Buffalo Sabres

2015 NHL Entry Draft – Buffalo Sabres

INS: Jack Eichel (Pick 2, Boston College, H.EAST), Brendan Guhle (Pick 51, Prince Albert, WHL), William Borgen (Pick 92, Moorhead, HIGH-MN), Devante Stephens (Pick 122, Kelowna, WHL), Giorgio Estephan (Pick 152, Lethbridge, WHL), Ivan Chukarov (Pick 182, Minnesota Wilderness, NAHL), Robin Lehner (Ottawa Senators), David Legwand (Ottawa Senators), Ryan O’Reilly (Colorado Avalanche), Jamie McGinn (Colorado Avalanche)

OUTS: Nikita Zadorov (Colorado Avalanche), Mikhail Grigorenko (Colorado Avalanche), J.T. Compher (Colorado Avalanche)

Buffalo selects Jack Eichel. Those four words, was all Tim Murray needed, to draft the best consolation prize in the National Hockey League. Add to that an actual starting goaltender in Robin Lehner, experienced depth in the middle with Legwand and of course, Ryan O’Reilly, whom Colorado wanted to trade away. Buffalo are more than happy to add him to the potential treasure trove of centres (Ennis, Girgensons, Eichel, Sam Reinhart). Oh, and some winger named Evander Kane. One of the big winners of the draft.

2015 DRAFT RATING: A

Boston Bruins

2015 NHL Entry Draft – Boston Bruins

INS: Jakub Zboril (Pick 13, Saint John, QMJHL), Jake Debrusk (Pick 14, Swift Current, WHL), Zachary Senyshyn (Pick 15, Sault Ste. Marie, OHL), Brandon Carlo (Pick 37, Tri City, WHL), Jakob Frosbacka-Karlsson (Pick 45, Omaha, USHL), Jeremy Lauzon (52, Royun-Noranda, QMJHL), Daniel Vladar (Pick 75, Kladno, CZEREP2), Jesse Gabrielle (Pick 105, Regina, WHL), Cameron Hughes (Pick 165, Uni. Wisconsin, BIG10), Jack Becker (Pick 195, Mahtomedi, HIGH-MN), Martin Jones (Los Angeles Kings), Colin Miller (Los Angeles Kings)

OUTS: Milan Lucic (Los Angeles Kings), Dougie Hamilton (Calgary Flames), Carl Soderberg (Colorado Avalanche)

Oh dear.. I’m not sure if the rebuild is on in Boston or not. Lucic especially is a bit of a cap dump and Martin Jones should be a credible backup to Tuukka Rask, but Dougie Hamilton? Apparently was offered a big money deal by the Bruins before the trade was made, but, would have probably earned the Bruins more in return, if another franchise signed him as an RFA. They may have drafted okay, but still a sour taste in the mouths of Bruins fans.

2015 DRAFT RATING: D

Arizona Coyotes

2015 NHL Entry Draft – Arizona Coyotes

INS: Dylan Strome (Pick 3, Erie, OHL), Nicholas Merkley (Pick 30, Kelowna, WHL), Christian Fischer (Pick 32, USA U18, USHL), Kyle Capobianco (Pick 63, Sudbury, OHL), Adin Hill (Pick 76, Portland, WHL), Brendan Warren (Pick 81, USA U18, USHL), Jens Looke (Pick 83, Brynas, SWE), Conor Garland (Pick 123, Moncton, QMJHL), Erik Kallgren (Pick 183, Linkoping Jr., SWE-Jr.), Nicklas Grossmann (Philadelphia Flyers), Chris Pronger (Philadelphia Flyers)

OUTS: Sam Gagner (Philadelphia Flyers)

The Pronger trade. Hmmmm. I guess they pick up Grossmann, who will help them defensively and trade away a player whom they were going to buy out of his contract anyways, so it’s always a good trade in that sense. Dylan Strome will be the future star C of the franchise, but they may not be until three years from time. On the rebuild, but didn’t really do any harm. Besides Chris Pronger.

