Tag: NHL Draft 2018

Vancouver Canucks Sign Quinn Hughes To 3-Year Entry Level Contract

Quinn Hughes the Canucks 7th overall selection in the 2018 Draft signed an entry level contract with the Canucks and is expected to make his NHL debut 10-games from today.

Quinn Hughes has spent the last two seasons with the University of Michigan, where he collected 69 games in 2 season tallying 62 points (10G, 52A). Hughes is considered an elite level defenseman and is going to be another bright spot for the Canucks. Aside from the size issue some see in his game, Hughes makes up for it with his impeccable stride, vision and hockey awareness.

Hughes was founded during the U.S. National Team where he played 65 games collecting 53 points (10G, 43A) as well during the World Juniors U18 team playing in 7 games with 5 points. Hughes is the definition of a puck moving defenseman, he possess an unbelievable mind for the offensive side of things ans will bring a ton of value to the Canucks back end.

Hughes contract was 3-years at 4.812 total contract worth. He signed the max entry level contract you can sign at $916,666 plus potential bonuses of $362,500 the first year and $850,000 the next two years in addition to a $92,500 signing bonus.

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Filip Zadina Set To Play Vs San Jose, Mats Zuccarello Makes Stars Debut Vs Chicago

Filip Zadina, the Red Wings 6th overall selection in the 2018 NHL draft was recalled yesterday morning. Zadina has not played with the Red Wings this regular season and his time up at the professional level this season will probably last 10 or so games. Zadina has been having himself a nice year with the Grand Rapid Griffins collecting 31 points in 45 games. Zadina is set to play on the third line with Luke Glending and Thomas Vanek.

Mats Zuccarello was sent to Dallas last night for a 2nd round pick and 3rd round pick. Dallas turns around quickly for a back to back after getting shutout vs Carolina. Less than 24-hours later they face Chicago in a Sunday afternoon game. Zuccarello has been projected to be playing line two with Jamie Benn and Radek Faksa. Zuccarello has 37 points in 46 games (11G, 26A).

 

Biggest winners and losers of the 2018 NHL Draft first round

As expected the horse Rasmus Dhalin landed in Buffalo first overall, the second pick went on par with how we all thought it was going to with Andrei Svechnikov to Carolina but basically from there on it was a bit of a roller coaster. Here are some of the biggest winners and losers of the 2018 NHL draft first round.

Winners…

New York Islanders: Islanders steal Oliver Wahlstrom and Noah Dobson back to back is a huge grab for the young and upcoming franchise. The Islanders capitalized on the Rangers stretch and will hope that their top first-round picks come to haunt the Rangers in years to come.

Buffalo Sabres: Walking away with a generational talent and franchise defenseman is a win in anyone’s books. Dahlin going to the Sabres is huge for this organization as they now have Eichel, Mittlestadt, Ristolanien, and Dahlin to be the face of this franchise.

Detroit Red Wings: Stealing Zadina at number 6 as he was projected to be a #3 overall choice is huge for the Red Wings. As they now receive an elite goal scorer and projected top three forward, the Red Wings are happy for sure. As well as snagging Joel Veleno at number 30 was a win, Veleno was expected to be a top ten pick but his draft stock rapidly as the draft went on. A huge win for Detroit here.

Surprises of the top ten…

Out of the first round the biggest surprise had to be Jesperi Kotkaniemi to Montreal although they did say they were going to go after him it was a bit odd they did not wait on him a bit as he may have been later in the draft. Along with the Coyotes drafting yet another center in Barrett Hayton passing on Filip Zadina and other solid wingers in this draft. The biggest surprise in the top ten was the Rangers drafting KHL rookie Vitali Kravstov, while Noah Dobson and Oliver Wahlstrom were still on the board. A stretch of a pick two years in a row by the Rangers, somebody better hope these Rangers scouts know something none of us know about their last two top ten draft picks because if they do not pan out it will look almost as bad as the Dylan Mclirath and Al Montaya picks.

Losers…

Ottawa Senators: Ottawa stretched big time in the first round with Jacob Bernard-Docker, not something you want to see out of Ottawa after everything that is going on with this team. Luckily they walk away with Brady Tkachuk but still, they could have waited on Docker a bit.

