Countdown: Three Calder Nominees, Two Teams Fighting, One Lost Tooth

Before you take a look at my post on The PensNation, I want to add a quick tidbit. In my article I didn’t state my opinion on who should win the Calder Memorial Trophy. Now that I’m on my own blog, I want to formally endorse Jonathan Huberdeau. Huberdeau was phenomenal all season, despite playing on Florida Panthers, the team with the worst record in the NHL. Huberdeau also tied Nail Yakupov in rookie scoring. Pretty impressive considering the talent Yakupov has on his line in Edmonton. I also know that Huberdeau is a great person from working on some of his marketing materials during my time interning at Octagon. Overall, a great choice for the Calder, and he would’ve had my vote.

Without further ado, here is today’s post on The PensNation: http://bit.ly/15lLrfD 

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Bleacher Report Article: 2012 Penguins Free Agency: What We’ve Lost/Gained & How It’ll Impact Next Season

Newest Bleacher Report Article on the Penguins. Check it out!

NHL Rundown: Update for the Ultimate Hockey Fans

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What is going on in the hockey world you ask? Simply, a lot. With LA’s Game 1 OT win over the Devils in the Stanley Cup final, the NHL Combine taking place this weekend, the EA Sports Cover Vote coming to a close, and Lidstrom announcing his retirement, fans are in the thick of tons of hockey news.

Here are the most important headlines:

1. LA Kings win Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals in overtime. Kudos go to Kopitar who scored on a breakaway goal. See here: 

  • Sidenote: The Kings have never won a Stanley Cup. For those of you who think that is no big deal, consider the fact that the Kings became a NHL team in the 1967 NHL expansion with the California Seals.

2. Nicklas Lidstrom announces his retirement from the NHL (the year before the Red Wings play in the Winter Classic- do I see an alumni game all-star in the near future?)

  • Sidenote: Lidstrom has played 20 seasons with the Red Wings, and is still just as good as he was way back when. I mean, he won 7 Norris Trophies for being the league’s best defenseman. Check out his first goal ever here.

3. The NHL Scouting Combine finished up interviews with potential players and have now moved on to test athletic ability. The Combine takes place in Toronto from May 28th until June 2nd. TSN draftcenter is covering everything you could ever want to know about the Combine.

  • Sidenote: Teams are increasingly worried about drafting high profiled Russian players for fear that they will choose to play in the KHL rather than the NHL. What? You think someone named Yakupov or Grigorenko would want to play in Russia? I wonder why they are worried…
  • Various players in the top of the scouting class have injuries that are not quite healed. No one knows just how the injuries will effect the players’ draft position (Most notably Alex Galchenyuk’s knee injury). Yeah ouch. 
  • Sidenote: Malcolm Subban, PK Subban’s brother was at the Combine. He plays goalie. Who knew?
  • Sidenote: Top defenseman prospect Ryan Murray ended up vomiting after the Combine’s bike test to check oxygen consumption during intense exercise. To reporters he stated, ““I lost a little bit of my breakfast…too much bacon this morning.” Sounds like a comment an 18 year old would make. Oh yeah, he’s 18. Younger than my younger brother. Scary.

4. EA Sports Cover Vote for NHL 2013 has been narrowed down to only 2 candidates: Flyers’ Center Claude Giroux and Predators’ Goalie Pekka Rinne. Voting lasts until June 4th and the support for both candidates on Twitter is ridiculous. Giroux put out a message to fans on his own Twitter account, while celebrities like Carrie Underwood have come out in support of Rinne.

5. The NHL Draft and the NHL Awards are on the horizon. Not too much to say about this, other than I am getting excited. I am attending the draft this year. Let me know if you will be there and come ask me if I agreed with the choices at the Awards show (or tweet me @Fiveforboarding <shameless plug>)

6. Trades to watch out for: Rick Nash, Jordan Staal (Headed to Carolina with his brother?), Ryan Suter (Lidstrom’s replacement?), and Zach Parise (unrestricted free agent this summer).

  • Sidenote: And what about all this Tim Thomas craziness? Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli confirmed that “There’s a strong chance he’ll [Thomas] be taking the year off.” Why? Because he is Tim Thomas and he does what he wants. That was clear when he didn’t go with the rest of the Bruins team to the White House. Does he want to be traded? His no-trade clause does expire on July 1st… Time will tell.

NHL Trade Deadline Lacks Excitement

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Yesterday was the NHL’s trade deadline. I was excited and ready for something crazy to happen. As expected there was tons of talk about Rick Nash and his desire to be traded (Blue Jackets GM, Howson, even came out and said Nash asked to be traded- see update comment on Rick Nash article). But nothing really happened.