2015 DRAFT RATING: B-

Anaheim Ducks

2015 NHL Entry Draft Recap – Anaheim Ducks

INS: Jacob Larsson (Pick 27, Frolunda Jr., SWE.Jr.), Julius Nattinen (Pick 29, JYP 2, FIN 2), Brent Gates (Pick 80, Green Bay, USHL), Deven Sideroff (Pick 84, Kamloops, WHL), Troy Terry (Pick 148, USA U18, USHL), Steven Ruggiero (178, USA U18, USHL), Garrett Metcalf (179, Madison, USHL), Carl Hagelin (New York Rangers), Anton Khudobin (Carolina Hurricanes)

OUTS: Kyle Palmieri (New Jersey Devils), Emerson Etem (New York Rangers), James Wisniewski (Carolina Hurricanes)

The addition of Hagelin for Etem adds a bit more speed in the lineup and it seems he will replace Matt Beleskey in the squad, who looks destined to leave via Free Agency. Wisniewski was an added spare for the playoff run, so trading him for Khudobin is a plus. Khudobin is against John Gibson to play as backup to Frederik Andersen.

2015 DRAFT RATING: B

That Damn Hockey Blog

The NHL Draft becomes a goaltending trade-deadline frenzy

Another year, another draft. 210 players have taken the next step in their hockey journey, by being selected by a National Hockey League franchise, with dreams of one day playing in the NHL.

However, this year’s draft, not only gave us it’s fair share of surprises in regards to whom gets drafted where, but it also turned into a mini trade-deadline, with a number of goaltenders especially, changing teams and suring up the net’s of several teams.

The Edmonton Oilers did exactly what everyone expected and drafted Connor McDavid (Erie – OHL) first overall. McDavid joins Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle and Nail Yakupov, in what should be a dynamic top 6. That wasn’t all the Oilers action during the draft. They also sent picks 16 (Matthew Barzal,  Seattle – WHL) and 33 (Mitchell Stephens, Saginaw – OHL) to the New York Islanders, for young defensemen Griffin Reinhart, as well as trading for Eric Gryba, from the Ottawa Senators, for pick 106 (Christian Wolanin, Muskegon – USHL).  These two defensemen are joined by former New York Rangers backup goaltender, Cam Talbot, who was acquired in a trade. This helps the Oilers address some problems they had last season. Their defensive core looks a lot stronger, with Reinhart and Gryba, joining Ference, Oskar Klefblom and Darnell Nurse, with Cam Talbot competing for the starting goalie job, with Ben Scrivens.

Does this mean the Oilers are a playoff contender next season? Well, if Talbot shows his might as a starter, if the defense can stand up and if Connor McDavid proves to be the next big thing, then the Oilers could just surprise.

Dallas gave Kari Lehtonen some much needed help in net, by acquiring the rights to upcoming UFA, Antti Niemi, from the San Jose Sharks, for a 7th Round pick. If he signs, Niemi and Lehtonen become a potential one-two punch in net for the Stars. Lehtonen isn’t the kind of ‘tender who starts 65-70 games and with 2 quality goaltenders sharing the load, it takes the pressure off the other and hopefully adds those 10-15 wins that Lehtonen/backups didn’t have last season. Which only helps the Stars, if Lehtonen’s groin decides to play up again.

Ottawa has an excess of goalies, due to the late season form of Andrew Hammond and Buffalo needed a goaltender to play behind Jack Eichel and Evander Kane. Enter Robin Lehner. Lehner, along with David Legwand, were traded to the Sabres, for pick 21. The Sabres had two picks on the first round, with pick 2 being used to draft Eichel, and the second moved to grab themselves their starter for the near future. Along with Lehner, Ryan O’Reilly and Jamie McGinn were acquired from Colorado for Nikita Zadorov, Mikhail Grigorenko, J.T. Compher and Pick 31. Colorado dump a contract they didn’t really want on their books in O’Reilly and Buffalo’s top 6 becomes that much better and younger. O’Reilly, 24, joins Evander Kane, 23, Eichel, Tyler Ennis, 25 and Matt Moulson, 31, in a forward core that could become a very potent top end for years to come.

