Aaron Portzline joined HFRadio on May 22nd and shared his thoughts on what Columbus will do with their 2 first round picks.
Also Mike Oke of I.S.S. Hockey talked about the defensemen available in the 2008 NHL Draft which of course is of interest to all of us.
Listen to the show here.
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Aaron Portzline joined HFRadio on May 22nd and shared his thoughts on what Columbus will do with their 2 first round picks.
Labels: NHL Draft 2008
Good read here about the top 10 forwards from Redline:
The forward group has some marquee value this year with three of the top offensive talents among Red Line's top five spots overall. But there is a pretty steep drop off after that top tier, so teams who want to grab one of the premium forwards had better be prepared to make a bold move to trade up in the draft.
The top two forwards, and the top two talents overall, are Steven Stamkos and Nikita Filatov. Both are dynamic, explosive game breakers who put a lot of points on the board and make players around them better. Stamkos is on top of our chart, but the gap between the two is not as wide as some would have you believe. We give Stamkos the edge because of his tremendous character and history of producing at every level. Stamkos is just a natural born sniper – any time he steps on the ice it's automatically a scoring opportunity. Plus he sees the ice beautifully and really opens things up for his linemates by drawing so much checking attention.
Filatov is every bit the game breaker that Stamkos is and, unlike so many other Russians, there is very little uncertainty about his willingness and availability to come over to North America right away and begin the transition to an NHL career. His instant acceleration and phenomenal lateral agility makes him impossible to contain. And one of his best traits is that (also unlike many Russians) he brings his "A" game every shift. He really wants to impact the game and wants the puck on his stick at crunch time.
The third top level forward talent is Danish winger Mikkel Boedker, who just finished up a terrific Memorial Cup run with Kitchener in the OHL. Boedker possesses blazing speed and a rifle shot that he can snap off from odd angles and positions that keeps goalies and defensemen constantly guessing. His speed is tough to deal with on the rush and forces defenders to back off and give up the blue line. This was his first season in North America and he just keeps getting better as he gets more comfortable.
The top 10:
1 Steven Stamkos C 6-1/180 R 7-Feb-90 Sarnia 1
2 Nikita Filatov LW 6-0/172 R 25-May-90 CSKA 1
3 Mikkel Bdker RW 5-11/201 L 16-Dec-89 Kitchener 1
4 Kirill Petrov RW 6-3/218 L 13-Apr-90 Ak Bars Kazan 2
5 Cody Hodgson C 5-11/182 R 18-Feb-90 Brampton 1
6 Colin Wilson C 6-1/208 L 20-Oct-89 Boston Univ. 1
7 Mattias Tedenby RW 5-9/172 L 21-Feb-90 HV 71 1
8 Zach Boychuk C 5-9/185 L 4-Oct-89 Lethbridge 1
9 Kyle Beach LW 6-3/205 R 13-Jan-90 Everett 1
10 Josh Bailey C 6-0/192 L 2-Oct-89 Windsor 1
That top 10 is very interesting. I'm not surprised about the top 3 but having Petrov 4 is. I personally like Wilson a whole lot and Hodgson seems to be a can't miss type player as well.
Anyhow. Good read. Check it out here.
There is also another good story here that talks about the uncertainty throughout NHL teams about players 2 through 6. Oddly enough though there was no talk about Filatov in this article, just 5 d-men of Doughty, Bogosian, Peitrangelo, Schenn & Myers.
Anyone else besides me warming up to Filatov if he's there as 6?
Labels: NHL Draft 2008
Friday, May 30, 2008
..but Atlanta's GM has pretty much come out and said they will be going defensemen with the #3 pick:
“We have two picks, so we feel that with the third pick, we can get a player that can be inserted into the lineup right away and that’s important for our team,’’ Waddell told NHL.com. “That pick will most likely be a young defenseman, which will be vital for our franchise.’’
Some have thought maybe Atlanta would go Filatov #3 to keep their franchise player and fellow Russian Ilya Kovalchuk happy but that does not appear to be the case.
The top 3 is pretty much locked in like this:
That will leave Pietrangelo/Schenn/Filatov for the next 3 positions with an outside chance of Boedker or Wilson slipping in there.
Waddell also has some other interesting things to say in this article:
“What we’re really looking for at the Combine are red flags,’’ he said. “We know these players very well on the ice and want to get to know them off the ice. They’re all well-schooled in what to say, so I usually try and keep it very loose. In fact, my first question to them is, ‘What’s your wife’s name?’ I’ll usually get some weird looks, but it’s just to put them at ease. Every team handles the Combine differently, but we try and talk openly and want the guys to be themselves.’’
Waddell will never forget one interview he did a few years ago.
“I asked him if he liked to watch hockey games and he said, ‘No, not really.’ I then asked him why and he said, ‘Well, I really don’t like hockey.’ Then he tried to correct himself by saying, ‘But I like it only when I’m playing.’ Those things really stick with you, so you try and ask normal questions so this way you can get an honest response.’’
I'd love to hear which player said that las part about no watching hockey? If he even plays anymore that is.
Sorry for all the draft posts lately but what else is there to talk about :)
Interesting note from TSN.ca's blog about the combine:
10:41 - We've got a new star at the combine - it's Colin Wilson of Boston University. He was ranked 10th in North America by CSB, but that might be going up because NHL types certainly took notice of him today. To put it bluntly, he is ripped. Before he even did anything, Wilson looked NHL-ready with a big, strong body. Then he got on the bench and blew everyone else away. Unofficially, previously mentioned strongman John Carlson did 16 reps on the bench press. Wilson did 21.
Most of the time, the GMs don't pay much attention to this stuff, they are mostly here for the interviews, but many were seen taking notice of Wilson's efforts.
Also a note on Filatov:
12:29 - All eyes were on Nikita Filatov when Group 4 came out, as he is the top-rated European and could be a top three pick in the draft. Strength was not his strength, but he did well in general.
