NHL Roundup: Isles trade Nick Leddy; Ovechkin talking KHL; Kraken trade freeze; protected lists and more

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Forever Blueshirts 17 July, 2021 - 07:01am 7 views

When is the NHL Draft 2021?

The 2021 NHL draft will be held in a virtual format from July 23-24. Here is an updated list of all 224 picks for every team over the course of seven rounds. The Buffalo Sabres will have the first pick after winning the draft lottery. ESPN2021 NHL draft order: All 224 picks over seven rounds for all 32 teams

Starting at 3 PM ET until July 22nd, only the Kraken can make trades with any team they want in the NHL. Teams will not be permitted to make deals with one another; just Seattle.

The New York Islanders traded defenseman Nick Leddy to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for Richard Panik and a second round selection in the 2021 NHL Draft. The pick is 52nd overall which was acquired from the Edmonton Oilers for Andreas Athanasiou. Detroit will also retains 50% of Panik’s salary. 

This move frees up over $4 million in cap space for Lou Lamoriello who is trying to retain Casey Cizikas. Leddy’s $5.5 million cap hit is taken on fully by the Red Wings and they will also eat 50% of Panik’s salary. Isles are responsible for only $1.375M.

Expect another move by the Islanders today in order to meet the expansion requirement of having one defenseman under contract for next season available. It is believed Andy Greene will get a one year deal to meet the requirement.

Alex Ovechkin is in Russia and had an interesting comment in a wide-ranging interview with MatchTV. Everyone knows Ovechkin loves Russia and will one day return to it. When asked about the status of his contract he provided a candid response.

“No worries [on not having a contract yet]. Because technically, if I don’t sign a new contract with Washington, I will become an unrestricted free agent,” he said. “But, of course, I would like to stay in Washington. Negotiations are still underway. So let’s wait and see.”

The follow up question asked was if there’s even a small chance he would come back to Moscow Dynamo in 2021-22.

“Next season? Yes, anything is possible!”

The Columbus Blue Jackets can now protect goaltender Joonas Korpisalo from the Seattle Kraken. They re-signed goaltender Cam Johnson to a one-year, two-way contract for 2021-22 in order to do so.

Columbus was in a bit of a pickle since they had no goalie to expose. Elvis Merzlikins is exempt from the expansion draft and they needed to get one under contract to meet the requirement.

Also, the Rangers signed Julien Gauthier to a one year deal. If he is exposed, there’s a good chance he will be taken. It’s possible the Rangers may also have a deal in the works where he could be involved.

The Daily Goal Horn is quickly becoming the best news aggregator for NHL Rumors. Everyday we strive to bring you the best rumors from the top insiders and more. Check out the RUMORS SECTION. Here’s the latest on Zach Hyman here.

Read full article at Forever Blueshirts

NHL Draft Highlight Reel: Jayden Grubbe

Western Hockey League 17 July, 2021 - 01:01pm

Blues must turn in list for expansion draft on Saturday

STLtoday.com 17 July, 2021 - 01:01pm

Blues forward Vladmir Tarasenko practices on Tuesday, July 21, 2020, at the Centene Community Ice Center in Maryland Heights. (Christian Gooden, cgooden@post-dispatch.com)

The Blues’ offseason hits its first milepost Saturday when the team must submit its list of protected players to the NHL for the Seattle expansion draft.

The Blues have two ways to go in terms of their list, which must be turned in by 4 p.m. (St. Louis time). They can submit the names of seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie. Or eight skaters (regardless of position) and one goalie.

It seems all but a certainty that Blues general manager Doug Armstrong will go with the 7-3-1 formula, which allows him to protect 11 total players as opposed to nine in the 8-1 formula.

The expansion draft takes place Wednesday night.

Assuming Armstrong does go 7-3-1, 10 of the 11 names appear to be no-brainers: Jordan Kyrou, Ryan O’Reilly, David Perron, Brayden Schenn, Oskar Sundqvist and Robert Thomas at forward; Justin Faulk, Torey Krug and Colton Parayko on defense; and Jordan Binnington at goalie.

