|15 Prime Cuts - Draft Edition||Tweet|
|Written by Jeff Angus|
|Thursday, 21 June 2012 10:25|
Josh Harding, Rick Nash trade rumors, Ryan Suter, Jay Bouwmeester, and more.
1. The Josh Harding contract extension is an interesting one. The Wild are handling their goaltending situation very smartly. Harding is locked up for another three years, and at a very reasonable $1.9 million. He hasn’t proven he can be a starter, but he hasn’t proven he can’t, either. Niklas Backstrom is close to 35, and has only a year left on his deal. If he starts to show signs of wearing down, Harding is right behind him.
Goaltending is a position where depth is important. Harding could potentially be starting for the Wild to begin the 2013-14 season, and with a $1.9 cap hit, that gives them a lot of salary flexibility to fill other needs.
2. PA Parenteau is an intriguing free agent option. Many teams out there would love to add a 67-point playmaking right wing. There are not many wingers who could be classified as playmakers (Ray Whitney comes to mind, as does Patrick Kane). Parenteau is a product of playing with Tavares and Matt Moulson to a degree, but it wasn’t like he was holding up the line either. The Islanders may not miss him a lot, but he could be a very smart signing (depending on cap hit and term). I could see him signing a deal similar to Tomas Fleischmann ($4.5 million cap hit per season for four years).
3. Rick Nash could be traded to Ottawa. Who do the Senators give up? I would assume one of Jakob Silfverberg or Mika Zibanejad would be in the deal. Nick Foligno is likely too, as the Jackets would probably want a top six forward back in return. Not really sure who else interests them… does Robin Lehner get moved? Are the Senators comfortable with Craig Anderson and Ben Bishop for the next few years?
If the sticking point for a Nash-to-San Jose trade is Logan Couture, the Jackets better make sure they are getting a solid enough return when they do eventually move their Captain.
4. Pierre LeBrun believes that Florida is a team interested in Roberto Luongo. Two things – the Canucks would have to take salary back, and Jacob Markstrom would not be a fan of this move. In the long (long) term this could benefit Markstrom, but is he prepared to be a back up for the next four or five years? Probably not. As for the trade return, the Canucks would love to add in one of Florida’s highly touted prospects. Perhaps recent NCAA grad Drew Shore.
5. I say this every year, but get ready for the “I can’t believe Player X” slipped this far. If each NHL team submitted their draft lists for review, there would be a huge discrepancy beyond the top pick. Teams often have a DND (do not draft) category – perhaps an attitude issue or a lingering injury. Drafts can never be properly evaluated for a few years, and trying to pick a draft ‘winner’ or ‘loser’ a day or two after is a waste of time.
6. I am going to be interviewing Boston College forward Destry Straight in the next few weeks. Straight is draft eligible this year after completing his freshman season with the NCAA Champion Boston College Screaming Eagles. He spent some time on a line with Chris Kreider. Straight is comparable to Leafs prospect Joe Colborne a few years ago – great size, great range, a solid hockey player, and lots of upside offensively. It will be interesting to see where he fits in next season with Kreider (and a few other BC players) moving on.
7. With all the talk regarding Anders Lindback in Tampa Bay, the Lightning still need to focus on improving the defensive group in front of him. Dwayne Roloson and Mathieu Garon both had forgettable 2011-12 seasons, but a lot of the blame could be laid to the lack of talent on Tampa’s back end. Victor Hedman took some steps forward, and Eric Brewer is a decent veteran option. However, the Lightning have a clear need for a puck mover (or two).
8. Four-time 30-goal scorer Bobby Ryan is available, again. I don’t see the Ducks getting fair value for the top line star, and Ryan is an attractive option for teams who don’t want to commit significant money or term to either Zach Parise or Rick Nash. Ryan is a versatile player who has been productive wherever the Ducks have put him. In 2011-12 he was with Getzlaf and Perry for every third shift.
