In this week’s edition of Hockey Central Ask the Insiders, several fan questions are answered including what steps Canucks GM Mike Gillis needs to take to make Roberto Luongo comfortable now that Cory Schneider is the one traded and what David Bolland brings to the Maple Leafs.
Andrew asks: What steps does Canucks GM Mike Gillis and ownership need to take to make Roberto Luongo feel welcome with the team? Do you think it will work?
Doug MacLean: Andrew, I’m confused by all this “make Luongo comfortable” talk. He has 10 years left on his deal that pays approximately $6 million per year. That should make him comfortable plus the fact that Schneider is gone. Just play. Enough already.
Brad May: Andrew, Mike Gillis and ownership just have to honest. Explain to Roberto what the situation was and Roberto has to accept that. He has nine years left on his contract and his only remedy will be to play great hockey. He’s very capable to do this too.
Having a great young prospect like Schneider was a good situation for Vancouver. They exhausted all efforts to move Luongo for value and couldn’t do it. Roberto is a pro, and after getting past his emotions, his focus has to be dialed in to be the best goalie in the NHL. I believe he can accomplish this.
Brian Lawton: I am certain Roberto will accept this move as he really has no other choice. He is not retiring as he still wants to play and although the entire ordeal has been incredibly uncomfortable for everyone involved, the pieces are now in place to start the healing. That should start with a face-to-face meeting between Roberto and Mike Gillis. There hasn’t been a lot of time for that as the decision to trade Cory Schneider was not made until literally just prior to the draft. The club claims, and I believe them, that the reason Cory didn’t get a call prior to seeing the news himself on TV was that this timing was very recent and because it was NJ in NJ and they didn’t want it to get out ahead of him.
So now the meetings take place, and new coach John Tortorella can honestly look Roberto in the eye and say I am damn glad to have you and let’s show everyone this was the right decision. I for one believe Roberto will accept it for what it was, move on and play great but if he by some chance falters then this one is going to go down as a game changer for the Vancouver Canucks as there will be no trading of that contract ever!
Steve asks: Since you guys were around the Blackhawks at the Stanley Cup Final, what do you think Dave Bolland will bring to the Maple Leafs?
Nick Kypreos: I like what Bolland brings to the Leafs. A recipe to win. Something that was lacking the last 10 minutes in Game 7 vs. Boston. They’ll be some nights during the regular season you’ll wonder why they traded for him but he’s a guy that needs the playoffs to show his worth. His passion and emotion is tailored for the playoffs. Two Stanley Cups in four years has secured his playoff reputation. He can play anywhere from the second or third line with some edge and attitude. With one year left at $3.3 million, he’ll improve that salary provided he explains to his new teammates how to close out a seven game series.
Brad May: Steve, David Bolland is a solid hockey player that has won two Stanley Cups. He has the intangibles necessary to help any team. He’s a very good defensive forward with skill. He can play with any combination and be successful. I like this move. Bolland is going to be the pivot on a Toronto third line that will be tasked to shut down the best players on the opposition. He will provide offence too. Dave Nonis made a very wise choice in making this move. It will immediately pay dividends for Toronto.
David asks: How will this new “negotiating window” on July 3 and 4 impact on free agency this year?
Doug MacLean: David, it’s hard to say what impact it will make as it’s the first time. But the window does give teams a head start on the process. But let’s not kid ourselves. Many teams in the past have laid in groundwork, but the difference is back then it was called tampering.
Jeff Marek: Interesting year, eh? I think what will happen is we’ll see more deals announced on the opening day of free agency since teams and free agents will *ahem!* actually have time to negotiate deals with free agents before the window opens on July 5th. Because *ahem!* (sorry, feel a cold coming on) that doesn’t happen in the league because it contravenes the by-laws. Cough-cough-cough. Sorry, I better go take some throat medication immediately.
Chris Johnston: What this does more than anything is cut down on some of the tampering that had happened in the past. Now free agents can play teams off against one another out in the open. This has been common practice in the NBA, but is something new for hockey. There seemed to be a great amount of uncertainty around the industry about how the first free agency window will play out, but you can expect at least a few teams to fly players in and make face-to-face pitches for their services.