That leaves one forward spot unaccounted for. Does Armstrong protect Vladimir Tarasenko, who he’s trying to trade? Or does he expose Tarasenko, thus leaving him there for the taking by the Kraken?

It’s a complicated situation. By exposing Tarasenko, the Kraken would get their choice of Tarasenko or defenseman Vince Dunn.

Under the 7-3-1 formula, exposing Tarasenko would allow the Blues to protect another forward — most likely Ivan Barbashev or Sammy Blais.

Should Tarasenko be exposed and claimed by Seattle, the Blues would be free of his $7.5 million salary-cap hit. That’s money they could use in the free agent market.

If Armstrong is convinced he can’t find a trade partner for Tarasenko, he could even offer a sweetener to the Kraken by adding a player or draft choice to the mix. Or agreeing to retain part of Tarasenko’s cap hit in return for Seattle selecting the disgruntled forward. That would seem to be a drastic solution, and out of character for Armstrong.

In any event, if Tarasenko is exposed and taken by the Kraken under any circumstances, the Blues would get nothing in return for someone who was a perennial 30 goal-plus scorer until shoulder issues derailed his last two seasons.

Among forwards expected to be exposed by the Blues are Tyler Bozak, Mike Hoffman, Jaden Schwartz, Zach Sanford, Kyle Clifford and Mackenzie MacEachern.

Other than Dunn, defensemen expected to be exposed are Robert Bortuzzo, Niko Mikkola and Marco Scandella.

Prospects such as Dakota Joshua, Klim Kostin, Jake Neighbours and Jake Walman are exempt from the expansion draft because they don’t have enough pro experience. (In the case of Neighbours, the team’s first-round pick in the 2020 draft, he has no pro experience in terms of games played.)

There’s another wrinkle to the Seattle expansion draft. From 9 a.m. Sunday until 9 a.m. Wednesday, the Kraken can negotiate with and sign any free agents left unprotected by the other teams. If the Kraken sign a player during this period, he counts as the expansion pick from that team.

Bozak, Hoffman and Schwartz are unrestricted free agents. So if they are left unprotected, as expected by the Blues, they can negotiate and sign with the Kraken during the three-day window. The same holds for restricted free agents Dunn and Sanford, although it’s a different situation with them. As RFAs, the Kraken hold their rights merely by claiming them.

That’s not the case with unrestricted free agents — they remain eligible for free agency on July 28 if not signed by the Kraken. (So it makes no sense for the Kraken to claim an unrestricted free agent if they can’t sign him.)

Of the 30 players ultimately claimed by the Kraken — one from every team except the expansion draft-exempt Vegas Golden Knights – Seattle can end up with a maximum of 10 players who were free agents entering the negotiating window.

One last thing to keep in mind with the expansion draft. From 2 p.m. Saturday until noon on Thursday, there is a freeze on signing, trading or waiving players by the rest of the NHL teams. So if Tarasenko is not traded by 2 p.m. Saturday, he cannot be traded until Thursday afternoon. The Kraken have the playing field to themselves.

The NHL is expected to release the protected lists of all 30 teams on Sunday.

The latest STL Blues hockey news, NHL headlines, scores, standings and rosters.

Jim Thomas covers Blues hockey for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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Get your questions ready and join in at 1 p.m. Wednesday for our weekly Blues chat.

Blues forward Vladmir Tarasenko practices on Tuesday, July 21, 2020, at the Centene Community Ice Center in Maryland Heights. (Christian Gooden, cgooden@post-dispatch.com)

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NHL Expansion Draft all-time team

NHL.com 17 July, 2021 - 01:01pm

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The Seattle Kraken are in the final days of preparing for the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft presented by Upper Deck on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; ESPN2, SN, SN NOW).

