The next three weeks will be extremely exciting for hockey fans. Compliance buyouts could start as early as Monday, June 24th, or as last as Friday, June 28th, the 2013 NHL entry draft happens Sunday, June 30th and the free agent signing...
The next three weeks will be extremely exciting for hockey fans. Compliance buyouts could start as early as Monday, June 24th, or as last as Friday, June 28th, the 2013 NHL entry draft happens Sunday, June 30th and the free agent signings occur July 5th.Between now and then we will hear some juicy rumours, witness some interesting trades, debatable draft selections and some horrendous UFA signings.I can't wait, and thankfully we won't have to with copious speculation already circulating around the hockey world.
Here's some of the big stories already floating around.Beat writer for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Josh Yohe, had a strong piece on why the Penguins will trade Kris Letang. Shero is fairly confident Letang has become a must-move player.
That is true because Letang is not the consensus best defenseman on the Penguins, at least in the eyes of management and coaches.
That is true because the Penguins are deepest on defense among top prospects, including a couple of first-round picks from last summer (Derrick Pouliot and Olli Maatta).
That is true even though terms of Malkin's new contract will provide the Penguins with more cap room to keep good players around him and Crosby — if the cap increases annually under this labor contract, as it did during the last one.
The Penguins are set up for Letang to count around $6 million against the cap and to continue paying Crosby ($8.7 million), Malkin ($9.5 million), right winger James Neal, Martin and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury ($5 million apiece). Evidence of that was their offer to Staal, who would have counted about $5.75 million annually against the cap had he stayed — and that was with Letang taking up $3.5 million in space.
Letang, 26, a first-time Norris Trophy (top defenseman) finalist, aims to at least double his current salary on any new deal. He was the only NHL defenseman to average a point per game during the regular season. He is in his prime.
According to Yohe the Pens are prepared to pay Letang $6 mill/year, but nothing more. Letang is very good offensively, more physical than some think, but some question his defensive zone play. The Penguins have the luxury of having the best offensive one-two punch (Crosby and Malkin) in the NHL, so they can risk moving a proven puck moving D-man.I suspect playing with Crosby and Malkin might hurt Letang, because some wonder if they make his stats (points and advanced) look better than he is. I'd guess they do to an extent, but I still believe many teams would be interested, and I'd put the San Jose Sharks near the top of that list. Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dan Boyle have one year remaining on their contracts, ( a combined $20.56 million), and Doug Wilson loves puck movers and he isn't afraid to make major trades.Before you scream Letang doesn't deserve to be paid like Shea Weber, keep in mind Brian Campbell makes $7.14 million.LETANG IN EDMONTONLetang would be the #1 pairing D-man the Oilers desperately need, but what is the asking price?Would the #7 pick in this year's draft, Jeff Petry (#4 D-man) and a young forward get it done?The Canes gave up the #8 and Brandon Sutter (3rd line C) to get Jordan Staal last year. Letang is worth more, but how much? Pens might ask for Paajarvi, but would they settle for something less? I don't know, but I'm curious to see if the Pens and Letang can't reach a new deal what is asking price would be.AVS PASSING ON JONES?"If we do pick first, we're leaning more toward one of those three forwards," Avalanche executive vice president of hockey operations Joe Sakic said in Adrian Dater's article yesterday.Is this a bluff by Joe Sakic, or is Colorado seriously looking at one of Nathan Mackinnon, Jonathon Drouin or Alexander Barkov? In 2009 there was talk the Islanders might take Matt Duchene instead of John Tavares, in 2010 it was Taylor vs. Tyler, in 2011 there were rumours the Oilers would trade down and last year it was Nail Yakupov or Ryan Murray.In every case the pr