Thursday, June 24, 2010
Draft Day Eve Notes
Lot's of news going on around the league and we touch on topics such as these;
Byfuglien traded to Atlanta:
Does it bother anyone that only two weeks after winning the Stanley Cup three key players from that championship team have been traded already? Shouldn't fans have at least a month to enjoy their team winning the Stanley Cup? Another reason why I would love it if the playoffs ended by June 1, and trades began on draft day. Just my two cents.
As for the deal, I feel that both teams will benefit from this trade. Obviously, Chicago had to move some players off their roster for cap reasons. Brent Sopel and Ben Eager are good players, but can be replaced. Dustin Byfuglien is another story as he was the main reason why the Hawks beat Vancouver and he was tremendous against San Jose as well. Chicago may not miss him in the regular season, but by the first puck drop of the postseason the Hawks will miss him immensely.
The question for Atlanta becomes, how motivated will Dustin Byfuglien be playing in a non hockey city in front of 10,000 fans as opposed to the 20,000 plus in hockey-crazed Chicago? To acquire Byfuglien, Eager, Sopel, and prospect Akim Aliu, the Thrashers gave up Marty Reasoner, Joey Crabb, a first and second round pick in tomorrows draft, and an interesting prospect in Jeremy Morin. I give Atlanta credit for trying to improve the club and with youngsters, Evander Kane and Zach Bogosian, the Thrashers are closer to a playoff spot. They did however give up on Morin, who was ranked in the top 50 best prospects by the Hockey News, in addition to valuable draft picks.
Perhaps this position will have the most intrigue heading into July 1st. They're plenty of serviceable goaltenders available, but perhaps not enough job openings. What we know is that Evgeni Nabokov will not be back in San Jose which makes the former Vezina winner the best available, but at a hefty price tag. It also appears that the Sharks will look for a veteran to compete with Thomas Greiss and Alex Stalock. Former veteran starting goalies, Marty Turco, Steve Mason, Jose Theodore, Dan Ellis, Michael Leighton, and Antero Niittymaki are all available this summer.
Looking at the other clubs that are in the market for goaltending, the Washington Capitals head the list. Washington has $15 million or so in cap room according to Capgeek.com. However, Washington has a big need on defense to address, and must sign their own restricted free agents. Only eight Capital forwards are under contract.
Philadelphia always seems to be looking for a goaltender, but has salary cap restrictions to deal with. Rumors out of Philadelphia had a potential deal with Michael Leighton in the works. Atlanta is also in the market for a netminder to rotate with the promising Ondrej Pavelec. Throw in Tampa Bay, which may look to upgrade from Mike Smith into that mix as well. That's still only five teams looking for starting goaltenders. In addition to the free agent class, there are options available via trade, such as another former Vezina winner, Tim Thomas.
Finally, the NHL salary cap was increased to $59.4 million for the 2010-2011 season. I'm thrilled the league is doing well, but can't help but ask the question if ticket prices are going down? Didn't think so.