The 30 players they select will form their foundation for the 2021-22 NHL season. The Kraken have a pool of accomplished players from which to make their selections, much as the Vegas Golden Knights did four years ago. Vegas, the most recent expansion team, will not have a player selected Wednesday.

It will be the 13th expansion draft in NHL history, with 27 of the teams that have joined the NHL since 1967 going through a similar process. In that time, 519 players (464 skaters, 55 goalies) have been selected in an expansion draft.

But who were the 20 best players selected?

NHL.com formed a management group of staff writers Tim Campbell, Tom Gulitti and Pete Jensen to pick an all-time team of 12 forwards, six defensemen and two goalies, as well as a coach.

The selections were based on what the players did in their NHL careers after being selected in an expansion draft, with an emphasis on their success with the team that took them.  

Here is the NHL.com all-time expansion team (listed in alphabetical order by position):

Brian Bradley, Tampa Bay Lightning (1992) -- The center was selected from the Toronto Maple Leafs and played six seasons with the Lightning. Including 42 goals and 86 points in his first season with Tampa Bay, Bradley scored 300 points (111 goals, 189 assists) in 328 games for the Lightning, .91 points per game and the best stretch of his 13-season NHL career. 

Andrew Brunette, Nashville Predators (1998) -- Chosen from the Washington Capitals, Brunette played one season for the Predators then blossomed into a strong two-way player for the Atlanta Thrashers, Minnesota Wild, Colorado Avalanche and Chicago Blackhawks, scoring 693 points (250 goals, 443 assists) in 1,048 games in the 13 seasons after he was selected. 

Gary Dornhoefer, Philadelphia Flyers (1967) -- Selected from the Boston Bruins, he became a mainstay with the Flyers the following 11 seasons. Dornhoefer had five seasons of 20 or more goals and scored 518 points (202 goals, 316 assists) in 725 games with the Flyers and won the Stanley Cup in 1974 and 1975. 

Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers (1979) -- Gretzky was a priority selection by the Oilers (WHA) when Edmonton, the Hartford Whalers, Quebec Nordiques and Winnipeg Jets joined the NHL that year. He became the NHL's all-time leading scorer with 2,857 points (894 goals, 1,963 assists) in 1,487 games during 20 seasons with the Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues and New York Rangers. Gretzky was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1999, the year he retired, and his career included winning the Stanley Cup four times with the Oilers, the Hart Trophy as MVP nine times, the Art Ross Trophy as scoring champion 10 times and the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP twice.

Bill Goldsworthy, Minnesota North Stars (1967) -- Selected from the Bruins, Goldsworthy rewarded the North Stars by scoring 506 points (267 goals, 239 assists) in 670 games during the next 10 seasons. His eight career hat tricks for Minnesota remains second in North Stars/Dallas Stars history behind Dino Ciccarelli (14).

William Karlsson, Vegas Golden Knights (2017) -- Selected from the Columbus Blue Jackets, Karlsson led Vegas in goals (43; third in NHL) and points (78) in 82 games during its inaugural season of 2017-18 and has helped the Golden Knights reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2018 and at least the third round in three of their first four seasons. He leads Vegas with 96 goals in 283 games.

Jonathan Marchessault, Vegas Golden Knights (2017) -- Selected from the Florida Panthers, the center leads the Golden Knights in assists (133), points (225), power-play points (50) and shots on goal (957) through their first four seasons. He also leads them with 21 goals in 66 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Scott Mellanby, Florida Panthers (1993) -- Selected from the Oilers, Mellanby is the Panthers' all-time leader in power-play goals (66 in 552 games) and among their best in goals (157, fourth), assists (197, seventh) and points (354, fifth). Mellanby led Florida with 70 points (32 goals, 38 assists) in 79 regular-season games in 1995-96, was an NHL All-Star that season and reached the Stanley Cup Final twice (1996, Panthers; 1987, Flyers).

