Random Thoughts Heading Into NHL Christmas

Ahhh….the Draft, Free Agency and Buyout period.  The NHL Geek’s Christmas!  This time of the year is the best for off-ice news and happenings.  So much has happened, and rumoured to be happening soon, so here is my rather random takes on a bunch of stuff, Sens related and otherwise.

  • The Flyers trade of Jeff Carter was inevitable.  No surprise there.  However, I (like many others) am shocked that Mike Richards was traded.
  • Guess the rumours were true, and that Chris Pronger won the dressing room battle.  That is one the Flyers might come to regret.
  • Meanwhile,  Senior VP Bobby Clarke is advising Paul Holmgren to state that the reason for the trade was based on Richards’ parents, or cancer, and it’s not his fault.
  • I know the Flyers are starved for a goaltender who can win a Cup, but is Ilya Bryzgalov the one?  He is a career 12-13 in the playoffs,  and has won only one series.  Yes he has a Stanley Cup ring with the Ducks, but he played in 5 games that playoff year.
  • The Flyers did the same thing with John Vanbiesbrouck a few years back and it got them nothing.
  • And 9 years (never mind the dollar value)  for a 30-year old netminder who has never won anything is way too much commitment.
  • Los Angeles will be a scary team whether or not they get Brad Richards on July 1.  If they can move Ryan Smyth to Edmonton (as it is rumoured) they will take a run acquiring 2 Richards’ in 2 weeks.  M Richards, B Richards and Kopitar with Doughty and Johnson will strike fear into a lot of teams.
  • Also scary for the LA play-by-play guys, with the possibility of having a line of  Mike Richards, Brad Richards and Brad Richardson all on the ice at the same time.
  • Speaking of Edmonton, if they can get Ryan Smyth, they should go for it.  They have a ton of cap space (and will need to spend just to get to the floor).  Smyth might not be the player who left Edmonton tearfully in 2007, but he instantly makes the team better.  As a bonus,  even though his cap hit is $6.25 M his actual salary is $4.5 and this is the last year of that deal.  He wouldn’t cost much to get from LA, he would become the de-facto captain of the team and what better mentor to the young players in the Oilers system?  Plus, he is still a 50-point player.
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins might be the best player in the draft, but I think if Edmonton takes him (they are rumoured to be leaning that way) it is a mistake.  They will be too top-heavy in talented young forwards while having largely ignored the blue line.  There is only one puck, and focusing too much up front will not help them in the future.  Adam Larsson is a franchise type blue-liner and should be the direction the Oilers go tonight.
  • If Edmonton does take Nugent-Hopkins, Colorado takes Gabriel Landeskog.  Florida goes with Jonathan Huberdeau and that is where it gets interesting for Sens fans.  New Jersey is another team that “should” go defense, and take Larsson if he is there, otherwise Dougie Hamilton.  The Islanders will take Sean Couturier which leaves Ottawa to choose between Ryan Strome and Mika Zibanejad.  Look for Zibanejad to become the next Swede to join the Senators organization. (This is contingent on Edmonton taking Nugent-Hopkins)
  • If Edmonton listens to my advice and takes Larsson, Ottawa likely ends up with Couturier.
  • If the unllikely happens and Larsson is still there at #6, Ottawa takes him and then they have almost 1/2 of Sweden’s 2014 Olympic blue line corps (Karlsson, Runblad & Larsson).
  • If I was Bryan Murray, I would be targeting Tyler Biggs with the 35th pick.  He is a big, nasty player who can provide some scoring touch.  He is the physical winger that Ottawa has been looking for for a long time, who can also score 20-25 goals, and would add “truculence” to the club.  If Brian Burke doesn’t take him first at #25 or #30, he would be a great addition to Ottawa’s line-up.  I think #21 is too early to take him, but he might not be around at #35, so I might consider packing up 2 of the 2nd rounders to trade up a few spots to nab him.

Any way you cut it, the next month will be very interesting!

 

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Tags: Adam Larsson Bobby Clarke Brad Richards Brian Burke Bryan Murray Doug Hamilton Gabriel Landeskog Ilya Bryzgalov Jeff Carter Jonathan Huberdeau Mika Zibanejad Mike Richards Paul Holmgren Philadelphia Flyers Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Ryan Smyth Ryan Strome Sean Couturier Tyler Biggs

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