There was one funny moment when Filatov was asked to do the balance drill, which involves standing for as long as possible on a board that sits on top of a ball. He wasn't sure what to do with the apparatus and, although he speaks good English, needed help from the translator. After several attempts at explaining what was required, Filatov just shrugged his shoulders, jumped up on the board and did fine.
There are literally dozens of people following Filatov. Just by coincidence, perhaps, there was one point during his testing when Filatov was almost eye-to-eye with Kings GM Dean Lombardi, who just happens to hold the second overall pick in the draft. It's not like Lombardi was paying more attention to Filatov than anyone else, but it was an interesting snapshot to see them facing each other in such close quarters.
Both Kyle Beach and Alex Petriangelo were unable to work out according to the article.
There is a bunch of more details, just go here to read them.
Everyone seemed to be impressed with a couple of yanks in Bogosian and Wilson. Bogosian was already projected to be a top 3 pick but Wilson could have seen his stock rise today. He was projected to be a top 10 pick but perhaps he jumped a couple of spots today on some boards.
There are a bunch of 1:1 interview over on TSN.ca as well you all may want to check out. Good stuff.
How many more days til this damn draft? C'mon already!!
My sincere condolences go out to his family and friends. RIP Luc.
Aaron Portzline reported in Puck-rakers that Columbus had the 4th highest ratings amongst US cities for game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals between Pittsburgh and Detroit:
1. Pittsburgh 33.1/47
2. Detroit 18.2/28
3. Buffalo 6.2/9
4. Columbus 4.1/7
5. Minneapolis 3.7/7
Long time Toronto Captain Mats Sundin hinted yesterday to TSN that he may not return to the Maple Leafs next season:
"But I don't know. I don't have a decision on that made yet."
Thursday, May 29, 2008
"I've arrived at Toronto on May 26. My work has began on the next day. In general, I'm having interviews with NHL clubs. I have to say that all meetings are the same. They all ask whether I'm ready to play in the AHL in the next season, to come to America this fall, and whether I have a contract with russian club or not. I explain that I have no contract with CSKA and the rumor that I have contract up to 2011 has no ground. I speak in English with NHL representatives and had no problems with language whatsoever.
I liked our meetings with representatives of Columbus, Rangers and Florida. These interviews were informal with smiles, compared to other clubs were questions were as if it was an interrogation. By the way, representatives of Columbus has invited me to the ceremonial dinner. Does that mean that they've become favorites in drafting me? I don't know, I don't know..."
Its getting close to crunch time (no pun intended to Syracuse) for Scott Howson and his Columbus Blue Jackets. The draft is just over 20 days away with Unrestricted Free Agency just over a month away.
With 7 losing non-playoff seasons, a dwindling season ticket base, over 20 million to spend and expendable assets to trade with most would say this is the biggest off season in this history of the franchise.
..and they will be absolutely correct. The time to win is an unequivocally now!
So what needs to happen this off season to build a playoff winner not only for now but for the future as well?
As M.C. Hammer would say, lets break it down.
As much as we want to win now the philosophy towards building a winner can't change. There are no quick fixes. The franchise needs excellent coaching, smart drafting/development and the core of the team must be built through the draft and supplemented with smart trades that help today and tomorrow. The gaps are then filled via Unrestricted Free Agents.
The coaching is there with Ken Hitchcock who is a Stanley Cup winning coach and has established an identity for this team. He has also let Rick Nash, Nik Zherdev and Pascal Leclaire to their best seasons by far as pros. At the same time he's really exposed the games of previous long standing Jackets as David Vyborny and Duvie Westcott. Given some talent, Hitch knows what it takes to bring home a winner and is a career coach.
The drafting has been an achilles heal of this franchise and is only just now beginning to find its way not only in terms of the first round talent but also in later rounds with the likes of OK Tollefsen, Andrew Murray, Kris Russell and Jared Boll making solid contributions to the big team. Mining NHL caliber talent in later rounds must continue to sustain long term success.
We know the roster as its currently formed is not a playoff team. Hitch took this group as far as it could go. Howson knows this as he's now had plenty of time to evaluate this group. Gone already are Vyborny, Shelley, Foote, Fedorov & Tarnstrom with others like Ron Hainsey to follow. All indications point towards expecting major personnel changes and around 7 to 8 new faces in the lineup next season.
Part of the core are there with Rick Nash being the centerpiece. Pascal Leclaire has shown the ability last year to be that franchise goatlender but needs re-signed. Rusty Klesla, while he won't live up to the potential that made him the 4th overall pick in 2000, has found his niche as a shutdown d-man who eats key minutes at a reasonable price. Jason Chimera has been locked down for the next four years and will provide leadership, size and 3rd line scoring for the foreseeable future.These guys need help though and its Howson's job to get it for them.
Lets take a look at how he'll get there by first examining the draft, trades, free agency and then his own house.
The Jackets own 9 selections including two in the first round (6th & 19th) and one in the second (36th) in this draft.
As I mentioned earlier there are no short-cuts to building a consistent contender and to get there the draft plays a big big role.
I expect Howson to retain at least one of the 1st round picks and likely the second round pick (36th) for that very reason. A team in a market like Columbus who can't spend to the cap must keep its prospect pipeline stocked and flowing. Its the cheapest way to supplement your roster with quality talent and its the best way to build loyalty towards a franchise in a new market with next to no hockey history.
To get some of the key missing pieces for this team though I fully expect one of the firsts to be used as trade bait. As to which one it will all depend on the player(s) offered. This draft is strong, real strong, so those picks will hold a lot of value. Howson will not sacrifice or give away these picks for the sake of short term fix though.
As far as who may be the newest 1st round pick come draft day -- well here are a couple of names to keep an eye on:
6th - Luke Schenn, Nikita Filatov, Alex Pietrangelo, Tyler Myers, Colin Wilson, Mikkel Boedker, Cody Hodgson
19th - Colten Tuebert, Mattias Tenenby, Michael Del Zotto, Joe Colborne
Outside of maybe Filatov or Schenn, none of those names are expected to make the jump to the NHL next season.
We've been told by Scott Howson to prepare for a lot of press conferences this summer. To CBJ fans that is cannon fire to our ears.
Lets not kid ourselves though, Columbus is not the first city or team that comes to mind for Unrestricted Free Agents so until this team makes some noise in the win column they are going to have to look towards trades to fill their holes....or should I say GAPING holes.
1st line center
2nd line center
1st pairing d-man
2nd pairing d-man
Top 6 wing
Can Howson fill all of that in one off season? Doubtful but no reason he can't try. Out of those 5 positions there is no question that 1st line center and 1st pairing d-men are the most critical. Those will be Howson's priorities.
With more d-men and wings available this off season its likely that a center will have to be acquired via trade so that will be his primary target. A name like Patrick Marleau comes to mind.
I would say just about anything would be available (including the 6th & 19th) for the right player except Rick Nash, Pascal Leclaire, Steve Mason, Derrek Brassard & Jakub Voracek. Now if it was a top 10-15 player in this league then that list quickly dwindles down to just Rick Nash & Pascal Leclaire.
Its very unlikely the organization would move recently signed players Jan Hejda, Jason Chimera or Andrew Murray. Freddy Modin also has a NTC.
Looks for a big deal or two leading up to or at the draft table on June 20th.
Unrestricted Free Agency
The Jackets will be players this year - no doubt in my mind. The question is out of all the lines they throw in the pond, what kind of fish can they reel in?
The Jackets will push hard for a defensemen or two. If names like Campbell, Liles or Redden hit the market expect Howson to make huge offers. I could also see interest from him with names like Mara, Rozsival, Commodore & Orpik. It really depends on who is available and if he has acquired any via trade prior to July 1st.
Also look for Howson to make a heavy pitch for a UFA winger. Ryan Malone's name should be right at the top of that list along with guys like Stillman, Prospal, Brunette & Rolston. I also wouldn't rule out Huselius, Hagman or Fedotenko - not ideal guys for a Hitchcock system but could provide much needed supplemental scoring which Hitch would squeeze out of them one way or another.
Howson hasn't ruled out getting into the offer sheet business. I'm not a big fan but if he strikes out in trades and in free agency he may not have a choice and there are some potential juicy names out there including:
Jeff Carter, Patrick O'Sullivan, Pierre Marc-Bouchard, R.J. Umberger, Mike Green, Joe Pavelski, Correy Perry, Andrei Kostitsyn, Tim Gleason, Joni Pitkanen, Shea Weber & Ryan Suter.
All of those guys could help Columbus no doubt but would Howson be willing to pay what it takes to get one of them with draft picks? An offer sheet from say 4 to 5 million equates to two 1st round picks, a 2nd and 3rd. Anything above that is four 1st round picks.
The other way to fill roster spots of course is to promote from within. The two biggest names on the horizon are Derrek Brassard and Jakub Voracek. Brassard was given time to develop on the farm and he had very good year - especially down the stretch. Voracek is a guy the organization is very high on who, because of his age, is ineligible to play for Syracuse of the AHL next season so it will be either Columbus or back to Halifax of the QMJHL for him.
I expect both to be make the team but their roles won't be determined in camp. If there is one thing we've learned since Hitch and Howson arrived, its that a spot won't just be given to you.
Keep your eye on some other players as well including Tom Sestito and Derrek Dorsete. Both could pull a "Boll" and make the team out of camp with their physical and relentless style of play.
Take Care of Own House
Of course Howson has to take care of his own house as well. He's got a key RFA to sign of his own in goaltender Pascal Leclaire. That negotiation is no slam dunk and who is to say he won't receive an offer sheet?
He also has to decide what to do with RFAs like Fritsche, Methot, Lindstrom, Rome, Picard and Wilson. Then there are UFAs on the farm like Konopka, McKenzie and Smith.
Finally he needs to get Ken Hitchcock signed to an multi-year extension although I don't see that happening until after the organization proves to Hitch that they are committed to winning.
Its certainly a big off season. Look for major turnover, fresh faces and renewed optimism for this team in Columbus next year. Howson will use every tool at his disposal to get the players he seeks.
Now if only I could get my crystal ball working to make some predictions. Anyone got some AA's out there?
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
ATTN: DRAFT GURUS!
The NHL combines have begun. Here is an interesting article I just read over on bostonbruins.com regarding the event:
According to McGuire, there's a three-pronged approach to the Combine.
"First, there are interviews," McGuire said. "Bring them in and allow (teams) to get a fair crack, 20-25-minute slots, where they interview these kids to get a little more insight into their personalities."
To go along with the interview is a psychological evaluation that tests, according to McGuire, "neuropsychological and behavioral phenomena.”
"Can you really tell who's going to be your best player in Game 7 by typing it into a computer?" asked McGuire. "Probably not, but it might help. We provide rudimentary data, and most teams' sport psychologist consultant can take this information and use it as starting at first base, rather than starting at square one and develop a psychological assessment of a player. It's not meant to be a secretive selection device; it's one more piece of a large mosaic."
Another piece of that mosaic is a routine medical evaluation, where the players are seen by independent doctors who then provide their data to teams.
"They write up any red flags," McGuire said. "The team scouts, if they see a red flag, will say to the agent or kid, does our team doctor have permission to contact your team doctor directly. Teams want to be wary of not drafting damaged goods."
Most prominent is the physical testing – something that, surprisingly, does not include an on-ice component.
The players are put through their paces in a three-hour crucible which includes events as simple as the sit and reach, push-ups and sit-ups, right through high-tech tests like a Wingate anaerobic measure and an aerobic-max VO2 bike test.
Also from another article today is "interview day":
“I would say if I had to put one ahead of the other, it’s the interviews,” said Edmonton Oilers General Manager Kevin Lowe. “You know what kind of player they are on the ice. We do some (psychological) testing of our own. We parcel that with the interviews.”
Top prospect Steven Stamkos has 12 interviews scheduled for his time at the Combine. Chicoutimi center Nicolas Deschamps has 26 scheduled – including 10 Tuesday, and another 11 Wednesday.
