Sunday, August 30, 2009

Re-Draft Self-Analysis: Matt Niskanen is Kris Letang's evil twin

Every now and then, I'll provide some self-analysis (particularly when it doesn't give away SUPER TOP SECRET INFORMATION). Now, naturally, I'm talking about my own team so there will be some natural bias. One person's steal is another person's ridiculous bust. So feel free to point out how mediocre Niskanen is/how incorrect this comparison might be in the comments.

When the Pho-icanes picked Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang, it made me a sad panda. No doubt about it, the young offensive defenseman wasn't perfect last season but he handled big minutes about as well as you could expect from a 22-year old D.

In the framework of this draft, Letang brings a lot of nice things to the table. He's a right handed defenseman who can be a capable top-pairing powerplay guy. At this point in his career, he's already hit the 30-point mark and could flirt with 40-plus as he matures on the PP alongside Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. And better yet, he's in a contract year with a cap hit under $1 million.

You don't get much better than that.

But, apparently, you can find a guy who's almost exactly the same. He's Matt Niskanen. Just look at the way the two guys compare according to stats taken from

The similarites are almost unreal.

Again, they both shoot right-handed. They're both 22 years old, in a contract year and constitute less than a $1 million cap hit. Niskanen scored 35 points (or .44 points per game) while Letang scored 33 points (.45 points per game).

But even the seemingly random stats are surpisingly close. They both had 5 multi-point games and about the same amount of "zero point" games. The one area in which there's a significant difference is PP time but that may be explained by the fact that the Penguins dispersed PP time in an extremely lopsided fashion.

On the other hand

There haven't been terribly glowing reviews of Niskanen, particularly when looking at the 2008-09 season.

The tones of both Defending Big D and Mike Heika's profiles on Niskanen seemed more than negative, experessing hope that he'll bounce back from last year. No doubt about it, seeing all of these accounts are a bit discouraging (even for a second pairing D).

Ultimately, the choice came down to Niskanen and Stephane Robidas, a guy known for making the All-Star team after a few injuries and also for getting his nose broken approximately 5 million times.

While Niksanen might have a higher offensive ceiling, Robidas can play the PK and PP at a reasonably high level. He's more experienced and logged some huge minutes last year.

Nonetheless, Niskanen was a nice find.

Here's how the three defensemen were drafted. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

6-12 (162) - Carolina Hurricanes - Kris Letang

8-24 (234) - Toronto Maple Leafs - Matt Niskanen

9-30 (270) - Florida Panthers - Stephane Robidas

Friday, August 28, 2009

That's more like it!

You gonna draft him, brah?

We made a good bit of progress today, knocking out something like 15 picks. Let's keep it up!

In other news, I guess its really up to James, but I'm thinking these draft update posts can pretty much be stretched to one per round, right?

10-10 (#280) - Adrian Aucoin to the New Jersey Devils
Cap hit: 2.250000M

10-11 (#281) - Trevor Daley to the New York Rangers
Cap hit: 2.300000M

10-12 (#282) - Pascal Dupuis to the Carolina Hurricanes
Cap hit: 1.400000M

10-13 (#283) - Fabian Brunnstrom to the Minnesota North Stars
Cap hit: 2.225000M

10-14 (#284) - Dave Bolland to the Los Angeles Kings
Cap hit: 3.375000M

10-15 (#285) - James Wisniewski to the Colorado Avalanche
Cap hit: 2.750000

10-16 (#286) - Jarret Stoll to the Edmonton Oilers
Cap hit: 3.600000M

10-17 (#287) - David Steckel to the Washington Capitals
Cap hit: 0.725000M

10-18 (#288) - Colton Orr to the Pittsburgh Penguins
Cap hit: 1.000000M

10-19 (#289) - Martin Hanzal to the Phoenix Coyotes
Cap hit: 0.980000M

10-20 (#290) - Mike Mottau to the St. Louis Blues
Cap hit: 0.762500M

10-21 (#291) - Patrick O'Sullivan to the Atlanta Thrashers
Cap hit: 2.925000M

10-22 (#292) - Maxim Afinogenov to the Nashville Predators
Cap hit: ?????? (maybe its in rubles!)

