Patrik Laine gives Winnipeg the best problem in all of hockey

Ryan Kennedy
Patrik Laine (Photo by RONI REKOMAA/AFP/Getty Images)

Must be horrible to be Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff right now. After all, his team moved up to second from sixth in the draft order thanks to this weekend’s lottery, enabling the team to pick Patrik Laine or Jesse Puljujarvi this summer. But the Jets already have one of the deepest pools of young talent in the NHL, with Nikolaj Ehlers already a year in and Kyle Connor recently turning pro after one incredible college season.

Oh, the terrible choices Winnipeg will be forced to make in camp this fall.

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Rumor Roundup: Expect changes in Boston as Bruins seek quick turnaround

Zdeno Chara (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

After missing the playoffs last season for the first since since 2006-07, the Boston Bruins shook up their management and roster. Having missed the postseason in consecutive years (also for the first time since ’07), more changes are expected.

It was assumed coach Claude Julien could lose his job, but GM Don Sweeney stated otherwise during his season-ending press conference. That comes as a big disappointment for teams (such as the Ottawa Senators) in need of a new bench boss next season.

Boston pundits, meanwhile, are speculating over this summer’s possible roster moves. Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald wonders if Sweeney will try to convince aging captain Zdeno Chara to waive his no-movement clause. He also suggests blueliner Dennis Seidenberg could be shopped, though that could mean picking up part of his annual $4-million cap hit through 2017-18. Conroy also thinks UFA rearguard Kevan Miller might not be back and underachieving winger Jimmy Hayes might benefit from a change of scenery. Read more

Prospect Need to Know: Georgetown’s hidden gem

Matthew Cairns (Photo by Andy Corneau / OJHL Images)

All hail the Frozen Four champs from North Dakota. The Fighting Hawks stomped all over Quinnipiac in the final and while Vancouver pick Brock Boeser has confirmed his return for another campaign, several free agents are drumming up interest now. Boeser’s linemate, Drake Caggiula, helped his cause with two goals in the final, while defenseman Troy Stecher is expected to leave school early for an NHL contract. In the meantime, San Jose won the derby for Lithuanian goalie Mantas Armalis and the Michigan Wolverines lost their two best players to the pro ranks. Read about them and more in our weekly prospect wrap:

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Rumor Roundup: Subban’s name back in rumor mill, coaching changes expected

PK Subban (Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)

With the NHL regular season completed, the fate of several coaches whose clubs failed to reach the playoffs is a hot topic of discussion. Much of the focus is upon Claude Julien of the Boston Bruins.

Since joining the Bruins in 2007-08, Julien’s guided them to four division titles, a Presidents’ Trophy in 2013, two Stanley Cup Finals and a championship in 2011. Over the past two seasons, however, the Bruins fell short of the playoffs. Their recent failure has some in the Boston media calling for a coaching change.

If Julien is let go by the Bruins, he won’t be unemployed for long. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman suggests the Ottawa Senators could come calling if they decide to drop bench boss Dave Cameron. Read more

Getting To Know: Jets center Mathieu Perreault

Mark Malinowski
(Jonathan Kozub/Getty Images)

 

Status: Winnipeg Jets center.

Ht: 5-10 Wt: 188 pounds
DOB: January 5, 1988 In: Drummondville, Que.

First Hockey Memory: “You’re taking me back a long time ago [smiles]. I started skating at four years old and I had an older brother (Danny) fourteen months older. My dad took us to the outdoor rinks. We just learned how to skate and play hockey. Just fell in love with the game right away.”

Hockey Inspirations: “My mom’s brother played in the NHL – Daniel Marois. He played in Toronto, with Boston and with the Islanders. So he had a pretty long career. I guess it was in the family blood.”

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Watch Andrew Copp split Wild defense, deke Dubynk for beautiful goal

Jared Clinton
Andrew Copp (via NHL)

The Jets’ youth movement is in full effect to end the 2015-16 season, and while that hasn’t made for many favorable results for Winnipeg, it certainly has lent itself to some awe-inspiring displays of skill. The latest display came from Andrew Copp.

Midway through the second period, Copp, 21, was able to make a play at the Jets’ blueline to knock the puck past the Wild forecheck and speed into the neutral zone. Copp was attacking the Wild defense with a head of steam and he decided to throw a few quick jukes on Minnesota blueliner Matt Dumba, ending with a forehand drag between Dumba and defense partner Ryan Suter.

With the defense behind him, Copp showed some slick hands, opening up Wild netminder Devan Dubnyk with a backhand deke before slipping the puck five hole: Read more

Maple Leafs’ dozen debutants makes this team the greenest ever

Tobias Lindberg  (Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

When Tobias Lindberg steps on the ice with the Toronto Maple Leafs against the Buffalo Sabres tonight, he’ll be part of a team record that hasn’t been matched in almost 100 years.

Lindberg, one of the prospects acquired from the Ottawa Senators in the Dion Phaneuf trade, will become the 12th player to make his NHL debut for the Leafs this season, joining William Nylander, Zach Hyman, Byron Froese, Nikita Soshnikov, Brendan Leipsic, Kasperi Kapanen, Rinat Valiev, Frederik Gauthier, Garret Sparks and Viktor Loov. It’s actually 13 if you include goalie Antoine Bibeau, who dressed as a backup for 11 games this season, but didn’t see any action.

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Jets fans’ rousing ovation brings 97-year-old super fan to tears in his return to arena

Jared Clinton
Len Kropioski won 'Fan vs. Fan' at the MTS Centre (via NHL)

Win or lose, one constant for the Winnipeg Jets at nearly every home game since their relocation has been the smiling, saluting, thumbs-up-giving face of Len Kropioski, a World War II veteran who is shown on the jumbotron during the Canadian anthem of every game he attends.

Over the past two months, though, Kropioski — known more commonly as ‘Kroppy’ — has been noticeably absent. The 97-year-old, who will turn 98 in July, was hospitalized in early February and hasn’t been able to fill his usual seat along the glass at Winnipeg’s home games.

However, Wednesday during a break in action, the Jets ran one of their common in-arena games called ‘Fan vs. Fan.’ Instead of putting the camera on two of the rowdier Jets fans in house, the game operations crew put the camera on Kropioski, who was returning for his first game since February. The 15,000-plus on hand to watch the Jets play the Senators rose to their feet and brought Kropioski with a lengthy standing ovation as he waved and blew kisses: Read more