New York compensated for trading away Cam Talbot, by acquiring Antti Raanta from Chicago. Raanta was the third string behind Corey Crawford and Scott Darling and received forward Ryan Haggerty in exchange. Eddie Lack became the new backup to Cam Ward in Carolina, after moving from Vancouver for a 2015 3rd and 2016 7th, leaving Anton Khudobin to join Anaheim’s goaltending core of Frederik Andersen and John Gibson. The Ducks only giving up spare defensemen James Wisniewski in return.

So what do these trades mean? Well, Devan Dubynk got signed by the Minnesota Wild at a cap hit of $4,333,333 a season for six years, it leaves the best UFA Goalie as Karri Ramo, with Braden Holtby (Washington), Jake Allen (St. Louis) and Jonathan Bernier (Toronto) as the best RFAs, and for a franchise like the San Jose Sharks, this doesn’t leave many options. After trading away the rights to Antti Niemi, this only leaves them with Alex Stalock as a possible starter, with Troy Grosenick as backup. Will this mean, that they make a big money offer at an RFA, or do they make a trade for someone like a John Gibson at Anaheim, who looks like becoming the number three? Only time will tell.

General

Bored Hockey Fan congratulates..

Bored Hockey Fan congratulates the Manchester Monarchs and the Chicago Blackhawks, for winning the American Hockey League’s Calder Cup and NHL’s Stanley Cup respectively.

Manchester, the AHL affiliate team of the Los Angeles Kings, defeated the Utica Comets (Vancouver’s AHL affiliate) in best of seven series, 4 games to 1, after a 2-1 victory in Game 5. The goals were scored by Kings prospect Adrian Kempe, and defensemen Vincent LaVorde. This is the final season on the Monarchs in the AHL, before they move to the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL), starting in the 2015-16 season.

Conn Smythe Trophy winner, Duncan Keith and Patrick Kane scored to earn the Chicago Blackhawks their third Stanley Cup in six years. They defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games, securing the Cup for the first time at home, since 1938. With their third Cup victory in six seasons, the Blackhawks could have just become this generation’s version of a dynasty team.

Boston Bruins, Historical Hockey

45 Years Ago, Bobby Orr scored “The Goal”

One of the most iconic images of professional hockey occurred on this day 45 years ago. Bobby Orr would fly through the air.   The Bruins would go on to win their first cup in 39 years as a result of this heroic feat. This is one of the coolest moments in the history of hockey, and we at BHF tip our helmet to it.

You can catch much of the video and audio at Orr’s site. And you should.

But if you must be lazy…

Fred Cusick’s original call of Bobby Orr’s goal 5/10/1970

It’s even NHL ’94-themed desktop wallpaper. (Source: Puck Daddy)

Edmonton Oilers, Historical Hockey

Connor McDavid Goes to Edmonton.

Connor

Connor McDavid will be an Edmonton Oiler. Unless some crazy Eric Lindros trade goes down, it’s a lock. Don’t kid yourselves people. As an Oilers’ fan, I was pretty surprised by this. I expected some kind of conspiracy as such sending said player to Toronto, or even Philadelphia, to go down. We’re looking at an approximate 10% chance to a team that has had a plethora of first round number one picks already.

The NHL has been pretty adamant about transparency lately, and we got that tonight. My social media blew up tonight as many people took to it to tag me and let me know their disgust with this turn of events.

That’s cool. I’m reveling in this outcome. No one wants to see Connor in some irrelevant market. No one will see him as a result. If this kid is as special as we’ve been told, bring him to a popular market. I don’t mean an non-Canadian market, the US has plenty of good spots for the kid. Let’s put him somewhere where people attend games. Places where buying a play-off ticket isn’t easy… you also have to enter a lottery to have the opportunity to watch him play.

I know the Oilers track record has sucked lately. It’s been brutal. I hate the management. I hate the old-boys club. I hope that changes too.

But what I really hope for, is for this kid to thrive and become what we expect him to be. Regardless of the fact that he will be landing on my team next season, if he is indeed a generational player, let’s put him on the main stage.