10-23 (#293) - Dennis Seidenberg to the Los Angeles Kings
Cap hit: 1.200000M

10-24 (#294) - Andrew Ebbett to the Columbus Blue Jackets
Cap hit: 0.487500M

10-25 (#295) - Denis Grebeshkov to the New York Islanders
Cap hit: 3.150000M

10-26 (#296) - Mike Smith to the Chicago Blackhawks
Cap hit: 2.200000M

10-27 (#297) - Kevin Klein to the Dallas Stars
Cap hit: 0.650000M

10-28 (#298) - Maxime Talbot to the Tampa Bay Lightning
Cap hit: 1.200000

10-29 (#299) - Jonas Gustavsson to the Vancouver Canucks
Cap hit: 2.500000M

10-30 (#300) - David Moss to the Calgary Flames
Cap hit: 1.300000M

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Clare from All Hawks Hockey shares one of her Earliest Hockey Memories

Logo by Gray from Couch Tarts

(At this point, you are probably aware of Clare's work at All Hawks Hockey. She's been a big help during the big unruly League Re-Draft process and a friend of the blog for quite some time. Make sure to follow her as the Blackhawks approach one of their most important seasons in ages.)

Clare: "I love the Sabres so much I would wear my t-shirt when I practiced my violin."

My father works as an usher for the Sabres, has for years and knew one of the guys in the ticket office. He worked in the same section every night, so some nights in an attempt to get me to love hockey close to as much as he did, he called the ticket guy and would see if there was a seat available in his section. Most nights there was because they had 13 seats in one of the rows and 12 of them were held by season ticket holders. Seat nine was never sold.

One night, I was about seven and at the Sabres game, soon to my surprise the seat to my right was filled by someone very familiar.

I believe he was injured or it was the first year that the Sabres had three goalies. He and his then-girlfriend, now wife were sitting in the stands. Let me tell you that the rumor that he talks a lot is actually complete fact. He talked through the whole game, we talked mostly about hockey, I think although I can’t really remember.

When I got home I proudly told my mother:

“I sat next to someone very important today at the game!”

She responded: “Really? Did you?”

In my funny little seven year old voice, I said “I sat next to “Maa-rten Bee-ron” and he thought I was adorable!”

It is one of my earliest hockey memories and has since always made me a Marty Biron fan.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Martin Brodeur should pass the Olympic torch in 2010

When Martin Brodeur passed Patrick Roy for the all-time record in goaltending wins, the NHL Network began running a gushing special feature about Brodeur's illustrious career. One of the special's primary focuses was Roy's refusal to share goaltending starts with Brodeur in '98, a frustrating experience for the then-budding superstar.

Canada fell short of a gold medal that year, but then came back in 2002 to take the top prize with Brodeur in net. Yet, in 2006, Team Canada was unable to even threaten for a medal.

Now, obviously, Brodeur wasn't the #1 problem for a team that couldn't score to save its life.

Still, it makes you wonder if Canada - the only country with enough elite goalies that they will inevitably be forced to leave potential Hall of Famers behind - would benefit more from starting a guy who's never been given the opportunity to win a gold medal.

Besides, Brodeur's unreal workhorse streak is now in danger of becoming a thing of the past after his bicep injury last season. Does he need to risk one of his final prime years for a second gold medal? No, not in my opinion.

If I were Steve Yzerman, I would go with Roberto Luongo. Imagine the kind of backing Bobby Lou would receive, not only representing Canada but also the hometown Vancouver Canucks? It's almost a cosmic occurrence. (Of course, it would be an unreal amount of pressure, but this is what he's always wanted ... right?)

Luongo's gone all these years playing for terrible teams in Long Island and Florida plus a good-but-not-elite club in Vancouver. This could be his chance to cement his legacy as one of the truly great goalies of his generation.

He's younger, in his prime and hungrier than Brodeur.*

Even if Luongo is unavailable, Syrupland would have oh-so-many great options. They could go with the money goaltending of J.S. Giguere. Get a puck mover like Marty Turco. Maybe go with a young phenom such as Steve Mason, Cam Ward or even Marc Andre Fleury. Just about every other nation would kill for guys who won't even be reserves for Canada.