Philadelphia Flyers: Joel Farabee was a solid choice as he is going to be a very solid addition to their forward group but Jay O’Brien 5 picks later was not what many expected the Flyers to do. A big stretch from the Flyers but luckily O’Brien has some upside.

New York Rangers: Taking Vitali Kravstov at 9 was not what anyone in the world expected, passing on two sure talents and proven prospects in Wahlstrom and Dobson may come back to bite the Rangers. Luckily there is a lot of upside to Kravtsov and they did hit the mark on K’Andre Miller but also did again stretch a bit with their 28th overall choice taking Nils Lundkvist. It was clear the Rangers had one thing on their mind going into yesterday’s first round, they wanted upside and to take gambles. See how it works out.

Noticeable players left on the board…

Serron Noel- RW out of OHL Oshawa General tallying 53 points in 62 games. Also playing for Canada’s U18 team this past World Juniors. Noel was ranked 19 by Bob McKenzie and within the top 20 by other scouts but landed out of the first round now.

Bode Wilde- D out of USA U18 National team scoring 41 points in 61 games as a defenseman is quite the mark. Wilde also played for USA U18 World Juniors this past year. Wilde was ranked to be within the top-20 this draft but fell out of the first round.

Ryan McLeod- C out of Mississauga Steelheads of the OHL scoring 70 points in 68 games with 26 goals. McLeod brother of Mike (New Jersey Devils prospect) was projected to go within the 20-31 range but fell as well.

Mattias Samuelsson- D out of USA U18 National team playing in 58 games scoring 31 points as well as playing for the U18 team at the World Juniors tallying only 2 points in 7 games. Samuelsson is a Western Michigan University commit as he will play for them in the 2018-19 season. Samuelsson was a projected second-round pick but could have been a stretch for some. Still, he holds a ton of talent with his 6’4 frame and heavy lefty shot.

Cam Ward to hit free agency, Oilers open to moving #10 pick

Cam Ward has spent the last 13 seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes, winning the Conn Smythe the year the Hurricanes won their last Cup in 2005-06. Ward spent a little of last year on the disabled list but once he got healthy again he quickly took over the ranks from young goaltender Scott Darling. Ward for sure surged the Hurricanes to be near contenders last season. Posting 23-14-4 record with a 2.73 GAA and .906 SV percentage. There has not been an immediate reason as to why Ward does want to leave and hit free agency but it could be due to a different face in Carolina, the Hurricanes not being a successful team in recent years and some things coming to change in the locker room in Carolina. Plus Ward is 34 nearing the end of his career, for sure a paycheck, in a comfortable spot, where he doesn’t have to battle for a starting role is what he wants. Ward’s career numbers are 318-244-84 with a 2.70 GAA, .909 SV percentage and 27 shutouts.

Where can we see Ward land? 

The New York Islanders are in the hunt for a starting goalie, Ward is a perfect fit, two-year deal and someone who can be a quick fix right now. Buffalo Sabres as Robin Lehner is leaving the team in a few weeks to test the market as well, Buffalo could bite at Ward. Vancouver is a possibility, with no real solid number one goaltender, the veteran skillset, and experience Ward has would be a perfect fit for the Canucks if the Canucks were to be in the market for a goalie. Same goes for Colorado, while Varlamov is a solid goaltender, I am sure Colorado would have liked to have a more experienced and trustworthy goal towards the end of the year when Varlamov was battling injuries. All in all, I’d be surprised if the Islanders don’t jump at Ward.

Edmonton moving #10 pick…

Edmonton wants to move #10 pick? Yeah me neither I don’t get it. They are looking to move Milan Lucic already, which while we are on that topic, he does have an NMC(no movement clause) he already said he’ll waive so will the Oilers and it all it really comes down to is how much of his salary the Oilers will eat. Anyways, the Oilers are ACTIVELY looking to shop the number ten overall pick in this year’s draft. What they may be looking for is probably either a top-four forward or top four defenseman. The Oilers need some offensive support to help Leon Drastali and Connor McDavid. But they also need someone to fill the void of the number four on the team, and really any top-four role in Edmonton. The Oilers have Oscar Klefbom, Andrej Sekera(out last year), Adam Larsson, Kris Russel and Darnell Nurse(RFA) but none of these defensemen have really stepped into a top-four role and solidified themselves. In the end, the Oilers are really looking to do something with this #10 pick, they obviously do not need whoever they are going to get they think so a team that is willing to part ways with a top-four player forward/defenseman, this will be a draft day deal. Probably chatter will be going on all day about this and a deal will get done when its the Oilers turn to pick.

