At one point quite a few years ago, scouts touted Angelo Esposito as a top notch prospect. Since then, Esposito’s star power plummeted to earth dramatically.
He went from a possible top pick to the Pittsburgh Penguins’ at No. 20 overall in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft and hasn’t had any luck since then. Considering the fact that he is coming off of ACL surgery, it’s not crazy to wonder if Esposito will ultimately just be part of the answer to the “Who did the Atlanta Thrashers get back in the Marian Hossa trade?” trivia question.
Yet, if you ask new Thrashers GM Rick Dudley, the book on Esposito shouldn’t be closed just yet.
“I don’t think he’s a 200-point scorer. The expectations, from a province [Quebec] so hockey-crazed, built him up into something he shouldn’t have been. I can tell you this: I’ve been impressed from the first day I met him. He’s genuine and hard-working and he gets along with everybody and works his [rear end] off all the time.”
Dudley also wanted to dispel another notion about Esposito that has become widespread and perhaps was among the factors that caused him to fall from a potential No. 1 overall pick to No. 20 where he was selected by Pittsburgh in 2007. Esposito, Dudley said, is not a prima donna.
“Nothing like that at all,” he said. “He’s one of the best kids. He wants nothing more than to play. Give him a role and he’ll do it.”
Though he’s been through a lot of turmoil for a player his age, it’s important to remember that Esposito is only 21-years-old. The Thrashers have seen some dramatic changes and a clear youth movement with forwards such as Evander Kane and Patrice Cormier coming to the forefront. With new general manager Rick Dudley taking over this summer, Esposito might have another chance to make good on what might be considerable untapped potential … or a lot of hot air.
If he’s not a prima donna as many feared, then it would be pretty hard to root against the hard-luck prospect.
After giving it a lot of thought, NCAA standout Spencer Foo decided to join the Calgary Flames.
Many expected him to sign with his hometown Oilers. Although he didn’t opt to go that way, he still managed to sign a contract with a team in the province he’s from.
Being close to home isn’t the only reason the 23-year-old decided to settle on Calgary. The opportunity they were willing to give him also played a factor in his decision.
“A couple of different reasons. One was opportunity,” Foo told beat reporter Wes Gilberston. The Flames have a really good opportunity on the right side and have a lot of exciting players down the middle and on the left wing to play with. So I figured that pretty much whoever I’m playing with on the Flames, they’re going to be great linemates, and that’s exciting.”
Having Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau, Mikael Backlund, Matthew Tkachuk, Sam Bennett and a stacked defense certainly didn’t hurt their chances with Foo.
The Union College product put up some incredible numbers in 2016-17. He had 26 goals and 62 points in just 38 contests. Only Flyers prospect Michael Vecchione managed to put up more points (he had one more) for Union College last season.
Another reason Foo chose the Flames is because he believes they’re ready to win right away.
We’ll see where he slots in next fall.
The Edmonton Oilers continue to be busy this off-season. Not only are they looking to bring in new players to help improve their squad, they also have to look at re-signing their two best players.
Leon Draisaitl‘s contract comes to an end on July 1st, while Connor McDavid‘s entry-level deal expires next summer, but it sure sounds like both contracts will get done in the near future.
According to TSN’s Ryan Rishaug and Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, McDavid is about to become the highest paid player in the NHL by a wide margin.
Both are reporting that McDavid’s new deal is going to be for eight years and over $13 million per season.
Those are big numbers, but it’s hard to argue that he doesn’t deserve that kind of salary.
The 20-year-old was the only player in the league to put up 100 points in 2016-17. His effort on the ice led him to his first Hart and Art Ross Trophies.
Edmonton currently has just over $17.1 million in cap space. Obviously, their two franchise centers will eat up that entire number, but McDavid still has one year left on his current deal, so a new contract would only kick in for the 2018-19 season.
—Sidney Crosby has accomplished so much in his career, but there’s still one thing he wants to cross off his bucket list. In an interview with Dan Patrick, Crosby admitted that he’d like to be a goalie for a game. “I’d love to play one game in the NHL (as a goalie). We’ll see. There’s still some time left if it ever came down to it. I’d love to get that.” Just a hunch, but I don’t think the Pens would go for that. (Top)
–The Score looks at three 2017 draft prospects that will have the most long-term value to their respective teams. The first two picks of the draft are on the list, but the third name may surprise you. (The Score)
–As you may remember, Connor McDavid took an awkward looking picture with two strangers hugging him pretty tight. The picture, which took place at an airport, immediately went viral. Now, McDavid explained exactly how everything unfolded. Well, that story is pretty stupid. I was walking into the security line and I had actually walked past them. And then they say ‘hey Connor can we get a picture?’ and I say ‘sure’ and sure enough they come up to me and start hugging me. (Yahoo)
–Devils beat reporter Chris Ryan sat down for a Q&A with top pick Nico Hischier, who has a pretty busy summer ahead of him. “I’ll go back (o Switzerland) and practice and do my workouts every day, then I’ll come for Development Camp, and they’ll sit together and tell me what I still need, what I need to improve. Then I’ll go back again and work on those things.” (NJ.com)
–Speaking of Hischier, did you know that he didn’t start playing hockey full time until he was 12 years old? That’s only six years ago. “What you’re looking at is a guy who has a big upside and isn’t even close to reaching the ceiling,” Devils head coach John Hynes said. (New York Times)
–Kyle Beach was selected 11th overall by the Chicago Blackhawks back in 2008. Unfortunately for Beach, he never made it to the NHL and he still isn’t over that. “Whenever you get as close as I did and don’t make it, there are going to be a lot of questions that never can be answered. I was a player growing up who never had to work that hard because I was always a top player. It was a rude awakening. Could I have been more prepared? Absolutely.” (Chicago Tribune
Listerine, the 2017 Stanley Cup Final, and a growing rivalry. Sidney Crosby and P.K. Subban battled it out at the highest level not so long ago, but some of that action looked worse than it actually was.
At least, that’s the message Crosby sent on “The Dan Patrick Show,” as you can enjoy in the clip above.
As a bonus, Crosby also discussed his favorite Stanley Cup traditions – hey, there can be traditions when something happens three times – and how Mario Lemieux inspires some especially creative ideas: