NHL Mock Draft 2.0: From 1 to 224, Corey Pronman projects all seven rounds

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The Athletic 16 July, 2021 - 06:00am 12 views

When do NHL teams have to protect players?

Important dates before the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft This runs through Thursday at 1 p.m. ET. Teams are also required to have their protected lists in by 5 p.m. ET to the NHL and NHLPA. Sporting NewsWhen is the NHL Expansion Draft? Date, time, rules & more for Seattle Kraken team selection

NHL Mock Draft 2021: From 1 to 224, Corey Pronman projects all seven rounds

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Which players should each team protect from the Seattle Kraken?

ESPN 16 July, 2021 - 09:02am

The Seattle Kraken will be joining the NHL in an on-ice capacity at the start of the 2021-22 regular season. They've filled out their front office and coaching staff, but now they need some players.

In order to fill out the roster, they will be selecting one player from 30 of the league's 31 current teams in the expansion draft on July 21 (the Vegas Golden Knights are exempt, having just joined the league for the 2017-18 season). Prior to that, those other teams will devise a list of protected players: either seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie, or eight skaters and one goalie. Here's more on the format, schedule and everything else expansion-draft-related.

Who will each team protect? Have GMs learned their lessons from the Golden Knights expansion draft of 2017? Here are our projections for which players all 30 teams will protect.

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SB Nation NHL Mock Draft 2021: Pick 19

The Copper & Blue 15 July, 2021 - 08:00am

Because goaltenders are a special type of mysticism

(I’m pretty sure that’s about as good a speech as most Oilers speakers manage on draft day, so put me in Katz…)

Cossa is the WHL Central Division Champion Oil Kings starting goaltender. Yes, we are aware that doesn’t actually mean much in the COVID season, but it is a fun fact. Cossa, who turned 18 before the shortened season started has been the Oil Kings starter for the last two seasons, stepping into the role as an almost 17-year-old in 2019.

Cossa is a 6’6” goaltender who is well-aware of how much space he takes up in the crease and is comfortable doing so. He is a quick lateral mover, is able to position himself well to face shooters, and is able to handle the puck without giving himself more work. Cossa is able to track opposing players, think through the game, and move accordingly so he’s not scrambling.

Last season, Cossa saw 19 of 23 starts for his club and put up an impressive 17-1-1 record with 1.57 goals against average, a 0.941 save percentage and four shutouts. The interesting thing about Cossa is that his numbers from the previous season (2.23 goals against average and a 0.921 save percentage) show a steady but not unsustainable improvement. In short, Cossa did not just have an amazing draft year, but seems to be developing as a goaltender in a steady manner.

Thanks Detroit for the video... but while I’ve got you, can I ask about Ken Holland? Because I’m more than a little concerned...

Cossa is an interesting goaltender to watch play hockey. Based on size alone, he has a significant advantage in taking up space in the net and he understands how to use his size to his advantage. His positioning is solid. He has the ability to move quickly across the crease, he’s smart enough not to go wandering from his crease during play, and he has displayed a good deal of mental resilience in dealing with a bad goal or a bad game.

For those of you who listen to the Copper and Blue podcast, you’ll know this is an important consideration from my perspective because in watching goaltenders I’ve noticed the actual techniques change very little but where the player is mentally can be an insurmountable challenge. If Cossa is as self-possessed as his starts in the WHL suggest, it seems likely he will have the composure to manage the ups and downs of being an NHL goaltender.

And as Bob Stauffer has been reminding Oilers fans for the majority of the Oilers season, Cossa is has spent the last two seasons just down the hall from the Oilers organization with the Edmonton Oil Kings. While there are several very valid arguments around favoritism to the Edmonton WHL club, this essentially means the Oilers staff should be very familiar with Cossa and what he can do.

The Oilers have a fairly solid pool of goalie prospects with Skinner and Rodrique in Bakersfield. The Oilers also still have both Koskinen and Stalock under contract at the NHL level. It would seem that the Oilers are well positioned around potential goaltenders, especially since the above list doesn’t even consider those who were drafted but aren’t playing in the Oilers system yet. A goalie seems like an illogical choice. Except that the Oilers just traded one of their goalie prospects to Carolina for future considerations, and it seems likely that there could be more minor league and prospect moves in the Oilers future.

The Oilers have also traditionally been very poor at developing both goaltenders and former Oil Kings… which is regrettable but doesn’t take away from the talent which has been obvious in Cossa. The Oilers inability to develop a goalie in their own system should be a wake up call to management and not a reason to spend ridiculous money in free agency instead of fixing internal issues. No one likes being bad at something so the Oilers should work on being less awful at developing prospects, especially goalies.

As for Cossa’s status as an Oil King, let’s assume that a team which has been competitive since it removed it’s own coaching and management inadequacies, wouldn’t have kept him as a starting goaltender if he didn’t have potential. They certainly played an interesting game of musical creases in the 2019-2020 season. It’s not worth ignoring talent because Oilers management have gambled on the same team before. In all fairness, no one would be saying this about the Sarina Sting… and that could be considered an even larger organizational failure.

Finally, yes we’re aware that picking goalies in the first round is risky as the position seems to have special sort of inscrutability to it but we’re also not going to ignore possible the best player on board just because goalies are hard to judge. In general, it’s that sort of thinking that has the Oilers overpaying in free agency for talents at the end of their career because they have a “proven track record” or some similar nonsense. So take a chance, stop expecting that a mid-first round pick will yield an immediate superstar, and hope that you get Cole Caulfield and not Philip Broberg this year.

