On that same late-June day, however, the Edmonton Oilers shocked the hockey world by sending Taylor Hall, who four times in his young career has hit the 20-goal plateau, to New Jersey for right-shot defenseman Adam Larsson, who isn’t likely to be mistaken for a dynamic offensive blue liner.
It, too, is a deal that’s considered a major victory for one team — in this case, the Devils.
In trading Hall, the Oilers gave up a dynamic forward, although they certainly had a plethora of skilled forwards, and their need to make upgrades to their blue line, made it necessary to part with a player up front.
Hall and Jordan Eberle — now his former Oilers teammate — broke into the league with Edmonton in the same year, back in 2010-11. But despite an increase in talent up front, with four first-overall picks in a six-year span, Edmonton really hasn’t been close to competing for a playoff spot in years.
Eberle, with 425 games with the Oilers through some difficult times, at first said in an interview with the Andrew Walker Show that he couldn’t comment on the deal, but eventually admitted something had to give when it came to Edmonton’s quest to land a d-man, which led GM Peter Chiarelli to make the deal.
“Obviously I think he recognized there was an area on our team we needed to improve and maybe we had a surplus of forwards and it was something he needed to do,” Eberle told The Andrew Walker Show.
“Ultimately, at the end of the day, we haven’t made the playoffs … and something needed to change, whether it was Taylor or whoever.
“I think Taylor will do very well in New Jersey and I think we significantly increased our blue line. I think that’s definitely going to help us in a tough Western Conference.”
The search for a general manager has been over for a while, the successful candidate in place. However, the Las Vegas NHL franchise is still looking to name its team. That search is still ongoing.
With its first season in the league set for 2017-18, the Las Vegas franchise has run into some trade mark issues with potential names, much to the dismay of owner Bill Foley.
One possibility could be the ‘Wranglers’ — the name of the former Las Vegas ECHL franchise, which officially folded in January of 2015.
However, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the ECHL still owns the rights to the name ‘Wranglers.’ The report also stated that the team does have a temporary logo — the NHL shield with ‘Las Vegas’ written underneath. Again. Only temporary.
“I have not been approached by either Mr. Foley or by the NHL,” ECHL commissioner Brian McKenna told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
“We own all the names of all the teams that have played or are playing (in the ECHL). Frankly, I would be surprised to hear from them now. But if they called to say they were interested in reviving the Wranglers name in Las Vegas, we would have an open mind about it. We always liked the name and the logo and the way they built up the brand in the community.”
Meanwhile, the people of Las Vegas have had their say on team names.
According to a bracket posted by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the name ‘Outlaws’ emerged as the favorite among the people after the polls, which the newspaper admits are completely unscientific.
The Las Vegas Visitors didn’t make it out of the first round…
Graham James, the disgraced junior hockey coach who pleaded guilty in June of 2015 to the latest charge of sexual assault against a former player, has had his day parole extended an additional two months, according to a report from The Canadian Press.
Documents from the Parole Board of Canada show James’s day parole, which was granted in January, has been extended for two months while the board schedules a hearing to consider his request for more freedom.
“You would like to be granted full parole,” states the decision dated July 8. “You have rented an apartment where you plan on living on your own. There are no financial concerns. Family members have been deemed to be positive supports.
“Your (case management team) supports your release on full parole.”
Former NHLer Sheldon Kennedy, who was a victim of sexual abuse from James, his coach in Swift Current at the time, has spoken out against the decision from the parole board.
“There has to be commitment and a proven commitment to change and currently there is no commitment to change by the Parole Board of Canada,” he said. “To me what it all comes down to is a lack of understanding of the true impact of this crime by the parole board.”
Kennedy predicts James will leave the country where he can operate under the radar. He has previously moved to Spain and Mexico. Kennedy also believes it’s just a matter of time before James reoffends.
“Oh absolutely, there’s no question,” Kennedy said.
In February of 2013, James had his original two-year sentence increased to five years for sexually assaulting two of his former players.
James is serving seven years, following the latest charge from last year that resulted in a two-year sentence, according to Global News.
The NHL’s Central Scouting staff put out a full list of 2017 NHL Draft “futures” on Saturday, supporting the notion that it’s never too early to hype up the next wave of prospects.
At the moment, the top pick speculation revolves around Nolan Patrick of the Brandon Wheat Kings, including in NHL.com’s breakdown of the biggest names among those futures.
In vague terms, his size and willingness to go to high-danger areas distinguishes Patrick. Scoring 102 points in 72 games in the WHL with the Wheat Kings doesn’t hurt his cause, either.
It’s only natural to seek comparables, of course, and there are plenty streaming out already.
Nolan’s style of play is similar to that of fellow Manitoban Jonathan Toews. He’s skilled, smart and capable of playing and making a difference in all situations of the game. Like Toews, he does it without much flash, but brings significant determination and reliability every time he steps on the ice.
There’s hockey in his blood, too, as his father Steve Patrick was an NHL forward.
Maybe that explains the notable lack of fawning from his dad in this Sportsnet article.
“Nolan was a funny little player at eight. I certainly didn’t look at him and think he’s gonna be a special player,” Steve Patrick said in May. “But he always saw the ice well and even when he was little he could pass the puck. He was a smaller kid and he sometimes played up a year, so I thought he had to be little sneakier to hold on to the puck.
“Plus, he had an older sister who could throw him in a snowbank, so he had to figure a way to keep the puck from her.”
Now that is a scouting report.
Of course, plenty can change in the season, so Patrick must dodge hurdles as if they were siblings readying to “throw him in a snowbank.”