9. I am always interested in what players are doing in their summer training. Brenden Dillon, the Stars prospect who I interviewed last week, is training with the likes of Colton Gilles and Ryan Johansen at a gym just outside of Vancouver. The Canucks have (it is unclear whether the team set it up) several of their young players down in Portland, Oregon at Nike Headquarters for Pro Training, including Jordan Schroeder, Kevin Connauton, Zack Kassian, and Chris Tanev.
The Canucks young guns are spending time training with stars from other sports, including Detroit Lions tackle Ndamukong Suh. Notorious workout machines like Sidney Crosby, Steven Stamkos, and Kris Letang are all terrific hockey players, but the dry land stuff plays a huge part in the year-to-year improvement (especially in younger players).
10. Pretty amazing the talent that has come out of Wisconson in recent years. Heck, you could ice a pretty formidable blue line right now: Brenden Smith, Justin Schultz, Jake Gardiner, Ryan McDonagh, Cody Goloubef, Jamie McBain, and Davis Drewiskie.
11. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the next few weeks relatively quiet. There isn’t any rush to make a move right now, especially with the start to the season potentially getting pushed back by a few months. There is some uncertainty over important issues in the new CBA too – contract length, UFA age, an amnesty clause, and so on. Teams may not want to pre-emptively shoot themselves in the foot.
12. Jay Bouwmeester gets ragged on by everyone for being an overpaid, underwhelming defenseman. That being said, he plays really hard minutes for the Flames. The rumors of him being shopped don’t make much sense – does Calgary feel comfortable with a top pairing of Chris Butler and Mark Giordano? The Flames could always trade for or sign a replacement defenseman, but trading Bouwmeester wouldn’t really help them out at all. They would likely have to take some significant salary back.
13. Another strange rumor out of Calgary (this time from Darren Dreger) – the availability of Mikael Backlund. Backlund is the only young forward in Calgary’s top nine (although Sven Bartschi will be there this season too), and he performed pretty well in 2011-12 considering he played with a revolving door of wingers.
14. I wouldn’t be surprised to see both Brenden Morrow and Steve Ott traded out of Dallas. The Stars want to make a splash and they may not be able to do that via free agency. Ott is a very valuable player to a contending team looking for a final piece or two (Dallas isn’t there right now). Morrow isn’t the same player he once was, but he could still play an important role on a second or third line for team with Stanley Cup aspirations. Dallas would love to add a top four defenseman and a top six center, allowing Jamie Benn to move back to his natural position of wing.
15. Another possible Ryan Suter landing spot – St. Louis. They recently changed ownership and I am not privy to their new owner’s willingness to spend money, but the team has a clear need for a top four defenseman. Barret Jackman was re-signed recently, but he is better in a second pairing role. Alex Pietrangelo spent much of last season babysitting Carlo Colaiacovo, and the Blues would love to add a left side defenseman to play with their young stud. Imagine a Suter-Pietrangelo pairing for the next decade? Pietrangelo has the upside to become as good as (or even better than) Shea Weber.
Apparently I can't count. Two bonus Cuts today...
16. Assuming the Leafs start training camp this fall with a James Reimer/Ben Scrivens duo, how would Toronto fans feel? There are some who think that Scrivens may be the long term solution there (ahead of Reimer). It would be a risky proposition going with two young goalies, though.
17. Pittsburgh and GM Ray Shero may not “want” to move Jordan Staal, but if he asks for $6+ million, do they really have a choice? Can you have $25+ million locked up in one position, especially with so much CBA uncertainty? Staal is a phenomenal player and his heavy lifting allows for easier minutes for the likes of Evgeni Malkin and James Neal. He’d be missed a lot. What I would look forward to would be to see his production in a more offensive role. Assume he goes to a team like Carolina to center the second offensive unit. Is Staal a 70-80 point guy? I think so.
This column was originally published at Angus Certified. Check my blog out for hockey content - interviews, profiles, and more.
Ross The Boss Palmer said:
Ross The Boss Palmer said:
|Last Updated on Friday, 22 June 2012 10:54|