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The big news out of New York so far this morning involves the Justin Falk for Benn Ferriero trade… Just kidding, it’s definitely the Kris Letang extension. Earlier in the week it looked like the two sides were inexorably headed towards a divorce, but instead they’ve reportedly agreed on a eight year deal (the max) worth 58 M which gives Letang a 7.25 million annual cap-hit.

 

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Letang’s contract will get made fun of endlessly, and I guess I understand that on some level. Fans, media and even some analysts haven’t quite adjusted to new CBA realities - even though the teams themselves have for the most part - but the fact remains that under the NHL’s new agreement we should all expect average cap-hits for elite players to increase.

 

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For example, Ryan Suter is going to make nine million per season right through to 2020 in Minnesota. But his cap-hit doesn’t quite reflect his actual salary thanks to a couple of Kovalchuk-like cheater years tacked on at the end. With the eight-year limit on contracts and the rules on salary variance, teams can’t do that anymore. The result is that Letang at 7.25 per year, despite being a pretty square deal for both sides, carries a price tag that is giving the average hockey fan sticker shock this morning.

 

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The Karlsson – Letang contract comparison being made widely on Twitter today is lazy. Ottawa bought a whole whack of RFA years from last seasons Norris winner, and RFA years generally cost a lot less than seasons of the UFA variety.

 

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Kris Letang didn’t show well during the Eastern Conference final this past season but make no mistake: he’s the nitrous that sets the Penguins offensive engine into overdrive. I detailed his on-ice impact over at CanucksArmy earlier this week.

 

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I'm pretty curious to see the impact Letang's signing might have on the defenceman trade market today (and through the summer). Could Edler and Phaneuf move? I'd be surprised, but that's what the rumour mill is churning out...

 

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The Canucks are reportedly considering keeping Roberto Luongo and trading Cory Schneider. Do you realize what that means? It means that after fourteen months Mike Gillis has finally managed to create a market for Roberto Luongo!

 

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The latest Luongo reports aside, I still think Cory Schneider stays in Vancouver on Sunday.

 

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The Leafs are reportedly considering moving up to select Max Domi, which would be just awesome from a branding perspective. Domi's also a pretty talented prospect, and in my estimation a lot closer to holding down a job in the show than many in the industry might think. How high in the draft do they need to get in order to select Domi? Probably not top-five (though the Leafs are reportedly in talks with the Hurricanes for the fifth overall pick), but certainly into the top-10. Max Domi is unquestionably one of the drafts fastest risers…

 

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Just the sense I've got talking to people in Manhattan this week, but one of the drafts fastest fallers might be Hunter Shinkaruk. I could see him being available late in the first round, at this point, and what a steal that would be…

 

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If you’re interested in a think piece about change, hype, hope and the NHL Draft, I wrote a general draft set up pivoting off of that outrageously cool Valeri Ivanovich Nicushkin highlight reel for the Sporting News.

 

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The latest Sergei Bobrovsky rumours are pretty remarkable, as he he's reportedly looking for a six million dollar pay day following his Vezina season. As absurdly long as Luongo's contract is when you see the money being demanded by Bobrovsky, and what Mike Smith managed to get from an ownerless club in Phoenix, it's kind of baffling that Vancouver can't find a landing spot for him...

 

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If you want some last minute draft prep, my pal Corey Pronman of Hockey Prospectus and ESPN Insider does the lord's work. Here's his mock draft, and his complete draft board. Must read stuff for draftniks.

 

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We don't usually get an inside look at what a clubs Draft board looks like going into an NHL draft, but we might have this week when the Canucks may have unintentionally leaked their 2010 draft board. Some fascinating (and heartbreaking for Canucks fans) names on that list...

 

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My pick for Sunday's ultimate wild card team? Craig MacTavish and the often impulsive Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers have a whole whack of picks (two second rounders and the seventh overall) in addition a bag full of desirable and expendable assets (Paajarvi, Gagner in particular). There's going to be a lot of pressure on the Oilers to turn their young talent into on-ice success in a loaded "Division A" next year, and I'd wager MacTavish is aggressive in securing some quality talent today.

 

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I'm a huge Nathan Horton fan, and he only just turned twenty-eight. Yeah he's had some concussion and other injury issues, but he's an elite on-ice shooting% driver and probably the single best net-presence, dirty goal power forward in the game. I'd imagine he'll be looking for Lucic money in free-agency, which is rich, but if you could get him for four years and twenty-four million? Bitter pill to swallow sure, but I'd applaud a signing like that...

 

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I've long been convinced that David Clarkson is Toronto bound (despite the fact that the Maple Leafs have zero need whatsoever for additional talent or size on the wing). I've been hearing otherwise all weekend though...

 

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One thing to look for today: the new collective bargaining agreement allows teams to take four seasons to sign 18 or 19 year olds drafted out of Europe. I wonder if that additional time is enough to tip the scales towards a European skater in the event that, say, a team had a CHL skater and a European skater in a dead heat on their draft board.

 

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I'll be recapping the days news and my experience covering today's chaotic event in a special edition of the ramblings later tonight. So check back for it!


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