Brian Burke

Is Brian Burke eyeing another draft day blockbuster?


Yesterday, we spotlighted a pretty interesting interview an Edmonton Oilers blog did with Hockey Hall of Famer Igor Larionov.

Larionov, the agent representing OHL Sarnia draftees Nail Yakupov and Alex Galchenyuk, relayed some intel from Oilers GM Steve Tambellini, who holds the first overall pick in the upcoming draft.

From Oilers Nation:

Tambellini told me: ‘We like [Yakupov]. We want him. But we’re going to make a decision the day before the draft’. I also know the Habs want to get one of my guys – either Nail or Alex.

So do the Leafs. It is possible that the Leafs are going to trade their draft pick and get both of them. There is a possibility like that.

Nail and Alex went to New Jersey for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals. After this they met Leafs GM Brian Burke.

The idea of Burke going after Yakupov and Galchenyuk will raise eyebrows. This is the same Burke, after all, that “hijacked” the 1999 draft to get both Daniel and Henrik Sedin into Canucks uniforms.

That deal is widely considered to be one of his savviest moves — if not the savviest — as a general manager.

Here’s the blow-by-blow from Sportsnet’s Mark Spector:

On the Sunday before the draft, [then-Chicago GM Bob] Murray and Burke finally reached an agreement: Vancouver would send defenceman Bryan McCabe and a first rounder in 2000 for the No. 4 selection in ’99. But Burke wouldn’t register that deal until draft day, so as not to tip off the other GMs on his plan to hijack the 1999 draft.

He then flipped that No. 4 pick and a pair of third-rounders for Tampa’s No. 1 overall pick and then – with the 1st and 3rd overall picks now in hand – Burke convinced Atlanta GM Don Waddell to accept the first overall selection for Vancouver’s No. 2, with Atlanta giving up a conditional third-rounder with the promise to lay off either of the Sedins.

The result? Atlanta took Patrick Stefan first overall, Burke took the Sedins at No. 2 and 3.

Thirteen years later, Burke comes into the 2012 draft in an eerily similar situation. He’s got the fifth overall pick rather than third, but is looking at a pair of talented teens (both Yakupov and Galchenyuk are 18) that are teammates and have an established chemistry playing together — a package deal, if you will.

That Tambellini said he’s going to wait until the day before the draft could suggest he’s waiting for a potential deal to come along. One interesting thing to note is that, while Burke had longed for the Sedins well before the ’99 Draft, the McCabe trade only occurred six days in advance.

NHL on NBCSN ’15-16 coverage begins tonight with doubleheader

Corey Crawford, Derek Stepan
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After months of waiting, we’re finally ready to begin the 2015-16 campaign and NBCSN will kick off its coverage with a doubleheader tonight.

The action will begin with the Chicago Blackhawks hosting the New York Rangers, starting at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Chicago has been called a dynasty by some for winning the Stanley Cup three times over the last six campaigns, but one thing that the Blackhawks haven’t done is successfully defend a title. The last team to do so was the Detroit Red Wings in 1997-98 before the salary cap era kicked off. That change was on display this summer as the Blackhawks were forced to move or otherwise walk away from Johnny Oduya, Kris Versteeg, Patrick Sharp, Antoine Vermette, Brad Richards, and Brandon Saad in the name of cap compliance.

Even after losing all those pieces of their 2015 championship team though, Chicago has emerged from the summer with much of its core intact. It also has some promising new players, such as 23-year-old KHL star Artemi Panarin, who is attempting to make the leap to the NHL after outscoring former teammate Ilya Kovalchuk on his way to leading SKA St. Petersburg to a KHL championship.

The New York Rangers should be a great first test for the Blackhawks as they begin their new quest. The Rangers advanced to at least the Eastern Conference Final in three of the last four years, but they haven’t earned a championship since 1994. With Henrik Lundqvist set to celebrate his 34th birthday in March, the Rangers’ window for winning the Cup in front of their all-star goaltender is closing and thus the stakes are high for New York this season.

Starting at 10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN will air the San Jose Sharks’ contest against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center. This is the second straight year that these two teams have been matched for the opener, but this time it’s under much different circumstances.

A year ago, Los Angeles had its sights set on defending its title while the Sharks were seeking revenge after suffering a reverse sweep in the first round against the Kings. In the end, neither team had the season they were looking for as they both fell short of the playoffs.

For the Sharks, that miss ended a playoff streak that dated back to the 2003-04 campaign while Los Angeles suffered its first major setback since it celebrated its first championship in 2012. Both teams have to be hungry to bounce right back this season and given that each both of these squads are certainly capable of obtaining that goal. First though, they need to settle the latest chapter of their rivalry.

PHT Morning Skate: Remembering 10 years of Crosby, Ovechkin

Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin
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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Here’s a detailed look back at Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin‘s first 10 years in the NHL. (

Speaking of Crosby, he’s signed a multiyear partnership with adidas. (Newswire)

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will play a key role in easing Connor McDavid into the NHL. (Edmonton Sun)

After two polar opposite seasons, the jury is still out on Patrick Roy as a head coach. (Denver Post)

Marc-Andre Fleury enjoys pulling off pranks on his teammates. “I play better when I’m looser, laughing and having fun,” he said. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

Art McDonald, a Canadian who won recently won a Nobel Prize, talked to the committee members about the Toronto Maple Leafs. (SB Nation)