J.P. Parise, Oakland Seals (1967) -- The two-time NHL All-Star (1970, 1973) was selected from the Montreal Canadiens and scored 594 points (238 goals, 356 assists) in 890 NHL games for five teams, mostly with the North Stars (nine seasons) and New York Islanders (four). He also played for Canada in the 1972 Summit Series against the Soviet Union. Parise, the father of current NHL player Zach Parise, died Jan. 7, 2015.

David Perron, Vegas Golden Knights (2017) -- Selected from the Blues, Perron led the Golden Knights in assists (50) and was their third-leading scorer (66 points in 70 games) behind Karlsson (78) and Marchessault (75) in their inaugural season before returning to the Blues as a free agent. He has scored 230 points (83 goals, 147 assists) in 254 games since being selected, won the Stanley Cup with the Blues in 2019 and was an NHL All-Star in 2020.

Geoff Sanderson, Columbus Blue Jackets (2000) -- Selected from the Buffalo Sabres, Sanderson was an immediate hit with Columbus. In his first three seasons, he led the Blue Jackets in goals (75) and scored their second-most points (139), including their most goals (30) and points (56 in 68 games) in their inaugural season of 2000-01. Sanderson scored 700 points (355 goals, 345 assists) in 1,104 NHL games and reached the Stanley Cup Final with Buffalo in 1999.

Ed Westfall, New York Islanders (1972) -- Selected from the Bruins, with whom he won the Stanley Cup with in 1970 and 1972, Westfall was the first captain of the Islanders. He helped lead them to their first Stanley Cup Playoff appearance in 1975, when they lost to the Flyers in seven games in the semifinals. Westfall scored 625 points (231 goals, 394 assists) in 1,226 NHL games.

Also considered: Alain Cote, Nordiques (1979); Erik Haula, Golden Knights (2017); Greg Johnson, Predators (1998); Gerry Meehan, Sabres (1970); Scott Walker, Predators (1998)

Lee Fogolin, Edmonton Oilers (1979) -- Selected from the Sabres, Fogolin provided a steadying defensive presence for a team filled with offensive stars. Fogolin was captain when the Oilers reached the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in 1983 -- Gretzky was named captain the following season -- and won the Cup with them in 1984 and 1985. He played 586 regular-season games during eight seasons with Edmonton.

Mark Howe, Hartford Whalers (1979) -- The Whalers used a priority selection to retain Howe when they joined the NHL from the WHA, and he played alongside father Gordie and brother Marty during the Whalers inaugural NHL season. During his 16 NHL seasons, Mark Howe was voted to the NHL First All-Star Team three times, finished second in the voting for the Norris Trophy (top defenseman) three times and reached the Cup Final with Philadelphia (1985, 1987) and the Detroit Red Wings (1995). He joined his father in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2011.

Gord Murphy, Florida Panthers (1993) -- After being selected from the Stars, who acquired him in a trade with the Bruins four days before the expansion draft, Murphy scored an NHL career-high 43 points (14 goals, 29 assists) in 1993-94, which remain the most by a defenseman in an expansion season. He played six seasons for the Panthers, helping them reach the 1996 Stanley Cup Final, before being traded to the Thrashers, another expansion team, in 1999.

Jimmy Roberts, St. Louis Blues (1967) -- A two-time Stanley Cup winner with the Canadiens (1965, 1966), Roberts was selected to play in the NHL All-Star Game in 1969 and 1970 with the Blues and helped them reach the Cup Final in each of their first three seasons. Roberts, who also played forward, was traded back to the Canadiens in 1971 and won the Cup with them three more times (1973, 1976, 1977) before returning to the Blues for his final NHL season in 1977-78.

Nate Schmidt, Vegas Golden Knights (2017) -- Selected from the Capitals, with whom he played his first four NHL seasons. Schmidt was with the Golden Knights for three seasons, scoring 97 points (21 goals, 76 assists) in 196 games before he was traded to the Vancouver Canucks on Oct. 12, 2020. He scored 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) in 54 games this season for Vancouver.