Edmonton fans keep in mind the Oilers most recent trades though

Adam Larsson for Taylor Hall (Hall just won the Hart trophy btw…)

Ryan Strome for Jordan Eberle (Cap reasons, yes but still sheesh)

Al Montaya for a 4th round pick 

David Desharnais for Brandon Davidson (Davidson later moved for a 3rd this year)

Justin Schultz for a 3rd round pick 

Griffin Reinhart for a 1st and 2nd round pick

Need I say more, Oiler fans do not expect to come away a winner in this deal.

Robin Lehner expected to be a free agent, Sabres looking to trade down in NHL draft, Eric Gryba out in Edmonton

A lot of Buffalo Sabres news. As it came out a little while ago, the Sabres have said they will not be offering Robin Lehner a contract, therefore, he will be a UFA come July 1st. Robin Lehner was sent over from Ottawa to Buffalo in 2015. The Sabres acquired Lehner and David Legwand while giving up a 1st round pick that was later used to pick Colin White.

Lehner posted bad numbers last year with a 14-26-9 record with a 3.01 GAA and a .908 SV percentage. The Sabres saw a solid year out of Lehner during the first two years he was here but expecting him to really come into a starting role the 26-year-old goaltender failed to meet the Sabres standards and will now be a free agent in the coming days. Lehner is still relatively young with plenty of years in him and the chance to crack an NHL roster as a starter. Some teams that may use Lehner’s services are the Islanders, Blackhawks, Stars, Red Wings, Montreal, Ottawa, Rangers. Lehner is a sure backup goaltender and a fringe starter, therefore, either of these teams could make sense.

Lehner’s career numbers are 72-97-35 with a 2.82 GAA and .915 SV percentage. Let’s see where the 26-year-old goaltender lands int he coming weeks.

More Buffalo news…

More news out of Buffalo is that they are extremely interested in trading down to the Canadiens number three pick, while also rumoring to give Montreal Ryan O’Reilly. Essentially a deal could like the Sabres receiving Max Pacioretty, the 3rd overall for Ryan O’Reilly and their first overall pick. A lot of chatter has come out about this. And if the Sabres do this and miss on Dahlin it may be the biggest mistake in their franchise history essentially.

Gryba Out

Minor news out of Edmonton is that Eric Gryba was placed on waivers with the intention to buy him out. Gryba is 30-years-old on a $900,000 deal which ends at the end of the 2018-19 campaign. Gryba has tallied 14 points in 104 games. Since coming to Edmonton Gryba has yet to play a full season and has really failed to be a solid sixth defenseman for the Oilers. The positive for Gryba is that most defenseman and players who leave Edmonton end up doing fine and he is also 6’4 230 lbs a lot of NHL teams wouldn’t mind that demeanor on the blueline.

Phil Kessel likely to waive no-movement clause to play for Arizona, Artem Panarin out in Columbus?

This is relatively VERY new news, and shocking. Phil Kessel has said to likely waive his no-movement clause and a modified no-trade clause to play for Arizona. As odd as that seems, the reason behind it all is because Phil wants to play under former coach, and now assistant coach of Arizona, Rick Tocchet. Phil has had his fair share of friction and conflict with head coach Mike Sullivan, although it was said Phil was going to be traded than not traded, this is Phil saying he WOULD likely waive his no-movement clause if Pittsburgh were interested in trading him. This is not saying it will happen but if Pittsburgh were to move forward and part ways with Phil Kessel he is open to going to Arizona.

Phil Kessel the 12-year, 30-year-old veteran comes with a price though due to his 741 points in 941 games, 2-time Stanley Cup champ, 6-time 30 goal scorer, 7-time 60 point player and coming off his best year of his career tallying 92 points in 82 games with a career high 58 assists. Kessel will not be cheap and it seems as if the Coyotes are not willing to bite on Kessel. It is still early in the trade talk but right now the Coyotes have come out and said they are not biting just yet, persumably because the Penguins probably want their 1st round pick this year and with the Coyotes slotted 5th overall to get Bouchard, Hughes, Zadina, Doboson, or others they are not willing to move just yet. We will see this move more after the draf or on draft day I assume.

