James O'Brien

2015 NHL Draft - Top Prospect Availability

WATCH LIVE: First round of the 2015 NHL Draft

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If the deluge of trades earlier on Friday really rank as “the calm before the storm,” then we’re in for a memorable night.

Either way, the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft will answer plenty of burning questions, even if Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel are virtually assured to go first and second overall. Here are just a smattering of things that will clear up:

  • Who will go third?
  • Are the Bruins going to use the 13th, 14th and 15th picks or do they have more tricks up their sleeves?
  • Could we see the Blackhawks move back into the first round (and move some salary to do so)?
  • Will we see other big swaps? Who might slip down the ranks considering the bevy of talent available?

With salary cap constraints and rumors bubbling up, it should be a fascinating situation to watch, even if teams merely make their picks. You can watch it all transpire on NBCSN and stream it via NBC Sports Live Extra:

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Datsyuk underwent ankle surgery on Friday

Pavel Datsyuk,
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Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland announced that Pavel Datsyuk underwent ankle surgery on Friday.

Bill Roose of the team’s website went into greater detail, revealing that the procedure was intended to repair ruptured tendons in his ankle. The 36-year-old suffered the injury while blocking a shot late in the 2014-15 season, according to Roose.

HNIC’s Elliotte Friedman pegs the recovery window at about four-to-six weeks, so it sounds like the veteran forward should be OK for training camp. Of course, setbacks can happen, and that recovery window is merely an estimate.

(For what it’s worth, the Detroit Free Press discusses the possibility of Datsyuk missing some of the regular season, so we shall see.)

Datsyuk has been a little more injury prone during the past two seasons, as he was limited to 63 regular season contests in 2014-15 and just 45 in 2013-14.

He’s been productive when healthy, although that has become a bigger “if” lately. Heightened injury issues aren’t that huge of a surprise considering Datsyuk’s age and the considerable mileage he’s put on his body.

Perhaps the rehab process may inspire him to get a little extra rest before heading into the 2015-16 campaign?

Trade: Busy Bruins send Lucic to Kings

Milan Lucic
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The Boston Bruins continued a shockingly busy run of trades by sending Milan Lucic to the Los Angeles Kings for the 13th pick of the 2015 NHL Draft, prospect Colin Miller and backup goalie Martin Jones.

Lucic confirmed that he’s been traded to PHT’s Dhiren Mahiban.

With that, the Bruins have traded away Lucic, Dougie Hamilton and Carl Soderberg in what appears to be a bold rebuilding project. Strangely, they’re loading up on draft picks in the teens, as they now hold picks 13-15.

Update: The situation might be more promising for the Kings if LA Kings Insider’s Jon Rosen is correct about Boston retaining $2.75 million of Lucic’s salary in 2015-16:

Lucic has already reacted to the news:

Lucic, 27, has one year remaining on a deal that carries a $6 million cap hit. According to ESPN’s Joe McDonald, Boston retained $2.7 million of that in the transaction. Lucic can become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

The jokes are piling in, although some aren’t at Boston’s expense this time around:

Like many Bruins fans, Marc Savard just seems sad about today:

And the Bruins may not be done dealing yet:

Awkward timing? Bruins reportedly sign McQuaid for four years, $11M

Adam McQuaid
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The Boston Bruins continued their busy (and baffling) roll-up to the 2015 NHL Draft by signing defenseman Adam McQuaid to a four-year, $11 million extension, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

On its face, the deal – which carries a cap hit of $2.75 million per year – is probably harmless enough, yet the timing makes it pretty awkward. Doing so not that long after trading away Dougie Hamilton – a player some view as a franchise defenseman in the making – only welcomes jokes.

Especially if this bit about Hamilton’s asking price is true:

Indeed, the signing of McQuaid really brought out bonus snark about the Hamilton swap:

Maybe the best bit of bile came from Bruins blog Stanley Cup of Chowder, which provided this headline: “Adam McQuaid signed. Don Sweeney hates you and wants you to be unhappy.”

Ouch.

Trade: Flames land Dougie Hamilton for package of picks

Dougie Hamilton
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It’s official: the Calgary Flames have acquired defenseman Dougie Hamilton, sending the Boston Bruins these three draft picks (all in 2015):

  • 15th overall selection.
  • 45th pick.
  • 52nd pick.

The early reactions are that the Bruins didn’t get enough for Hamilton, even if their takeaway is a combination of draft choices and, essentially, cap relief.

As an RFA, Hamilton, 22, still needs a contract. That might not be much of an issue, though.

Even if the Flames trade a blueliner from their bloated mix – perhaps former Bruins defenseman Dennis Wideman? – this is a stacked group. Calgary’s defense now includes Mark Giordano, TJ Brodie, Kris Russell, Wideman and now Hamilton. Few, if any, teams can approach that sort of depth.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie makes an interesting point: even if some are upset with the return, it might be more appropriate to compare it to what they’d have received in an offer-sheet situation.

This continues a run of Bruins trades that also included shipping Carl Soderberg to the Colorado Avalanche.