The CHL’s Import Draft was held today, giving every major junior team on the continent a chance to pick up some prime European talent. Franchises are allowed to play two Euros on their roster, but no goaltenders. Teams that have a European player taken in the first round of the NHL can select a third player’s rights as well, in case the first-rounder ends up leaving.
With that out of the way, let’s look at how things went down. Consider this a non-comprehensive list, as I am cobbling together commitments or denials as I receive them from various sources in the industry.
The Boston Bruins are by far the most fascinating team in the NHL right now. If you’re a fan of the venerable franchise, I apologize: car-crash fascinating is a lot different than the good kind. But here we are.
Milan Lucic is gone, yet some of his salary remains. Dougie Hamilton has been traded for assets that may or may not ever play an NHL game. And now, Zac Rinaldo acquired from Philadelphia for a third-round selection in 2017.
FORT LAUDERDALE – All right, let’s see if we have this straight. If the Arizona Coyotes can somehow keep their disputed lease in effect, the good people of Glendale will be giving money to a team that is paying a guy $575,000 to not play for them and another guy making $3 million who will actually play for them. That will cost them $3.6 million total, a little more than the $3.2 million they were paying to the guy they traded away, who will likely get paid by his new team to not play for it. The guy making $575,000, by the way, will likely be elected into the Hall of Fame in a couple of days and he now works for the league, while still being paid by the teams who are paying him to not play for them.
Only in the NHL. Shortly after the draft wrapped up Saturday, the Philadelphia Flyers and Arizona Coyotes consummated a convoluted trade that saw defenseman Nicklas Grossmann head to the desert in exchange for Sam Gagner and the rights to Chris Pronger. The reason for the deal? The Coyotes will gain $1.5 million to help them get up to the salary floor, since Pronger’s deal is for $575,000 each of the next two seasons in real money and $4.94 million against the cap, and the Flyers will get some relief at the upper level. Pronger will also become the first player in history to be taken off the league’s long-term injury list without actually being activated.
Carry on, then.
The Flyers aren’t picky about where their talent comes from or where those players are going as long as they have potential. Prep schoolers and kids destined for mid-table NCAA schools such as Bowling Green and Connecticut have all been selected lately, as was NAHL goalie Anthony Stolarz. Curiously, no players from the OHL – a traditional hotbed – have donned the Orange and Black the past two drafts.
Round 1, picks 7 and 29
Round 2, pick 61
Round 3, picks 70 and 90
Round 4, picks 98 and 99
Round 5, pick 128
Round 6, pick 158
Round 7, pick 188
Heading into the 2015 world juniors in Toronto, there were many Canadian players we could basically check off as guarantees long before the roster was decided. Connor McDavid, Max Domi, Anthony Duclair, Sam Reinhart, Zach Fucale, Darnell Nurse, Josh Morrissey and Madison Bowey were all locks, for example.
With the tournament shifting to Helsinki for 2016, Canada’s braintrust will have some tougher decisions to make, as evidenced by the summer camp roster.
Earlier this week, Larry Brooks of the New York Post reported that sources claim there’s considerable interest from several clubs in Rangers backup Cam Talbot. It’s expected Talbot, who turns 28 in July, could be traded by the upcoming NHL draft in Florida.
Brooks didn’t specify which teams are pursuing Talbot, but TSN’s Darren Dreger lists the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, San Jose Sharks, Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers and Buffalo Sabres among the suitors. Dreger claims the Oilers, Sabres and Sharks are “pretty eager”, while the Flames, Panthers and Stars have “some interest.”
It shouldn’t be surprising that Talbot’s attracted so much attention. His solid performance filling in for sidelined Henrik Lundqvist in February and March suggests he has the capability to become a full-time NHL starter. He won’t get that opportunity with the Rangers.
Barring a trade, it appears that Vincent Lecavalier will be with the Philadelphia Flyers for a third season, as his agent has said no one from the organization has contacted him about buying out Lecavalier’s contract and the veteran isn’t ready to call it a career quite yet.
In an interview with TSN’s Frank Seravalli, Lecavalier’s agent Kent Hughes said that the 35-year-old Lecavalier isn’t ready to retire, “under any circumstances.” There had been some rumblings that Lecavalier could be considered for a buyout, but those were squashed by GM Ron Hextall, who said he didn’t intend to buy Lecavalier out. Read more
Kimmo Timonen had the perfect capper to his outstanding 16-year career: he won the Stanley Cup. But even after hoisting the sport’s grandest prize in a Chicago Blackhawks uniform, Timonen made no mistake that he plans to head back to Philadelphia and added that a place with the Flyers could be in the cards for him.
That’s not to say he isn’t retiring, however. Make no mistake, Timonen has played his final game in the NHL and will retire within the next few weeks. But in an interview with CSN Philly’s Tim Panaccio, Timonen said that once he gets back to his home, which is actually in South Jersey, he’ll take some time to decide what his next step will be, but that could very well mean a spot inside the Flyers organization. Read more