Greetings hockey fans. Welcome back for our first post-Stanley Cup chat.
How much of the Draper whining about Crosby is really just sour grapes? I recall the Wings taking longer than 85 seconds to hit the line on more than one Cup occassion. Since when did Draper become the voice of etiquette in the NHL?
Tom; Must admit I thought the story got a lot more play than it deserved and was in many ways unbecoming of the Wings who, by and large, are the classiest organization in the NHL. At least it wasn't Maltby, stick man that he is, complaining. The Wings seriously need to get over themselves if they really thought they were being snubbed.
I understand the whole MVP thing, if you take AO away from Washington they dont go anywhere, but i really think Malkin was MVP this year. He probably the best all around player in the league right now, plus if he shot it 600 times a year he would probably have 80 goals.
Brent: I was a Malkin voter and was a bit surprised the vote disparity (Ovechkin was nearly double what Malkin had) but it's really hard to quibble. Both are great players and as Malkin kept saying (or at least I think this is what he was saying) he has a bigger trophy which is okay with him.
Hey Scott,Any more news on Heatley and my Senators? I am curious if they will be able to move up in this draft. Thanks, Charlie
Charlie; Always happy to take a question from Hickory. No movement yet but it's clear GM Bryan Murray would love to package the disgruntled Heatley up and out by Friday's draft. Not sure it would have much of an impact on the Senators' draft standing as they'll likely have to take someone else's salary problem back in any kind of deal. Still, will be one of the more fascinating storylines of the weekend.
Honest answer. How far down on a scale of 1 to 10 do the NHL Awards rank in comparison to other broadcasts? It was difficult to watch most of the time.
TC: Can't say that I've watched any sports awards show other than the NHL's so I have a pretty limited body of evidence. What seems patently clear is that the NHL's awards show will always be somewhat grisly and that's simply because you're going to have hockey players doing things like reading prompters and the like that takes them a long way out of their element.
I read on the ESPN's NHL homepage that the Colorado Avalanche are in need in of a new goaltender. Why not soon-to-be free agent Scott Clemmensen? Clemmensen had a breakout year with the Devils last season and recorded 25 wins in 40 games, 39 of which he started.
Ryan; Just filed a list of potential free agents and along with a guy like Craig Anderson in Florida, think Clemmensen is a guy that GMs looking for goaltending help will be taking a hard look at. Avs are desperate for a true number-one. There aren't many out there that aren't reaching the ends of their careers (Khabibulin, Biron) so Clemmensen may be an attractive gamble if not for the Avs then someone else.
Do you think Mike Richards is one of the great young Captains in the game? I mean, all that leadership and intangibles has to go a long way right? Do you think post-season success is just a matter of time in that environment?
JD: I do have high regard for Mike Richards. He's one of the top two or three young two-way forwards in the game and that's not an easy role to adjust to. The challenge for a guy like Richards as it is for contemporaries like Jonathan Toews and Anze Kopitar etc. is to being able to guide your team deep in the playoffs. Richards has already been to a conference final now it's about getting back and beyond. Still, he's a virtual lock to make the Canadian Olympic team which should tell you all you need to know about how he's regarded around the league.
The Isles are taking Tavaras right? I mean they have to at this point don't they?
Kevin: Not sure exactly why GM Garth Snow continues to keep this so closely guarded but that's his way. I talked to an owner recently and he said he'd take Victor Hedman with the first pick without hesitation. Matt Duchene's currency is also way, way up and has made this a three-player race at least. Still, for a team with so little going for it right now hard to imagine Snow won't go with the closest thing to a sure bet in Tavares. Stay tuned.
Scott, With Mike Cammalleri coming off another good season with 39 G 43 A for 82 Pts. Do you think the Flames will pay him? Or do you think he will hit the open market?
Mikey; I think with the Flames in all kinds of cap trouble (they couldn't ice a full team down the stretch when they were beset by injury) and with Olli Jokinen locked up for another year don't think there's any chance of Cammalleri sticking around for another year. Plus I would think he's looking for a team that's going to play a little more up-tempo than Brent Sutter's Flames are likely to. How about Cammalleri in Minnesota where the Wild would like to remake themselves with new management and a new coaching staff?
Assuming the Sharks can get Patrick Marleau to waive his no trade clause, could they trade him for Heatley or Lecavillier?
Ben; I think there will likely be lots of discussion in San Jose about Marleau's future there and frankly likely better for both parties if there was a separation. Think Marleau would look great in a Sens jersey and would fit in nicely with Jason Spezza as a nice number-two center. Heatley banging in those Joe Thornton passes? Sounds like a match made in heaven even if the Sharks will continue to be haunted by their many playoff failings.
