Who could be the 2011 Hockey Hall of Fame inductees?

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derianhatcher.jpgIn any selection process, there will be parties who are excluded. When it comes to the Hockey Hall of Fame, it might just be a matter of time for some (like, say, Joe Nieuwendyk) while many worry if they’ll never see the day when they are inducted (sadly, that might apply to Pat Burns). While some retired players might be nursing their wounded egos, I couldn’t help but wonder: “Who will make it next year?”

Great hockey history blogger Joe Pelletier posed that question, too, and looked at which players will be eligible for the first time in 2011.

2011 first-time eligible players:

* Ed Belfour
* Trevor Linden
* Glen Wesley
* Derian Hatcher
* Stu Barnes
* Mattias Norstrom
* Dallas Drake

Of that group, only Belfour has a shot. Trevor Linden is my hero, and Derian Hatcher was my favorite villain, but neither are Hall of Fame worthy. Trust me, that hurts to say it, but it’s true.

I cannot help but agree with Pelletier; it’s good news for the 2010 near-misses to see that Belfour is really the only major competitor. Belfour does have some impressive numbers, though, with 484 regular season wins and 88 in the playoffs. His accomplishments also include a Stanley Cup victory, two Vezinas, a Calder trophy, four William Jennings Trophies for the league’s best GAA and five All-Star appearances.

The jilted potential Hall of Famers might have to put a lot of eggs in the 2011 basket, though, because Pelletier points out the stacked 2012 class.

2012 is a much deeper class:

* Jeremy Roenick
* Mats Sundin
* Joe Sakic
* Curtis Joseph
* Brendan Shanahan
* Olaf Kolzig
* Teppo Numminen
* Markus Naslund
* Gary Roberts
* Claude Lemieux
* Bobby Holik

Wow, what a list! You would have to think Sakic and Shanahan are locks. Sundin will make it too, though maybe not in the first year.

While I’d say that Nieuwendyk, Adam Oates, Doug Gilmour and the other players who did well in our poll of hockey bloggers have a good chance in 2011, it’s clear that the committee is pretty hard to figure out. Ultimately, the hope is that the most deserving get elected. Hockey fans can debate if that happen, but really, those discussions are nothing but good for the sport.

That doesn’t change the fact that I’m disappointed Pat Burns was overlooked.

Sabres hire Sexton, Greeley as assistant GMs

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It was reported Saturday and made official today — Randy Sexton is joining the Buffalo Sabres as an assistant general manager. He will also serve as GM of the AHL’s Rochester Americans.

Also joining the Sabres as assistant GM is Steve Greeley, who spent the past two seasons as assistant director of player personnel with the New York Rangers.

“Randy and I developed a positive working relationship during our time in Pittsburgh and I think his experience and insight will be advantageous for our front office,” said Sabres GM Jason Botterill in a release. “In Steve, we have hired a talented hockey executive who will offer unique insight to our organization. They both have experience at all levels of the game and we think they will be valuable assets for the Buffalo Sabres moving forward.”

Sexton’s job with Rochester will be especially important for what Botterill is trying to do with the Sabres.

“I think one of the successes of the organization that I’m coming from is the relationship between Wilkes-Barre and Pittsburgh,” Botterill said when he was hired in May. “We want to re-strengthen the relationship with Rochester and Buffalo.”

The last two years, Sexton has been the Penguins’ director of amateur scouting.

Report: Elliott making ‘tentative’ plans to live in Winnipeg

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The talk of Brian Elliott joining the Jets isn’t going away.

This morning, Rick Ralph of TSN 1290 tweeted that Elliott has “been making tentative accommodation plans for Winnipeg.”

The 32-year-old goalie is an unrestricted free agent, and the Jets’ goaltending was once again a sore spot last season.

“We’re going to a take a look at whatever is available to us and if there’s a good opportunity there that can help us, we’ll jump at it,” GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said Saturday at the draft, per the Winnipeg Free Press. “We’ve got a list of names lined up to reach out to their representatives and see if we’re a fit for them and as far as they want to consider us.”

Read more: Is Brian Elliott a fit for Winnipeg

The Jets have Michael Hutchinson under contract for one more year before he can become unrestricted.

Connor Hellebuyck, meanwhile, is a restricted free agent. The Jets are still high on him, but perhaps rushed him into the No. 1 job last year.

“We want forward progress for the team,” said head coach Paul Maurice. “Either Connor or Michael has to step up on that or we’ve got to get some help for those guys.”

Elliott, of course, had a tough first year in Calgary. The Flames then went a different way by acquiring Mike Smith from Arizona.

‘That’s definitely a huge option for us’: Brian Boyle wants to go back to Tampa

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Brian Boyle spent almost three full years with the Tampa Bay Lightning before being traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs at last March’s trade deadline.

The veteran center liked his stint in Tampa so much that he’s willing to go back there when he becomes a free agent in less than week.

“We love Tampa,” said Boyle, per the Tampa Bay Times. “If Tampa wanted to work out a deal, that’s definitely a huge option for us. That’s something that I’ve kind of always thought about. I haven’t closed the door on anything.”

Boyle enjoyed quite a bit of success with the Bolts. During his time there, he scored at least 13 goals in each of his three seasons, which isn’t bad considering he was more of a bottom-six player when he was there.

It’s unclear if the Bolts would be willing to take him back at this point, but a big factor will likely be his contract demands.

“(Tampa) is a great place to be, great place to start a family. And, honestly, we’ll see what they say. You want to be wanted. That’s the other part.”

The Lightning have just over $23 million in cap space right now. That seems like a good amount, but they still have to sign Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Andrej Sustr. It’s also pretty clear that they’re in the market for a top four defenseman, and that won’t come cheap. As of right now, they only have three blue liners on one-way contracts.

The 32-year-old is coming off a contract that paid him $2 million per season. He should be able to fetch a higher number if he hits the open market.

‘Canes re-sign Masterton Trophy finalist Derek Ryan to one-year deal

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The Carolina Hurricanes have reportedly taken care of some business on Monday morning, as they’ve re-signed forward Derek Ryan to a one-year deal worth $1.425 million, per TSN’s Frank Seravalli.

Update: The Hurricanes have confirmed the news.

The 30-year-old had 11 goals and 29 points in 67 games during his first full NHL season.

Ryan’s journey to the NHL is a great story.

He played three full seasons of junior hockey with the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs (2004-2007) before joining the University of Alberta hockey program for four years (2007-2011). Once he completed his Canadian University hockey eligibility, Ryan went on to play three seasons of pro hockey in the Austrian League and one year over in Sweden. He came back to North America for the 2015-16 season, where he played 70 games with AHL Charlotte and six games with the ‘Canes.

Ryan was a finalist for the Masterton Trophy, which is awarded to “the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.”

“I feel a little out of place,” Ryan told NHL.com during the 2017 NHL Awards. “A couple of years ago, I was battling my way through the European leagues and all of a sudden here I am at the NHL Awards and just kind of taking it all in.”