Quickie blog on some things to keep an eye on within 24 hours of the NHL Draft:
• According to several sources, Chicago and Columbus are taking another run at a Seth Jones trade. During the first attempt, the Blue Jackets discussed Kirby Dach or Alex DeBrincat as the centrepiece, but it wasn’t something the Blackhawks wished to do.
What the two teams are trying to do is find common ground without including either of them; finding another mix of Chicago’s young players, prospects and high draft picks. (The Blackhawks are scheduled to select 12th in the first round.) It is believed they are one of the teams that could secure a long-term commitment from Jones.
We’ll see where this goes, and who — if anyone else — enters the chat.
• Ryan Suter is a popular man. Possible he makes his decision by Monday. Among interested parties: Boston, Colorado, Dallas, Florida and the Islanders.
Another popular defender is Alec Martinez, but first he’s got to decide if he’s 1995 Nic Cage — Leaving Las Vegas.
What happens with Jones, Suter and Martinez determines several other defenceman destinations.
A unique, but valuable case could be newly-minted Stanley Cup champion David Savard, because word is he’s more willing than some of his peers to consider Canadian destinations. One GM said Thursday that he’s hearing more and more from players that they prefer not to play in Canada. “It’s a real thing,” he said, mentioning taxes, social media and tighter pandemic restrictions.
• Best line about the unpredictability of this draft? One exec said, “Someone’s going to take a player (Friday) and I’m going to say, ‘Holy #$%&, we had him in the fourth round!’
• Vancouver has stepped-up efforts to find a landing spot for Braden Holtby. I think there’s a lot of this going around the NHL these days, but word is the Canucks have given his representatives permission to aid in the search.
• Rick Tocchet is considering television opportunities in addition to an associate coach role or two. There was at least one that would have made him the highest-paid assistant in the NHL.
• Finally, and more seriously, Chicago GM Stan Bowman made his first media appearance since sexual abuse allegations against former video coach Brad Aldrich were made. His statement is here. Amended lawsuits in the case were filed Thursday. The Chicago Sun-Times’ Ben Pope has the story here.