I've seen so many different assesments of what the NHL Cap is going to look like its made my head spin. What is the truth? Does anyone other than the league office have any idea or, at least, an educated guess?
James; There are so many moving parts it is hard to get a handle on. Look for next year's cap to be about the same and then, pending the rate of recovery of the economy look for 2010-2011 to drop maybe five or six million.
do the flyers get JBO???
Brian; Will translate for the rest of the group; do the Flyers get Jay Bouwmeester? It's hard to imagine GM Paul Holmgren won't be pulling out all the stops to bring the free agent defenseman to Philly. That's why Ray Emery is a Flyer as Holmgren is looking to trim some payroll to make a pitch to Bouwmeester. He's still got some work to do, though, which means Mike Knuble will likely walk and Daniel Briere will be dangled as trade bait.
Would the Blues have to give up Berglund, Oshie or Perron to acquire Heatley?
John: If GM Bryan Murray can pry one of those guys out of St. Louis for Heatley he's a genius. Doubt if the Blues would have to give up that much given that the Sens are in a tough position having to move Heatley. The only reason one of those top prospects goes is if the Blues don't feel they can afford to sign them when their entry level deal comes to a close. By then, though, Paul Kariya and Keith Tkachuk will be gone so I am guessing no to that kind of deal for Heatley.
Are they going to do anything to limit the length of contracts and close the loophole that allows Detroit to circumvent the salary cap by signing everyone to 20 year contracts?
Marc; Not until the end of the current CBA which could be at the end of 2010-11 or the year after pending the players' decision whether to extend or not. By then all of the Wings will be locked up until 2025.
Hi Scott, the Kings have the 5th pick in this years draft, and with all the speculation that they are looking for scoring up front via the trade route(Lecavalier, Kovalchuk, etc.), do they trade this pick, and Jack Johnson, or more prospects in the Organ-I-Zation? Thanks.
Bill; The top end of this draft is pretty talented so it would have to be a pretty impressive deal before GM Dean Lombardi will move the five pick. I think it's fair to suggest Jack Johnson will be on the move given the perception that he and his family are difficult to deal with. He's a major talent though and will attract a lot of attention if, as expected, the Kings go for a big offensive fish. One scenario could see the Kings swapping first-round picks and Johnson for a big dog like Lecavalier or Heatley.
Where am I playing next season?
Pittsburgh. Just kidding. Not sure. If you'd managed to show up for the finals at all I'd have said Detroit for sure but the memory of that performance is going to linger a long time in Motown. Maybe a nice western vacation in Edmonton would be the answer.
Any chance I see Marian Gaborik or Ilya Kovalchuk in a Pens uniform next year?
I would so no, at least not at the beginning of the season. Trade deadline depending on the contract situations for each forward might be more of an option for the Pens depending on where they're at.
What are the chances that Gustavsson lands with the Sharks? Seems like he would be a great replacement for Nabby when his contract expires after next year. Are Sharks fans overreacting by wanting to replace Nabby, or are there other more serious holes on the roster that need addressing to help solve their playoff problems?
Zach; Interesting bidding process beginning for the guy they call The Monster, Gustavsson, and San Jose is definitely in the mix. If he lands in San Jose look for him to push Nabokov for playing time as Nabokov has yet to deliver the goods in the playoffs (join the club in San Jose). But there are certainly bigger problems than a back-up netminder who may or may not be NHL material in San Jose that's for sure.
what are the bruins going to go with all their young stars? now that they have krejci locked up do they hope to sign kessel long term or is he going to be too pricey?
Lexie; Look for GM Peter Chiarelli to try and coax Kessel into a contract similar to the one signed by Krecji. Hard sell but if he can get him done at roughly the same money he's done a nice job in ensuring the Bruins will be back in the hunt again next year.
Scotty, the Sabres front office HAS to make big changes starting July 1st, right? RIGHT???
Krueg; The Sabres are not known as a big-play team when it comes to free agent signings and trade deadline moves. They're more the slow and steady wins the race kind of team. But having missed the playoffs twice in a row and having returned both GM Darcy Regier and coach Lindy Ruff it behooves them to try and get the roster back to the level it was at in 2005-06 and 2006-07. Some scoring punch and leadership up front would be nice. And maybe a big puck-moving defenseman. Hard to imagine they can acquire both.
where are the Sedin twins going to wind up in your opinion? Vancouver, Toronto, somewhere else?
