Tag: 2009 NHL Draft

Kyle Palmieri

If Teemu Selanne retires, can 2009 first round pick Kyle Palmieri help the Ducks offense?

One thing that Ducks fans and the team itself is hoping won’t happen this September is the retirement of Teemu Selanne. While Selanne is going to make a decision in September one way or the other to play this season, the Ducks will find themselves in a tough position with their depth scoring abilities. While they’ve got one of the best first lines in the NHL with MVP Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, and Bobby Ryan the rest of the team will be hurting without Selanne.

One guy that could get a big shot in training camp if Selanne decides to hang it up is 2009 first round pick Kyle Palmieri. Palmieri got a brief look at what he could do in the NHL last season playing in 10 games for the Ducks and scoring just one goal. In the AHL with the Syracuse Crunch, however, Palmieri did very well in his first professional season. In 62 games with the Crunch, Palmieri had 29 goals and 22 assists and being another year older and a little wiser could give him the edge the former Team USA WJC champion would need to have success in the NHL.

NHL.com’s Lindsay Kramer reports that Palmieri will be gunning for a spot in Anaheim no matter what when training camp starts next month. Those that saw him closely in the AHL last season speak highly of him.

“There’s an opening for a right-handed forward up there,” Syracuse assistant general manager Bob Ferguson said in describing Palmieri. “I don’t think there’s any question he will play in the NHL someday and be a key member of Anaheim.”

Ferguson also adds that last season was a big change from what Palmieri was used to before the pros.

“For what he went through last season for a 19-year-old, you could easily say it would be overwhelming,” Ferguson said. “He experienced last year, in one season, things that some guys don’t experience in their entire career. I think what really happened was reality set in for him about being a pro hockey player. The last six weeks of the season, he was allowed to settle down more mentally than physically.”

Asking Palmieri to jump right into a major role in the NHL after just one season in professional hockey would be asking a lot, and for a kid (he’s just 20 years-old still) to become a second line right winger for a team that finished fourth in the Western Conference last season, that’s setting the bar a bit too high. That said, if Selanne doesn’t play this year the Ducks will have a lot of competition from within to fill that spot on the second line and they might have to wade through what’s left over in the free agent pool to make things work.

One thing’s for sure, if Selanne hangs it up the Ducks are in trouble having to replace his 80 points from last season and they’ll need their top line to play even better and get a lot of surprise support from elsewhere. Here’s to hoping Ducks GM Bob Murray is prepared.

Flames fail to sign 2009 first round pick Tim Erixon, deal him to Rangers

Tim Erixon, Darryl Sutter

It’s safe to say that Flames GM Jay Feaster isn’t endearing himself to many Flames fans today. Calgary has been attempting to negotiate an entry level contract with 2009 first round pick Tim Erixon since he was picked in June 2009. The Flames had to get a deal done and signed with Erixon by 5 p.m. ET today or else Erixon would’ve been able to re-enter this year’s NHL Draft.

With Feaster unable to work out a deal and looking to get more than the one second round pick compensation the Flames would have received had Erixon re-entered the draft, Erixon was traded to the New York Rangers along with a fifth round pick in exchange for prospect Roman Horak and two second round picks.

Erixon was rated as Calgary’s top prospect by Hockey’s Future and as a defenseman at 6’2″ 190 he’s a physical kid with the ability to move the puck as well. He’s got NHL roots as his father is former New York Rangers forward Jan Erixon. For the Rangers it works out to be a potential steal yet again on defense for an organization already loaded up with good prospect depth on the blue line.

They were able to get former Montreal first round pick Ryan McDonagh from Montreal in the Scott Gomez deal and now with Erixon in the fold the Rangers new plan of building with talented youth gets even better. At 20 years-old there’s the chance that Erixon starts next year with the Rangers out of training camp. That possibility and high ceiling for him is a good reason why Flames fans are furious about this severe lack of ability to get what should’ve been a basic deal done. In this situation the Flames’ poor salary cap management might be to blame.

With the possibility of bonuses factored in and the likely wont by Erixon to be a part of the big club right away, his deal would’ve been pricey for the Flames to add. According to CapGeek the Flames are alreaday at $55 million against the cap for next season. A deal with Erixon would’ve added anywhere from $2 to $3 million per year on his entry level contract. Even with the cap supposedly slated to go up next season, the Flames would’ve been left with little cap space and the need to get a few more players signed. It’s not a good position to be in but for Feaster if the choice broke down to deciding to sign a top prospect or continuing to  manage toxic assets and he chose the latter, that’s pretty inexcusable especially for an organization severely lacking top end prospect depth.

If Erixon pans out at all this is a runaway victory of a deal for the Rangers. The best the Flames can hope for is that they find some great picks in the second round of the draft and that Horak becomes a NHL starter. We know he was under the gun to get a deal done with the deadline being today, but this shapes up to be a very poor deal on paper for Calgary and one that will send Flames fans into a frustrated tizzy over.

Blackhawks sign 2009 first round pick Dylan Olsen

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College hockey apparently isn’t immune to defections during the season as it seems. After an off-season that saw numerous NCAA hockey players leave college early to sign entry-level deals with the NHL teams that drafted them, college hockey takes another blow to their ego. University of Minnesota-Duluth star Dylan Olsen is giving up college halfway into the season to sign his three-year entry-level deal with the Chicago Blackhawks.

This season for UMD, Olsen has been a stud. The 6’2″ 206-pound defenseman had one goal and 12 assists this season for the Bulldogs and is a member of Team Canada’s World Junior Championships squad. Olsen is 20 years-old and rather than end up playing in Canadian juniors, he’ll head to Rockford in the AHL to join fellow college defectors Nick Leddy and Brandon Pirri. Chicago’s done as much to hurt college hockey in the past year as any team in recent memory signing away three premiere players at the NCAA level.

Chicago’s severe lack of depth in the AHL was apparent before the season began and they had to fill ranks somehow. Doing it with top draft picks isn’t a big surprise, but doing so so soon after drafting them is a different and dangerous thing as far as college hockey is concerned. For the Blackhawks though, adding another highly talented young defenseman to their depth right now is a big deal. With Olsen and Leddy now waiting in the wings, the days of Jordan Hendry and Nick Boynton holding down top six jobs on the blue line are in jeopardy down the line.