Joe Watson, Philadelphia Flyers (1967) -- After being selected by the Bruins, Watson played 11 seasons for the Flyers and one for the Colorado Rockies. He scored 200 points (36 goals, 164 assists) in 762 games for the Flyers and Rockies and won the Stanley Cup with Philadelphia in 1974 and 1975. He was selected to play in the NHL All-Star Game in 1974 and 1977.

Also considered: Dave Babych, North Stars (1991); Rod Seiling, Blues (1967); Filip Kuba, Wild (2000); Shawn Chambers, Lightning (1992).

Bernie Parent, Philadelphia Flyers (1967) -- Parent played two seasons for the Bruins before being selected by the Flyers. Following a trade to the Maple Leafs during the 1971-72 season and a stint with the Philadelphia Blazers of the WHA (1972-73), Parent returned to lead the Flyers to the Stanley Cup in 1974 and 1975, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP each season. He set an NHL record with 47 wins in 1973-74, was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1984 and was named one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players in 2017.

Billy Smith, New York Islanders (1972) -- Selected from the Kings after playing five NHL games in 1971-72, Smith became the Islanders' feisty backbone during their run of four consecutive Stanley Cup championships from 1980-1983. The first winner of the Vezina Trophy after it became the award for the NHL's top goalie in 1981-82, Smith also won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 1983. His 304 wins are most with an expansion team. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1993 and was named one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players in 2017.

Also considered: Marc-Andre Fleury, Vegas Golden Knights (2017) 

Scotty Bowman, St. Louis Blues (1967) -- An assistant under general manager-coach Lynn Patrick at the start of the Blues inaugural season, Bowman became coach after 16 games and guided them to the Stanley Cup Final in each of their first three seasons. Bowman set the NHL record for wins (1,244) and won the Cup nine times with the Montreal Canadiens (1973, 1976-1979), Pittsburgh Penguins (1992) and Detroit Red Wings (1997, 1998, 2002).

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NHL roster freeze for expansion draft goes into effect today

Litter Box Cats 17 July, 2021 - 07:55am

Panthers need to make a goalie move before 3 p.m.

At 3 p.m. this afternoon, a trade and waiver freeze goes into effect, locking rosters into place as the Team 32, the Seattle Kraken prepare for the 2021 Expansion Draft. The expansion draft picks will be announced on Wednesday, July 21, at 8 p.m. on ESPN2.

Seattle will be the only team allowed to sign players to contracts during this period, and they can also make “side-deals” with the existing teams that will be finalized by the NHL once the freeze is lifted.

The New York Islanders traded defenseman Nick Leddy to the Detroit Red Wings to beat the deadline and avoid exposing him to the Kraken. In exchange for Leddy, Detroit sent forward Richard Panik and the 52nd pick in next week’s NHL Entry Draft to the Islanders.

Teams (except for Vegas) must submit their protection lists to the the league by 5 p.m. this afternoon.

Tomorrow, the NHL will review and approve the protection lists and distribute them around the league by 10 a.m. Once that happens, Seattle is free to negotiate with the all UFAs and RFAs that have been left exposed. They can sign these free agents to contracts (one per team) and that player will count as the expansion draft from his prior team.

The freeze will be lifted on Thursday, July 22 at 1 p.m. After that point, all the teams will return to normal operations and proceed to the entry draft portion of this truncated offseason on July 23, when the first round of the 2021 Draft will be held virtually.

The last bit of business the Florida Panthers must attend to is either qualify restricted free agent goaltender Sam Montembeault or sign another goalie to a contract. As far as I know, the Cats are not yet compliant with the expansion draft rules because, unless I missed it, Montembeault has yet to receive his qualifying offer from the club.

Expansion Draft Weekend FTB: It’s about to get cold in here

Pension Plan Puppets 17 July, 2021 - 05:00am

Also, some mock draft content to keep you busy reading.

