Florida Panthers win lottery. Will they keep top pick or deal it?

2013 NHL Draft

Turnabout is fair play for the Florida Panthers. At last year’s draft lottery, the second-to-last Colorado Avalanche leap-frogged the Panthers to win first overall pick. This year, it was the Panthers who did the leap-frogging.

Florida moved up one spot in the draft and won the right to select first overall in the 2014 NHL draft June 27 in Philadelphia. The Panthers had an 18.8 percent chance of winning the lottery, held Tuesday night in Toronto. The last-place Buffalo Sabres had the best chance of winning – 25 percent – but will slip to the second overall spot.

The remainder of the top 13 picks follow in reverse order of NHL standings. Edmonton picks third followed by Calgary fourth and the New York Islanders fifth. Vancouver is sixth, Carolina seventh, Toronto eighth, Winnipeg ninth, Anaheim (from Ottawa in the Bobby Ryan trade) 10th, Nashville 11th, Phoenix 12th and Washington 13th. The New Jersey Devils slip to the 30th spot as league penalty for trying to circumvent the NHL salary cap.

Winning the lottery is nice for the Panthers, but it doesn’t mean as much in a draft that is considered very equal among the top three, four, even five prospects according to most scouts. Florida is weakest on the blueline and will surely be tempted to select Barrie defenseman Aaron Ekblad first overall.

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Barry Trotz should be next coach of Toronto Maple Leafs

Ken Campbell
Barry Trotz

Talk about the luck of the Irish. On his first day on the job, Brendan Shanahan was handed a gift in the form of Barry Trotz being fired by the Nashville Predators.

And there is no move that Shanahan, the new president of the Toronto Maple Leafs, could make that would create as much excitement and give this team the boost it so desperately needs than to fire current coach Randy Carlyle and replace him with Trotz. It’s been speculated that Shanahan had his eye on Peter DeBoer, but the New Jersey Devils coach still has a year on his contract and will soon sign an extension. John Tortorella if he loses his job in Vancouver? Well, this crew of defensive misfits could do worse, but that might just be a little too toxic.

The Nashville Predators decided not to renew Trotz’s contract because it was time for a new voice. With 1,196 games and just two playoff series victories to his credit, Trotz cannot say he is being hard done by in losing his job. Hockey is a results-oriented business and the tandem of GM David Poile and Trotz did not deliver.

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Barry Trotz is out – but can Nashville’s new coach develop better forwards?

Rory Boylen
Barry Trotz

The Nashville Predators started out as an NHL franchise in 1998 and will only now make their first coaching change.

Today came news Barry Trotz is out as head coach of the Predators after the team missed back-to-back playoffs for the first time since the formative years of the franchise. Trotz brought Nashville its first two playoff series wins – in 2011 and 2012 – but never went beyond the second round. Even so, Trotz’s tenure will be remembered as a success, since he always seemed to get more out of a budget roster than it appeared he should.

The Predators announced Trotz’s contract won’t be renewed and that he’ll be offered a different position within the organization. Maybe he’ll remain with the franchise he helped pick out team office carpeting for a year before the Predators were competing in the NHL, or maybe he’ll seek out another coaching job in the league. If he does the latter, he’ll have no problem finding employment. Read more

Draft lottery odds: See the most likely outcome for your team

Nathan MacKinnon

Canadian teams will be well-represented in Tuesday’s NHL draft lottery.

Hey, we have to find something nice to say as the Montreal Canadiens are the only team north of the border to make the playoffs. The other six Canadian cities are among the top 10 teams vying to win the lottery and earn the right to select first overall.

Below you’ll see a listing for the 14 non-playoff teams and their chances to select first overall in the June 27-28 draft in Philadelphia. Most interesting is the likely outcome column which shows the varying percentage chances your favorite team will place.

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The NHL’s top 5 “geriatric” rookies (a.k.a. who’s old & new)

Van Guilder

When, at 30 years and 72 days, Mark Van Guilder made his debut with the Nashville Predators Sunday, he became the oldest player to suit up for his first NHL game this season.

The NHL Network spoke to Van Guilder about his (long) road to the NHL and his first game. It’s worth a watch if for no other reason than his opening line: “First of all, 400 games (in the minors)? Holy crap!”

 

 

With Van Guilder at No. 1, here are the other four oldest NHL debuts from 2013-14:

Anton Belov, Edmonton, D, 27 years, 64 days
No player on this list has contributed more to his team than Belov, who spent nine years in the Russian/Kontinental League before signing with the Oilers in May. He’s had his ups and down – including several scratches both healthy and due to injury, but he’s logging more than 17 minutes a night in his 50 games played. He also suited up for Russia in Sochi.

Julien Brouillette, Washington, D, 27 years, 63 days
The undrafted Brouillette, who’s played more than 200 games in both the American League and ECHL, picked up an assist in his first game and a goal in his second during his first stint with the Capitals in early February. He was recalled Sunday and played his third NHL game, against Nashville.

