NHL releases its rule book changes, we try to translate them to English

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for nhlreferees.jpgThe NHL released alterations to the league’s rule book this weekend and a lot of it reads like, well, legal speak. (Click here to see a detailed list of all the changes.)

That being said, I thought I’d point out some of the most interesting changes, even if we covered many of them throughout the summer. It’s a nice snapshot of the changes that were made by a league that experienced a mostly successful 2009-10 season but has plenty of room to improve. Now, to the bullet points.

  • The rule book reflects the many subtle changes being made to goalie equipment. We were all over this subject earlier this summer, but those tweaks will give you a good idea of the amount of differences. Even if you probably won’t be able to make much of an eye-ball distinction.
  • Want confirmation that hits to the head will be given additional emphasis? There will even be a special signal for the penalty, as described in the new rule book: “Patting flat (open palm) of the non-whistle hand on this side of the head.”
  • An interesting change to what a video goal judge can call a goal. Here’s the explanation, with the intriguing new addition in bold face.

The video review process shall be permitted to assist the referees in determining the legitimacy of all potential goals (e.g. to ensure they are “good hockey goals”). For example (but not limited to), pucks that enter the net by going through the net meshing, pucks that enter the net from underneath the net frame, pucks that enter the net undetected by the referee, etc.

Interesting stuff. I assume that this doesn’t kill the “intent to blow” rule altogether, but it sounds like it gives video judges a little more flexibility. Or it just changes the language of the rule.

  • I haven’t heard of this new rule yet: when a team bats in a goal illegally (for example, scoring with a high stick), the faceoff will take place in the neutral zone instead of the defending team’s zone. This actually seems more fair since you cannot be sure the alternate universe legal version of the play would have resulted in a faceoff in that zone.
  • There are also some changes to the legal sizes of sticks and a few tweaks to protect goalies, but I’ll spare you the details because they’re super specific (and kind of boring).

So that is the Cliff’s Notes version of the rule book changes. Click here if you want more details or want to read the full list. Don’t worry, I won’t judge you for matching my dorkiness.

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    2018 NHL Draft Tracker

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    Friday features the first 31 selections of the 2018 NHL Draft, with the rest rolling out on Saturday. Take a look at each pick, along with some trades and other notes.

    [Before the selections started rolling in, the Capitals sent Brooks Orpik and Philipp Grubauer to the Avalanche for the 47th pick.]

    Round 1

    1. Buffalo Sabres – Rasmus Dahlin, Defenseman, Frolunda (Sweden)

    “He is a terrific skater and stick handler who can rush the puck, or join the attack in a hurry. Impressive agility makes him a good one-on-one defender. He has fine passing ability, and although not a big-time bomber, he has an accurate shot from the point.” – Elite Prospects.

    Dahlin is the most hyped defensive prospect in years, if not decades. Some say we haven’t seen this kind of excitement for a defenseman since Denis Potvin. Yeah.

    2. Carolina Hurricanes – Andrei Svechnikov, Winger, Barrie (OHL)

    “Svechnikov has size, speed and skill. He can play a power game or a finesse game, make plays or score goals any way they can be scored – off the rush, one timers from far out, getting his nose dirty in front of the net or off the cycle.” – Bob McKenzie, TSN.

    3. Montreal Canadiens – Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Center, Assat (Finland)

    “A smart forward with a dangerous shot, Kotkaniemi possesses a high hockey IQ and determination with the skills to back it up. Positions himself well and often seems to be a step ahead of plays.” -Matias Strozyk, Elite Prospects.

    4. Ottawa Senators – Brady TkachukW, Boston University (NCAA)

    “Tkachuk is a lot less refined and less polished than the other elite picks but the big raw-boned winger plays a hard driving, aggravating power and agitation game.” McKenzie, TSN.

    5. Arizona Coyotes – Barrett Hayton, C, S.S. Marie (OHL)

    “Very smart two-way centre who contributes in all areas of the game and has potential to be a very key player.” TSN.

    6. Detroit Red Wings – Filip ZadinaW, Halifax (QMJHL)

    “Filip Zadina is a dynamic offensive forward that plays a complete game. A deft and agile skater, he exhibits explosive mobility both up and down the ice. In all three zones, he proactively looks to create problems for the opposition.” – Curtis Joe, Elite Prospects.