In all fairness, I would have been completely okay if he landed in Toronto or Buffalo. They love hockey there and would have shown up just to watch them play, even if they continued to suck. Great players are just simply one player on the roster at the end of the day.

Remember all those cups in L.A. and St. Louis with “The Great One”?

The Oilers won their last cup without Gretzky, after all.

Until then, let’s just enjoy the playoffs this year. This post-season has been excellent, and should prove to be going forward. It’s easy to take the cheap road and impulsively go on social media and outrage!!!! OUTRAGE!!!!

In all fairness, my real friends have been fun and tongue-and-cheek with myself. It’s been amusing. I’m as shocked as you. But as a deprived Oilers fan, hell yeah… we’ll take him. Unless some bizarre Lindros trade goes down, he’s an Oiler. Deal with it. And consider this… people will see him play.

That Damn Hockey Blog

Oh when the tanks, come rolling in..

BHF tank.jpg

Can you hear that Hockey fans? That’s the sound of tanks rolling through the National Hockey League. As I type, a tank is leaving Buffalo, NY, and heading on it’s way to Florida and the number one pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Even though there are tanks departing Edmonton, Arizona, Toronto and North Carolina, it seems that the Tim Murray driven tank, will beat everyone to the greatest odds in the draft lottery. The prize of winning the draft lottery you ask? It’s only the kid scheduled to be the next prodigy, the Erie Otters’ Connor McDavid.

But with all these tanks rolling through the NHL, there comes a price. Credibility. During a game between the Buffalo Sabres and the Arizona Coyotes, Sabres fans cheered Coyotes goals, and when Arizona won the game 4-3, Sabres fans cheered again, knowing that that loss, would get them one step closer to winning the McEichel sweepstakes (McEichel being a combination of McDavid, and Jack Eichel of the University of Boston, competing in the NCAA.)

Fans are cheering for their own teams to lose, as it means that their franchises are closer toward winning the number one pick. This isn’t good for anyone. No fan really wants their team to lose. The players definitely don’t want to lose. So why are the fans cheering losses and booing wins?

By losing now, and potentially drafting a prodigy, losing now will lead them to becoming Stanley Cup contenders. This may not be the best look for the National Hockey League, but as it stands, General Managers are allowed to do whatever they please, in terms of transactions. Meaning that, if your goaltender starts to win some games, they can and will be traded for a goaltender that can’t.

But how can Gary Bettman and the NHL stop the tanks from rolling on through? If infact they even want them to stop? Surely nobody likes seeing franchises seemingly wanting to lose, just to get a higher draft pick? They could always handout fines, suspensions, or loss of draft picks/points, but how can you judge that a franchise is tanking and not just terrible? We may be throwing around the word tanking, but that doesn’t mean franchises are. The players are trying to win, The GMs might not be, but the players on the ice are trying to win every game. So, what can you do to stop the tanks from rolling, besides having a man stand in front of them in a shape?

Nothing. Zip. Nada. Not a damn thing.

There isn’t a relegation situation like in the world game, where a team can be demoted to a lower division, losing all the benefits of being in the higher division. Nor is there a rule in place, where franchises lose money off their salary caps, or receive a draft pick penalty, similar to the ten-place grid penalty in Formula One.

You could scramble the draft lottery, allowing for all non-playoff teams to have an equal chance of winning the number one pick. You could allow all 30 franchises to have a chance, but this may lead to the better teams getting better, and the lesser teams getting worse.

Picking when a team is actually tanking is hard for anyone, that includes Gary Bettman. It may look like these teams are tanking, but unless the players on the ice just give up and stop like Ovechkin’s back-check, or the starting goaltender is M.T. Net, then I’m afraid you can’t tell when a team is tanking, even if the tanks are lined up on the Florida border.

You can follow me on Twitter if you like, it’s @ThatDamnDoubleC. Or you can e-mail me at [email protected].

Tank Racer is a PC and Playstation game, copyrighted by Simis, Glass Ghost and Groiler Interactive.