Panarin out in Columbus? 

The 26-year-old superstar winger is coming off his best year during his 3-year career thus far tallying 82 points in 81 games with a career high 55 assists. Panarin has yet to record under 74 points in his 3 years in the NHL. Well recently it came out that Panarin does not want to talk contract negotations with the Blue Jackets and will test the market. Panarin is entering the final year of his 6 million dollar contract and will become a UFA at the end of 2018-19 season. Therefore this will be a trade and sign deal for whatever team does end up getting Panarin if Columbus does not end up keeping the “breadman”. The intersting part is that Chicago came out a couple weeks ago and said they are willing to trade their 1st round pick for an NHL ready player. Could that mean a reunion of Kane and Panarin? Very unlikely as the Blackhawks have 4.75 mil in cap space at the moment and still have 5 contracts to be signed. This news is still very fresh and not much has come out yet but the Blue Jackets are probably livid that Panarin will not talk with them yet until Panarin gets to test the market. But what we are all not understanding is that Panarin is a free agent next seaosn, it seems as if he wants to see what other teams are willing to bite at him and what they would be willing to throw his way money wise. This could be mean that Panarin hears a few offers and realizes he is better off in Columbus, and could end up staying in Columbus and signing a long term deal in the upcoming season.

John Tavares contract watch, Canadiens 3rd overall 2018 draft choice

John Tavares watch

It is now 11 days until July 1st and the Islanders and John Tavares have yet to come to a deal. It was rumored last week that Tavares and the Islanders were looking at 10.7 million per year, long-term deal obviously but nothing went forward after that and there is nothing set in stone. The watch is really heating up and if Tavares becomes a UFA in 11 days he will be without a doubt the number one most pursued free agents in the last decade.

Yesterday the Maple Leafs hit the news about something they are brewing “IF” Tavares hits UFA watch. Per Bob McKenzie

“Like a lot of teams, no doubt, if John Tavares gets to the UFA shopping period. It is still an “if” at this point. Toronto is believed to be putting together a promotional video for JT that may even include a cameo pitch or two from some current Leafs players. It was also talked about last the Leafs put in a sheet of ice at the Air Canada Center for some promotional purposes.

Tavares has been one of the biggest targets for Toronto the moment he was rumored to be nearing the end of his contract and Tavares and the Islanders could not come to a deal this season. Besides Toronto, there are still some teams flying under the radar that IF Tavares does reach UFA market, will be pursuing him heavily. Aside from Toronto, Vegas has said to be making a push for Tavares, some other teams that have not per say pursued Tavares but may make a push for him are the Canadiens and Rangers. The Canadiens and Rangers would not be the best suitors for Tavares, but with the cap space they have it may be worth throwing an offer Tavares’s way. At the end of the day, I think we see a deal be done later in the week, around Friday, Saturday.

Canadiens to draft Jesperi Kotkaniemi 3rd overall 

Another mistake coming out of Montreal? We shall see in 3 days as the Canadiens said they will be pursuing Jesperi Kotkaniemi, passing on Filip Zadina, Quinton Hughes, Brady Tkachuk and more. The Canadiens said if they cannot trade down for Kotkaniemi they will be drafting him 3rd overall still. At the beginning of the draft Kotkaniemi was not this high on the draft board, but after a successful showing at the combine, he has risen up the board a tremendous amount, moving in the eye of the Canadiens at number three.

Kotkaniemi played out of Liiga for Assat playing 57 games scoring 10 goals and 19 assists as well as for Finland U18 World Juniors team tallying 9 points in 7 games, Finland U18 and U20 on the International stage combining for 22 points in 20 games. Kotkaniemi center slot may be the reason the Canadiens have been so evident on drafting Kotkaniemi. Along with his 6″2 190 lb frame, and the Canadiens recently trading Alex Galchenyuk and not acquiring a true center could be the reason for his uproar in the rankings as of late.