Yes, trades were made, but was anything really substantial? No, probably not. In fact, the trade deadline ended up being so boring compared to other years, the people tweeting trades had to discuss trades that were being turned down rather than accepted. I don’t know how many times I had to hear that the Sharks were not willing to offer up Couture for the Nash trade, or the Rangers didn’t want to dissipate their young core of players by paying too much for another forward. And then their were the players reactions on twitter. These ranged from thanking the city they played in, welcoming new teammates, to tweets from players not being traded at all.

Maple Leaf’s Joffrey Lupul tweeted this:

It seemed that everyone was trying to buy star players, but no one was willing to sell. Some teams (the Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, Calgary Flames…etc.) did not make any splash in the trade-realm at all. No one was traded or added. The overall count for trade-deadline Monday was 32 players involved with 11 draft picks and 16 trades.

The team with the biggest moves seemed to be the Nashville Predators. They traded draft picks and prospects for winger Andre Kostitsyn, center Paul Gaustad, and a 4th round pick (not to mention their acquisition of the amazon-of-a-defenseman Hal Gill last week). The Preds are making moves because they want the cup now. With some of their best players’ contracts ending in the next year or two (including Shea Weber and Ryan Suter), they need to make their cup push as soon as possible. It is hard to say if the choices were really worth the price though. What happens if Weber and Suter leave and the Preds have no young prospects? This years trades were definitely fueled by short-term rather than long-term goals for Nashville.

At this point, it is also hard to tell who the winners really were this year. The consensus around the NHL is that the Canucks made some nice trades and really lucked out with their trade for Pahlsson. This was another short-term push for the Canucks who are itching for the Stanley Cup. They ended up trading off one of their best prospects, rookie Cody Hodgson to the Sabres. I am just left to wonder what will happen to these teams in the upcoming years with all these short-term goals. Are the acquired players for the Canucks and Preds good enough to take them to the Stanley Cup? To be honest, the Canucks probably have a better chance than the Preds.

Do you think any deadline day trades will be particularly successful? Were you disappointed with the lack of big moves made?

To see the other trades that took place, feel free to check out my twitter page at http://www.twitter.com/fiveforboarding where I was tweeting the trades on Monday as they were happening.

NHL Trade Deadline- All Eyes on Rick Nash

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This year’s NHL trades have gotten off to a slow start. A couple key players people thought would be shuffled around the league have been re-signed to their respective teams (Tuomo Ruutu, Andy Sutton…etc.) But what everyone seems to be waiting for is some of the bigger trades that are bound to happen right at the trade deadline. One of the most watched candidates for a trade is Blue Jacket’s captain, and 2o02’s 1st round draft pick, Rick Nash.

Numerous teams seem to be interested in the right-winger. And who wouldn’t be? I mean, he has had 42 points this season thus far. Despite playing for the worst team in the league (and subsequently hovering at a staggering -21 +/-, yeah, ouch!) Nash has managed to look desirable to other hockey clubs.

With the potential trade, Columbus could start to rebuild their franchise with a stronger goalie and a couple promising young players. This is obviously a dangerous move for the Jackets, and no one knows just how serious they are about trading away their captain. On the other hand, another team might be willing to pay big bucks or offer a serious trade to add Nash to their team as the missing piece to a Stanley cup victory.

Offers have started to come through from San Jose (off-season deal), the Rangers, Flyers, Kings, and Maple Leafs. Some look promising (Sharks, Rangers, and Kings) and others look like they will fall through. The Flyers deal will fall-through because of the price and the fact that the Flyers have already begun to make moves with the signing of Kubina (sidenote: this is much more important for the Flyers anyway, they need to build up their defense not their offense). There is really no way of knowing if the Jackets will hold off until the off-season or start making moves sometime before February 27th.

Another interesting chance to snag Rick Nash might be the Pittsburgh Penguins. Although the Penguins do not really have the cap money left to pick up someone with such a hefty price tag, they would certainly be able to if GM Ray Shero knew that Crosby wouldn’t be able to play for the rest of the season. With Crosby on long-term injury reserve, his 8.7 million paycheck also doesn’t count into the Pens’ salary cap until Crosby comes back. The only problem with this however, is there is still no timetable for Crosby’s return. Without knowing when Sid will be able to play, this trade is not really a safe one for the Pens (unless Ray Shero knows something we don’t).

Overall, I don’t really think any of the trade propositions I have heard of so far are worthwhile for the Blue Jackets. They do need to start rebuilding their team, but I am not sure trading away their captain (who should be the glue holding the team together) is the best plan of action. Maybe something will happen closer to the deadline, but I think if the Blue Jackets are smart they will hold on to Nash unless they get a stronger offer (ex. If the Sharks went back on their rejection of the Couture/Nash trade).

Do you agree? Will Nash stay with the Blue Jackets? Who do you think is offering the Jackets the best trade?