Hockey Hall of Famer Igor Larionov has gone public with who he thinks the Oilers should take first overall at the upcoming draft — OHL scoring sensation Nail Yakupov.
“They’ve got to start to make the playoffs and start to play better as a team and be more consistent,” Larionov told TSN 1050. “I think Nail would be the perfect candidate [for them]. He can get right in the line-up and play hockey with all those young guys.”
Coincidentally, Larionov is the agent representing Yakupov and Alex Galchenyuk, another projected top-10 pick.
(Which I’m sure has nothing to do with this.)
While the Oilers are interested in Yakupov — Larionov said his client would visit Edmonton after the NHL Draft Combine — adding talent up front isn’t an immediate need. The club already has the likes of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (19 years old), Taylor Hall (20), Jordan Eberle (22) and Sam Gagner (22) in its top six and desperately needs help on defense.
Ergo, the club might consider taking Everett blueliner Ryan Murray, who Oilers president Kevin Lowe has raved about.
While the prospect of adding Murray is enticing, Larionov says an Edmonton team with Yakupov in the mix would be something special.
“It’s fun to watch them and it kind of reminds me of the Edmonton Oilers of the early 80s and the Red Army team after Lake Placid,” he said. “There were so many young guys and we were very successful because [we] had hockey sense and skill and speed and desire to be successful.”
The Ottawa Senators did their best to make sure they didn’t lose Marc Methot in the expansion draft.
They attempted to get Dion Phaneuf to waive his no-move clause so they could keep Methot, but that didn’t work out.
On Monday, TSN hockey analyst Pierre LeBrun reported that the Golden Knights and Senators had been talking about a potential trade back to Ottawa.
In the end, Vegas GM George McPhee preferred to ship him to Dallas for 2017 seventh-rounder Dylan Ferguson and a second-round pick in 2020.
According to beat reporter Bruce Garrioch, Vegas’ asking price to allow the Sens to protect Methot before expansion was a 2018 first-round pick.
Methot has averaged at least 19:49 of ice time during his five seasons in Ottawa.
In the end, all this means is that the Senators will need to find someone else to play on the top pairing with Erik Karlsson next season.
During training camp, Ottawa put top prospect Thomas Chabot with Karlsson. They opted to send Chabot back to junior, but that could be an interesting combination if they think he’s ready to be a regular in the NHL.
–Sean McIndoe provides a list of 12 teams that are facing a high amount of pressure this off-season. The Canadiens still need a center, the Caps need something to get over the hump and the Avs need to shake things up after having one of the worst seasons in recent history. (Sportsnet)
–Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has moved on from the Pittsburgh Penguins, but it’s pretty clear that he won’t forget his years there. Fleury mentioned all of his best memories in a “thank you” letter to the people of Pittsburgh. “So thank you, fans. I wish I could put into words how much of an impact your support has made on me and my family. We have become Pittsburghers.” (The Players’ Tribune)
–The Hockey News handed out some of their own (made up) awards for the 2016-17 season. The Mario Lemieux Award, which is given to the best player in the NHL, went to Edmonton’s Connor McDavid. The Wayne Gretzky Award, given to the league’s most valuable player, also went to McDavid. (The Hockey News)
—Scott Darling has moved from Chicago to Carolina this off-season. As of right now, he doesn’t have his old no. 33, but he’s working on getting it from forward Derek Ryan. The goalie even tried having open negotiations on Twitter. In the end, they were able to get something done. (BarDown)
–The Boston Bruins didn’t make a ton of noise during the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, as they just seemed to fly under the radar. Beat reporter Joe Haggerty handed out draft grades for each of the team’s selections. First-rounder Urho Vaakenainen only fetched a B-minus. (CSN New England)
–Teemu Selanne found out he was going to the Hockey Hall of Fame yesterday. His incredible career got going with a legendary rookie season that saw him score 76 goals and 132 points. Those are numbers we’ll probably never see again. (NHL.com)
Earlier on Monday the Washington Capitals did not extend a qualifying offer to restricted free agent Brett Connolly. Even with that decision there were indications the team was still looking to re-sign him before he became an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
On Monday night the team reportedly did just that.
According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie the Capitals have agreed to terms with Connolly on a two-year contract that will pay him an average annual salary of $1.5 million per season.
He played the 2016-17 season on a one-year deal that paid him $850,000.
The 24-year-old Connolly appeared in 66 games for the Capitals this past season, scoring 15 goals and posting excellent possession numbers to make him a valuable depth player for a team that won the Presidents’ Trophy for the second year in a row. But after being held without a point in his first seven playoff games he found himself as a healthy scratch for the remainder of their second-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, being replaced by Paul Carey.
After being selected in the expansion draft Marc Methot‘s stay with the Vegas Golden Knights was a very brief one.
The veteran defenseman was traded to the Dallas Stars on Monday evening in exchange for a 2020 second-round draft pick and goalie prospect Dylan Ferguson.
Ferguson was just selection by the Stars this past weekend in the seventh-round.
It has been expected that Vegas would continue to deal players it selected in the expansion draft as it looks to build its organization from the ground up, and draft picks seem to be their desired return at this point in trades.
After making 12 selections this past weekend thanks to their many pre-expansion draft dealings, the Golden Knights have already started to stockpile future draft picks in several trades. They already have 11 draft picks, including three second-round selections, for the 2019 draft (which is still two years away) and already nine for the 2020 draft (three years away!). That total includes another three second-rounders in 2020 including the pick they just acquired for Methot.
They also have Pittsburgh’s second-round pick in 2020 in exchange for taking goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury in the expansion draft.
As for the Stars, they are clearly looking to reshape their defense after taking a pretty significant step backwards this past season. They were 29th in the NHL in goals against.
In 68 games with the Ottawa Senators this past season Methot scored zero goals while recording 12 assists. He spent most of his time the past few seasons playing alongside Erik Karlsson. He might get an opportunity to play next to another Swedish star in Dallas if the Stars decide to pair him with John Klingberg.
Vegas picked a lot of veteran defensemen in the expansion draft with the hopes of potentially flipping them to other teams (Jason Garrison, Alexei Emlin, Clayton Stoner, just to name a few). If the return for Methot on Monday night is any indicator of what to expect, you should probably expect more future draft picks to come their way if they end up dealing any of them in the coming weeks.