Brian Costello joined The Hockey News in 1990 when the likes of Bruce Boudreau, Randy Carlyle and Joel Quenneville were players, not coaches. Costello covered major junior hockey for five seasons before getting called up to THN. He likes to focus his attention on pre- and post-NHL careers, following closely the progress of the draft, up-and-coming prospects and fancying himself a Hall of Fame expert.
It didn’t seem that long ago the Oilers made the proud choice selecting Taylor Hall over Tyler Seguin with the first pick in the 2010 draft. That was supposed to be Edmonton’s first step forward after bottoming out in 2009-10. Hard to believe, then, that next season will be Hall’s sixth in the NHL, and the anchor is still caught among the seaweed. Selecting first overall for a fourth time in six years is bound to pay huge dividends this time. Have you heard of Connor McDavid?
Round 1, pick 1
Round 1, pick 16
Round 2, pick 33
Round 2, pick 57
Round 3, pick 79
Round 3, pick 86
Round 4, pick 117
Round 5, pick 124
Round 6, pick 154
Round 7, pick 184
In no particular order, the Oilers need more reliable goaltending, a good base of top-four defensemen and scoring depth in the middle six. But because few big-name players reach unrestricted free agency July 1, it’s improbable Edmonton can fill those needs in a single off-season. It’s a better bet the Oilers hire a coach who can push the right buttons and find a way to snap the losing culture.
The Flames vowed to get bigger last summer and did with the acquisitions of Brandon Bollig and Deryk Engelland. But president of operations Brian Burke and GM Brad Treliving wanted to beef up the system as well. Three of the five skaters drafted in 2014 are big boys getting bigger. Hunter Smith, Adam Ollas Mattsson and Austin Carroll average 6-foot-5, 215 pounds. Don’t expect that mandate to change.
It looks fishy that Arizona traded Devan Dubnyk just 19 games into the season and he went on to become a Vezina Trophy finalist for the Minnesota Wild. Almost as though the Coyotes were making a run for Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel. But few could have predicted Dubnyk would maintain his spectacular play. After all, he was a bargain-basement signing by Arizona last off-season.
Round 1, pick 3
Round 1, pick 30
Round 2, pick 32
Round 2, pick 60
Round 3, pick 63
Round 3, pick 81
Round 5, pick 123
Round 7, pick 183
Only the pop-gun offense of Buffalo was worse than that of the Coyotes. Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson (23 goals) was the lone player with more than 17 goals. Arizona needs better goaltending as well, but that will have to come in-house from Mike Smith, who’s signed long-term.
No team does a better job being competitive and well positioned for the future than the Ducks. They’ve been at or near the top of the NHL and Future Watch standings the past few seasons under the direction of GM Bob Murray and top talent assessor David McNab. The Ducks are parsimonious with picks and prospects, not willing to give up much in the way of future players just to get a playoff boost.
Round 1, pick 27
Round 3, pick 80
Round 3, pick 84
Round 5, pick 148
Round 6, pick 178
Anaheim has a fine assortment of talented forwards in their early 20s who are regular contributors. They’d love for at least one of Kyle Palmieri, Rickard Rakell, Emerson Etem or Jakob Silfverberg to break through and become the 25- to 30-goal secondary scoring threat the team has lacked since Teemu Selanne moved on.
You heard it as much as I did the past few weeks. Future Hall of Famer Marian Hossa this…. Future Hall of Famer Marian Hossa that… Did the Chicago Blackhawks’ right winger officially add that moniker to his passport?
Hossa has had a terrific 16-year NHL career, but he’s hardly a lock for the Hall of Fame.
Hearing so many hockey analysts calling him one is both premature and dangerous. He’s a very good player entering the final few seasons of a very good career. But a lot of very good players have retired in the past decade and not made it to the Hall of Fame. Here are some names: Mark Recchi, Owen Nolan, Adam Foote, Paul Kariya, Rod Brind’Amour, Keith Tkachuk, Jeremy Roenick, Gary Roberts, Curtis Joseph, Trevor Linden, Eric Lindros, John LeClair, Dave Andreychuk, Alex Mogilny, Keith Primeau.
And that’s just the past decade.
A couple of second-round draft picks from 2013 were left unsigned and are going into the recycling bin. Gabryel Boudreau, selected 49th by the San Jose Sharks a couple of years ago, and Marc-Olivier Roy, chosen 56th by the Edmonton Oilers, were not signed by their NHL teams and are up again for this year’s draft, June 26-27 in Florida.
They’re part of a group of 17 draft picks from the major junior ranks in 2013 who were not signed before the two-year deadline June 1. One draft pick from 2014 was not offered a contract by June 1, so he too goes back into the draft. That’s Edgars Kulda, chosen 193rd overall by Arizona.
A couple weeks ago when Draft Preview with Connor McDavid on the cover came out, an older hockey fan asked me if we ever get prospects who go Chris Govedaris on us.
If you actually get that reference, you’re part of the small minority. It came about 27 years ago in our Draft Preview 1988. Govedaris was a top prospect with Toronto in the Ontario League. There were projections early in the season that he’d probably go in the top five with the likes of Mike Modano, Trevor Linden, Curtis Leschyshyn and Martin Gelinas. Govedaris was a scrappy winger who finished his draft year with 42 goals, 80 points and 118 penalty minutes in 62 OHL games.
In doing his research for our rankings, former THN editor-in-chief Bob McKenzie got mixed reviews on Govedaris. Some scouts liked him because of his skill and moxie. Other scouts questioned his work ethic, defensive play and mental toughness. On our final list, Govedaris came in at No. 14, behind names like Teemu Selanne, Jeremy Roenick and Rod Brind’Amour, among others. When the issue came out and Govedaris heard where he was ranked, let’s just say he wasn’t happy. To be charitable, he made some public non-complimentary comments towards McKenzie, well before the dawn of social media, or even the Internet.
As he heads towards unrestricted free agency and the biggest contract of his career, Karri Ramo is saying all the right things. The question is will he get intercepted along the way by Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving.
Ramo isn’t the top goalie slated to become a UFA July 1 — that distinction belongs to Minnesota’s Devan Dubnyk — but he will be in demand if he doesn’t come to contract terms with the Flames. And the Wild have made every indication they intend to re-sign Dubnyk, which will play in favor of Ramo if he’s still unsigned July 1. Read more