Then again, if the Canadians decide to make the same lazy types of decisions that they made in 2002, that would be absolutely fine with me. My country needs all the help it can get.

* - Go ahead, make a token fat joke. Shame on you.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Picks Update: Glengarry Glencross

[Sorry, Jumbo Joe. Stanley Cup Coffee is for closers.]

9-23 (263) - San Jose Sharks - Curtis Glencross

Cap Hit: $1,200,000

9-24 (264) - Ottawa Senators - Jakub Voracek

Cap Hit: $1,270,833

9-25 (265) - Boston Bruins - Byron "Ritz" Bitz

Cap Hit: $687,500

9-26 (266) - Buffalo Sabres - John Michael Liles

Cap Hit: $4,200,000

9-27 (267) - Anaheim Ducks - Valtteri Filppula

Cap Hit: $3,000,000

9-28 (268) - Montreal Canadiens - Andrew Cogliano

Cap Hit: $1,133,333

9-29 (269) - Detroit Red Wings - Antoine Vermette

Cap Hit: $2,762,500

9-30 (270) - Florida Panthers - Stephane Robidas

Cap Hit: $1,500,000


10-1 (271) - Florida Panthers - Scottie Upshall

Cap Hit: $1,500,000

10-2 (272) - Edmonton Oilers - Jay McKee

Cap Hit: $800,000

10-3 (273) - Montreal Canadiens - Paul Ranger

Cap Hit: $933,333

10-4 (274) - Anaheim Ducks - Jason Williams

Cap Hit: $1,500,000

10-5 (275) - Buffalo Sabres - Eric Brewer

Cap Hit: $4,250,000

10-6 (276) - Boston Bruins - Cory Stillman

Cap Hit: $3,533,333

10-7 (277) - Ottawa Senators - Tim Gleason

Cap Hit: $2,750,000

10-8 (278) - San Jose Sharks - Matt "Hot Carle"

Cap Hit: $3,437,500

10-9 (279) - Toronto Maple Leafs - Bill Guerin

Cap Hit: $2,000,000

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Re-Draft Steals and Regrets: J.S. Giguere

Since the ninth round of the draft devolved into a dispiriting mess, it seems like a good time to roll out some Re-Draft self-analysis. Other GMs are encouraged to share their perspective on their draft choices, too, on their blogs or in this space.

Note: most of these posts won't be as ruthlessly verbose as this one.

Why J.S. Giguere was a steal

His contract is huge at $6 million. With Jonas Hiller stealing his #1 job (at least during the playoffs and to an extent toward the end of last season), it's not a certainty that Giguere will receive the lion share of Anaheim's starts.

No doubt about it, there are some drawbacks to picking up Giguere. That being said, let's look at some of the reasons why we think that he was a big steal.

1. Giguere is awesome in video games

No denying it, Giguere's digi-prowess was a strong consideration. He was rated 89 last year, which puts him in the class of the Ryan Millers of the world. Even though he'll probably see his polygonal stock drop a bit, he should still be a nicely rated goalie.

Hiller stole Giguere's job, but it's unclear if he'll be superior over the long haul.

2. The pickup game question

Ultimately, you have to ask yourself: if I want to win a game and could choose ONE goalie to make it happen, who would it be? Giguere might not come out on top of that list, but he's up there.

You'd probably get responses of Luongo and Brodeur first, but it's reasonable to say that Giguere makes the second tier. He's won a Stanley Cup and carried a drastically understaffed Ducks team to game 7 of the SCF, earning him a rare Conn Smythe in defeat.

How many goalies can say that?

3. Elite Numbers

Watching a bunch of young and/or cheap goalies drop like flies, the original strategy was to simply snatch up quality players and hope for the best when it came to a goalie. Yet, in the third round, people picked apple of my eye types such as Bobby Ryan and Ales Hemsky. As these guys kept going, it occurred to me that Giguere was just sitting there like a Hollywood starlet who only made one bad movie.

Mia Sara: the Giguere of actresses?

