2013 - 2014 NHL Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Scott Merryfield, Oct 1, 2013.

  1. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    Lots of NHL activity between the draft and trades. Vancouver was having a fire sale, trading away Kesler to Anaheim and Garrison to Tampa. Pittsburgh traded away Plymouth Whalers alumnus James Neal to Phoenix.

    As for the draft, Aaron Ekblad became the 2nd player granted "exceptional status"(allowed to be drafted into the Ontario Hockey League a year early at 15 years old) to be selected #1 overall in the NHL Draft. John Tavares was the first. Two other players have been granted exceptional status by the league, and Connor McDavid could join Tavares and Ekblad as #1 overall pick in next year's draft. The fourth player is Sean Day, who becomes NHL draft eligible in 2017.

    I like the Habs 1st round pick, Nikita Scherbak. He has a lot of skill, and really wants to play in the NHL (so no worries that he may go back to Mother Russia and the KHL).

    Five players from my hometown Plymouth Whalers of the OHL were taken in the draft -- Alex Nedeljkovic (#37 to Carolina), Connor Chatham (#71 to New Jersey), Alex Peters (#75 to Dallas), Josh Wesley (#96 to Carolina), and Matt Mistele (#180 to LA). This breaks the Whalers streak of having at least one player taken in the first round in the previous four drafts. Nedeljkovic came close, but his position hurt him -- for the 2nd straight year no goalie was taken in the 1st round.

    Ned and Wesley going to Carolina is the result of former Whalers head coach and GM Mike Vellucci taking the job as assistant GM with the Hurricanes. Josh Wesley, the son of former NHL player Glen Wesley, becomes the first North Carolina native to ever be picked in the NHL Draft. Also, Alex Peters is the younger brother of Carolina Hurricanes goalie (and Plymouth Whalers alum) Justin Peters.

    The Ontario Hockey League led all leagues with 41 players drafted, followed by the Western Hockey League (37), USHL (30) and Sweden Jr. (21).
     
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  2. Ockeghem

    Ockeghem Ockeghem

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    Scott,Thanks for that information. Very interesting. I don't know too much about some of the leagues you mention. In the future however, I will expect a separate Bruins report from you as well. ;)
     
  3. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    Scott,

    Unfortunately, I know nothing about Boston's 1st round pick -- David Pastrnak from Sweden. Their 2nd round pick - high schooler Ryan Donato -- is the son of former NHLer Ted Donato, who also played for the Bruins. Looking through Boston's picks, none are from the three Canadian major junior leagues, so I know nothing about them as players.

    As for the leagues I mentioned, the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and Western Hockey League (WHL), along with the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) comprise the Canadian Hockey League (CHL). The CHL is the highest level of junior hockey in the world, and supplies more players to the NHL than any other league by a long shot. This year alone 95 of the 210 players drafted were from the CHL. Each CHL sub-league has its own draft of 16 year olds each spring, with Ontario and surrounding U.S. state natives being OHL property, provinces west of Ontario being WHL property and provinces east of Ontario being QMJHL property. The three leagues also hold a single, combined "foreign" draft each year for European players. CHL players are mostly 16 to 20 years old, with the rare "exceptional status" 15 year old and some "overage" players who turn 21 before the hockey season ends. Each team can have two "import" players (i.e. not Canadian or American, which pretty much means European), and three "over agers" (i.e. 20 years old when the season begins).

    The USHL is the United States Hockey League, and is the U.S. version of the CHL, with its teams located in the Midwest. Unlike the CHL, it does not pay a stipend to its players, who thus retain amateur status and are eligible to play in the NCAA (CHL players are considered professionals by the NCAA). So American kids will sometimes start in the USHL while in high school to retain the possibility of playing NCAA hockey, but then may decide to jump to the CHL later if they develop into a top prospect, as the CHL is considered the best development league in the world (much better than the NCAA). While USHL players can be 16 - 20 years old, they are mostly high school age, as the better players either leave for the CHL or NCAA as they get older.
     
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  4. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    Ahead of free agency starting tomorrow, the Habs have traded Danny Briere to Colorado for P.A. Parenteau and a 5th round pick. On the surface it looks like an even swap of $4M salaries, but if you consider that Parenteau is really taking $5M Brian Gionta's spot in the lineup (he's not going to be re-signed), then the Habs are saving considerable cap money, improving at right wing, and getting rid of a declining player who was a bad fit in Briere. I like this trade.