    7. Vancouver Canucks – Quinn Hughes, D, Michigan (NCAA)

    “He plays a go-go-go offensive game, at times more like a rover than a defenceman. He’s fearless, not afraid to make high risk, high reward but also high danger plays.” TSN.

    8. Chicago Blackhawks – Adam BoqvistD (Sweden)

    “A dynamic offensive defenceman that can carry plays with the puck on his stick. A highly mobile and nimble skater that moves with fluidity, balance, and confidence. Utilizes an active stick and creates turnovers frequently. Could be more proactive in his own end …” Curtis Joe, Elite Prospects.

    9. New York Rangers –  Vitali Kravtsov, W, Chelyabinsk (KHL)

    “A big, skilled winger that can play up and down the lineup and provide scoring in a number of roles. He brings grit and physical size, but could be more assertive in throwing his weight around more.” Elite Prospects.

    10. Edmonton Oilers – Evan BouchardD, London (OHL)

    “A highly intelligent all-around defenceman that plays with poise and can shift the pace of play in a multitude of ways. Showcases smooth four-way skating ability and loves to get involved in all situations – especially when that situation happens to be an up-ice rush.” – Curtis Joe, Elite Prospects.

    11. New York Islanders
    12. New York Islanders (from Flames)
    13. Dallas Stars
    14. Philadelphia Flyers (from Blues)
    15. Florida Panthers
    16. Colorado Avalanche
    17. New Jersey Devils
    18. Columbus Blue Jackets
    19. Philadelphia Flyers
    20. Los Angeles Kings
    21. San Jose Sharks
    22. Ottawa Senators (from Penguins)
    23. Anaheim Ducks
    24. Minnesota Wild
    25. Toronto Maple Leafs
    26. New York Rangers (from Bruins)
    27. Chicago Blackhawks (from Predators)
    28. New York Rangers (from Lightning)
    29. St. Louis Blues (from Jets)
    30. Detroit Red Wings (from Golden Knights)
    31. Washington Capitals

     

    MORE:
    • Rasmus Dahlin addition can be a franchise changer for Sabres
    • NHL draft action likely to begin with Montreal at No. 3
    • Noah Dobson and his unique road to the 2018 NHL Draft

    Sabres pick Dahlin first, Hurricanes get Svechnikov second in NHL Draft

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    No one reasonably expected the Buffalo Sabres to pass on Rasmus Dahlin for the first pick of the 2018 NHL Draft. The Carolina Hurricanes selecting Andrei Svechnikov second overall was very predictable, too, although some wondered if new management might set the stage for a swerve.

    Nope.

    The top two teams went with slam-dunk choices, so now the best defenseman (Dahlin) and best forward (Svechnikov) are off the board.

    A generational defenseman?

    Dahlin stands as the first Swedish player to be selected first overall since Mats Sundin. He’s the most hyped defensive prospect since at least Victor Hedman, while some argue that we haven’t seen this level of excitement for a blueliner since Denis Potvin. Yes, he’s a big deal.

    The Sabres might have more big moves coming soon. There are some rumbling about Ryan O'Reilly being traded, while they opted not to qualify RFA goalie Robin Lehner.

    Adding Dahlin to the mix – he’s likely to make an immediate jump into the NHL, and instantly become one of the best Buffallo blueliners – makes everything run more smoothly.

    What the Hurricanes needed

    For all the justifiable worries about Carolina’s goaltending, the Hurricanes struggled to score goals in 2017-18.

    It’s unclear where exactly Svechnikov will fit into the lineup next season, but he’ll probably provide an upgrade right away. Barring surprises, the Russian winger should slide in somewhere in the team’s top three forward lines.

    The floor is pretty high for Svechnikov. Ultimately, the biggest question is: “How high is his ceiling?”

    More to come on both players …

    Avalanche acquire Grubauer, Orpik as Capitals open cap space for Carlson

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    The Colorado Avalanche kicked the 2018 NHL Draft off by making the first move of the weekend in acquiring Brooks Orpik and Philipp Grubauer from the Washington Capitals. The Stanley Cup champions received the 47th overall pick  in exchange.

    “We would like to thank Brooks and Philipp for all of their contributions to our organization,” said Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan. “Philipp has been a consummate professional and a great teammate and we wish him all the best. Brooks was a great leader and a tremendous role model for our young players in his four years with our organization. This was a difficult move, but the one we felt we needed to make in order to give some flexibility moving forward.”