“I’m a little bit nervous, but most of the teams are asking the same questions,” said Swedish prospect Anton Gustafsson, who will meet with 15 teams. “What I think I’m good at, what I need to improve, how my future looks now. I’ve heard from guys at home that some teams will ask some (off-beat) questions to see how I react.”
But the winner – so to speak – is Ottawa defenseman Tyler Cuma, who has 29 interviews scheduled.
Obviously its not that all 30 teams wouldn't like a crack at Stamkos its just that realistically only one has a shot with some others perhaps weighing some trade offers to move up depending on how much they like kid. Truthfully I'm surprised there are 11 teams who are even bothering.
Cuma on the other hand is ranked right in the middle of everything and based on 29 teams wanting to talk to him it tells me that he could go just about anywhere from the top 10 of the of the draft to the first few picks of the 2nd.
My latest top 19 mock NHL draft:
1,Tampa Bay--(Steven Stamkos)--C
2,LA Kings--(Zach Bogosian)--D
5,NY Islanders--(Nikita Filatov)--LW
13,Buffalo--(Micheal Del Zoto)--D
I have Columbus getting two d-men if they decided to hang onto their picks.
Central Scouting on Pietrangelo:
Strengths: "Alex is very poised out there on the ice. A tall player, who is still growing in to his body, Alex brings a keen ability to know when to pass the puck out of the zone, when to carry the puck out of the zone and he’s unflustered in the face of a hard forecheck."
Areas to improve: "Alex probably needs to get a little more assertive. There are times that he plays with that calm, cool and collective attitude and scouts might often question his assertiveness. But believe me that is there and he certainly doesn’t play with any kind of fear for what is coming at him."
Outlook: "He might have the best top-end (potential), and he might have the most under the cover that an 18-year-old could blossom into maybe the best player in the entire 2008 draft. He has (Chris) Pronger-like size and visibility attributes. A lot of scouts say that he might be playing better now than Pronger played when he was in his last year of junior."
Central Scouting on Tuebert:
"Colten is a smooth skating defenseman, who can skate the puck out of trouble and can jump up the ice with the puck. I like Colten for a lot of reasons, but most of all for his ability to take charge of the game. He projects as a support three or four defenseman, at least initially in the NHL, with a good offensive upside who won’t hurt you on defense."
Of course in no way/shape/form do I see Howson hanging on to both picks. In fact it wouldn't surprise me if he dealt both but it will take something pretty good for him to part with that 6th overall.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
According to Puck-rakers the Jackets dealt 2006 7th round pick winger Matt Marquart to the Boston Bruins for 22 year old Jonathan Sigalet.
Has offensive potential and the ability to play an all-around game. Displays plenty of character on and off the ice.
Needs to fill out his 6-1 frame in order to maximize his potential. Must play with more consistency to become an NHL regular.
Top six defenseman.
I, however, won't rule him out of competing for a spot on the big squad. We've seen what depth guys from other teams in Rome and Wilson can look like next to our regulars. Unfortunately that tells me most of all I needed to regarding just how bad our blueline really was.
Now let me start this off by saying that (unfortunately) I do not have any inside information but I just came across this article from interim Leafs' GM Cliff Fletcher:
Fletcher is engaged in trade talks, possible buyouts and has wrapped up pro and amateur scouting meetings pertaining to the June 20 draft and July free agency.
"I'm starting to prepare to move forward," Fletcher said. "My stamp is going to be on this, whenever my tenure ends. I'm operating under the goal of making this team the top in the league."
Now we know Howson is going to try at least to be a mover and a shaker this offseason in Columbus. He's got the money and the assets available to do it. So when I read about a team like the Leafs who are certainly in a rebuild mode saying they are engaged in trade talks I take notice. Why? Because they have a number of pieces on the block that could really help the Jackets.
Lets take a look.
First we have what Leaf fans are calling the "Frozen Five" of Matts Sudin, Tomas Kaberle, Darcy Tucker, Pavel Kubina and Bryan McCabe. All five of these players have an NTC (No Trade Clause) and if Cliff Fletcher and the Leafs had their way, just about every one of them would have been moved at the trade deadline to get a jump start on the rebuild -- to pull a "Flyers" as a quick turnaround has been labeled of late.
Unfortunately for the Leafs' brass these players liked Toronto to much as none of them would waive their NTCs. Its started with franchise player and captain Matts Sundin and then the rest followed hence the term "Frozen Five".
That was then and this is now. All of these players are in a different situations now so lets take a look:
Matt Sundin - this guy has spent 15+ years with the Leafs' organization and obviously by his decision to not waive his NTC he has no interest in moving elsewhere. His contract however has expired and he is a UFA but the thought is if he and the Leafs don't reach an agreement he will just retire.
Would the Jackets be interested? Hell yes. Even at age 37 he's still a very productive player in this league notching 32g, 46a for 78p last season. He's a big center and we know how desperate the Jackets would be to fill the center of their ice. He would only be a year or two stop gap though and the Jackets would need to find a younger center as well until Brassard is ready. Bottom line though is Sundin has never won a cup, is loyal to Toronto and the chances of him becoming a Jacket are next to none.
Tomas Kaberle - a 30 year old d-man who excels at both ends of the ice. Perhaps even a top 10 d-man in this league...at least top 15. He's notched 53, 58 & 67 points the past 3 years. He's also signed for 3 more at a very reasonable 4.25 mil per. His NTC is still active but he may waive it if Sundin isn't brought back and veterans are either 1. traded or 2. bought out.
Would the Jackets be interested? Howson and Hitch would salivate at the chance to get a player like Kaberle. He is the exact type of players the Jackets covet this offseason on their blueline. Here is what sportsnet.ca says about him:
"Possesses tremendous hockey smarts and the ability to find his teammates with excellent passes. A swift skater, he loves to join the attack. Defends well."
Uhhh..yeah, I think we could use that. Again though I just don't see him waiving his NTC to come to Columbus but I think the Jackets would make a hellofa run at him including that #6 overall for his services.