That Damn Hockey Blog

Bored Hockey Fan’s 2015 NHL Trade Deadline Roundup

Ah, the joys of another trade deadline day. That one day of the year where every hockey fan watches and anticipates their team making a move, that will improve their team’s playoff’s chances, or in the case of Tim Murray, improve their chances of drafting Connor McDavid.
But what is it about this day, that gets Canadian TV stations dedicate an entire day to it? Even ESPN had a segment on deadline day! It made their headlines on Sportscenter. (Then again, the next headline after that was ‘What does LeBron James have in common with an automatic transmission?), but still, it means Barry Melrose actually got some TV time.

Here’s Barry Melrose on ESPN’s SportsCenter, with something that Americans have no idea what he is holding. However, 43% of Americans say that it’s the America’s Cup. Picture courtesy of ESPN.

Trade deadline day, is the only day on the hockey calendar, where you know that a trade will happen, outside of the draft. You don’t know who, you don’t know when and you don’t know where they’ll end up , but it’s this thinking that gets hockey fans waiting in anticipation to see exactly what will happen. Whether it’s a big name player getting traded, if a player on your team gets traded, or if Down Goes Brown trolls Joffrey Lupul into thinking he’s a New York Islander.

What all that in mind, here are Bored Hockey Fan’s most significant actions that happened during the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline Day.

– TSN deciding to not let Down Goes Brown have all the fun, and posting a tweet about the only reason Joffrey Lupul hasn’t been traded from Toronto..

Picture courtesy of @DontBeSaad20 on Twitter.

Yep, because according to this tweet, Lupul once banged Dion Phaneuf’s wife, Elisha Cuthbert. TSN shouldn’t of put it on air, and soon after this, they stopped airing live tweets during their broadcast.

– Tim Murray trading away Goaltender Michal Neuvirth, to the New York Islanders. Presumably because Neuvirth was winning games, which is against the philosophy of the Buffalo Sabres this season.

– Mark Giordano needing season-ending surgery to repair a torn biceps. A tear so bad that it’s a tendon tear, so he’ll be out 4-5 months. A massive blow for the Flames, as they push for playoff action, and a blow for Giordano’s possible Hart or Norris Trophy chances.

– Marek Zidlicky gets traded from New Jersey to Detroit.Wait.. you mean the Devils have traded away half of their aging Czechs? First Jagr and now Zidlicky. It’s a good thing they still have 11 players over the age of 32, including two Czechs (Patrik Elias and Martin Havlat).

– James Wisniewski becomes a Duck in what is arguably the biggest trade of deadline day. Unless you include Toronto trading Olli Jokinen to the St. Louis Blues, then it’s the second biggest trade of the day. Speaking of Olli Jokinen, here’s a tribute to his time as a Maple Leaf, as uploaded by YouTube user, Hockey_Montages.

– Dallas recall Patrik Nemeth from their AHL-affiliate Texas Stars. After the injury Nemeth suffered in October, suffering a severe laceration to his arm, it’s good to see that his recovery didn’t take as long as expected and that he will return on ice for the Stars this season. Which is good news not just for Stars fans, but for the league.

– Chris Stewart being traded out of Buffalo, comes to no surprise to no-one ever, as Tim Murray completes the clean out in Buffalo and only leaves those willing to fight the good fight. The good fight being winning the draft lottery.

– All the main trades happened before deadline day. Antoine Vermette from Arizona to Chicago, Keith Yandle from Arizona to the New York Hockey Rangers, Kimmo Timonen from Philadelphia to Chicago, and finally, Toronto and Columbus swapping horrible contracts, with Toronto getting Nathan Horton, due to Columbus not paying for any insurance on his contract, and Columbus getting a horrible contract on their cap, because the contract belongs to David Clarkson.

There you have it, Bored Hockey Fan’s roundup of the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline Day. So until next year, you stay classy with what tweets you show on line TV, TSN.

You can follow me on Twitter if you like, it’s @ThatDamnDoubleC. Or you can e-mail me at [email protected].

The opening video is copyrighted by Disney/Pixar, and comes courtesy of Disney/Pixar.