It didn't hurt that some of the great hockey analytical minds were placing him high on objective, elite goalie lists.

Giguere ranked #6 in Copper and Blue's best goalies since the Lockout post.

#5 (and #3 among active goalies) in Brodeur is a Fraud's best goalies of the 00's

#6 (and #3 among NHL/active goalies) in Brodeur is a Fraud's Even-Strength Save Percentage Leaders since 1998-99.

To balance that out, though, he didn't even appear in BiaF's Penalty Kill Save Percentage study. Could that be a matter of poor lateral movement or what?

Either way, though, to see Giguere topping many of those lists made me think that he's possibly a top-10 goalie even though 24 goalies went before him.

4. Value

Take a look at when and where the goalies have been taken so far:

1-3 (3) - Tampa Bay Lightning - Henrik Lundquist
1-11 (11) - St. Louis Blues - Roberto Luongo
1-19 (19) - Carolina Hurricanes - Martin Brodeur
1-20 (20) - New York Rangers - Miika Kiprusoff
1-21 (21) - New Jersey Devils - Niklas Backstrom (G)
2-3 (33) - Anaheim Ducks - Tim Thomas
2-4 (34) - Florida Panthers - Steve Mason
2-6 (36) - Boston Bruins - Evgeni Nabokov
2-7 (37) - Ottawa Senators - Cam Ward
2-13 (43) - Minnesota North Stars - Ryan Miller
2-14 (44) - Los Angeles Kings - Marc Andre Fleury
2-19 (49) - Phoenix Coyotes - Chris Mason
2-23 (53) - Detroit Red Wings - Pekka Rinne
2-25 (55) - New York Islanders - Tomas Vokoun
2-26 (56) - Chicago Blackhawks - Jonas Hiller
2-29 (59) - Vancouver Canucks - Jonathan Quick
3-1 (61) - Calgary Flames - Martin Biron
3-4 (64) - Dallas Stars - Scott Clemmensen
3-9 (69) - Nashville Predators - Simeon Varlamov
3-10 (70) - Atlanta Thrashers - Marty Turco
3-13 (73) - Pittsburgh Penguins - Craig Anderson
3-14 (74) - Washington Capitals - Cristobal Huet
3-15 (75) - Columbus Blue Jackets - Nikolai Khabibulin
3-29 (89) - Colorado Avalanche - Carey Price
4-9 (99) - Toronto Maple Leafs - Jean-Sebastian Giguere
6-5 (155) - Buffalo Sabres - Chris Osgood
6-8 (158) - San Jose Sharks - Kari Lehtonen
7-7 (187) - Philadelphia Flyers - Ilya Bryzgalov

Closing Thoughts

Even if Hiller is considered the 1A, the Ducks have every reason to give Giguere starts. He has plenty of trade value and could conceivably start for most of the league's teams.

He might not be the best goalie in the league, but he's certainly comparable (or even better) than early goalie picks like Backstrom, Kipper and Miller and far more seasoned than Price, Anderson, Clemmensen, Quick or Varlamov.

But what are your thoughts? Was Giguere a nice steal or a crazy, expensive gamble?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Picks Update

Muuuueller? Muuuueller?

9-12 (252) - Phoenix Coyotes - Peter Mueller
Cap Hit: $1,700,000

9-13 (253) - Pittsburgh Penguins - Georges Laraque
Cap Hit: $1,500,000

9-14 (254) - Washington Capitals - Tomas Fleischmann
Cap Hit: $725,000

9-15 (255) - Columbus Blue Jackets - Sergei Samsonov
Cap Hit: $2,533,333

9-16 (256) - Detroit Red Wings - Darren Helm
Cap Hit: $599,444

9-17 (257) - Los Angeles Kings - Mike Modano
Cap Hit: $3,450,000

9-18 (258) - Minnesota North Stars - Matt Greene
Cap Hit: $2,950,000

9-19 (259) - Carolina Hurricanes - Rob Scuderi
Cap Hit: $3,400,000

9-20 (260) - New York Rangers - Ville Leino
Cap Hit: $800,000

9-21 (261) - New Jersey Devils - Andrei Kostitsyn
Cap Hit: $3,250,000

9-22 (262) - Philadelphia Flyers - Joni Pitkanen
Cap Hit: $4,000,000

i love you james

you are the man


you rock bro

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A rare foray into fanboyism

Just thought I'd pass along the little questionnaire I did for A View From the Cheap Seats. It's a rare moment in which my Penguins fan roots show loudly and regularly. There's also a joke about foot fetishes and Alex Ovechkin's less-than-stellar back checking tendencies. Enjoy and make sure you read the other questionnaires, even if they're not as awesome. Naturally.