Darcy Tucker - a rugged 33 year old 3rd line winger. In the past the Jackets could have really used a guy like Tucker but after his career season of 28g, 33a for 61p his game has started to fade. His legs aren't that good and his production has dropped. He'll still play that agitation role and chip in 15 - 20g but he's signed for 3 more years at 3.3 mil which could make him hard to move.
Would the Jackets be interested? If you'd asked me that two years ago I'd say he was exactly what we needed but with Jared Boll, Jason Chimera and guys like Dorsett and Sestito on their way I think that money and assets it would take to get him can be better utilized elsewhere. That and I don't see Tucker waiving his NTC to come here.
Pavel Kubina - a 30 year old 6'4" 244 lb who is just a solid all around NHL defensemen who gets it done in all 3 zones. One of his best assets is a low point shot and he gets it through. He's had 40, 21 & 38 points the past 3 years playing behind guys like Kaberle and McCabe on the powerplay. He'll also kill penalties and won a cup with the Lightning (yes the same team Modin played on).
Would the Jackets be interested? He's somewhat expensive at 5 mil with two seasons remaining on his contract but he could really really help solidify the Jackets top 4. With money to spend and assets to move I could certainly see Howson making a run at this player with the intention of grabbing another UFA defensemen on the open market to really shore up that group. Look for perhaps that 19th overall pick to be in play for a player like Kubina.
The great thing about Kubina is that there is a clause in his contract that calls for the NTC in his deal to void from mid-June to mid- July. That means he could be dealt to any team including the Jackets.
Bryan McCabe - a 32 year old 6' 2" defensemen who has 3 years remaining on his deal at 6.15, 4.15 and 4.15 mil respectively. McCabe is probably the most 1 dimensional of the 3 defensemen I have listed here. He can bring it offensively as he had 27, 57 and 68 points the past 3 years (he was injured a lot last season) but he's not so good in the defensive zone. Byran Berard comes a bit to mind when thinkin of McCabe but he's not Berard bad defensively. Of the 3 defensemen I'm sure Toronto would like to move him the most but he holds the least amount of value.
Would the Jackets be interested? If all else fails they may turn to McCabe but I think there are a lot of other options they would explore first. McCabe is pretty expensive next year but more reasonable the following two years. He would of course have to waive his NTC which he may refuse to do. The other problem with McCabe was his horrible year last year and if anyone will take a chance on him considering his salary regardless of the NTC. If the Jackets were to make a move they would give up next to nothing for him which is the one positive. Of course if he's a bust we would have a boat anchor of a salary around our necks for the next 3 years.
There are some other players as well that the could be on the block in guys like Jason Blake, who just signed a 5 year deal last offseason as a UFA and is said to already want out, or Andrew Raycroft who has been the Leafs version of Marc Denis since their trade to acquire him 2 years ago. They also have some players I don't see them Leafs moving like Tlusty, Toskala or Antropov.
The "Frozen Five" are the most likely to be moved though and if I had to rank them this would be the Jackets interest:
The most realistic target out of that group is Kubina and for Toronto to move any of those players they are going to want draft picks and young players - both of which the Jackets have to spend.
Only time will tell if any of those trade discussions are going on the Howson and the Jackets though. If the Leafs make a move it should be right at or before the 1st round of the draft on June 20th.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Light the Lamp will be taking a 4 day hiatus for a little R&R (no internet where I'm going!)! I'll be back Monday and back at it.
Have a great Memorial holiday weekend everyone!
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Yesterday I posted Redline's top 10. Today ISS released their top 30:
1 Stamkos, Steven C 2/7/90 R 5.11.7 176 Sarnia OHL
2 Filatov, Nikita LW 5/25/90 R 6.00 172 Moscow CSKA-2 RusDi
3 Bogosian, Zach RD 7/15/90 R 6.02 197 Peterborough OHL
4 Doughty, Drew RD 12/8/89 R 6.00.5 219 Guelph OHL
5 Pietrangelo, Alex RD 1/18/90 R 6.03.2 206 Niagara OHL
6 Schenn, Luke RD 11/2/89 R 6.02.2 216 Kelowna WHL
7 Boedker, Mikkel LW 12/16/89 L 5.11.2 195 Kitchener OHL
8 Wilson, Colin (Fr.) C 10/20/89 L 6.01 215 Boston Univ H.E.
9 Hodgson, Cody C 2/18/90 R 5.11.5 185 Brampton OHL
10 Sbisa, Luca LD 1/30/90 L 6.01.7 190 Lethbridge WHL
11 Bailey, Joshua C 10/2/89 L 6.00.5 188 Windsor OHL
12 Boychuk, Zac C 10/4/89 L 5.09.5 175 Lethbridge WHL
13 Beach, Kyle C 1/13/90 R 6.03 203 Everett WHL
14 Tedenby, Mattias LW 2/21/90 L 5.10 176 HV71 SweJE
15 Myers, Tyler RD 2/1/90 R 6.07.2 204 Kelowna WHL
16 Petrov, Kirill LW 4/13/90 L 6.03 198 Kazan RusDi
17 Teubert, Colten RD 3/8/90 R 6.03.5 185 Regina WHL
18 Del Zotto, Michael LD 6/24/90 L 5.11.7 211 Oshawa OHL
19 Robak, Colby LD 4/24/90 L 6.03 194 Brandon WHL
20 Dalpe, Zac C 11/1/89 R 6.00.5 170 Penticton BCHL
21 Carlson, John RD 1/10/90 R 6.02.2 212 Indiana USHL
22 Karlsson, Erik RD 5/31/90 R 5.11 165 V. Frolunda SweJE
23 Colborne, Joe LW 1/30/90 L 6.05 190 Camrose AJHL
24 Grachev, Evgeny C 2/21/90 R 6.03 202 Yaroslavl RusDi
25 Deschamps, Nicolas C 1/6/90 L 6.00.2 173 Chicoutimi QMJHL
26 Nemisz, Greg C 6/5/90 R 6.03 197 Windsor OHL
27 Toews, David LW 6/7/90 R 5.10 175 Shattuck-St. MN-HS
28 Ness, Aaron LD 5/18/90 L 5.09.5 157 Roseau MN-HS
29 Gardiner, Jake LD 7/4/90 L 6.00.5 173 Minnetonka MN-HS
30 Eberle, Jordan C 5/15/90 R 5.10 174 Regina WHL
Their top 4 are the same players as Redline with Bogosian and Doughty swapping spots but the big difference is that Redline has Bodker at the 5 spot while ISS has him at 7. After the top 7 its jumbeled up a bit which tells me there is now a top 7 in this draft...instead of 6.