Reto Berra, Calgary, G, 26 years, 304 days
Expectations were high for Berra after he came over from his native Switzerland. Following some early struggles, specifically with rebound control, the Flames dealt Berra to the Avalanche, who, somewhat questionably, gave him a three-year contract extension. Can goalie guru Francois Allaire work his magic with another big stopper?

Cam Talbot, Rangers, G, 26 years, 141 days
He’s seen just 20 games this season – he’s stuck behind some guy named Lundqvist after all – but when he has played he’s been phenomenal: his .940 save percentage is first in the league and his 1.67 goal-against average is second (behind Minnesota’s Josh Harding). Talbot toiled in the AHL from 2010 to 2013 after spending three years in college with Alabama-Huntsville. If the Rangers make a deep playoff run, Talbot will have played a huge part by allowing ‘The King’ to get his regular-season rest.

(a nod to the always-excellent hockey-reference.com for saving me a lot of time doing math.)

Edward Fraser, The Hockey News’ Managing Editor, joined THN in 2005 after covering the Jr. B Stratford Cullitons. The London, Ont., native graduated from the University of Western Ontario – where he did campus radio color commentary for both men’s and women’s hockey – with a Master’s in Journalism. He really, really hates the loser point.

Buffalo Sabres locked in for 30th, but not first pick in draft

2012 NHL Entry Draft - Rounds 2-7

Just because the Buffalo Sabres are virtually assured of finishing last overall doesn’t mean they are heavy favorites to win the draft lottery and select first overall in June.

The Sabres have just a 25 percent chance of winning the draft lottery and getting first pick. Their most likely outcome for Buffalo is to select second overall. That would happen if any of the other 13 non-playoff teams won the draft lottery and moved up to first pick.

The NHL altered the draft lottery odds last year allowing all 14 teams a chance at winning first pick. In previous seasons, only five teams had a chance at first pick, meaning the team finishing 30th had a 48.2 percent chance of gaining first pick, either by winning the lottery or having teams sixth worst to 14th worst win the lottery.

Buffalo’s magic number to finish 30th is two. Any combination of two Buffalo losses or Edmonton wins in the remaining eight games secures last overall for the Sabres.

The lottery will take place in the first couple of days after the regular season ends April 13. The 2014 draft is June 27-28 in Philadelphia. There’s a group of four prospects at the head of the class this year. They are Barrie defenseman Aaron Ekblad, Kootenay center Sam Reinhart, Kingston left winger Sam Bennett and Prince Albert center Leon Draisaitl.

Regardless of where New Jersey finishes, its first round pick will slip to the 30th spot as part of the penalty for the team trying to sign Ilya Kovalchuk to a contract that circumvented the salary cap. The Ottawa pick belongs to Anaheim as part of the Bobby Ryan trade last year.

The following chart lists each team’s chances for winning first pick and most likely outcome in the lottery, as of today’s standings. We’ll update this again as the season comes to an end.

lottery odds

 

Brian Costello is The Hockey News’s senior editor and a regular contributor to the thn.com Post-To-Post blogFor more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazineFollow Brian Costello on Twitter at @BCostelloTHN

Fantasy Pool Look: Goalies, who to buy and who to sell

Anton-Khudobin-and-Cam-Ward (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Many coined Henrik Lundqvist, Pekka Rinne and Jonathan Quick as the “Big 3” when it comes to goaltending last summer. After all, in fantasy hockey the goaltender is the most difficult position to project, so it’s good to know there are at least three you can rely on every year to post good numbers. Do everything you can to acquire one of those three, because then you won’t have to worry about that roster spot.

Or so the theory goes.

That theory sure went out the window quickly. Rinne and Quick missed almost the entire first half, while Lundqvist probably wishes he did. This is one season in recent memory where depth goaltenders and quick thinking on the waiver wire with backup netminders saved the season for many poolies.

Let’s take a look at the biggest questions fantasy owners have about that area between the pipes for 2014-15.
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Will Robitaille help open the Hall of Fame door for Rob Blake

Dallas Stars v Los Angeles Kings

Critical analysis is part of our job in covering hockey. From time to time, The Hockey News is critical of the selections or omissions made by the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Doug Gilmour, Pavel Bure, Igor Larionov, Cam Neely were left standing at the altar multiple years before finally getting in. Others, like Eric Lindros, Phil Housley, Tom Barrasso, Guy Carbonneau, are still waiting. And then there’s the list of players who received induction when we thought they weren’t exactly worthy.

It’s all part of the business of critical evaluation.

One thing the Hall of Fame does I can’t ever argue with because it’s a healthy practice. It regularly turns over personnel on its 18-member selection committee. The committee has a stipulated limit for length of service.

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