The purpose is to freeze the rosters, as Seattle then gets to talk to free agents, make their selections, and eventually, we’ll find out who those players are. This is the timeline, stolen from some blog site somewhere:

Saturday: At 3 p.m. the Expansion Draft trade and waiver freeze begins. No NHL SPCs can be signed in this period except by Seattle in relation to the draft. All other teams must live with their roster as it exists during the freeze. Seattle is able to sign pending UFAs and RFAs to SPCs (see below) and also to make trades with teams that will be finalized by the league when the freeze is lifted. But two other teams cannot make side deals, nor can they re-sign their own UFAs or RFAs during this period.

Saturday: By 5 p.m., teams must submit protection lists for the Expansion Draft to the league.

Sunday: The NHL must approve and distribute the protection lists to all NHL teams by 10 a.m. They will likely be made public at about that time. At that time Seattle may begin interviewing UFAs and RFAs who are available for selection (on the exposure list), and they may sign them to contracts if they reach agreement. That signing counts as their selection from that team. This might need to be pointed out: they cannot talk to any Vegas free agents.

For example: if Seattle were to sign Frederik Andersen to a contract in this period, he would become their selection from the Toronto Maple Leafs. They may only speak to players who are exposed, not anyone on a protection list. And by default, they can only sign one player per team.

Wednesday, July 21: Seattle must submit their Expansion Draft choices to the NHL by 10 a.m. They must also submit any SPCs for signed players, and the distribution of the list of choices to the public will take place by 8 p.m.

Yes, on ESPN2 in the U.S., and on Sportsnet & TVA Sports in Canada. https://t.co/G08woTpM7C

Thursday, July 22: The trade and waiver freeze and signing moratorium are lifted at 1 p.m.

Once the freeze is lifted, all the teams are operating under the same rules and will proceed to the entry draft portion of this July offseason on July 23.

It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key.

While you’re frozen, and waiting for the Expansion Draft lists to be made public, here’s some Mock (Entry) Draft reading for you:

I think SBNation headline writers could use this:

Boston Bruins: Who Would be the Biggest Expansion Draft Loss?

Causeway Crowd 17 July, 2021 - 02:21am

Feb 1, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA;Boston Bruins defenseman Jakub Zboril (67) skates with the puck as Washington Capitals left wing Conor Sheary (73) defends in the second period at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft is five days away. The Boston Bruins and every other team in the NHL, except for the Vegas Golden Knights, and will lose one player. Who that player will be is anyone’s guess, but whoever it is, how big of a loss will it be?

The Bruins, along with the rest of the teams have to submit their protection lists to the NHL tonight. The NHL is expected to make the lists public Sunday.

Want your voice heard? Join the Causeway Crowd team!

The Bruins protection list is expected to be pretty straightforward with the common 7-3-1 method being used. Seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goalie.

If that’s the case, then the Bruins are expected to leave some of their young players exposed and could lose a defenseman or forward. It would be stunning if the Kraken selected the Boston goalie, which is expected to be Dan Vladar, but hey, stranger things have happened.

If the Bruins lost a blueliner, it’s expected that either Jeremy Lauzon, Connor Clifton, or Jakub Zboril would be the obvious choice for Seattle. If I was selecting for the Kraken, I would take Lauzon. He is 24 years old, but is a valuable penalty killer, could play a second pairing depending on who else is on the roster, and is a tough player that is not afraid to be physical. Of the three defensemen mentioned above, he has the most upside.

Clifton would bring more experience, but he is the older of the three and his upside is not as high as Lauzon’s. Clifton has done a nice job of filling in on defense for the Bruins between the Toronto 2020 playoff bubble and this past season when he was pressed into 42 regular-season games because of injuries.

Zboril is someone that would be an interesting selection by the Kraken, but despite making the Boston roster out of training camp this past season on the third pairing with Kevan Miller, who announced his retirement this past week on Instagram, the 2021 56-game shortened season was a struggle for Zboril.

Between injuries and inconsistent play, he found himself on the outside looking in during the playoffs, even when injuries continued to pile up for coach Bruce Cassidy’s crew. It’s been six years since the Bruins selected Zboril 13th overall in the 2015 Entry Draft and his development to this point is not what Boston had hoped for.

