Saturday, June 21, 2008
It was quite the scene in Ottawa. A decent amount of trades, involving actual players this year, and the whole pomp and circumstances of the NHL Draft shone through. Of course, there will be many questions after this weekend in order to determine what to think about next season.
The Draft first, and the idea of being the deepest draft ever held true, with a couple teams going really off the board in order to get their player. It wasn't until the Senators picked Erik Karlsson with their 15th pick that it start to go off the board. Karlsson was rated by The Hockey News at #71 on their top-100, though he was the 4th ranked European skater according to Central Scouting. Two picks later, the Ducks went really off the board in taking high schooler Jake Gardiner, who was 23rd North American skater, but overlooked by many people out there.
However, the biggest steal could be the Los Angeles Kings taking Justin Azevedo from the Kitchener Rangers in the 6th Round. Azevedo was by-passed in last year's draft, but came back strong with a 124-point season this year and helped the Rangers go ahead to the Mem Cup finals. I'm definitely on the bandwagon now for the Kings, especially if they can get all their cylinders popping.
The trades were very interesting. With them actually involving rostered players, it made it that much more fun.
-Olli Jokinen heading to Phoenix FINALLY puts to rest the rumors of him getting out of there. He had requested something go down and now he becomes a big fish in a medium sized pond. Alongside of Shane Doan, the Coyotes offense could become very potent. In return, the Panthers get Keith Ballard and Nick Boynton, which should help their hurting blue line and could spell the end of Jay Bouwmeester's tenure in the Sunshine State.
-Alex Tanguay getting sent to Montreal also ends those rumors being thrown around. It also opened the door for the Flames to get Mike Cammalleri from LA. Tanguay should help keep the consistency of scoring going for the Habs, while Cammalleri will give the Flames some help down the middle, even though they have alledgedly signed Daymond Langkow to a long-term deal.
-Earlier in the day, Ray Emery and Dan Cloutier got bought out of their contracts, which should come a no surprise. Emery was a distraction and was usurped by Martin Gerber in net, while Cloutier never really recovered from his days in Vancouver. Though I'm sure some team will take on Emery to see if they can change him, odds are Cloutier's done for the foreseeable future.
-The Predators goaltending situation was solved with the Preds signing Dan Ellis to an extension, while Chris Mason was dealt to St. Louis to back-up for Manny Legace. Mason hit a big rough spot for the Preds and the fresh start could do him well, but Ellis came back to help the Preds to the playoffs and did all he could to help the team win.
That's just the tip of the iceburgh, but it's time to party for now. I'll be back next week with some more news and notes as we get ready for free agency season.