USA captain Seth Jones pose celebrates w

Report: Avs reject Flames’ bold bid for 2013’s top pick


The Calgary Flames finally admitted that they’re in rebuild mode on Friday. Apparently they viewed Step 1 as “draft Seth Jones at all costs.”*

The CBC’s Elliotte Friedman reports that Calgary offered its three first-round draft picks to Colorado for the Avalanche’s No. 1 overall choice in the 2013 NHL Draft. (H/T to Lyle Richardson)

Instead, this is how things stand:

Colorado keeps the No. 1 pick in the draft.

Calgary retains its own first-rounder (No. 6 overall), the St. Louis Blues’ first-rounder thanks to the Jay Bouwmeester trade (No. 22 overall) and the Pittsburgh Penguins’ selection via the Jarome Iginla deal (No. 28 overall).

Both franchises suffered through turbulent 2013 seasons, which might explain the thought processes (though the context might make the situation worse if you disagree with one or even both of the general managers).

The Avalanche might just want to keep it simple and grab the guy they view as the best player in the draft, especially with serious front office turnover and all the bad memories of Ryan O’Reilly’s contract negotiations.

Meanwhile, Flames GM Jay Feaster might be feeling the heat to make a splashy move considering the organization’s reluctance to acknowledge a rebuilding phase and today’s news about flirtations with Brendan Shanahan.

It’s not quite the New York Islanders essentially offering their 2012 draft crop to move up and take the Columbus Blue Jackets’ second pick, but fans of the two teams might play the “what if?” game with this rejected offer for years to come.

* – Or Nathan MacKinnon, if that’s who they really wanted.

Here’s hoping 3-on-3 doesn’t degenerate into a boring ‘game of keep-away’?

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Are coaches going to ruin 3-on-3 overtime?

It’s been the one, big worry since the NHL decided to change from 4-on-4 to 3-on-3 as a way to reduce the number of shootouts.

Via TSN’s Bob McKenzie, here’s a quote from an anonymous coach (talking about 3-on-3 strategy) that won’t exactly quell that worry:

“Really, it’s a game of keep-away, that’s what it is and the longer you can keep it away from the other team, the more likely they’ll break down. So I say let’s slow it down and hold onto that puck for as long as we can.”

Now take that a step further and imagine there’s a team that’s really good at shootouts. If you were coaching that team, might you tell your players to rag the puck for as long as possible to try and get to the skills competition?

Granted, five minutes is a long time to rag the puck. Not sure any team could play “keep-away” that long. Plus, there will always be teams that aren’t very good at the shootout; theoretically, those teams should be more willing to take their chances in 3-on-3.

But just remember that more time and space doesn’t always lead to more goals. Look at international hockey, which is played on a bigger ice surface. Canada won gold in Sochi by beating Latvia, 2-1, the United States, 1-0, and Sweden, 3-0. It was hardly firewagon hockey.

While nobody’s quite ready to suggest that 3-on-3 will actually lead to more shootouts, it will be interesting to see how things evolve, and if there are any unintended consequences.

“I don’t know if anyone’s figured it out completely yet,” Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said Saturday after losing in 3-on-3 overtime to Vancouver.

“The big thing is, you want to control the puck as much as you can. It’s 3-on-3, so there’s lots of room and space out there. You don’t need to give it away. I think it’s smart to just wait, take your time, and wait for a good opportunity.”

Oilers go captain-less, name four alternates instead

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Edmonton’s made a fairly significant shift in its leadership group.

The big news is the Oilers won’t have a captain this season, as Andrew Ference will relinquish the “C” he’s worn for the last two years.

Ference will, however, remain part of the group and wear an “A” as part of a four-man alternate captain collective, one that also includes Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall.

The news of Ference being removed as captain doesn’t come as a huge surprise. The veteran d-man is a well-respected leader, but isn’t expected to be in the lineup every night this season.

The decision to go without a captain, though, is something of a surprise, especially given what new head coach Todd McLellan endured during his final season in San Jose.

The Sharks’ captaincy issue — stripping Joe Thornton, then going with four rotating alternates — was an ongoing problem, something that players, coaches and GM Doug Wilson had to repeatedly address until it blew up in spectacular fashion.

That said, the circumstances in Edmonton are quite different.

It’s believed the club’s intentionally keeping the captaincy vacant, on the assumption that Connor McDavid will evolve into a superstar and, subsequently, the club’s unquestioned leader.

Finally, McLellan noted that with Eberle currently sidelined, a fifth Oiler would be added to the leadership group — veteran forward Matt Hendricks, who will serve as a temporary alternate.