On Friday, we told you about idle speculation stirring out of Denver from The Denver Post’s Adrian Dater that in his wildest of pipe dreams, the Avalanche would look into Devils right wing Jamie Langenbrunner to help fill the hole left by concussion-ailed winger Peter Mueller. As it turns out, idle speculation can sometimes have some truth to it as Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice says that there is interest there from Colorado and New Jersey is willing to listen.
As we talked about on Friday, Langenbrunner for business purposes could make sense to move but logistically it doesn’t make sense as the Devils are a bit thin at right wing and Langenbrunner is the team captain. As for what the Avalanche might be willing to do in order to make a deal work with New Jersey, Dater starts theorizing on what the Avalanche could do to whet Devils GM Lou Lamoriello’s whistle.
The Devils and GM Lou Lamoriello are a notoriously difficult team to make trades with, however, and no doubt Lou wants as much value as he can get for a solid veteran like Langenbrunner. The Devils obviously can only take a draft pick or prospect in any deal right now, so the question becomes which of the Avs’ prospects does he want?
I don’t know the answer to that question, but if Lou wants somebody like Joey Hishon, the deal almost certainly would be a non-starter. Problem for Lou is, he has no leverage right now. He must move one or two guys to make room for the $6,666,666 man, Ilya Kovalchuk. He has no choice, barring some kind of chicanery like a sudden long-term “injury” or a minor-league demotion to one of his top guys (in the case of Rolston, however, that wouldn’t work, because he’s over 35 and his cap hit counts if they send him to the minors).
Maybe Lou would just settle for any marginal prospect and get on with life. We’ll see.
Langenbrunner, by the way, has a no-trade clause and would have to approve any trade.
Ah, the stickiest of wickets – the no-trade clause. That could be an issue. Then again, if Jacques Lemaire were still around, getting Langenbrunner to waive it might’ve been a sure thing. With John MacLean running the show in New Jersey, Langenbrunner could be eager to get a fresh start with him. Trade rumors around Langenbrunner started the moment that Ilya Kovalchuk was re-signed, so if he wants to completely get away from the situation, perhaps he’d be OK with moving on to Denver.
If Dater believes that Lamoriello will take a package of Hishon and other smaller parts, he’s fooling himself. Lou isn’t the best in the business at swinging a deal for nothing.
The hype surrounding Connor McDavid couldn’t be much greater, but finally expectations will start to give way to results.
The NHL career that’s been talked about for years will begin tonight when his Edmonton Oilers face St. Louis.
“It’s something that you dream of for so long,” McDavid told NHL.com. “The draft is one thing, but to finally be in this situation is another, so I’m really excited. It’s been a long road; it’s been a lot of hard work. I think a lot of guys’ stories are different in how they get here, but the one common theme is hard work and my story is not any different that way.”
McDavid has transformed the Oilers with his mere presence. Its breathed fresh optimism into a city that have watched this team struggle in its efforts to dig out of the NHL basement. One also has to wonder if Peter Chiarelli would be the team’s new general manager and Todd McLellan its new head coach if Edmonton hadn’t won the draft lottery.
But where will he lead Edmonton? Will he be just the sixth 70-point rookie of the salary cap era? Will he struggle out of the gate, putting the hype into question? Perhaps he’ll draw comparisons to Steven Stamkos, who had a modest rookie campaign by the standards of a highly regarded top pick, but has nevertheless gone on to become a superstar.
That would surprise Stamkos as the Lightning captain feels McDavid is better than he is currently. Just further proof that those lofty expectations are coming from all sides.
“You don’t want to put too much weight on his shoulders; he’s an 18-year-old kid,” Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli said. “I don’t care how good he is or how good he’ll be, it’s a lot to shoulder if you’re supposed to be the guy and you’re the only guy. Fortunately we have a lot of high-pedigree players that are high picks who have gone through similar situations that he’s going through.”
Edmonton certainly has no shortage of first overall picks, but none as highly regarded as McDavid. But then, few ever are.
Related: There’s ‘a real positive vibe’ in Buffalo, where Eichel will make NHL debut tonight
Jack Eichel didn’t disappoint in the preseason, finishing with six points in four games, including two shorthanded goals.
Tonight in Buffalo, his NHL career will start for real when the Sabres host the Ottawa Senators in regular-season action.
“It’s something I’ve dreamed of my whole life, stepping foot on that ice and making the NHL,” Eichel said, per NHL.com. “It’s kind of been a whirlwind, but you’re finally playing hockey for a living and everything you’ve done your whole life is to get to this point. It’s pretty special.”
The 18-year-old’s debut was front-page news this morning in Buffalo, where the Sabres have been among the NHL’s worst teams since last making the playoffs in 2010-11.
Granted, even with the additions of Eichel, Ryan O'Reilly, Evander Kane, Robin Lehner and Cody Franson, expectations for 2015-16 remain modest for the new-look Sabres. Certainly, a spot in the playoffs would count as a surprise.
But for the fans of a team that’s barely possessed the puck the past couple of years, it’s night and day.
“People are excited,” GM Tim Murray said earlier this week. “It’s great. They think we’ve improved, and there’s a real positive vibe, I believe.
“That’s what I said to our coaches, ‘I want everybody to be positive. I’m the only guy in the organization allowed to be negative.’ That’s the way I wanted it. If I’m the most negative guy in the city about the team, that’s pretty good.”