2010 NHL Entry Draft: Gudbranson poised for #3 pick, Isles trading down?

I’m getting ready to head over to the Staples Center for tonight’s
draft, but wanted to pass along a few more notes.

First, it’s
almost an absolute certainly that I’m confident in the order of the
first three picks tonight. Taylor Hall will go 1st overall to Edmonton
and then Tyler Seguin to Boston with the 2nd pick. But what about 3rd?

Leading
up to the draft Cam Fowler seemed to be the consistent #3 pick, but
lately that opinion has been changing. I’ve maintained that Fowler was
the best defenseman in the draft (and have him going third to Florida)
but it seems that Florida is getting ready to draft Eric Gudbranson in
that spot.

Gudbranson is a physical specimen, and is primed to
step into the NHL immediately. Generally, these young prospects who are
this tall need time to fill out and build muscle, but Gudbranson is
already a very stocky and well-built player. He’s also extremely
charismatic, well-spoken and (I can admit this) a good looking guy. He
would be the perfect player for Florida to build around and market in
the area.

Now after the third pick, that is likely to be
Gudbranson, you’d think that Fowler would be very next pick. That’s
likely, although with Columbus shopping their 4th overall pick anything
can happen. I highly doubt, however, that a team would trade up to #4
and not take the next best player on the board, which would be Fowler in
that position.

What follows could get interesting. The Islanders
aren’t looking to take any risks and despite the amount of talent at #5,
the Isles could trade down if they feel they would get better value in
the 10-15 range (hypothetically). That could certainly see some waves
sent across draft boards, as the player the Isles would nab at #5 is
likely a bit different than a team trading up.

Tonight could be
interesting, considering the amount of picks up for sale. Every team’s
draft board is completely different and tonight is shaping up for us to
see some teams grab players a bit higher than we might have expected.

Visit NBC’s Draft
Headquarters
for our complete coverage of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

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    No hearing scheduled for Abdelkader after Barkov hit

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    There’s no disciplinary hearing scheduled for Detroit forward Justin Abdelkader following his big check on Florida’s Aleksander Barkov last night, an NHL spokesman has confirmed.

    The incident, which occurred early in the second period, left Barkov woozy and forced him from the game entirely. Abdelkader wasn’t penalized on the play — that, along with the hit itself, infuriated the Panthers and head coach Gerard Gallant.

    “It was a cheap hit, I don’t know how the ref didn’t call it,” Nick Bjugstad told the Miami Herald.

    “I thought it was a cheap shot but the referees didn’t see it that way,” Gallant added, noting that Abdelkader “left his feet a little and got [Barkov] in the jaw.”

    Abdelkader has run afoul of the Department of Player Safety before. He was suspended two games during the ’13 playoffs for a hit on then-Ducks defenseman Toni Lydman.

    The Panthers are back in action tonight, as they take on the Sabres in Buffalo.

    Detroit doesn’t play again until Wednesday, when it hosts the Sens at Joe Louis.

    Dion Phaneuf traded to Senators

    LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 07:  Jordan Nolan #71 of the Los Angeles Kings is knocked off balance by Dion Phaneuf #3 of the Toronto Maple Leafs during the second period at Staples Center on January 7, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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    And this is why we listen when Bob McKenzie says something.

    The Ottawa Senators have acquired defenseman Dion Phaneuf, forwards Matt Frattin, Casey Bailey, and Ryan Rupert and undrafted defensive prospect Cody Donaghey from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for defenseman Jared Cowen, forwards Colin Greening, Milan Michalek and Tobias Lindberg, plus Ottawa’s second-round pick in the 2017 draft.

    No salary will be retained by either team.

    From the Leafs’ perspective, the trade provides even more cap flexibility for their rebuild. Phaneuf is signed through 2020-21 for a cap hit of $7 million; he’s entirely on Ottawa’s books now. As for the guys coming to Toronto, Michalek, Cowen, and Greening are only under contract through next season, for a combined cap hit of around $10 million. And according to the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch, both Cowen and Greening could be bought out by the Leafs this offseason.

    The Sens, meanwhile, get to add a workhorse defenseman to a blue line that already includes Erik Karlsson. Plus, they rid themselves of some onerous contracts.

    Report: ‘Lots of Dion Phaneuf trade chatter’

    Dion Phaneuf
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    This isn’t the first time Toronto captain Dion Phaneuf has come up in trade rumors — far from it — but since it’s TSN’s Bob McKenzie putting it out there, we should probably listen.

    “Hearing lots of Dion Phaneuf trade chatter,” McKenzie tweeted this morning. “Starting to think he could actually be dealt before the deadline.”

    Phaneuf has three goals and 21 assists in 51 games this season, while logging an average of 22:02 in ice time. The big factor in trading the 30-year-old is his contract — he’s signed through 2020-21 for a cap hit of $7 million. 

    Responding to McKenzie on Twitter, TSN’s Darren Dreger seemed to suggest Ottawa as a potential landing spot. The Sens, as we’ve noted recently, have had all sorts of defensive issues this season.

    In the past, Detroit has come up as a potential destination for Phaneuf, though the Wings reportedly withdrew their interest in June.

    NHL on NBCSN: Slumping Wild look to get back on track against Stars

    Dallas Stars left wing Antoine Roussel (21), from France, scores a goal past Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk (40) in the third period of an NHL hockey game, Monday, Dec. 21, 2015, in St. Paul, Minn. The Stars won 6-3. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)
    Associated Press
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    NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2015-16 campaign tonight when the Minnesota Wild host the Dallas Stars at 8:00 p.m. ET. If you want to watch the game online, you can do so here.

    If you’re a fan of the Minnesota Wild, the last few weeks probably haven’t been pleasant.

    The team has been slumping badly since the beginning of the new year, and late January/early February has been no different.

    The Wild come into tonight’s game having dropped five straight decisions to the Sharks, Coyotes, Islanders, Rangers and Blues.

    Minnesota has just 10 goals during the losing streak, which means their top offensive players aren’t producing.

    Head coach Mike Yeo tried to shake things up on Saturday night by scratching Thomas Vanek and Jason Zucker, but that didn’t work. The Wild were thumped, 4-1, by the St. Louis Blues.

    After playing their last three games on the road, Minnesota hopes to get a boost from their home crowd.

    “One thing for sure, [there are] mixed feelings about coming back home,” Yeo said on Monday, per the Star-Tribune. “Right now, obviously, a little home cooking would be nice for us. But I’d be lying if I wasn’t a little nervous for tomorrow. Certainly I think our fan base is a little restless — more than a little restless right now. And they expect more from us. And they deserve more of us.”

    Things haven’t been as bad in Dallas, but the Stars are coming off an embarrassing 5-1 home loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.

    “It was a huge game,” forward Vernon Fiddler said, per the Morning News. “We talked about it before the game, what it means, and then we lay an egg. It’s unacceptable. There’s a lot of disappointed guys in here.

    “After a big loss like that, you want to respond. We all have to be better and take a look in the mirror and expect more of ourselves.”

    Prior to Saturday’s loss, the Stars had won three straight games.

    Could this be a trap game for Dallas?

    They won’t have to wait long to get another crack at the Blackhawks, as they’ll be shipping out to the United Center on Thursday, but they have to take care of business in Minnesota first.

    The Stars are five points behind Chicago for top spot in the Central Division. Dallas has three games in hand.