For me though Filatov is still definitely the wild card. Both ISS and Redline still believe he's the 2nd best prospect in the draft and CSS has him ranked as the #1 European skater. He will need to go before 6 for a defensive stud to fall to us. Again though I find myself asking myself if Filatov is there at 6 and the big 4 are gone, what does Columbus do?
Of course this may all be moot as Columbus could certainly move this pick. Perhaps I should be paying more attention to the 19th pick?
So lets look at the 19th....guys I like who could be there are Beach, Del Zotto, Tedendy and Tuebert.
Of course maybe we trade both picks?
So many scenerios....ahh... the draft is going to be fun this year.
Speaking of, anyone heard if the Jackets or the R Bar are having a draft day party? I'm sure the R Bar will be open for business. I'll try to get some details and post them here.
I was just reading this about the NHL's ratings rise over on CNNSI.com:
"Sidney has proven to be a marketable guy," says Messier. "He was put in a position to carry the NHL from a marketing standpoint and he has really responded for a young guy. The league can lean on him."
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Redline just released their final draft ranking.
For those just getting up to speed on this whole draft ranking business there are three key independent services; International Scouting Services (ISS), McKeens & Redline.
The NHL also has their own scouting service called Central Scouting Service. Their final rankings can be found here.
Its interesting to follow all the rankings including the independent services - especially when your Columbus and are always drafting so high in the first round.
Last month the 3 services were pretty tightly ranked in the top 10. They each had Stamkos #1 and then Filatov #2 and then Doughty/Bogosian mixed and matched at 3 and 4. That hasn't changed with Redline's new ranking but there is a lot of differences after the top 4:
NO. PLAYER POS HT/WT S DOB TEAM
1 Steven Stamkos C 6-1/180 R 7-Feb-90 Sarnia
2 Nikita Filatov LW 6-0/172 R 25-May-90 CSKA
3 Drew Doughty D 6-0/213 R 8-Dec-89 Guelph
4 Zach Bogosian D 6-2/199 R 15-Jul-90 Peterborough
5 Mikkel Bodker RW 5-11/201 L 16-Dec-89 Kitchener
6 Alex Pietrangelo D 6-3/198 R 18-Jan-90 Niagara
7 Luke Schenn D 6-2/210 R 2-Nov-89 Kelowna
8 Kirill Petrov RW 6-3/218 L 13-Apr-90 Ak Bars Kazan
9 Cody Hodgson C 5-11/182 R 18-Feb-90 Brampton
10 Tyler Myers D 6-7/210 R 1-Feb-90 Kelowna
Interesting that there is no Wilson or no Hodgson in the top 10. Also Mikkel Bodker is really climbing at #5. From there are two defensemen sitting pretty (potentially for us) at 6 and 7 in Pietrangelo and Schenn.
So what does this all tell us?
Perhaps the top 6 isn't quite as set as we/I thought. A month ago Pietrangelo was thought to be a sure fire top 4 pick but he seems to be slipping. Bodker was more in that 8-10 range and now he's managed to climb into the top 5 at Redline of an impressive playoff performance. For those that have the NHL Network you can actually catch Bodker playing for Kitchner in the Memorial Cup.
..and how about Filatov? This kid is consistantly getting ranked the 2nd best prospect in this draft behind Stamkos. Of course there is that nasty lack of transfer agreement with Russia that is hanging over team's heads as they put their own draft lists together. Will he drop? He says he wants to come over which may be enough for a team in the top 5 to grab this offensive dynamo.
For Columbus, a team that could really use a defensive stud in their system, this is all good news. The question for me will be if both Pietrangelo and Schenn are indeed available at 6, which I still think is unlikely, who does Columbus choose? That would be a nice problem to have.
I am certainly liking Columbus' chances to land one of Doughty, Bogosian, Pietrangelo or Schenn though the more and more I read these rankings. Especially with Bodker really climbing and Filatov staying locked at #2.
Stay tuned for more draft coverage on lightthelamp!
Monday, May 19, 2008
Here are the top 30 for those that don't get it:
1. Steven Stamkos - center - CAN
2. Drew Doughty - defensemen - CAN
3. Zach Bogosian - defensemen - USA
4. Nikita Filatov - left wing - RUS
5. Alex Pietrangelo - defensemen - CAN
6. Luke Schenn - defensemen - CAN
7. Colin Wilson - center - USA
8. Cody Hodgson - center - CAN
9. Mikkel Boedker - left wing - DAN
10. Kyle Beach - center - CAN
11. Tyler Myers - defensemen - CAN
12. Zach Boychuk - center - CAN
13. Colten Teubert - defensemen - CAN
14. Josh Bailey - center - CAN
15. Michael Del Zotto - defensemen - CAN
16. Mattias Tedenby - left wing - SWE
17. Luca Sbisa - defensemen - SWISS
18. Colby Robak - defensemen - CAN
19. Jacob Marksrom - goalie - SWE
20. Mikhail Stefanovich - center - BEL
21. Greg Nemisz - center - CAN
22. Jordan Eberle - center - CAN
23. Yann Suave - defensemen - CAN
24. Anton Gustafsson - center - SWE
25. Joel Colborne - left wing - CAN
26. A.J. Jenkins - center - USA
27. Daultan Leveille - center - CAN
28. Tyler Cuma - defensemen - CAN
29. Zac Dalpe - center - CAN
30. John Carlson - defensemen - USA
Now Howson has been quoted as saying he thinks Columbus will end up with defensemen if they keep that #6 overall pick, especially given how top heavy this draft is with defensemen.