    The Canadiens are also rumored to be interested in free agent Radim Vrbata. If they can sign him, too, these two moves would go a long way to helping their scoring... and replacing Vanek, which was a low-cost experiment that just didn't work out in the playoffs.

    Meanwhile, the Bruins are really struggling with salary cap issues. It will be interesting to see if they can free up enough to sign Iginla.
     
  5. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Scott, David Pastrnak is from the Czech Republic, he just plays in Sweden. He's been described as a puck control monster (a "smaller version of Jagr") with a good two way game. He also looks to be a monster on the big stage, often doubling his regular season PPG average in tournament play. Look to him spending another year in Sweden, then vying for a spot on the NHL roster in 15-16.

    Edit: Now I see conflicting reports that state he's not effective in big games. Such is the imprecise art of scouting, lol.
     
  6. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    Jeff,

    Thanks for the scouting report on Pastrnak. He sounds like a very attractive prospect. Losing to the Habs in the playoffs had one benefit -- a higher pick to be able to select him. ;)

    The biggest downside, as a fan, to our favorite teams drafting European players is that it is more difficult for us to keep track of their progress (although the NHL teams are certainly keeping track of that progress). I did like being able to actually watch in person Montreal's first round pick from last season, Mike McCarron, as he is with the London Knights of the OHL. This year's 1st round pick, Scherbak, is Russian but is playing for Saskatoon in the WHL. While I will not be able to see him play live, it will be easier to find highlights online.
     
  7. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    Lots of action during the opening hours of free agency today:

    Ryan Miller to Vancouver. Didn't get a long term deal (only 3 years)
    Stastny to St. Louis for $7M per year (only 4 years)
    Vanek to Minnesota for $6.5M (only 3 years). Zero surprise here
    Iginla to Colorado for $5.4M (3 years)

    Teams trying to reach the salary cap floor overpaying:
    Buffalo signs Moulson and Gionta, trades for Josh Gorges
    New Jersey overpays for Cammelleri
    Florida signs Bollard, Jokinen and Shawn Thornton

    It looks like the GM's for the better teams are getting a little wiser and not offering as many years on these free agent deals.

    The Habs moves over the past day or so have both improved the team and shed some salary cap, which they will need to sign restricted free agents Subban and Eller, plus give them flexibility to make future deals.

    Out: Gionta ($5M/yr.), Briere, ($4M), Gorges ($3.9M), Vanek ($6M)
    In: Parenteau ($4M), Gilbert ($2.8M), Weaver ($1.75M), Malholtra ($850K), Sekac (entry level contract under $1m/yr.)

    Gionta and Briere are replaced by Parenteau and Malholtra (Briere would have been the fourth line center at $4M), while Gilbert provides more offense than Gorges for less money, and Weaver plays as well defensively (plus Emelin can move back to his natural LD position). Vanek was never going to sign in Montreal anyway -- he was going to Minnesota all along. Sekac from the KHL is the wildcard, as supposedly at least 12 teams were competing to sign him to a maximum entry level contract. You never know how these late bloomer undrafted free agents will work out.
     
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  8. Ockeghem

    Ockeghem Ockeghem

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    Scott,

    This morning's hockey notes of interest on a local radio program had to do with the mess that the Red Wings have made of their free agency moves (or lack thereof) over the past three or four years. They need defense, and don't seem to do anything about it. And TPTB are saying they don't have an answer as to why some players do not elect to stay with Detroit like they used to back in the day when Bowman was at the helm. Some have said that this may have to do with Babcock being in the final year of his contract.

    Speaking of Babcock, one of the more unusal rumors I heard today was that he might consider coaching the Penguins in exchange for ... Malkin! It's only a rumor of course, but it sure made me do a double-take. I think it much more likely that Babcock would consider coaching the Maple Leafs (or another of the Canadian teams). He has shown interest in the Maple Leafs' organization relatively recently.
     
  9. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    Scott,

    I was surprised that the Wings did not make a move for a defenseman in free agency yesterday. The Habs picked up Tom Gilbert for a reasonable sum, but it sounds like he really wanted to play in Montreal (he made a comment that he tried to get a deal done with them last offseason). I can understand passing on the two former Penguins that Washington signed, as the Caps really overpaid for Niskanen and Orpik. However, Dan Boyle was also available, and the Canadiens traded away Josh Gorges for a 2nd round draft pick. So, there were defensemen to be had on the market.

