Pending unrestricted free agent Devan Dubnyk had a “good conversation” with Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher on Tuesday, but he told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that little has changed.
And, actually, that’s probably not such a bad thing.
“We’re going through the process,” Dubnyk said. “We’re in the same spot where we were. Both sides want to make it happen. We’re going to work to try to get something done that both sides are happy with. I feel like we’re going to be able to do that hopefully.”
The Star-Tribune notes that Fletcher is expected to meet with Dubnyk’s agent Mike Liut on either Wednesday or Thursday as many in the hockey world shift from Las Vegas (for the 2015 NHL Awards) to Florida (for the draft). At that time, there might be a change of tone from one or both camps.
Then again, this week isn’t necessarily a do-or-die time, as Dubnyk said (according to NHL.com’s Dan Rosen).
Dubnyk doesn't see Thursday, when he can begin talking to other teams, as deadline to get deal done w/Wild. But he won't close doors either.
If nothing else, it’s clear that Dubnyk appreciates his time in Minnesota, and he might just lean toward returning to the Wild. Of course, this is a span where big changes can happen – sometimes rapidly – so stay tuned.
A gut reaction is that this is a serious nod of approval for assistant GM Kyle Dubas, especially just days after HNIC’s Elliotte Friedman reported that trade calls are going through the young executive:
The Maple Leafs sent out a communiqué last week indicating any team wanting to talk trade should go through assistant GM Kyle Dubas. This led to speculation maybe Dubas would be elevated to the full-time GM position, but that appears premature. Director of player personnel Mark Hunter is responsible for draft selections, so it doesn’t look like Toronto wanted to add another 72-ounce Lone Star steak to his plate. What it does say, though, is Brendan Shanahan really trusts Dubas. That’s big responsibility at this time in the franchise’s existence.
As you can see from that excerpt, Dubas isn’t controlling every facet of roster-building, as Hunter seemingly runs the draft show.
Maybe it really means that, for the time being, the Leafs boast a GM-by-committee approach?
Along with Dubas and Hunter, Shanahan likely holds significant sway (possibly the most). Even so, deep-pocketed new head coach Mike Babcock probably has some serious input into the makeup of the team, too. One can picture any number of ways the Maple Leafs may make decisions, and compartmentalizing them could very well allow people to play to their strengths.
Speaking of spending money and doing things a GM might do, the Maple Leafs made it official that they’ve signed Petter Granberg and Tim Erixon to one-year deals while Zach Hyman received a two-year, two-way contract.
With the #leafs signing Zach Hyman to an entry-level contract, the #FlaPanthers retain the conditional seventh-round pick from that trade.
Much like in 2010, the Chicago Blackhawks are celebrating a triumphant Stanley Cup win. The unfortunate similarity seems to be that, with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane getting raises, key supporting cast members are likely out.
With the salary cap ceiling officially set at $71.4 million, that reality is even setting in for Toews, who shared this sobering comment during media availability heading into the 2015 NHL Awards.
“All of a sudden, it does feel a lot like 2010, where it’s imminent,” Toews said, according to Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times.
In a way, it’s a metaphorical hangover from a Stanley Cup celebration … although Toews & Co. might still be recovering from (and creating new) literal ones.
I asked Jonathan Toews if the Cup party had finally quieted down a bit. "Well, we’re in Vegas. So you do the math on that one." #Blackhawks
As of this moment, General Fanager pegs Chicago’s cap space at about $7.35 million. That figure includes eight forwards, three defensemen and three goalies (Chicago has some breathing room with Scott Darling’s 2015-16 season being two-way). It also doesn’t include free agent concerns, which is certainly relevant with UFAs such as Johnny Oduya and RFAs including standout Brandon Saad.
Indeed, looking at this situation, it’s easy to see parallels from that first Toews-Kane-era Cup win, when the Blackhawks let Antti Niemi go following arbitration while being forced to trade away the likes of Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd.
Those losses hurt as the Blackhawks limped into the 2011 postseason, yet they obviously bounced back.
LeBrun notes that Chicago would be willing to take salary back in potential moves, though only to a certain extent. Getting something done fast would grease the wheels, too:
What is preferable for the Blackhawks, however, is to make the deal happen before the draft, in a perfect world. That way they could recoup a draft pick, which is key given what they gave up from this year’s draft for Antoine Vermette (a first-round pick, 30th overall) and Kimmo Timonen (second-round pick, 61st overall). Mind you, the Blackhawks do have the 54th-overall selection, a compensatory pick for not signing 2010 pick Kevin Hayes.
In other words, it’s wise for Toews to realize that times are changing … because some big moves could be coming as soon as this week.
Like we’ve done in the past, we’re profiling top prospects who may hear their names called Friday in the first round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. But this year, something new — we’re featuring special guest analysis from former Minnesota Wild scout Mark Seidel, who currently serves as the president of North American Central Scouting.
Evgeny Svechnikov (C/LW)
Height: 6’2 Weight: 199 Shoots: Left
Team: Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (QMJHL)
NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 17 among North American Skaters
What kind of player is he?
Evgeny Svechnikov spent the season in North America for the explicit reason of proving that he can adapt enough to become an NHL player.
There’s a lot to like about the young forward’s game, as he combines above-average size with a dangerous shot, solid skating ability and serious offensive instincts.
All of that showed in a nice season in the QMJHL, as he was second on the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (great name) with 32 goals and 78 points in 55 games. The 18-year-old also managed seven points in as many QMJHL playoff games and is seasoned in international play to boot.
Svechnikov’s final Central Scouting grade rose to 17th among North American skaters after a midterm mark of 21, so it seems like he’s climbing in the eyes of many.
“Svechnikov may give some teams pause because of his Russian citizenship, but his upside should convince them he’s worth the risk. We’ve always thought he’d be more useful playing center and, halfway through Cape Breton’s 2014-15 season, that change was made — with phenomenal results. Svechnikov creates offense with his soft hands, size and strength and when his team doesn’t have the puck, he’s shown a commitment to making sure it stays out of his net. He had an excellent year with the Screaming Eagles and always maintained he came to North America to get ready for the NHL. That should make the team that selects him quite happy as big, offensive centers with an ability to defend are hard to find.”