However if Dougthy, Bogosian (whom I personally love), Pietrangelo and Schenn are all off the board - which could happen - does Howson draft the supremely talented Russian in Filatov?
Here is what THN had to say about him:
Russian teenager Alexei Cherepanov tumbled on draft day last ear more because of his effort and character than the NHL's problems with the Russian federation.
If Filatov tumbles, it won't have anything to do with his skill or desire.
"He probably has as much skill as anyone in this draft and he's a very competitive player," one scout said.
But the left winger for Central Army's second division team will surely slide because teams don't know what hoops will have to be cleared to get him to the NHL. And teams that are choosing high are looking for secure picks.
The lack of an agreement with Russia might help, said one scout. It means if he doesn't sign, he'll remain a defected player in perpetuity instead of going back into the draft in two years.
Filatov has been a consistent terror for opposing goalies at international tournaments.
The magazine also stated that if Filatov played in the Canadian Major Juniors there is no doubt he would have put up Stamkos like numbers.
Interesting no doubt but I just don't see the organization taking a chance on a Russian this high in the draft again after selecting Zherdev just a few short years ago 4th overall in one of the deepest drafts ever. There seems to be no denying this kid's talent level though. Alot of people compare his game to Pavel Datsyuk.
It will be real interesting to watch what Columbus does if those big 4 drop right in a row after Stamkos goes #1 to Tampa.
I really like what I read about Elerbe, Ennis and Wahl though. Three smaller players who can flat out zip offensively. If we retain th 36th overall pick in the 2nd round and go D in the first I certainly wouldn't mind picking one of those kids up.
Also something else I want to note. THN's 29th ranked Zach Dalpe is committed to Ohio State next season although the magazine mentions there is "rumblings he may end up with OHL's Lodon Knights". Don't do it Dalpe - come to OSU, they desperately need you! They go on to say "there are few players in this draft who have risen faster and higher than Dalpe".
Speaking of college recruits. For those that like to keep up with more than OSU football's recruiting class here is a great site that tracks incoming NCAA D1 hockey recruits.
Finally for those keeping track. THN has 52 Canadians ranked in their top 100 and 18 USA born followed by 7 Swedes and 6 Fins.
For those that follow the draft closely I would recommend picking this up. It can usually be found at Barns & Noble but you may want to call first. It makes following the draft on draft day much more fun.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Its to bad we here in the states can't watch it but Team Canada goes for gold against the Russians today at the finals of the World Championships in Quebec City.
The game is 1:30 EST and at the very least can be followed over at iihf.com.
Hitch, Nash & Chimera will represent the Jackets for Cananda. Only former Jacket Sergei Fedorov will be suiting up for the Russians.
As a friend of mine suggested, wouldn't it be sweet if Chimera or Nash got a few big hits on their old teammate? Uh huh!
Leclaire will not start the final. Cam Ward gets the nod as Hitch will stick with his goalie rotation.
A big game no doubt. The last time the Canadians/Russians met in a World Championship final was in 1952.
Should be a great game. Good luck boys!
Saturday, May 17, 2008
As Puck-rakers states Marleau has 2 years left on his deal at 6.3 million. The key though is that as of July 1st he has a no trade clause that kicks in so if San Jose wants to deal him, they have to do it before then.
....and as it stands, it looks as though that is exactly what they intend to do.
So where do the Jackets fit in all of this Marleau news?
Well its no secret the Jackets are desperate to get Rick Nash some legit help at center. Help he's never really had. Howson made the push for Brad Richards but ultimately lost out as they did not have goaltending asset to give up. That shouldn't be a problem this time around should Howson be interested as the Sharks are set at that position with perenial all star Evgeni Nabokov locked up for years to come.
Here is sportsnet.ca's take on Marleau:
Is blessed with great speed and can catch defenders off guard by blazing right by them. Has natural goal-scoring ability, good size for the center position and emerging leadership issues.
Still suffers through bouts of inconsistency from time to time. Needs to use his size even more to his advantage.
First line center.
2007 San Jose NHL 78 19 29 48 -19 33 10.3
2006 San Jose NHL 77 32 46 78 9 33 17.8
2005 San Jose NHL 82 34 52 86 -12 26 13.1
2004 Did not play -- 0 0 0 0 0 0 --
2003 San Jose NHL 80 28 29 57 -5 24 12.7
2002 San Jose NHL 82 28 29 57 -10 33 16.3
2001 San Jose NHL 79 21 23 44 9 40 17.4
2000 San Jose NHL 81 25 27 52 7 22 17.1
1999 San Jose NHL 81 17 23 40 -9 36 10.6
1998 San Jose NHL 81 21 24 45 10 24 15.7
1997 San Jose NHL 74 13 19 32 5 14 14.4
So a 28 year old center, just now in his prime. He's got 5 of 10 seasons with 52 or more points. 2 of his last 3 he had 70 or more points. He's fast with good size who can score and set up plays. He also gets it done in the playoffs as he had 4g, 4a for 8 points in 13 games this playoff.
That said if we did acquire him there would certainly be some questions to be answered. How would he respond to being traded to a team/city like Columbus? How would he respond to Hitch? Would there be chemistry between he and Nash? Would he just sleepwalk through the season if he were disgruntled? Last thing we want is a 28 year old Fedorov on our hands right?
Trades can't be made until after the finals are over so look for Marleau to get dealt between then and June 20th which is the first day of the draft.
Friday, May 16, 2008
First up was his review of Derek Brassard in the AHL playoffs. Brassard scored 13 points in 13 games for the Crunch and it seems, at least to Bob, that perhaps the Jackets may think he's ready to hold down that #2 center position. He goes on to say what's the point of sinking a bunch of dough into a #2 veteran center if the 20 Brassard is ready?
He makes a valid point. I'm just not sure the Jackets can hedge their bets that he will indeed be ready. They have gotten "brule'd" on that before! Lots of holes to fill though so if there is one area they may choose to roll the dice on it may be on the 20 year old 2006 #6 overall pick in that 2nd line center hole.
