Some quickie gossip from Dallas, home of your 2018 NHL Draft:
1. First, here is Sam Cosentino’s latest mock draft. Sam works hard, so I put a lot of faith in his picks. One thing he doesn’t do is assume trades.
We’re all wondering about Montreal’s Marc Bergevin, sitting in the third spot. Bergevin likes the trade action, so he’s at the craps table, ready to throw the dice. But I do think that he’s also determined to get what he says he needs: a centre and a defenceman.
My guess: he’s weighing the possibilities of getting both.
We’ve all heard the same rumours — that the Canadiens are locked into Jesperi Kotkaniemi, and it is just a matter of where they feel they need to be to get him. The question becomes: can Max Pacioretty (or something else) get them into a second first-round slot? Sam thinks Montreal also likes Sault Ste. Marie’s Barrett Hayton (a centre), who he has going 12th to the Islanders.
That opens some other possibilities for Montreal, and I can see Bergevin investigating that idea.
The other interesting one is Bergevin’s four second-rounders, including Nos. 35 and 38. Will he try and use those to move into the later stages of round one? Potential target: Drummondville defender Nicolas Beaudin, who played for newly-hired assistant coach Dominique Ducharme. Cosentino doesn’t think Beaudin will be there at 35.
2. Senators GM Pierre Dorion made it clear the likely outcome is he keeps the fourth-overall selection and doesn’t give it to Colorado. Dorion wouldn’t discuss specific players on his roster, but one other name to add to Erik Karlsson and Zack Smith as trade potential is Craig Anderson.
3. There is word that a number of teams are asking St. Louis if there’s any reason they would consider moving Colton Parayko. One of them has to be Edmonton, picking 10th.
My guess is the price would be enormous. He’s a terrific player on an excellent contract. Maybe they feel having Alex Pietrangelo there gives the Blues reason to think about it.
4. Carolina is another to watch. It will be a surprise if the Hurricanes deal the second-overall selection. However, all eyes are on Jeff Skinner (add the Islanders and Penguins to the list of potential options), Justin Faulk (Detroit with interest) and Elias Lindholm. I’m not convinced the latter is getting dealt, but the team and agent are grinding each other over his next contract.
5. Nothing really new on Artemi Panarin. I wonder if Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen — who has big brass ones — goes for it with both Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky in the final seasons of their contracts.
You look at Washington, which won the Cup after finally getting over its playoff hurdle. I can’t help but think of the Blue Jackets, a really good team with the same post-season problem. If I were in his shoes, I’d think long and hard about it.
6. Speaking of the Capitals, it sounds like there’s been quite a bit of interest in Philipp Grubauer. One exec, who admitted interest, said Wednesday that the price could be higher than he thought it would be.
Two outsiders that might make some sense: Chicago and Ottawa.
8. It might mean nothing — or maybe it means everything — but Wayne Simmonds’ trade list was due this week.
9. Rick Helling, who won 93 games as a major league pitcher from 1994–2006, will be at the draft Friday night, supporting K’Andre Miller.
Miller, a talented defenceman from Minnesota, played hockey with Helling’s son. It’s a nice tie-in for the right-hander, who won 20 games for the Texas Rangers in 1998.
Miller, who’s committed to the University of Wisconsin, could be a mid-first-round pick. Nick Fohr, an assistant on the U.S. National Development Team, saw him playing football a couple of years ago, telling The Athletic’s Nick Kelly that Miller “looked like Odell Beckham Jr. making a catch … I was like, ‘Wow, that kid is athletic. He would be fun to coach.’”
10. Finally, I always look for one later-round draft wild-card. This year, it might be Yegor Sharangovich. From Belarus, he’s 20, played in the KHL for Minsk and at the 2017 Worlds.
But word from overseas is he’s willing to come to North America to learn this style of hockey. Tough to tell how much interest there is, but there’s some.