As far as the forwards go, that’s where the protection list gets interesting. Is Trent Frederic protected and if not, does Seattle pick him? Is Nick Ritchie or Ondrej Kase two players that the Kraken would take a flyer on? What if Jake DeBrusk is left unprotected? I doubt he’s left unprotected, but would be someone that Kraken wants to build their forwards around?

There’s no doubt that someone from the Bruins roster who played a role last season will be selected. Who will that be? Who would be the biggest loss? We will see Wednesday night.

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2021 NHL Draft: Central Division needs

NHL.com 16 July, 2021 - 11:00pm

Welcome to NHL.com, the official site of the National Hockey League

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The 2021 NHL Draft provides an opportunity for teams to strengthen positions of need with young talent.

The first round is July 23 (8 p.m. ET; ESPN2, SN, SN NOW). Rounds 2-7 are July 24 (11 a.m. ET; NHLN, SN, SN NOW).

Here are what Central Division teams could be looking to do at the draft (teams listed in alphabetical order):

Top priority: Playmakers

First pick: No. 37

The situation: Since 2010 the Coyotes have drafted two players who scored 20 goals in a season for them: forwards Conor Garland (2015, No. 123) and Clayton Keller (2016, No. 7). Recent draft picks still are maturing, among them center Barrett Hayton, the No. 5 pick of the 2018 NHL Draft who scored three points (two goals, one assist) in 14 NHL games this season and 10 points (six goals, four assists) in 26 games with Tucson of the American Hockey League. With general manager Bill Armstrong overseeing the draft for the first time (he agreed not to participate in the 2020 NHL Draft after being hired from the St. Louis Blues on Sept. 17, 2020, three weeks before the draft), Arizona could look to find the best available offensive performer with its first selection in the second round. The Coyotes forfeited the No. 11 pick in the draft as a result of violations of the NHL Combine Testing Policy during the 2019-20 season.

Possible fits: Logan Stankoven, C, Kamloops (WHL); Samu Tuomaala, RW, Karpat Jr., (FIN-JR); Sasha Pastujov, RW, USA U-18 (NTDP)

Top priority: Scoring depth

First pick: No. 12

The situation: Forward Patrick Kane remains one of the top offensive players in the NHL, and forward Alex DeBrincat was third in the League with 32 goals this season, but the Blackhawks need more to support them. Center Jonathan Toews' return after missing all season because of an illness will help, as will a full healthy season from center Kirby Dach, who was limited to 18 games because of a broken wrist. Forward Lukas Reichel, the No. 17 pick of the 2020 NHL Draft, scored 27 points (10 goals, 17 assists) in 38 games with Eisbaren Berlin in Deutsche Eishockey Liga, the top professional league in Germany. The 19-year-old will get a chance to play in the NHL next season, and more will be expected from forward Brandon Hagel and centers Pius Suter and Philipp Kurashev, who each had a solid rookie season. Adding another top-end forward high in the first round should be the priority.

Possible fits: Chaz Lucius, C, USA U-18 (NTDP); Matthew Coronato, RW, Chicago (USHL); Cole Sillinger, C, Sioux Falls (USHL)

Top priority: Prospect depth

First pick: No. 28

The situation: The Avalanche won the Presidents' Trophy as the top team in the NHL this season, and their prospect pipeline is among the League's best as well. Defenseman Bowen Byram (2019, No. 4) impressed when healthy this season, and forward Alex Newhook (2019, No. 16) adjusted well to the NHL pace after signing an entry-level contract March 31. Each has the potential to be an impact player next season, and defenseman Justin Barron (2020, No. 25) and forwards Martin Kaut (2018, No. 16), Shane Bowers (trade, Ottawa Senators) and Sampo Raanta (2018, No. 78) top a talented pool of prospects that soon could be pushing for roster spots. So how do the rich get richer? Taking the best player available.

