BAG OF FATE! If GMS could please submit your slot selection preferences in the comments or via e-mail to the league it would be most appreciated and we can move forward with getting the lottery done in a timely fashion.


FunHL's NHL Entry Draft - Mock Draft

[Update - Bumped to top of Blog as Draft is tomorrow.]

Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final goes tonight, which can only mean it is time to start planning the FunHL's NHL Entry Draft - Mock Draft.  Are you with me?

Seriously, enjoy the last few games while you can because it is a LONG summer.

That said, there are a few bursts of Fantasy Hockey Fun before the puck drops again in October.

The FunHL Entry Draft (and off season trades) for one; the spate of Free Agent signings leading up to and after July 1st; the decision on the Winnipeg franchise's nickname (seriously, it just has to be the Jets); and of course the NHL Entry Draft on June 24th and 25th from Minnesota.  I had sent out an e-mail to everyone about the Oiler's $100K Draft Contest but that doesn't have the same pride element that competing against your pool-peers might have, so here is the challenge:

Post your own Mock Draft in the comments below. 

Scoring will be as follows:

5pts for every correct name correctly identified as being selected in the first round (max. 150pts);

5pts for every name correctly identified at their draft slot (NOT the team) (max. 150pts);

bonus +5 pts for every selection made correctly, in order, from the start of the draft until the first mistake (max. 150pts - yes correctly predicting that the Oilers will take Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 1st overall will yeild you 15pts even if you are incorrect in believeing that Colorado will take Sean Couturier at number 2).

I will try and link with some of the Rankings and Mock Draft's that are out there as I see them but for now here are a couple:

Craig Button's Top 30

Craig Button's Mock Draft v1.0

Central Scouting Final Rankings

International Scouting Service May 30th Rankings

The Hockey Writers

My NHL Draft.com

If you have other suggestions, feel free to add them.  Good luck.

Doug's Take on the Mock Draft

Highlanders’ Mock Draft Predictions

1. Edmonton Oilers- C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Red Deer, WHL)

Personally I think that Larsson will be the Norris Trophy candidate that the Oil will rue passing over but it is hard to not take the slick kid from Burnaby.

2. Colorado Avalanche- D Adam Larsson (Skelleftea, Elitserien)

As late as last night I was still thinking, and telling Bob, that Colorado would draft Landeskog here (and still may, or take Huberdeau as he apparently interviewed well) but I can’t deny the value of taking the potential d-man stud.

3. Florida Panthers- C/LW Jonathan Huberdeau (Saint John, QMJHL)

Talon goes for the fastest climber in the draft class to manage the center slot.

4. New Jersey- RW Gabriel Landeskog (Kitchener, OHL)

Lots of ABBA in the locker room with Swedish countrymen Jacob Josefson, Mattias Tedenby and Alex Urbom all on board. Landeskog will be the piece that helps bring the rest across the pond in spirit as well as body.

5. New York Islanders- C/LW Sean Couturier (Drummondville, QMJHL)

The Islanders should take Hamilton at this point but I don’t believe they are sold on Bailey to line-up behind Tavares. Now they have that true one-two punch at center. Next year’s draft is d-men heavy and, like the Oilers, they will be picking high again in 2012.

6. Ottawa Senators- C Ryan Strome (Niagara, OHL)

This year’s Jeff Skinner goes to a team that needs a true number one pivot, with Spezza’s issues. I understand that Ottawa would love to have Landeskog (and may trade up to get him) but still see Strome going at 6.

7. Winnipeg “Should Be Jets”- D Dougie Hamilton (Niagara, OHL)

Welcome back to the NHL. Here’s a 6’4” d-man in your Welcome Wagon hamper, enjoy.

8. Philadelphia Flyers (from CBS)- D Duncan Siemens (Saskatoon, WHL)

Before the Carter trade I had Columbus taking Murphy but Siemens can take nastiness lessons from Pronger. Great fit.

