Stats say Maple Leafs & Coyotes should look at trading down in draft

(Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

Just like every year, the idea of trading down inside the top 10 has become a hot topic before the NHL draft. Arizona GM Don Maloney has stated he’s open to trading the third overall pick, while Toronto has been rumored to be interested in doing the same with fourth overall. Is it worth it, though?

That’s likely the question both teams are asking themselves leading up to Friday and with each one taking the scorched-earth approach to rebuilding, whether or not to trade down is an important question to ask. Generally, the answer is yes, but it’s harder to answer the higher the pick is. It really depends on the context. For these two clubs, the context is the luxury of drafting a franchise-cornerstone prospect in the top five. That’s difficult to pass up, because those types of players are usually only found in that top five.

At the same time, it’s hard to ignore the assets they can get in return for moving down a couple of spots. Historically, that’s usually been a second round pick plus, but the price is likely higher for picks within the top five, especially considering this year’s crop of talent.

What it boils down to is knowing how much a pick is worth and how much the prospects available are worth. That value really depends on what a team wants from a draft: high-success rate or high-impact players. Read more

Why the Maple Leafs should give Phil Kessel away for next to nothing

Ken Campbell
Phil Kessel (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Toronto Maple Leafs seem intent on getting a good cachet in return for their top scorer, whether it’s at the NHL draft or afterward. And good on them for doing that. Of course they should try to get all they can for Phil Kessel, who could very well go on to another destination where there’s less scrutiny and be a consistent 40-goal scorer and solid contributor.

Yes, the Leafs should try to extract as much as they can, but they should also be prepared, if they’ve decided Kessel no longer has a future in the organization, to let him go for very little. Even next to nothing. The point is, the Leafs will get something for him, but if they’ve decided they’re going to deal him, they should take the best deal available to them, even if they’re not crazy about the return. With a limited list of teams to which Kessel will accept a trade, some of those without the cap space needed to acquire him, the Leafs don’t have near as much leverage as it appears.

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Rumor Roundup: Will Thornton and Marleau bid the Bay Area farewell?

Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau of the San Jose Sharks. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

During the summer of 2014, there was considerable trade speculation regarding San Jose Sharks’ veteran stars Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau. The Sharks were still reeling from their opening-round playoff elimination by the Los Angeles Kings. General manager Doug Wilson promised significant changes, stoking the rumors Thornton or Marleau would be dealt.

The trade chatter about the duo fizzled out when both made it clear in media interviews they weren’t waiving their respective no-movement clauses. With the Sharks going on to miss the playoffs this season, CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz speculates over the possibility Thornton or Marleau will be part of a blockbuster move this summer.

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Is the Maple Leafs’ asking price for Phil Kessel too high? Don’t be so sure

Matt Larkin
Phil Kessel. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

We knew Phil Kessel trade rumors would swirl like a hurricane leading up to next week’s NHL draft. We also knew it would be complicated for the Leafs to pull off a deal. Kessel, after all, carries an $8-million cap hit, a reputation for questionable fitness and defensive play and an ugly stat sheet from 2014-15.

It’s not a huge surprise, then, suitors are calling Toronto’s asking price for Kessel too high. ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports two executives have balked at the Leafs’ demands.

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Why No. 3 overall is the “swing pick” of the 2015 draft

Matt Larkin
Erie's Dylan Strome. (Photo by B Wippert/Getty Images)

Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel know precisely which sweaters they will don next Friday at the NHL draft in Miami. We all know. McDavid is an Edmonton Oiler to be, Eichel a Buffalo Sabre to be. We’re so confident, we superimposed the respective jerseys on each prospect for our Draft Preview covers.

The suspense of next week’s draft begins at No. 3 overall. The Arizona Coyotes must make a difficult choice between two or three tantalizing prospects, and what they do will set off a chain reaction beginning with the Toronto Maple Leafs one pick later.

So, which path does Desert Dogs GM Don Maloney take? There are three realistic outcomes to consider.

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Top 10 trade candidates at the 2015 NHL draft

Matt Larkin
Patrick Sharp. (Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

What do Ryan Kesler, James Neal, Scott Hartnell, Cory Schneider, Jordan Staal, James van Riemsdyk and Sergei Bobrovsky have in common?

Each was traded at or just before the NHL draft over the past three summers. It’s a time of year when the smoke of the NHL rumor mill produces fire. Some teams need to shed salary before free agency. Others simply want draft picks to kickstart their rebuilds. It’s different than the trade deadline, when we primarily see rentals of expiring contracts. All 30 teams are ready to effect change come June. Everyone’s a suitor. That’s why the draft yields some of the biggest blockbusters.

Which names are most likely to move within the next nine days? And make no mistake, some will move…

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Because no NHL team can look complacent, expect busy trade market

Adam Proteau
Kessel-Phaneuf (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)

The NHL’s free agent scene this summer resembles a long and empty line of grocery store shelves, but there’s no fear among league executives of a serene environment in the off-season. While it’s true NHL GMs no longer can look to free agency as a quick and easy route to remake their roster, a number of them are expecting a slew of trades in the weeks ahead. And there’s one reason why.

“The worst thing you can be seen as today is complacent,” said one Eastern Conference GM, who spoke to THN in early June on condition his name not be used. “Each organization has different pressure points, but we’re all dealing with pressure. And just because we no longer really have free agency to do big things with a team, that doesn’t mean we can come back the next year with basically the same group of players. One team per season earns the option to do that. The rest have to find ways to improve. So I think teams won’t have much of an option in the future other than using trades to change up the mix. If you’re not developing new talent in-house, you don’t really have any other option.”

A cursory look around the NHL confirms that’s true.

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Alexei Yashin is finally not an Islander anymore

Alexei Yashin: not an Islander now (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

There was a time when Alexei Yashin was one of the most dangerous players in hockey. Not recently, mind you, but there was a time. But as any Rangers or Devils fan can probably remind you, the New York Islanders were still paying the Russian center, despite buying out his contract in 2007.

As gloriously detailed by Lighthouse Hockey, Yashin’s albatross contract haunted the Isles until Chicago hoisted the Stanley Cup last night, which put an end to the 2014-15 NHL season.

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