Possible fits: Zach Dean, C, Gatineau (QMJHL); Fabian Lysell, RW, Lulea (SWE); Francesco Pinelli, C, Kitchener (OHL)

Top priority: Defenseman

First pick: No. 15

The situation: At 21 years old, defenseman Miro Heiskanen led the Stars in average ice time at 24:58 per game, with defensemen Esa Lindell (23:11) and John Klingberg (22:42) next. Lindell is 27 and plays tough and physical, and Klingberg will be 29 when next season starts. Thomas Harley, the No. 18 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, could be ready for a full-time NHL spot next season, but in a draft stocked with talented defensemen, this could be the right time for Dallas to add another blue-chip prospect at the position.

Possible fits: Corson Ceulemans, D, Brooks (AJHL); Carson Lambos, D, Winnipeg (WHL); Brennan Othmann, LW, Flint (OHL)

Top priority: Defenseman

First pick: No. 22

The situation: Calen Addison impressed enough as a rookie to average 12:16 of ice time in three games in the Stanley Cup First Round against the Vegas Golden Knights, but the Wild don't have top-end prospect depth beyond him; Ryan O'Rourke (2020, No. 39), Filip Johansson (2018, No. 24) and Daemon Hunt (2020, No. 65) each is at least a few seasons away. Finding a defenseman potentially with a quicker road to the NHL in the first round should be the goal. Minnesota, which also has the Pittsburgh Penguins' first-round pick at No. 26 from the trade of forward Jason Zucker, also could look to add to its prospect depth on the wing.

Possible fits: Shai Buium, D, Sioux City (USHL); Sean Behrens, D, USA U-18 (NTDP); Nikita Chibrikov, RW, St. Petersburg (RUS)

Top priority: Defenseman

First pick: No. 19

The situation: Nashville's top three defensemen, Roman Josi (31), Ryan Ellis (30) and Mattias Ekholm (31), are getting older, and Ekholm has one season left on his contract. In the past 10 years the Predators have selected a defenseman in the first two rounds three times, and only Dante Fabbro (2016, No. 17) remains on the roster after Seth Jones (2013, No. 4) and Samuel Girard (2016, No. 47) were traded. Finding a young defenseman to support and eventually replace their top players at the position should be a focus in the first round.

Possible fits: Carson Lambos, D, Winnipeg (WHL); Daniil Chayka, D, CSKA (RUS); Shai Buium, D, Sioux City (USHL)

Top priority: Defenseman

First pick: No. 17

The situation: The Blues have a solid top four defensemen -- Torey Krug, Colton Parayko, Justin Faulk and Marco Scandella -- but not much NHL-ready prospect depth behind them besides 22-year-old Scott Perunovich (2018, No. 45), who won the Hobey Baker Award as the top men's NCAA hockey player in 2019-20 but didn't play this season because of a shoulder injury. The Blues likely will look there with their top pick.

Possible fits: Carson Lambos, D, Winnipeg (WHL); Daniil Chayka, D, CSKA (RUS); Cole Sillinger, C, Sioux Falls (USHL)

Top priority: Forward

First pick: No. 18

The situation: The Jets have done well bolstering their depth at defenseman the past few seasons with Ville Heinola (2019, No. 20), Dylan Samberg (2017, No. 43) and Logan Stanley (2016, No. 18) set to become key contributors. Mark Scheifele, Nikolaj Ehlers, Kyle Connor and Blake Wheeler comprise Winnipeg's core forwards; each is in his prime and signed through the 2023-24 season, but this could be a good time to start developing players to support them. Their first-round pick in 2020, center Cole Perfetti (No. 10), scored 26 points (nine goals, 17 assists) in 32 games as a 19-year-old with Manitoba of the American Hockey League. The Jets should focus on finding more young forward talent with their first pick this year.

Possible fits: Cole Sillinger, C, Sioux Falls (USHL); Zachary Bolduc, C, Rimouski (QMJHL); Nikita Chibrikov, RW, St. Petersburg (RUS)

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