9. Boston Bruins (from TOR)- D Ryan Murphy (Kitchener, OHL)

It won’t be Ray Bourque II, but it will be another addition to the Kessel bounty – the gift that just keeps giving.

10. Minnesota Wild- C Mika Zibanejad (Djurgarden, Elitserien)

You might expect the Wild to try and trade up but if this goes to plan, the Wild will be rightly celebrating with the hometown fans when they select another piece down the middle.

11. Colorado Avalanche (from STL)- - RW Joel Armia (Assat, Finland)

The Avs need wingers to go with their top pivots, especially after the Stewart trade. I trust that Mr. Stastny senior will approve of the feisty Finn.

12. Carolina Hurricanes- LW Sven Bartschi (Portland, WHL)

Mr. Staal, meet your new winger.

13. Calgary Flames- C Mark McNeill (Prince Albert, WHL)

Of course Iggy will be in need of a walker by the time he hits his prime, I understand that the Flames have need of a center. Talking with Bob last night, he was higher on Scheifele here, and he may be right.

14. Dallas Stars- D Nathan Beaulieu (Saint John, QMJHL)

Would that they had this guy already in the system when Zubov left, he will arrive late to the party but could prove to be a real steal.

15. New York Rangers- C Mark Scheifele (Barrie, OHL)

Another potential steal of the draft, of course Sather will probably do something silly again.

16. Calgary Flames (from BUF)- D Jamie Oleksiak (Northeastern, NCAA)

Hemsky’s joy at the thought of the Reghr to Buffalo trade going through is somewhat mitigated by the thought of watching my smurfy Oilers getting crushed by this man-tree for next decade.

17. Montreal Canadiens- RW Nicklas Jensen (Oshawa, OHL)

The perfect antidote to little-Hab syndrome.

18. Chicago Blackhawks - LW Brandon Saad (Saginaw, OHL)

So, is this the goal scoring machine from the first half of the season or the flat pop of the second half?

19. Edmonton Oilers (from LAK) – D Oscar Klefbom (Farjestad, SWE)

A fine consolation for not getting Larsson.

20. Phoenix Coyotes- RW Tyler Biggs (USNTDP)

Big and beefy. Wonder how is French is should the ‘Yotes move the Quebec?

21. Ottawa Senators (from NSH) - LW Matt Puempel (Peterborough, OHL)

A new trigger man for a new Senators squad, or at least that would be the hope.

22. Anaheim Ducks- D Jonas Brodin (Farjestad, Elitserien)

The overhaul of the Duck blueline continues.

23. Pittsburgh Penguins- RW Tomas Jurco (Saint John, QMJHL)

Pens pick yet another potential partner for Sid and/or Geno. At some point the pasta will stick to the wall.

24. Detroit Red Wings- C/LW J.T. Miller (USNTDP)

This guy deserves to go to Hockeytown, USA.

25. Toronto Maple Leafs (from Philadelphia)- C Zack Phillips (Saint John, QMJHL)

GTA celebrations are old hat for Mr. Phillips, can it continue in the Blue and White?

26. Washington Capitals- C Alexander Khokhlachev (Windsor, OHL)

The Caps cannot get enough Russians, so it would seem.

27. Tampa Bay Lightning- RW Vladislav Namestnikov (London, OHL)

London Knights NHL factory’s latest shipment is ready for delivery.

28. San Jose Sharks- RW Ty Rattie (Portland, WHL)

The Sharks will get there at some point and this may be a further piece.

29. Vancouver Canucks- D Joe Morrow (Portland, WHL)

One can never have enough depth on D, as last week showed.

30. Toronto Maple Leafs (from Boston)- C Rocco Grimaldi (USNTDP)

He may not have the size to impress Burke but I expect that he just loves the heart.


I Heart Vancouver

Now THAT's the spirit!

I see a couple of very good reasons to cheer for Vcr tonight!


