It was great fun to see so many GMs at our awards banquet/draft party! I had a ball, and my only regret was for the Gms who couldn't attend. Congrats to Doug who got the chance to drink his Jagrmeister in front of us all. You bastard.
- The Hall of Fame selections are coming up again, and the automatic entries should be Scott Niedermayer and Chris Chelios. IMO the other two guys should be Eric Lindros and Paul Kariya. Lindros and Kariya have resumes that are thin because of injuries, but I think there is little doubt they are two of the best players of all time when they were healthy in their prime.
- I have to say that the more I read and see about Calgary's selections at the ED, the more excited I get. Monahan wasn't who I hoped we would land (that would be Barkov taken 2nd overall by Florida), but he is a big (6'2") talented play maker who projects as a future #1 pivot. Exactly what the Dr. ordered. Klimchuk (pick #28) is a Jordan Eberle type, a modestly sized (6') skill winger with speed and offensive tools who doesn't have an elite ability to rely on. The wildcard was at #22 when the Flames went 'off the board' to take Emile Poirier over Hunter Shinkaruk. Poirier is a big (6'2") and wicked fast, with a wide array of offensive moves, and the kind of mindset that all but forces the kid to drive as hard as he can straight to the net. Check out his highlight reel HERE.
All told the Flames may have drafted an entire future 1st line with their three selections.
- One guy that Flame fans should have their eyes on at development camp is Mark Jankowski. Two days from falling into the 2013 draft, he was the youngest guy picked in the 2012 ED. At the time, he was viewed as a project, what with his 6'3" frame being only 170lbs, and with his scoring stats all taking place in a tiny Quebec high-school league. Now? The kid has a year of University under his belt, where he was only ok (in part because he was moved to the wing), but not exceptional. He's recently added on about 25lbs of muscle though, and is topping out at 195lbs, a far more effective weight for a player of his skillset. If he tears the cover off the ball at dev-camp, he and Monahan could give Calgary a nightmarish pair of pivots to build around.
- Indeed, it's hard not to get excited about the young talent coming up the pipe for Calgary, especially at centre. Monahan, and Jankowski, are joined by Corban Knight (traded for from the Panthers org), previous draftees Mikael Backlund, and Max Reinhart round things out. Add a Beartschi and a Gaudreau to the wings along with the two newbies Poirier and Klimchuk and you have an outstanding set of prospects.
- Here's a prediction, if Calgary can get league average goaltending from Kari Ramo and or Reto Bera (it could happen), the Flames will be on the edge of a playoff spot.
- Prediction #2, if the Oilers re-sign and keep Sam Gagner, the Flames finish ahead of the Oilers in the standings. Book it.
- The Predators had Seth Jones at the top of their wish list, and I have to believe they were shocked that he fell to them. I also think he was the worst possible result they could have had. Any of the three forwards picked ahead of Jones (MacKinnon, Barkov and Drouin) would have filled an immediate and pressing need for the team - scoring talent at forward. In particular, Barkov was IMO the one guy they probably had circled as being most likely. The Predators have simply never had a #1 center, and when the top 3 guys got pulled the way they did it prevented the Preds from finally fixing their biggest weakness. That all said, Jones is going to be a monster.
- Lot of talk that Philly blew it with their pick of Sam Morin at #11. The giant (6'7") D-man with offensive upside was easily the biggest reach of the 1st round. What makes the pick most interesting was the fact that Philly has Chris Pronger on board to act as Morin's personal trainer. The upside would be the Flyers get Pronger 2.0. The downside is that Morin Sucks A Trunk Full Of Dongs.
- Tyler Seguin to the Stars is a fascinating development. Players of Seguin's pedigree and caliber simply don't get traded (ever - Joe Thornton was the last guy of similar age and talent at center to get moved). Part of the issue was that Boston was logjammed at centre and Seguin was having to get his time at the wing. The other part of the issue was that Seguin insisted on acting like the 21 year old millionaire that he is (call it 'Patrick Kane Syndrome'). In any case, Seguin joins Jamie Benn (who moves back to the wing) to form a potent 1st line on the Stars. Add a Nichushkin to that line and they could be formidable.
- Preidction #3, I'm calling Jonathon Drouin of the Bolts as the next Calder winner, and first pick overall in our prospect draft. He's ridiculously good and he'll get Stamkos as a linemate. It's over.
- If I were GM in Calgary I would seriously look at signing three UFA/RFAs; Peter Mueller, Jonathon Blum and Grabovski. Mueller and Blum because of age, talent and upside. Grabovski becaue he can play heavy minutes against tough opposition and push the river the other way.
- Toronto's last few weeks have SATFOD. Reimer showed he was a capable #1, but TO went out and got Bernier anyway - and kept Reimer. Yeah, that will work. Then they made keeping Tyler Bozak a priority over Grabovski (which is, to put it bluntly, insane), and to top it off they put a massive contract out on Clarckson, a gritty 3rd line winger with a single 30 goal season under his belt (and terrible underlying numbers). Seriously, they have lost their freaking minds. With the change in divisions that has added Detroit to the mix, they will have a huge battle to come anywhere near the playoffs.
- Watch for Paul Stastny to get moved in the near future. He makes too much money, hasn't been productive the last two years, and now has three guys ahead of him on the depth chart (MacKinnon, Duchene, and O'Reilly). $6m is an awful lot for a 4th line center.
- The way the media crucified the Canucks for dealing Schneider was borderline disgusting. Schneider for a 1st (Bo Horvat) is a perfectly defensible deal, and Horvat is a beauty. What really gets me though is how there was such a double standard for the two GMs involved in the deal. Vancouver sent the OWNER Aquilini to Luongo's house to tell Bobby-Lou personally about the deal once it was completed. Martin Brodeur found out about Schneider's arrival when it was announced by Bettman at the draft. When the media commented on how Vancouver handled Luongo it was all about how incompetent they were, but when it came to Lou Lamoriello it was all 'he's a cold blooded executive, a total pro'. Gahhhh it makes me sick. They can all SATFOD.
- Looks like Murray gassed another situation in Ottawa (to go with how he botched everything with Heatley). This time he's the idiot who managed to alienate the team's longest serving player and only icon, Daniel Alfredsson. When Alfie and Murray talked salary for a come-back year, Murray balked at the $ figure Alfie asked for. Wrong answer. After taking hometown discounts for years to help the team remain competitive Alfie wanted some respect - and he didn't get it. So he walked. Murray only has himself to blame, if he'd said 'sure thing Alfie', Alfredsson would be a Senator for life. Now, Alfie gets to play with a bunch of fellow Swedes wearing the winged wheel - in the same division as the Sens! Murray SATFOD.
- That all said, Murray may have saved his bacon by making the Ryan deal. Just a sweet, sweet trade. Ryan should hit career highs patrolling the wing for Spezza. Of course, Ryan had Getzlaf previously as a pivot so maybe this is just his ceiling.