    The move is an eye to the future for the Avalanche. Starting goalie Semyon Varlamov only has one year remaining on his contract and Grubauer, who is set to become a restricted free agent on July 1, has been tabbed a future No. 1 in the NHL. He certainly had interest around the league with teams like the New York Islanders, Ottawa Senators and Buffalo Sabres in the market for a goalie.

    As for the Capitals, including Orpik and his $5.5 million cap hit in the trade is a huge move toward attempting to re-sign defenseman John Carlson, who will earn a long-term, very rich contract from someone this summer. According to Cap Friendly, Washington now has a little over $21 million in cap space heading into July 1. Plenty of space to bring back Carlson and maybe even Michal Kempny.

    The 37-year-old Orpik only has one year left on his deal and becomes one of two Avalanche defenseman over the age of 30. That is, if he remains in Colorado. According to Pierre LeBrun, GM Joe Sakic is looking to flip Orpik and if he can’t do that, a buyout will likely happen.

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    Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

    WATCH LIVE: 2018 NHL Draft

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    NBCSN will televise the 2018 NHL Draft on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. ET from American Airlines Arena in Dallas.

    The 2018 NHL Draft is headlined by Sweden’s Rasmus Dahlin, a 6-foot-3 defenseman who tallied seven goals and 13 assists with Frölunda HC of the Swedish Hockey League in 2017-18. Dahlin, who is widely considered as the top prospect in the draft, can become just the sixth defenseman taken first overall since 1994.

    [CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE LIVE STREAM — 7:30 P.M. ET]

    A trio of forwards – Andrei Svechnikov (Russia) of the Barrie Colts (Ontario Hockey League), Brady Tkachuk (United States) of Boston University (Hockey East), and Filip Zadina (Czech Republic) of the Halifax Mooseheads (Quebec Major Junior Hockey League) – are also expected to be early first-round selections. Svechnikov scored 40 goals in 44 games for the Colts in 2017-18, Tkachuk led Boston University with 23 assists and finished fourth on the team in scoring, and Zadina totaled 44 goals and 38 assists for the Mooseheads. Three Americans, including Tkachuk, Quinn Hughes (University of Michigan) and Oliver Wahlstrom(U.S. National Under-18 Team), are projected to be picked early in the first round.

    The New York Rangers lead all teams with three selections in the first round (9th, 26th, and 28th), and Original Six teams have a combined nine first-round picks this year.

    Liam McHugh and Kathryn Tappen will host coverage alongside Emmy Award-winning analyst Pierre McGuire and NHL Insiders Bob McKenzie, Craig Button and Darren Dreger. Coverage will include a pre-game feature on the friendship formed between Tkachuk and Hughes, and a segment on Wahlstrom, who became famous at the age of nine for a trick shot he performed before a Bruins game at TD Garden.

    Round 1 order of selections
    1. Buffalo Sabres
    2. Carolina Hurricanes
    3. Montreal Canadiens
    4. Ottawa Senators
    5. Arizona Coyotes
    6. Detroit Red Wings
    7. Vancouver Canucks
    8. Chicago Blackhawks
    9. New York Rangers
    10. Edmonton Oilers
    11. New York Islanders
    12. New York Islanders (from Flames)
    13. Dallas Stars
    14. Philadelphia Flyers (from Blues)
    15. Florida Panthers
    16. Colorado Avalanche
    17. New Jersey Devils
    18. Columbus Blue Jackets
    19. Philadelphia Flyers
    20. Los Angeles Kings
    21. San Jose Sharks
    22. Ottawa Senators (from Penguins)
    23. Anaheim Ducks
    24. Minnesota Wild
    25. Toronto Maple Leafs
    26. New York Rangers (from Bruins)
    27. Chicago Blackhawks (from Predators)
    28. New York Rangers (from Lightning)
    29. St. Louis Blues (from Jets)
    30. Detroit Red Wings (from Golden Knights)
    31. Washington Capitals

    MORE:
    Rasmus Dahlin addition can be a franchise changer for Sabres
    NHL draft action likely to begin with Montreal at No. 3
    Noah Dobson and his unique road to the 2018 NHL Draft