It didn’t take long to get a surprise pick in this year’s first-round.
Florida stunned fans by taking Finnish forward Aleksander Barkov second overall. Barkov was believed to be the fourth-best player in this year’s draft, but also thought to be a guy capable of jumping to the NHL right now. He was the No. 1 rated European prospect by NHL Central Scouting.
“We are thrilled to have selected Aleksander with our first pick in the Draft,” said Panthers Executive VP and GM Dale Tallon. “He is an extremely talented player that fits all the qualities that we look for in size, skill and character. We look forward to seeing him in Florida in the near future.”
Many suspected Florida would grab defenseman Seth Jones after Colorado selected Nathan MacKinnon first overall, but they opted for the strong centerman with Russian bloodlines. If Jones turns into a superstar, expect GM Dale Tallon to take heat for passing.
The Penguins have found a way into the second-round of the draft.
Pittsburgh has dealt forward Tyler Kennedy to the San Jose Sharks for their second-round pick in this year’s draft. Kennedy heads to the Sharks as a restricted free agent in need of a new contract. He’s coming off a two-year contract that paid him $2 million per year.
The Penguins headed into this year’s draft without a first or second-round pick. Now they’ve got the 50th overall selection today.
For what it’s worth, Sharks GM Doug Wilson likes Kennedy’s game.
“Tyler is a highly-competitive forward who plays with speed and has a history of scoring big goals,” said Wilson. “He has played in a lot of playoff games over the last past five seasons, won a Stanley Cup and we think he fits in perfectly with our group and how we want to play the game.”
Kennedy should give the Sharks a bit better depth up front, something they lacked last season.
Jaroslav Halak isn’t the only player the Blues might be looking to move at the draft.
Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the Blues have taken calls on forward David Perron.
A pesky point-scoring winger, Perron fell out of favor with coach Ken Hitchcock before the playoffs as he was demoted to the fourth line in the Blues’ playoff-clinching game. This past season, he had 10 goals and 15 assists while not missing a game. In the playoffs, things got tougher as he had just two assists in St. Louis’ six-game series loss to Los Angeles.
Perron has three years left on his deal with St. Louis with a healthy cap hit of just over $3.8 million per season. With the Blues still needing to sign Alex Pietrangelo to a long-term deal as well as forward Chris Stewart, moving Perron could help them out cap and cash-wise.
The rumors of Sergei Bobrovsky finding his way out of Columbus are apparently unfounded.
Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch reports the Blue Jackets and Bobrovsky have reached a two-year agreement to keep the Vezina Trophy winning goalie in town.
Earlier today, there were rumors of Bobrovsky being shopped around after asking for $6 million per year. Once we have an update on how much his deal is for, we’ll see how close he got to what he reportedly wanted.
NEWARK — Martin Brodeur’s career has seen more than its fair share of highlights and achievements. Him winning the vote to be on the cover for EA Sports’ NHL 14 might now rank as high as winning the Stanley Cup, but he’s proud of what it took for him to earn the honor.
“It makes me feel important to a certain extent. They went to the extreme to try and get me on [the cover]. Especially the hockey fans in general. My organization really helped me out with social media.”
Yeah, the social media aspect. The New Jersey Devils are strict about not having players use Twitter during the season. You’ll be happy to know even a future Hall of Famer like Brodeur had to ask
“I had to ask permission [to use Twitter]. It’s not something we don’t allow in our organization. For that I asked permission and they gladly did.”
Brodeur is the face of the New Jersey Devils and with that the guy who best represents hockey in the state. With questions about the financial future of the team coming up lately, he’s proud of how things are going with the fans in the area.
“I think it’s great,” he says. “From what we experienced here last year with the Cup run and Stanley Cup Final being here to now the draft, I think fans and people who work around the game are starting to appreciate a bit more what we have in New Jersey.”
As for GM Lou Lamoriello’s job this summer to help re-shape the Devils, Brodeur knows the team’s financial questions need to be solved to help take care of business.
“He’s going to be busy, there’s no doubt. We have a lot of guys to sign. I think that ownership is getting back on track and I think that’s probably the thing why we’re stalling on not signing certain guys. Whenever they give us the opportunity we’ll go ahead and get it done.
“I have a lot faith like every year Lou and his people to make us a competitive team.”