Patrick asks: Which team in your opinion had the best draft and which team had the worst this past weekend?
Jeff Marek: Not to shrug off your question because it’s what we all do, instantly analyze what’s in front of us, but I think it’s a little foolish to rank a draft a scant few days after it happens. None of us really knows how all these prospects will turn out, who will be the superstars and who will be the busts. I mean, I like what the Sabres did, especially in the first round picking up two hulking blue liners in Rasmus Ristolainen and Nikita Zadorov then following up with solid picks like J.T. Compher and Justin Bailey. And conversely I’m not that much of a fan of how the Flyers did business over the weekend in New Jersey, especially grabbing Samuel Morin as high as they did.
It’s hard not to like what Colorado got with Nathan MacKinnon, or the Panthers who have an impact player in Aleksander Barkov step in as early as next season or how the Bolts picked up a slick winger to play with Steven Stamkos for the next ten years in Jonathan Drouin or how the blue line factory was blessed to have Seth Jones fall into David Poile’s loving lap. I’ve been saying all year that whoever gets Darnell Nurse is getting a gem and a rock for the next decade and a half on your back end so tough for me not to pick up what Edmonton was putting down on Sunday. But the reality of it is we just don’t know so I can’t in good faith give you an honest answer because we’re not looking at how good these players are right now but rather where they’ll be when they’re 25 years old.
Chris Johnston: Just like in so many drafts past, I think the Nashville Predators came away as big winners. Seth Jones? At No. 4? I don’t think I’ve ever seen Preds GM David Poile so happy. He believes they’ve just added a future Norris Trophy winner and expects him to play alongside Shea Weber right away.
The most frustrating draft belonged to the Edmonton Oilers, who managed to pick up top prospect Darnell Nurse but failed to get started on the shakeup promised by Craig MacTavish. He lost out on Cory Schneider and failed to complete a deal with Philadelphia for Braydon Coburn. It wasn’t for lack of trying, but MacTavish had hoped to leave Newark with a little more progress.
Brian Lawton: I really thought Columbus did a fantastic job at the draft table this weekend. Having three picks in the first round always helps but it was more than that. It was the player they took that stands out for me. Alexander Wennberg was selected 14th and I had him in the top eight on my list. Nice job. Kerby Rychel was picked a few picks higher than I had him on my list he was in the low 20′s for me and taken 19th but still picked in the right range and lastly Marko Dano was a player I felt worthy of taking a flyer on if you had three picks as Columbus did. I had him in the late 30′s and he went 27 but that doesn’t both me as I can see what Jarmo Kekalainen is going for with this pick and it is worth it.
I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that Nashville is a big winner in taking Seth Jones. I know all the arguments about D don’t project as solidly as scoring forwards but I didn’t have Drouin ahead of Jones. I can live with Barkov and MacKinnon going ahead but boy it would have been hard to pass up on Jones and for it Nashville is a winner on this day.
The club that I was disappointed with was the Calgary Flames. They also had three picks in the first which means it doesn’t guarantee success and of course who knows at this point (save this blog and ask me again in one, two and three years for a better read). I did like the first pick or sixth pick by Calgary in Sean Monahan. I think he was a good pick there. I had him one pick later at seventh but still at sixth no problem with that. Where it started to go sideways for me with Calgary was the 22 pick Emile Poirier. This was a player I thought could be had in the late second or early third round. No reason to go there yet as it was just too early.
To pass on a guy like Hunter Shinkaruk who I had in the top 15 really surprised me and not just because he is a local boy. He is a great kid and Vancouver is really fortunate to get him at 24. Another guy like Andre Burakovsky also was much higher on my list. Their last pick I had in the late 30′s. That really isn’t a big difference but for me it would have been difficult to pass on any number of other guys like Valentin Zykov (Edmonton), Ian McCoshen (Florida), Adam Erne (Tampa Bay) or even Nicolas Petan (Winnipeg). All with risk but what would seem like a better return for the risk. Let’s save this and see who is right in the future.
It is more about philosophy for me and showing up to the draft trying to outsmart 29 other teams is not nearly as effective or successful a strategy as not making big mistakes. Columbus was well thought out, Nashville and Vancouver where opportunistic when others faltered and Calgary missed out on being lucky and opportunistic!