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

Caps re-sign Copley, who could be Holtby’s future backup

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Pheonix Copley, who returned to Washington this season as part of the Kevin Shattenkirk trade with St. Louis, has signed a two-year extension worth $1.3 million, the Caps announced on Wednesday.

The key wrinkle in the deal is that year one is of the two-way variety, while year two is of the one-way.

It’s worth mentioning because Philipp Grubauer — Washington’s current backup to starter Braden Holtby — is currently a restricted free agent, and believed to be have No. 1 potential.

The 25-year-old has capably served under Holtby for the last two years. He’s coming off an excellent campaign — 13-6-2, .926 save percentage, 2.05 GAA — and sounds like he’s ready to make the next step in his career.

“I would like to stay here; Washington is awesome and the whole organization’s been awesome the last couple of years,” Grubauer said, per the Post. “But I’m ready if the opportunity comes to make the next step and try to be a starting goalie somewhere.”

Grubauer was made available to Vegas at the expansion draft, but Golden Knights GM George McPhee opted to take blueliner Nate Schmidt instead. There are still rumblings that Washington might dangle Grubauer in trade talks.

Copley has a very small NHL resume — just two games, both with St. Louis — but fared very well with AHL Hershey last year. In 16 regular-season games he went 11-5-0 with a .931 save percentage and 2.15 GAA and, in the playoffs, went 5-4 with a .933 save percentage and 2.13 GAA.

Report: Ryan Miller may land in Anaheim

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The Anaheim Ducks might be getting a former Vezina Trophy winner as their backup.

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, “there is a lot of expectation of Ryan Miller to Anaheim for approximately $1 million, although I’m not sure if bonuses will be added to that.”

Miller, an unrestricted free agent, has spent the last three years in Vancouver. The Canucks would like to keep him; however, his wife, Noureen DeWulf, is an actress, so Southern California has always been a potential landing spot.

Also, let’s face it, Miller would have a much better shot at winning the Stanley Cup with the Ducks, and that’s something the 36-year-old has never done.

As for the Ducks’ motivations, signing Miller would give them a viable starting option should John Gibson struggle or get hurt again. Recall that Anaheim’s last backup, Jonathan Bernier, had a tough time after he was forced into action in the Western Conference Final.

Related: What does the future hold for Ryan Miller?

Jets have contacted Mason about goalie gig

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Though most signs point to Brian Elliott in goal for Winnipeg next season — see here and here — there are other options out there.

Per the Winnipeg Sun, the Jets have reached out to ex-Flyers netminder Steve Mason during the free agent interview window.

Mason, 29, just wrapped the last of a three-year, $12.3 million deal with a $4.1M average annual cap hit. He’s spent the last four-plus seasons with the Flyers but, over the last two, had been part of a platoon with Michal Neuvirth.

Mason played 58 games to Neuvirth’s 28 this year, but didn’t fare especially well, finishing with a .908 save percentage.

We bring this up because whoever signs in Winnipeg will likely have to concede some starts to Connor Hellebuyck, the one-time goalie of the future that struggled mightily through ’16-17. Hellebuyck is still only 24 and the hope is that last year can be spun as a positive learning experience.

“We went through a growing period and the goaltenders were exactly like that,” head coach Paul Maurice said of Hellebuyck’s campaign, per the Free Press. “Put them back in the net after a tough night, yanked [Hellebuyck] early a bunch of times.”

The Sun reports that Winnipeg was “one of several teams that inquired about Mason,” which isn’t surprising. He’d make for a high-caliber backup and a likely upgrade in a number of markets.

 

Bruins re-sign Acciari — two years, $1.45 million

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Looks like Noel Acciari will be around Boston for the foreseeable future.

Acciari, who has spent most of his career shuttling between AHL Providence and the NHL, has signed a two-year, one-way deal worth $725,000, the B’s announced on Wednesday.

Acciari’s contract comes after he appeared in 29 games for the Bruins last year, scoring five points. He also appeared in four of the club’s opening-round playoff games against Ottawa, scoring once.

The former Providence standout, who went undrafted, caught on with Boston in ’15-16 and quickly worked his way into the mix at the NHL level.

There’s a pretty decent chance he’ll eclipse the 29 games played last year, especially if the club doesn’t return veteran forwards Dominic Moore and Drew Stafford, both of whom become unrestricted free agents on Saturday.