He also touched on Jason Spezza and the comments that Hitch made during the World Championships that he is ready to be coached to take his game to an even higher level. Some people may read that as Hitch hinting he'd love to be that coach. I read that Spezza, for all the natural talent this guy has, is a bit of a headcase. When Ottawa got eliminated and the Spezza trade rumors started to fly I was first in line wanting to acquire this guy. I'm not so sure he's the kind of player I'd be willing to give up mountains of assets for to acquire at this point.
Speaking of the 2006 draft. How good is the top of that draft looking? You had Erik Johnson, Jordan Staal, Jonathen Towes, Niklas Backstrom, Phil Kessel, Derek Brassard, Kyle Okposo and Peter Mueller as the top 8. All are making impacts. In fact at this point Brassard has made the least impact in the NHL but that doesn't mean much at this point as the Jackets have finally given one of their top forwards time to develop. That draft is shaping up to be something special early on.
In case you haven't heard yet, Rick Nash is on the cover of the NHL2K9. What great exposure for the franchise and for 61. Well deserved.
A quote from Nasher on the announcement:
"My idols have all been on the covers of video games as I was growing up, so to be on the cover of NHL 2K9 myself is truly incredible," said Nash. "The set of new features they're adding is really going to make this game special for hockey fans - I'm hoping they give me a couple extra points to my player rating this year!"
My friend asked what color do you think the jersey will be that they put him in on the cover? We both love the whites but I think they'll go with a shot of him in the union blue.
For me personally I was a big fan of the NHL2K series but EA really upped the ante last year and made one of the best hockey video games I have ever played and haven't played 2k since. I'll buy the 2k series next year just for the cover but I'm hoping they do an extreme make-over of their game similar to what EA did last year an up their own ante. A healthy competition amongst game company's only benefits the quality of the product for the consumer.
Anyhow - way to go Nasher!! I finally have something new to put in the "CBJ Closet" section of this blog.
Hitch, Nash, Leclaire, Chimera and Team Canada are back at it today as they move into the semi-finals against Sweden at 5 p.m. EST. Obviously a win today puts them in the finals and a chance at their 2nd straight gold medal. Pascal Leclaire gets the starts in what is probably the biggest game of his career. This experience will only build confidence for his first playoff game next season :)
According to Puck-rakers Howson hopes to open up contract extension talks with Hitch over this summer. Don't look for Hitch to be extended anytime before the Draft or the July 1st UFA season. I think Hitch wants to wait to see what kind of groceries Howson gets him to cook a winner with before committing long term. Who can blame him.
Who else thinks these playoffs are taking foooorrreeeevvvveeeer!?! With such a big offseason on tap for the CBJ I want nothing but sweeps (preferably a sweep of Detroit) so we can get on with the offseason. NHL Draft only 35 days away. I'm expecting some major CBJ wheeling and dealing by Howson and the brass.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Howson has not had any contract negotiations with Jackets’ free agents such as Ron Hainsey or Michael Peca. The GM said he would "have some dialogue” with those players before July 1, the beginning of the free-agent season.
No surprise here for me.
Some fans may grumble about Hainsey but seriously where will he fit?
We've got our two shutdown guys locked up in Rusty Klesla and Jan Hejda. We've got our bottom pairing defensemen in OK Tollefsen, Aaron Rome, Marc Methot, Kris Russell and Clay Wilson. What we need are high end guys.
Is Ron Hainsey that guy because he's going to want to get paid like one?
To me the answer to that question is an indisputable no, no, no.
Sportsnet.ca's profile on Hainsey:
Has great mobility, size and reach. Can play on either side of the ice. Displays plenty of offensive upside. Is capable of logging a ton of minutes.
Is far too soft for his 6-3, 211-pound frame. Needs more polish in the defensive zone. Is still a bit raw in all three zones.
Top four defenseman.
We've seen what Hainsey can do when being the #1 option for the Jackets offensively from the blueline and nothing against Hainsey, but it just ain't good enough. The Jackets need a whole lot more if thoughts of playoffs are dacin around in their heads.
The Jackets had the #28 worst PP in the league. Hainsey was its PPQB.
Granted most of the Jackets were bad down the stretch and Hainsey was no exception. Over the past 20 games he had 1 goal, 3 assists and was a -8. Not nearly good enough.
He can log lots of minutes and he does stay relatively healthy but he doesn't hit, has a helluva hard time getting shots through and is terrible on the transition and powerplay.
Hainsey will get his money from somebody. He's come a long way from where he was when MacLean first claimed him on waivers from Montreal but he's not the answer for us at this point. Howson has a unique opportunity to remake the defense and he's going to shoot for the , no pun intended, stars.
Will he get the guys he wants?
That remains to be seen but I think there are many guys that will be on the market where put in Hainsey's position and PP time could produce similar stats for cheaper -- what Howson is looking for are guys who are much better than that.
You need consistent production for the blueline, especially on the PP and we just did not get it last year.
Our defense needs at minimum two huge upgrades. We need guys who can work the point on the powerplay to free up our guys down low. Right now all teams do is pressure our D because they know we don't have the skill on the backend to move it ala pretty much any playoff team.
Why do you think Holmstrom is so open in front of the net in Detroit when they are on a PP? Its because opponents have to respect Detroit's skill on the blueline.
Ain't nobody respecting Ron Hainsey's skill on the point of a PP. Howson knows that, Hitch knows that hence why he won't be re-signed.Now of course Howson is not going to land a Lindstrom caliber player but there are guys expected to hit he UFA market who could certainly help - guys like Campbell, Liles and Redden among others. Then there is always the trade route with potential targets like Kubina, Kaberle, Pitkanen & Whitney among others.
As far as Peca. Nothing at all suprising with him. He won't be back. The organization has plenty of guys who can fill bottom six roles. Howson needs top 6 guys and that's where his dollars need to go. Peca did a decent job for us under the circumstances (Svitov bolting) but its time to move on and think bigger.