The 2013 Canadian WJC summer camp invites have been announced. I don't foresee Drouin or MacKinnon playing, though....
Since I won't be around too much this weekend, I have decided to hold a special (actually, it's just a normal one, but work with me here) pre-draft fantasy mailbag.
The Ducks have smartly re-signed depth defenseman Ben Lovejoy to a three-year deal. Lovejoy had 10 points in 32 games in 2013.
I said yesterday to keep an eye on Bryan Murray – and according to the Ottawa Sun (I know, I know – Murray is hunting for a deal.
Three league executives said Thursday the No. 1 target for many teams is Anaheim Ducks winger Bobby Ryan. Signed for $5.1 million through 2014-15, Ryan, 26, fits the bill for what Murray wants to add to his team.
The issue is simple: The Senators aren't alone in their pursuit, but they may be one of the few teams with the assets to make a deal happen. The talk is the Ducks would like to get a defencemen in return if they are going to move Ryan.
"He's the guy everybody wants," said a league executive Thursday.
What would it take from Ottawa to pry Ryan away from Anaheim? Adding a sniper and playmaker doesn’t always work out (Thornton/Heatley, Richards/Gaborik), but I think Ryan and Spezza would be phenomenal together on Ottawa’s top line. Ryan’s value would skyrocket coming from Anaheim to Ottawa.
Texas (AHL) has re-signed Justin Dowling. It’s a matter of when, and not if, Dowling gets a shot to be an everyday forward at the NHL level.
More on Dowling:
Dowling, of course, was a huge part of the Stars success thanks to his chemistry with Mike Hedden and Alex Chiasson. Really, it was his chemistry with Hedden that helped make the pair a standard part of the top six. Chiasson, Glennie and Ritchie all saw time on their wing and all produced there. Chiasson spent the most time with the two and benefited tremendously from it.
Dowling's production tailed off in the playoffs after he suffered a broken finger in the second round, which forced Alex Chiasson to take faceoffs for the line and limited his overall effectiveness.
Here’s a pretty insightful interview with Oilers GM Craig MacTavish. I’m a huge MacT fan – smart guy who really knows the game inside and out. He will do good things in Edmonton.
If they can make it work, the Canucks are interested in Vinny Lecavalier. Trouble is… there is this pesky thing called the salary cap. Vancouver is right up against it, and there are no easy outs for Mike Gillis.
I like Lecavalier a lot (as does John Tortorella). But this probably won’t work for the Canucks.
If the Canucks can sign Lecavalier this summer, it would go a long way toward addressing the club's gaping hole at the centre position in the short-term. Based on Lebrun's comments, team is apparently interested, but there are a lot of hurdles to clear first and there will be a lot of competition for Lecavalier's services on the open market. And even then, should the Canucks manage to win this summer's Lecavalier sweeps, what they'll really win is the right to sign an aging player to an overpriced deal...
Here’s my look at the top WHL guys from this year (well not counting Hunter Shinkaruk).
One guy I really like is forward Morgan Klimchuk:
Klimchuk isn’t big, but he is an incredible skater with a ton of offensive talent. He had a solid offensive season considering the lack of talent on the Pats roster. He’s a lot of fun to watch, and he plays a fearless game with and without the puck. He’s probably the most intriguing WHL forward from a Canuck perspective at the draft this year (in the “somewhat realistic” category). He has a great shot and has played on the point on Regina’s PP at times (a testament to his offensive ability, patience, and vision).
So what's pushing Klimchuk out of the top 30 on many scouting lists? Size is probably part of it, and the fact that he played for such a poor team probably doesn't help, but the biggest thing is that the offense just isn't there to the same degree as many of the other top prospects. Granted, he didn't have a lot of offensive help in Regina, but he also didn't lead his team in scoring (he was five goals and four points behind 20-year-old Lane Scheidl).
After the top forwards are gone, Klimchuk is a guy I’d target in the 10-15 range in fantasy drafts. He has a ton of offensive upside.
Another guy I really like from a fantasy perspective is the undersized Nic Petan (another WHL guy – sure are a lot of them this year):
“He doesn’t get hit often, is very elusive and, defensively, is on the right side of the puck now. He gets going quick and can create and score and doesn’t engage in physical play, so it’s not going to be a size thing that keeps him out of the NHL.
Kris Letang is worth $7.5 or $8 million on many teams, but the Penguins aren’t one of them. They simply can’t pay three players that much money.
I still don’t see why the Penguins aren’t thinking of buying out MAF, using the cap savings to re-up Letang, and rolling with Vokoun and a 1B as the goalie tandem next year.
Where are the likely landing spots for Letang? Thoughts? Guesses?
I will be away this weekend – sure picked a good time for a mini vacation, I know. I’ll probably miss some huge trades/signings/draft moves, but the DobberHockey crew will have you covered (as always).
What are your draft day plans? It is shaping up to be a crazy one this year.
Chicago is smart to shop David Bolland right now – he had a subpar 2013 season, a decent postseason, and is paid a lot of money. They would likely to use that money elsewhere (say… Mr. Bickell?). Bolland is a great third line center, but Chicago has seen an impressive and rapid improvement from Marcus Kruger over the last 12-18 months in that role. Bolland isn’t a second line center, and that is still what the team needs.
In the right situation (a team that needs a third line/pest guy), Bolland will thrive. But Chicago needs to spend its dollars elsewhere.