John; The assumption is that they will continue to move as one organism but given the money they're looking at (somewhere around $6 million a year with big term) there simply aren't that many teams able to absorb that kind of hit. Maybe it's time for a little separation for the famous Swedish twins. But if there's a team that could take them both it's Toronto where their former GM Brian Burke is running the show.
do you know if the tampa bay lighting will trade vincent lecavelair to the montreal canadians
Evan: I do not know that. But I suspect there will be very serious discussions with Montreal and perhaps a handful of other teams including the Los Angeles Kings about Lecavalier's availability and the asking price. If nothing gets done by July 1, when Lecavalier's no-trade clause kicks in, then consider him a Bolt for life.
Always talk about Biron and where he is going, but what about Nittymaki? where might he end up? Or is he destined to be a bench warmer for his career?
I just think Antero Niittymaki is like probably 20 other netminders in the NHL; for a week or so he looks like a million bucks (he was the goaltender of the tournament in Turin at the '06 Olympics) and then for a month looks like he's best-suited to be a back-up for life.
Do you see anyone wanting to trade for Giguere given his huge contract and poor play as of late?
Ryan; Let's just put it this way, GM Bob Murray will not be turning a deaf ear to any interest in Giguere. And with Jonas Hiller playing lights-out down the stretch and in the playoffs the last thing the Ducks want is to start next season with a $7-million back-up (cap hit of $6 million). Giguere does have a no-trade deal, though, so that will complicate matters in no small way for Murray.
Do you know if the Devils gave permission to Calgary to talk to Sutter? Will there be any compensation?
Heef; The Devils would definitely have had to allowed the Flames to discuss hiring Brent Sutter. As for compensation, league rules no longer allow for teams to extract a payment for coaches and GMs who leave to another team.
Is there room for Varlamov to improve as a full time starter next season? Consistency would be nice.
Alex; I think that's going to be one of the main storylines for the Caps; can Varlamov build on his playoff successes and become a legitimate starter or does he take a step back like a Carey Price in Montreal. Given the fact he speaks no English and seems immune to pressure, I'm thinking this is a good thing for the Caps.
Scott, The Caps have Backstrom and Semin coming up for RFA after next season. Can they really afford to keep Ovechkin, Green, Backstrom and Semin long term? It seems like they would turn into the Bolts with Vinny, Marty, Richards and Boyle. To me Semin would be the one to move. Your thoughts?
Pat; I think if there is a top young piece that the Caps will be willing to move it's Semin for sure.
What do you see the Blues doing to make an improvement on their almost Cinderella season?
Woody; Assuming no more calamitious golf cart accidents the Blues will get Erik Johnson, Eric Brewer and Paul Kariya back to start the season and that makes them a much different team already. Rumors are rampant they'd like to repatriate Chris Pronger and if they were able to manage that they suddenly jump right into the fray in the Western Conference big boys.
Who are the top defensman on the free agent market
Jason: Jay Bouwmeester is the top d-man out there but Mike Komisarek will get a lot of attention and the Habs may not be able to afford him. Sergei Zubov, Mathieu Schneider, Rob Scuderi, Mattias Ohlund, Francois Beauchemin, Scott Niedermayer and Jordan Leopold round out what is a pretty thin bunch of potential free agent defensemen.
how much does Kozlov and Fedorov leaving the Caps hurt.
Tim; Honestly I don't think it hurts them at all. Assuming Chris Clark can stay healthy and a couple of their young guys takes a step forward I don't see any drop-off at all.
Any news on the Blackhawks and Marty Havlat contract talks? If talks are broken down, any chance they trade Campbell for Heatley? Takes care of filling Havlat's vacant space and freeing up money for Keith in a couple years.
Jerry; It looked for a long time like Havlat would sign a long-term deal but the 'Hawks are going to have their hands full keeping all of their top young players on board like Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Dave Bolland, Cam Barker not to mention Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. So I think Havlat might be a luxury they will do without. As for moving Bryan Campbell, hard to imagine any team taking on that contract.
Long Live the Whale! On a serious note is there any way the Rangers find someone to score goals this offseason?
Ryan; Hope you have that catchy Whalers' theme song in your cell phone. Unless the Rangers can get out from underneath a couple of those bloated contracts GM Glen Sather has saddled the team with they won't be adding much of anything which means another season of scratching and clawing for goals and hoping Henrik Lundqvist is on his game. Stay tuned.
Is Kovalchuk a Thrasher for life? If not, how and when does he leave?
Jerod; Kovalchuk is a Thrasher now and I would think how well the team plays at the start of the season and whether it looks like the salary cap is going to take a big dive after the coming season will be big factors in whether the Thrashers can convince Kovalchuk they're on the right track.
Many thanks for folks. Enjoy the draft.