5 important questions heading into the NHL's offseason frenzy

theScore 15 July, 2021 - 07:31am

The dust has settled on the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the NHL is rapidly approaching an avalanche of transactions, with the entry draft, expansion draft, and free agency all occurring before the end of July.

With so much action on the horizon, we ask five pressing questions surrounding key talking points for what promises to be a high-octane offseason.

Regardless of what may occur this offseason, no event will be as seismic as a potential trade involving the Buffalo Sabres captain. It's highly unlikely to happen before the expansion draft, but until Eichel pulls a Sabres jersey over his head again, the hockey world will be wondering when and where he's playing next.

The state of Eichel's neck injury is still largely unknown, and while he and the team are working towards a solution - whatever that may mean - the forward's incendiary comments towards the organization at the end of the year led many to believe bridges have been burned for good. And as much as it may sting for Buffalo and its loyal fans, now is the best time to trade him. Eichel's market will shrink considerably after the coming season, as a full no-move clause kicks in for the final four years of his contract starting in 2022-23.

Do the Los Angeles Kings dip into their deep pool of assets to accelerate their rebuild with a new No. 1 center? Is there a contender, say Vegas or Boston, lurking for Eichel's services? It's hard to predict now, but one thing is clear: Once the Seattle Kraken's draft concludes and the initial wave of free agency is wrapped up, Eichel watch will be in full force.

The Kraken will have their fair share of depth options to choose from, but will they end up with any stars? The Vegas Golden Knights targeted skilled, cost-effective players with upside when they picked their squad in 2017, and they have since blossomed into foundational pieces. But Marc-Andre Fleury - easily the biggest name available in that draft - instantly became the face of NHL's 31st franchise.

Could P.K. Subban be that guy in Seattle? The Devils are likely to expose Subban, and the defenseman would instantly provide the Kraken with a recognizable household name. The 32-year-old's $9 million cap hit would also help reach the cap floor and is easily affordable for one season.

If not Subban, Braden Holtby, Mark Giordano, Jakub Voracek, and Washington state native Tyler Johnson could be among the biggest names on Seattle's radar.

After winning back-to-back Stanley Cups in unprecedented circumstances, the Tampa Bay Lightning are facing a significant roster reset. This isn't to say the club is approaching a full-scale rebuild - Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point, Victor Hedman, and Andrei Vasilevskiy remain a formidable core. However, the depth that played such a crucial role in each championship is going to take a major hit.

The Lightning were a well-documented $18 million over the salary limit in the playoffs, and they now carry a combined $85 million hit heading into the 2021-22 campaign, according to Cap Friendly. The financial squeeze likely means goodbye for pending unrestricted free agents David Savard, Barclay Goodrow, and Blake Coleman, and more bodies will have to go for Tampa to become cap compliant.

The Bolts are bound to lose a key player in the expansion draft regardless of the format they choose. If the franchise protects seven forwards, it risks losing Ryan McDonagh or Erik Cernak on the back end. If Tampa chooses to keep the blue line intact and protect eight total skaters, Johnson, Yanni Gourde, Alex Killorn, and Ondrej Palat will likely be available for the Kraken.

Will Julien BriseBois be able to swing a trade to minimize damage, or are the defending champs going to have to face this offseason head-on as the unit navigates a retooling?

The Carolina Hurricanes put the NHL on notice by permitting Hamilton to explore the free-agent market shortly after their playoff run ended. Carolina's unorthodox move could result in an enormous loss for a team that appears on the cusp of a major playoff run. There's a reasonable chance the Canes retain the star defender, but Hamilton deserves a hefty payday regardless of who provides the contract.

Hamilton ranks first among all defensemen with 42 goals and third with 609 shots since joining Carolina in 2018. The 28-year-old is also a possession monster, pacing every blue-liner that has at least 2,500 minutes logged with a 57.73 expected goals rate at five-on-five, according to Evolving Hockey. There are plenty of clubs across the league that could use his presence in their top four.

The seven-year, $61.6 million ($8.8 million average annual value) contract Alex Pietrangelo inked as last season's prized UFA defenseman is a fair comparison for Hamilton to shoot for, given he's younger and more productive offensively. If that's too steep for the Hurricanes, the Hamilton sweepstakes should be one of the stories of the summer.

One of this offseason's less-publicized talking points is the incredibly deep group of restricted free agents coming off their entry-level contracts. Cale Makar, Kirill Kaprizov, Elias Pettersson, Miro Heiskanen, Quinn Hughes, Andrei Svechnikov, and Patrik Laine are all stars who need new deals.

It's fair to assume Makar will come out of the negotiating period with the most lucrative contract, as he's the most established youngster of the group. Evolving Hockey predicts he could earn a whopping $10.34 million per season on an eight-year commitment, and it's tough to deny he's worth every penny. While Makar's impending negotiations with the Colorado Avalanche seem relatively straightforward, there's far less certainty with the rest of the crop.

How much can the Minnesota Wild afford to pay Kaprizov with Ryan Suter's and Zach Parise's bought-out cap hits handcuffing the club for the next four campaigns? And is the young Russian dynamo willing to sign long-term if there's limited flexibility to surround him with good players?

Can the Vancouver Canucks find a way to bridge both Pettersson and Hughes? Or will the franchise sink the majority of its cap space into the two young stars before their value inflates down the road?

These scenarios cover just the tip of the iceberg in what could be a monumental summer for some of the game's brightest young guns.

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