    I think you are right that things are not as rosy in Detroit the past few seasons. Whether that is the transition from Bowman to Babcock, or just Holland struggling in the salary cap era is up for debate. They certainly cannot just keep buying a team like they did in the past.

    Some interesting information on your Bruins 1st round draft pick David Pastrnak. The Canadian Hockey League is having its import draft today, and he was selected #10 overall by the Belleville Bulls of the OHL. So, if the Bulls can convince him to play in North America (and I am sure the Bruins will encourage that), then I will get to see him play once this season. Belleville makes its one appearance in Plymouth on Friday, January 30th.
     
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  10. Ockeghem

    Ockeghem Ockeghem

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    Scott,If you happen to see Pastrnak play, it will be good to have you rooting for the Bruins once again. ;)
     
  11. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    Nah, since he will be playing for the opposing Bulls I will have two reasons to boo him. :lol:

    I do remember after he was drafted and left the Whalers, I saw a teenager walking around our arena wearing a Tyler Seguin Bruins jersey and it about killed me. :angry:
     
  12. Ockeghem

    Ockeghem Ockeghem

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    Scott,Here is more on Pastrnak. Apparently he had a good showing at camp. And if you so desire, there is much more on the Bruins in the link I have generously provided for you. And of course there is no charge. ;)

    http://bruins.nhl.com/club/blogpost.htm?id=30576
     
  13. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    Thanks for the link, Scott. I am just looking at this now. We just got back home -- been in Alaska for two weeks, so I have only checked in occasionally via my smartphone when I had coverage.

    I found it interesting that the Bruins only mentioned the NHL or Sweden as options for Pastrnak for next season. I would have thought they would encourage him to play in the OHL if he doesn't make the Bruins in training camp in order to get him used to North America and the smaller ice surfaces. It's a pretty common thing for NHL teams to do -- for example, the Islanders did that with Victor Crus Rydberg, whom they selected in last year's draft and is now playing for the Plymouth Whalers.
     
  14. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    San Jose awarded outdoor game. So, I guess this means that the NHL outdoor games have literally "jumped the shark". :D

    Seriously, I hope this fad wears off soon. It's just become a money grab for teams, as they get to gouge fans on ticket prices for lousy seats far away from the action. I went to the OHL outdoor game at Comerica Park last season, and based on that experience there is absolutely no way I would ever pay a premium to attend another outdoor game. It's a novelty that loses its appeal really quick.
     
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  15. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    The Columbus Bluejackets signed their first round draft pick, Sonny Milano, to an entry level contract over the weekend. While such a minor event would normally go unnoticed outside Columbus, in this case it has some major ramifications locally. Milano was committed to Boston College, but by signing his ELC he is no longer eligible for the NCAA. His junior rights are owned by my hometown Plymouth Whalers, so it's very likely he will be playing here this season. Up until the signing, he was adamant that he would be playing at Boston College this fall, despite the rumors all summer that he would back out of his letter of intent to BC.
     
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  16. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    (Just skipped about 100 messages)

    Jean-Sebastian Giguere is retiring. Which finally, eternally (for now!) closes the book on the Whale. :(

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Ockeghem

    Ockeghem Ockeghem

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  18. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    Surprising that a development league would try this. Most of these leagues are actually more lenient regarding icing than the NHL. The OHL, for example, still allows teams to change lines after they have iced the puck. The reasoning is they do not want overtired younger players on the ice, fearful that more injuries occur when players are tired.
     
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  19. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    I've thought about that idea. Normally I'm not one for change unless there's a very good reason, but I've always found it a little weird that a team being penalized is allowed to break the rules.
     
  20. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Not sure how I feel about this rule change. I get the whole "why does a shorthanded team get to break the rules?" argument. The counterargument is that the powerplay team is already up a man, so you should be able to control the puck, so if the shorthanded team gets the puck away from you, they should be able to clear it out.

    Not saying either way is correct, just two ways of looking at the "why SH teams get to ice" question.

    I did like how hockey opened up with the elimination of the two-line pass, so I can appreciate how certain rule changes can impact the game, but I'm just not sure yet how I feel about this one. With SH teams really being at a disadvantage, is the hope that players will foul less? Or that it will increase scoring? I liked the two-line pass elimination plus the cracking down on thuggery to open up play and scoring, but this may result in football scores. :D
     
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