Cameron's Draft Prediction

1. The Nuge - Edm

The combine results show him as being 6'1", 172lbs, which encouraged teams that he we would eventually be big enough to play the role of #1 pivot (and not end up as Mike Ribeiro). Super acceleration in his first two steps, and the best playmaking vision in the draft. Edmonton won't be able to resist. Red flags include a high assist to goal ratio, and a unusually large number of powerplay points vs even strength. 6 out of 10 scouts think he's the dude to go first, and I won't argue.

2. Larsson - Col

The most complete defenseman prospect in the draft, he's been playing well against men for the last two years. Remember when Wade Redden was really good? His game is very similar. Could easily be picked #1 overall because of his lack of downside. At worst you get a very mobile defensive defenseman with high IQ. While his ceiling is something like the next Lidstrom.

3. Landeskog-Fla

Big, strong, fast, nasty and a goal scorer. He's a Swedish Mike Richards. May not have the offensive upside of other top 10 players, but he's the kind of kid who walks through blood for his team and that you can build championship teams around. Tallon won't pass on him.

4. Couturier-NJ

The most polarizing player in the draft. Couturier was an early candidate to go first overall, and the 6'4" pivot showed a complete game in the Q despite having to overcome an early bout of mono. Made the WJC team for Canada (something the Nuge didn't), but didn't blow anyone away with his performance. He's the prototype centerman with size, scoring ability, and defensive awareness, but there are concerns about his acceleration and quickness. Was it the mono?

5. Huberdeau

Shot up the draft boards into the top five largely based on the second half of his season and playoffs. Has good size, excellent speed, quick hands and a sniper's shot. Can play both LW (where he was most of the year) or center. He's the Mem Cup MVP - which is undeniably a positive, but he was on a very talented team featuring two other likely first rounders, so how much was he really driving the bus?

6. Strome
Traded to a low rung team that was awful - except for him. Put up gaudy offensive stats, but the team won only 20 games. Solid NHL size, skills and skating abilities, if not for Huberdeau's late season heroics many scouts had him slotted higher. Ottawa needs some talent at center behind Spezza and he'll be the best available.

7. Hamilton

Big, swift skating defenders with great defense and offensive upside don't grow on trees. He's the most complete defender after Larsson, and Winnipeg could use another top pairing type to build their D corps around.

8. Murphy

Murphy is the most intriguing player in the top end. Arguably the best skater in the draft, and without question the best offensive defenseman, he comes with one big drawback - he's only 5'10", and has issues defending larger players in his own zone. The upside is a Paul Coffey style game changer, the downside is a lightweight powerplay specialist like MA Bergeron. The Bluejackets need a puck rusher and won't pass up the chance to take Murphy.

9. Bartschi

A skill player with good size, nice counting stats, and few obvious flaws. He doesn't overwhelm with any one thing, but does most things well, and should end up a nice complimentary winger on the 2nd or 3rd lines. Red Flag - he's Swiss (Michel Riesen!), which used to be a huge issue, but is becoming less of one as time goes by.

10. Armia

A strapping goal scoring winger with grit who has been playing the last year against men and doing well. Not as polished all round (or nasty) as Landeskog, but he's the next best thing if that is what you were looking for. Upside is a 30 goal power winger. Downside is a gritty checking winger with size. Will fit right in with the Finns already in Minnesota.

11. Siemens

A fairly safe, if vanilla defenseman, Siemens is a good skater and has some offensive skills, but will make his calling playing a safe defense game. Probable second pairing defenseman, and even if Colorado takes Larsson, Siemens addresses a long term need.

12. Zibenejad

A physical forward with some decent offensive upside, Zibenejad (Swedish/Iranian), his upside isn't as high as the guys above him, but there is a question as to whether he was held back by being on a veteran team that didn't feed him a tonne of ice-time. Could be a steal. Carolina needs scoring wingers, and Zibenejad plays a similar game to Tuomo Ruutu.

