Stanley Cup all shined up and ready to go
The Cup will be in the house and ready to go for the LA Kings to sweep the finals and win their first championship at home in front of their fans and celebrities.
The Kings run has been simply amazing as they have plowed their way through competition like a juggernaut.
Expect no changes in the Kings roster. The Devils may insert Petr Sykora back in the line up, and Henrik Tallinder will not play. Jacob Josefson is out.
NHL Entry Draft
As the draft approaches rumors and speculation are heating up. Igor Larianov who is the player agent for both Nail Yakupov and Alex Galchenyuk spoke about the interest in his two stars. Yahoo sports Neate Seager posted this article Toronto Maple Leafs want to trade up for Nail Yakupov or Alex Galchenyuk — says Igor Larionov where he quotes Larianov saying;
"[Oilers GM Steve] Tambellini told me: 'We like him [Yakupov]. We want him. But we're going to make a decision the day before the draft'. I also know the Habs want to get one of my guys — either Nail or Alex [Galchenyuk]. So do the Leafs. It is possible that the Leafs are going to trade their draft pick and get both of them. There is a possibility like that. Nail and Alex went to New Jersey for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals. After this they met Leafs GM Brian Burke. Then Nail met with the Habs."
The Leafs would have to trade a LOT more than the fifth overall to get both. I don't see this happening. For a more realistic look at what Toronto will do with the fifth overall pick, Alec Brownscombe of Leafs Hot Stove posts his article 2012 Draft Strategy: What to do with #5?
Yesterday I looked at the impact of the Vokun trade on the Penguins. Perhaps the most significant fantasy impact on this deal will be seen in Braden Holtby. His performance in the post season has clearly won him the Caps starting job for next season and he could become a 30 win point producing monster.
Off season Market for Defense
There is plenty of talk about this off seasons goalie market. Roberto Luongo, Tim Thomas, Tomas Vokun, blah, blah. But what about the defense?
With Lidstrom retiring the Wings will be searching for a replacement. Niklas Kronwall, Ian White, and Brendan Smith are already in place but the Wings could also lose Brad Stuart. There have been plenty of names as to potential big time Defensemen on the market this summer. Ryan Suter heads the list of free agents, followed by Justin Schultz, Stuart, Dennis Wideman, and Matt Carle. The Ottawa Senators have leaked that they are prepared to walk away from Filip Kuba, and are shopping Sergei Gonchar.
Rumors that the Flames may be looking to shed some salary and are considering Jay Bouwmeester as the solution have surfaced.
The Phoenix Coyotes saw Oliver Ekman-Larsson emerge as their top defender. Also under contract next season in the desert are Klesla, Morris, Stone, and Schlemko and top prospects David Rundblad, and Brandon Gormly are knocking on the door, could Keith Yandle be available?
Other players frequently in trade rumors are Luke Schenn, Shea Weber, and Mike Green to name a few. Add Tobias Enstrom to the list. Perhaps the Jets would consider swapping Enstrom for help up front.
And then there are the draft eligible names, Ryan Murray, Matt Dumba, Jacob Trouba, Griffin Reinhart, Cody Ceci, Olli Maata and many more.
This could be the summer of defense rather than the summer of the goalie.
Then again, with CBA uncertainty looming over, it could be all quiet.
Columbus goalie Curtis Sanford, and Minnesota Wild Erik Christensen have both signed deals in the KHL.
With Steve Mason showing he is not a reliable starter, the Jackets are desperate for quality goaltending. One would have to think that Roberto Luongo would be at the top of their list, and they would be at the bottom of Luongo's list!
If the Jackets trade Captain Rick Nash, expect a goalie to be in the negotiations.
Speaking of Nash, read my column in the War Room from yesterday, Rick Nash Trade Options: San Jose Sharks
With all the young talent coming up in Minnesota, and the potential for them to target Zach Parise this summer, it is no wonder Christensen headed to the KHL.
The Nashville Predators announced what we all expected, that they will not be signing Alex Radulov to a new contract. Radulov has expressed he wants to stay in the NHL and the Preds will begin seeking to trade his rights as he is a RFA. The Rangers have been rumored to be interested already.
News From Twitter
Florida Panthers President and CEO Michael Yormak tweeted:
Michael Yormark @PanthersYormark
Big announcement today from florida panthers. #excitingnews.
Let the speculation begin. First things that come to mind are that they have resigned Jason Garrison. Not sure if that qualifies as "Big Announcement" od #excitingnews.
On Insider Trading on TSN Pierre LeBrun said "Florida Panthers are a team to keep an eye on. I think they are very interested in Roberto Luongo, but they're a small payroll team, and it's only going to happen if they can send some money the other way"
Dobber hockey has a good read on the Florida Panthers offseason game plan
Follow me on Twitter: @pharling