Pens GM Jim Rutherford had the book on Kasperi Kapanen

Kapanen

PHILADELPHIA – Bits and bytes from the 2014 NHL draft that didn’t quite make it into cyberspace, but have full blog potential when compiled as a compendium:

KAP TALK To say that Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford has been scouting Kasperi Kapanen for a long time would be an understatement. Rutherford made history Friday night when he became the first GM in NHL history to draft both a father and a son. Back in 1995, he drafted Sami Kapanen 87th overall for the Hartford Whalers, then 19 years later, took Kasperi 22nd overall for the Pittsburgh Penguins in this draft.

“Do you know anybody else who’s done that?” Rutherford said of drafting the father-son combo. “We drafted Sami in 1995 and he had a son in 1996. I used to watch (Kasperi) on the ice when he just started skating and I end up drafting him.” Read more

Winners and losers from the draft: Wild cards get revenge

Ryan Kennedy
Ho-Sang-draft

Josh Ho-Sang and Anthony DeAngelo were two of the most controversial players available in the 2014 draft class and it had nothing to do with their hockey skills. In fact, both are gifted producers. But character issues dogged both Ontario Leaguers in the run-up to the first round, casting doubt as to whether they would be picked on Friday at all.

As it turned out, DeAngelo went 19th overall to Tampa Bay, while the New York Islanders traded up to take Josh Ho-Sang with their second pick of the evening 28th overall. The draft is always nerve-wracking, but for DeAngelo, who hails from the Philadelphia area and has seen more games than he can count at the Wells Fargo Center, being up for the draft at home was a double-edged sword.

Read more

Canucks continue tear down, Lightning move closer to contender status in Jason Garrison trade

Rory Boylen
garrison-457441349

In one day – so far, at least – the Vancouver Canucks shaved $5.6 million off their cap and that’s what the Ryan Kesler and Jason Garrison deals were about. Yes, the Canucks are moving into a new phase and the cap space they’ve picked up will help them achieve it.

Now, Vancouver can get a little more aggressive in acquiring the elite futures they couldn’t get in a Kesler trade. For instance, they could go after a top four pick in this draft, or a good young player or two from some other team, and have the ability to take back an overpriced contract to help facilitate such a move. It also gives them plenty of room to chase free agent Ryan Miller in a few days, if GM Jim Benning so chooses.

Either way, Vancouver’s first two moves Friday are only the beginning of a much bigger shift, it seems Read more

Marian Gaborik at seven years, Ryan Callahan at $5.8 million: the price of keeping a contender

Rory Boylen
Marian Gaborik celebrates a goal for the LA Kings

In the last 69 games Marian Gaborik played before landing with the Los Angeles Kings, he scored 18 goals. He’s been back and forth between a 40-goal pace and a 20-goal pace since 2010 and, like most goal scorers, can be very streaky. But when he gets hot like he did during this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs, he’s a real dangerous, difference-making striker.

Would you give a 32-year-old streaky scorer like this a seven-year deal? That’s what Dean Lombardi – the best GM in the NHL business – did Wednesday. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Where will Ryan Kesler be traded?

Ryan-Kesler-VAN

With the Vancouver Canucks having hired a new GM (Jim Benning) and coach (Willie Desjardins), the focus returns to center Ryan Kesler, who remains the target of recent trade speculation.

Earlier this month it was reported Kesler informed Benning he still prefers a trade. There’s been some recent confusion, however, over where the 29-year-old prefers to be dealt. The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch claims the Chicago Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins are Kesler’s only preferences, prompting The Globe & Mail’s Eric Duhatschek to note the difficulty that would create for the Canucks to move him.

The Blackhawks have limited cap space ($4.6 million) for 2014-15 and restricted free agents (Ben Smith, Jeremy Morin and Antti Raanta) to re-sign. They’ll have to either do a dollar-for-dollar swap with the Canucks or convince them to pick up part of Kesler’s salary to squeeze him under their cap. The Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus reports Blackhawks winger Patrick Sharp has been mentioned as a trade candidate, but Sharp has a modified no-trade clause, meaning he’ll have to agree to the deal. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Spezza buzz reaching a boil

Spezza (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

With the NHL draft only a week away, the Jason Spezza rumor mill is heating up. TSN reports Ottawa Senators GM Bryan Murray said he’s received two serious offers for his captain. It’s believed his asking price for Spezza is a top-six forward, a highly rated prospect and perhaps a first-round pick.

Though Murray didn’t name the teams, it’s rumored the Anaheim Ducks and St. Louis Blues are be the front-runners. Mike Johnston of Sportsnet cited a rumor from St. Louis claiming the Blues were Spezza’s destination of choice.

Johnston’s colleague Mark Spector believes the Ducks could land Spezza, suggesting their depth in “sub-22-year-old talent” along with their two first round picks (one of them acquired from the Senators last summer in the Bobby Ryan trade) could tilt the scales in Anaheim’s favour. Read more

Which teams will trade their first round pick? Here are five to watch

Florida Panthers

The NHL released the full seven-round 2014 draft order today, eight days out from the event in Philadelphia. Round 1 goes June 27 and Rounds 2-7 go June 28.

Today we’ll take a look at the first round. There are lots of rumors about which picks will be in play, either because teams are interested in moving up, or because there are so many big names on the trading block that first-rounders will be made available to try and acquire them. This is a weird year. The UFA class is rather weak, the trade market is rather full and everyone seems open to talking about trading their first round pick. Which are the most likely to get dealt at or before the draft? Here’s a look at our top five. Read more