13. McNeil

Already has the size and strength NHL teams covet, and he had 81pts in 70 games for a poor Prince George team so there is real offensive ability there. May max out as a physical 2nd line pivot, but with his size, position, and WHL background, Calgary won't pass on him at 13 unless someone from higher up slips.

14. Phillips

One of the lynchpins of the Sea Dogs Mem Cup run, his ability to play center with Huberdeau created a power line few other teams could match against. The reason he isn't higher on the list has to do with his skating - which is poor, but may be something he can correct with work. Dallas needs an infusion of youth at center, and Phillips is a project they can work on.

15. Kochlachev

A strong competitor despite lacking great size (5'10"), he had very good stats on a strong team, but was definitely not driving the bus. Lacks elite skills, but could be a good support player with 2nd line offensive upside. The Rangers won't have trouble giving him an atmosphere he'll be comfortable in (other Russians), and he fits well with their needs.

16. Saad

A big power winger with some offensive upside, Saad seemed to stall out in the second half of the season scoring only seven times after having 20 in the first half. There were high expectations he would produce more based on his previous history, so some team may think the failure to ignite is a one-off. Buffalo has been collecting bigger banger types of late, and he'll fit right in with them.

17. Oleksiak

Easy to see why he's being considered - he's 6'7". That said, he's also a project, one that Montreal would love to have (especially with Gill around to tutor him on the big man's game).

18. Puempel

Two 30 goal seasons are the good, a weak skating stride, poor team and a cracked hip to end the season are the bad. With all the top offensive guys off the board, a flawed project like Puempel is perfect for the Blackhawks.

19. Beaulieu

The third Sea Dog in the draft Beaulieu has obvious offensive talents, but there is a question as to whether his overall game will mature properly. The best D-man left on the board, Edmonton won't hesitate to grab him.

20. Brodin

Excellent skater, good in his own zone, but produced less offense than expected of him. Is underweight for an NHL defender his size (6'1, 165lbs), and will need to develop further. Scouts are all over the map on him, as some like him in the top 10 and others have him in the 2nd round. The Jets can always use more defenseman with upside.

21. Musil

Big, strong, safe stay-at-home type in the mold of his father Frank. Finding a guy all but guranteed to play late in the 1st (and one who could eventually replace Chris Phillips) will be too much for Ottawa to overlook.

22. Gibson,J

Seems about time for the Ducks to develop a new goaltender, and Gibson is the best available.

23. Grimaldi

Maybe my favourite player in the draft. If Grimaldi were 6'0 and 180lbs he'd be a top 3 selection. But he's 5'6", 163. Built like a fire hydrant he's squat and powerful for his size, and all he does is drive the bus offensively. Like Theo Fleury before him, he may end up being a better winger than pivot. Somebody is going to roll the dice on his offense translating to the NHL - and I bet Yzerman is the guy to make that bet.

24. Jurco

Maxim Afinogenov II. Pittsburgh needs scoring wingers to compliment Crosby/Malkin, and Jurco's flashy one-way game can't help but be attractive to them.

25. Biggs

Burke likes big men who arrive in a ill-humour. Biggs is one of those guys. He's an RJ Umberger type, and the Leafs will love him for it.

26. Klefbom

Detroit loves Swedes - and the defenseman Klefbom could be a good one.

27. Mayfield

Million dollar size and skating stride, 10 cent hockey sense. A project who will need a couple of years to develop, San Jose can afford to wait.

28. Rattie

Rattie is a skill player (top 3 in Dub), but is on the small side. Toronto needs to find a home-run somewhere and if they think they can improve his skating, Rattie might be a legit player.

29. Jensen

Another big winger with flaws in his skating, the Danish Jensen played well enough to get noticed in the OHL, but isn't the complete package many teams crave. Definitely a project, and one the internationally inclined Capitals will gladly take.

30. Rakell

A decent skater with decent offensive ability, he may well carve a nice for himself as a role player on Vancouver's third line.