Ottawa inks noted draft bust Hugh Jessiman

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The Ottawa Senators have agreed on a one-year, two-way deal with 28-year-old journeyman Hugh Jessiman.

Jessiman — a 6-foot-6, 231-pound forward nicknamed “Huge Specimen” (get it?) — split last season between the American Hockey League’s Lake Erie Monsters and the Abbotsford Heat, recording 27 goals and 17 assists for 44 points in 67 games.

He’s appeared in two NHL contests, both with Florida.

Wondering why PHT is profiling the two-way contract of a career minor-leaguer? Well, it’s because Jessiman is not your typical career minor-leaguer.

He was taken 12th overall at the 2003 NHL Entry Draft — a draft widely regarded as one of the best in league history.

Here’s what I wrote about the ’03 draft back in December, updated to reflect this year’s Cup finals:

The first round was loaded with stars. It boasts Stanley Cup winners (Marc-Andre Fleury, Eric Staal, Nathan Horton, Brent Seabrook, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, Dustin Brown), guys that lost in the Cup Finals (Zach Parise, Braydon Coburn, Ryan Kesler, Steve Bernier, Jeff Tambellini) and a bunch of good-to-solid players: Thomas Vanek, Brent Burns, Milan Michalek, Ryan Suter, Dion Phaneuf, Andrei Kostitsyn, Brian Boyle and Eric Fehr*.

But what sets the 2003 Draft apart is its depth. Let’s go round by round.

Round 2: Shea Weber, Patrice Bergeron, David Backes, Loui Eriksson, Matt Carle, Corey Crawford, Jimmy Howard, Maxim Lapierre, Kevin Klein, BJ Crombeen.

Round 3: Clarke MacArthur, Dan Carcillo, Ryan O’Byrne, Colin Fraser.

Round 4: Paul Bissonnette, Jan Hejda, Kyle Quincey, Corey Potter, Philippe Dupuis.

Round 5: Lee Stempniak, Brad Richardson.

Round 6: Marc Methot, Mark Flood, Drew Miller, Bruno Gervais.

Round 7 : Joe Pavelski, Kyle Brodziak.

Round 8: Dustin Byfuglien, Tobias Enstrom, Shane O’Brien.

Round 9 (and this is kinda nuts): Matt Moulson, Jaroslav Halak, Brian Elliott, David Jones, Tanner Glass, Chris Porter.

In conclusion, pretty solid draft.

Jessiman was part of the small first-round bust group that included Nik Zherdev (No. 5 overall), Robert Nilsson (15), Marc-Antoine Pouliot (22), Tambellini (27) and Shawn Belle (30).

* — As pointed out in the comments section, Fehr could be considered a bust.

A hand injury will force Alex Steen to miss the rest of training camp

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Here’s some more bad news if you’re a fan of the St. Louis Blues.

On Wednesday morning, the team announced that veteran forward Alex Steen will miss the rest of training camp because of a left hand injury.

The 33-year-old suffered the injury during last night’s 5-3 preseason loss to the Dallas Stars. Steen will be re-evaluated in three weeks time, according to the release sent out by the team.

The veteran forward has been hit hard by injuries throughout his career. He hasn’t played more than 80 games since the 2008-09 season. Last year, he missed only six games, but he’s been out for 43 contests over the last four seasons.

The Blues open the season in Pittsburgh on Oct. 4.

It’s been a rough training camp for the Blues so far, as they’ve already lost forward Zach Sanford (shoulder surgery) for 5-6 months and defenseman Jay Bouwmeester (fractured ankle) is also expected to be re-evaluated in three weeks.

Video: Patrick Marleau scored a beauty in his Leafs debut

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It didn’t take Patrick Marleau long to score a goal for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Yea, it’s the preseason, but it’s still nice to see him adapt to his new surroundings.

Going into Tuesday’s game, the veteran admitted that a new beginning in a new city was exciting, but he didn’t seem stressed by it.

“I wouldn’t say nervous, but definitely some excitement,” Marleau told TSN.ca before the game.

“There’s that energy of something new … you’re not sure how everything’s going to go so you try to stay within yourself.”

He did a pretty good job staying within himself.

With the Leafs trailing 1-0 in the first period of their game against the Ottawa Senators, Marleau entered the Sens zone on the right side and roofed a wrist shot past Mike Condon.

 

“He scored a goal,” Leafs head coach Mike Babcock said, per Sportsnet. “He made a real nice play – he backchecked all the way, he slowed the guy down, he gave our D time, he pushed the pace, he wired it under the bar – I mean Patty was fine.”

Hockey world supports Brian Boyle in his battle against cancer

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On Tuesday, Brian Boyle announced that he had been diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia.

As scary as the news must have been for him to hear, Boyle showed the hockey world that he’s going to have a positive outlook on this situation.

“I feel very fortunate and very blessed,” Boyle said, per NHL.com. “We’ve had a tremendous outpouring of prayers, and if there’s anything I can ask it’s that that continues. That is something that I’ve seen firsthand heal cancers and heal situations that are said to be untreatable. For us, we’re in a good spot. We think we have a good plan of attack here and I’m looking forward to getting on the ice and playing.

Immediately, players, teams and fans began sending him messages of support. It’s incredible to see what the hockey community can do when it comes together.

Boyle has already stated that he plans on being in the Devils lineup on opening night.

Jaromir Jagr’s open to many things, but not retirement or a tryout

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Yes, Jaromir Jagr is 45-years-old. He’ll turn 46 in February.

So, yes, even for a fitness freak like Jagr, it’s likely that he’d probably not be the best fit for a team that plays at a frenetic pace. To get the most out of the living legend, a team would have to provide a nurturing environment. There are also questions about what sort of role he’d accept and how much money he’d settle for.

Even with all of those disclaimers under consideration, it’s maddening that we’re in late September and Jagr continues to put out semi-sarcastic cry for help videos.

So, what’s the latest on Jagr, then?

Well, to some extent, it’s useful to consider the process of elimination.

Sports-Express’ Igor Eronko reports that Jagr is open-minded about the KHL, though the NHL is first choice. Jagr acknowledged that participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics would be a draw in the process.

One thing he isn’t open to: a PTO with an NHL team.

While there’s actually some logic to a tryout – teams might want to see how well he can move/what kind of immediate chemistry Jagr could find – it does seem a little … demeaning to a first-ballot Hall of Famer who, frankly, is still producing solid numbers.

Eronko reports that Jagr said he’s talking to three-to-four teams, while Pierre LeBrun reports that two-to-three NHL teams are speaking with Jagr’s reps in the latest edition of TSN’s Insider Trading.

(Hey, both could be correct if Jagr’s including KHL suitors in his estimate.)

LeBrun also notes the idea Jagr is ruling out, beyond a PTO: retirement.

Jagr doesn’t want to hang up his skates, even if it means not playing in the NHL, which would bum out a slew of hockey fans (raises hand).

Naturally, there are creative “have your cake and eat it too” scenarios. Perhaps Jagr could sign a KHL contract with an NHL out clause of some kind, playing in the 2018 Winter Olympics, and then ink a deal with a contender who a) he wants to play for and b) is now convinced he still “has it?”

There are plenty of possibilities, and many of them are fun to think about.

Jagr needing to try out for a team – or worse, retire – is not so fun to think about.