Mikhail Grigorenko

At this point, anything could happen at the draft

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Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff thinks the 2012 NHL draft could be even more unpredictable than most. As such, he hasn’t ruled out trading his club’s ninth overall pick and moving up, or down, in the selection process.

“I think that this year’s draft, it’s going to be really tough to predict,” Cheveldayoff told the Winnipeg Free Press. “You’ve got a lot of guys who have had injuries throughout the year and missed a good portion of the year.

“You’ve got a lot of team dynamics, different teams that may want to draft more for position than player. I think you’ll see a lot of players ranked very differently on each and every team.”

Russian forward Nail Yakupov is the consensus pick to go first overall June 22 in Pittsburgh, but he’s hardly the universal choice.

“I wouldn’t say that [Yakupov is the true No. 1],” Edmonton’s head scout, Stu MacGregor, told NHL.com. “I think he’s one of the players you have to consider for that spot, but I think there are a few players you have to consider.”

And what about fellow Russian Mikhail Grigorenko? Back in November, International Scouting Services had Grigorenko and Yakupov ranked one-two, respectively. By April, Grigorenko had fallen to third on ISS’s list, and has since fallen even further in some rankings due to a disappointing playoff performance with the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL.

Then again, he did have mononucleosis.

“They’ve been asking what happened in the playoffs,” Grigorenko told the National Post. “I don’t think I had a bad playoff because the first round was good. The first round I had seven points in four games. But after I got mono, I didn’t have lots of energy.”

Still, there were concerns about Grigorenko prior to the playoffs, including whether he’d bolt for the KHL.

For Cheveldayoff, all the uncertainty places a premium on preparation as the draft approaches.

“You try to get the feel for the different things that might or might not happen (ahead),” he said. “You just don’t know. All of a sudden there could be a trade. You just have to be prepared and have your own thoughts and lists in place.”

Related: Yakupov to visit with Oilers, but Edmonton’s head scout not tipping his hand

Sens demote former first-rounder Puempel

Matt Puempel
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Looks like Matt Puempel won’t be making the leap after all.

Puempel, the subject of Ottawa’s “looking to make the leap” profile during our Team of the Day series, has been sent down to AHL Binghamton one day prior to the Sens’ opener against Buffalo.

Puempel, taken by Ottawa in the first round (24th overall) at the ’11 draft, made his big-league debut last season and looked as though he’d stick around — only to suffer a high ankle sprain after 13 games, and miss the rest of the season.

The 22-year-old came into this year’s camp looking to secure a full-time position at the big league level, but was beaten out by Shane Prince for the final forward spot on the roster.

To be fair, contract status probably played a role. Prince would’ve had to clear waivers to get down to Bingo, whereas Puempel didn’t.

A former 30-goal scorer in the American League, Puempel is expected to get another look with Ottawa this season.

Report: Torres won’t appeal 41-game suspension


Sounds like Raffi Torres is accepting his punishment.

Per Sportsnet, Torres won’t appeal his 41-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg.

The report comes just days after the NHL’s Department of Player Safety levied one of the longest disciplinary rulings in league history, citing both the severity of the Silfverberg hit and Torres’ lengthy history of suspensions, fines and warnings.

There was some thought, however, that Torres would try to challenge the ruling.


He does have a history of success in that department. In 2012,Torres successfully appealed his suspension for a headshot on Chicago’s Marian Hossa, and had his punishment reduced from 25 games to 21.

Torres also isn’t considered a “repeat offender” under the current collective bargaining agreement, as his last suspension came in 2013.

Of course, part of that clean record is due to the fact he hasn’t played much. Torres has largely been sidelined by injury for the last two seasons, missing all of last year with knee problems.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman delved further into the repeat offender thing in his latest 30 Thoughts column:

If you read the relevant sections of the CBA, the league takes the position that the repeat offender status is only applicable to fines. Repeaters are fined on a per-game basis, non-repeaters on a per-day basis. (The former is more expensive, because there are fewer games than days in an NHL season.) However, if you go to Section 18.2, among the factors taken into account are, “the status of the offender and, specifically, whether the Player has a history of being subject to Supplementary Discipline for On-Ice Conduct.”

So, in the NHL’s view, a player’s history is relevant, even if longer than 18 months ago.

Should the report prove accurate and Torres doesn’t appeal, he will be eligible to return to action on Jan. 14, when the Sharks take on the Oilers.