Cycle Like Sedins NHL re-draft - August 19

Me and James have discussed it, and we both agree that at this point, the best thing to do when picks get messed up by the taking of players that have already been taken, is to let the draft keep going. Tools have been provided and updated on a semi-regular basis that should make it easy to follow who has been picked. Beyond that, its not unreasonable to ask that you check the last several picks before your own, if the draft boards or spreadsheets have not been updated yet.

With that in mind, we've decided that the new policy for an invalid pick shall be that the team making the invalid pick will be notified that their pick is invalid, but in the meantime, picks will continue in the order as if the original pick was made correctly. The team who has made the original invalid pick can jump in at any time to make a valid pick, but we're not going to pause the draft to let them fix it, and the players taken in the interrim, between the invalid pick and the corrected pick will not be available to the team that made the invalid pick. Basically, if you follow the NFL, its the same process the NFL uses in the draft when the Minnesota Vikings screw up and don't make their pick on time. Here's an example:

Team A picks player 1
Team B picks player 2
Team C picks player 1 (the invalid pick)
Team D picks player 3
Team E picks player 4
Team C picks player 5 (corrected pick, players 3 and 4 are unavailable, as they've already been taken)

So what can you use to keep from making an invalid pick? You can go to any of these and try using CTRL + F to search for the player's name. It'd be a good idea to check how up to date it is too, to see how far back you might need to check the actual picks thread as well.

The Big Draft Board here on the CLS Message Board

Double Edged Sabres' Draft Board

Alternatively, you can catch Cassie via email and she can shoot you the spreadsheet that she is keeping.

Why are we doing this? Because there is no reason for the draft to be held up when people are given multiple sources of information for tracking players taken through this draft. I understand we're all doing this for fun, but it only takes a minute to do a couple quick CTRL + F's to keep things running smoothly. On the organizational end of this, James, and to a lesser extent, myself and several others, are doing what is needed to make this go smoothly. The other part of making this go smoothly is on your end, and we'd like everyone to make sure they're holding up that end of the deal.

With that business out of the way, here's today's picks:

9-5 (#245) - Adam Burish to the Chicago Blackhawks
Cap hit: 0.713M

9-6 (#246) - Rich Peverley to the New York Islanders
Cap hit: 0.488M

9-7 (#247) - Bryan McCabe to the Philadelphia Flyers
Cap hit: 5.750M

9-8 (#248) - Kim Johnsson to the Colorado Avalanche
Cap hit: 4.850M

9-9 (#249) - Vaclav Prospal to the Nashville Predators
Cap hit: 1.100M

9-10 (#250) - Tomas Holmstrom to the Atlanta Thrashers
Cap hit: 2.250M

9-11 (#251) - Martin Erat to the St. Louis Blues
Cap hit: 4.500M

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Earliest Hockey Memories with NHL Shout

Logo by Gray from Couch Tarts

(Until recently, we haven't been particularly aware of the Tampa Bay Lightning blogosophere [the Lightning-ogosphere? Bayogosophere? Lecavalierogosphere?], but it's heartening to know that the team possesses plenty of great bloggers. One of those blogs is Lightning Shout, which sports a sweet logo and bitchin' mission statement. Make sure to follow WB Philip's work as the team starts to transition from "Saw" level horror show to respectability.)

My first hockey memory involves a game between the Boston Bruins (52-0) and the Detroit Red Wings (0-52) in the cold winter of 1970. This original six matchup was played in Detroit, Michigan at the Violet Street Hockey Arena. It featured a Bruins team that consisted of Phil Esposito, four Bobby Orr look-alikes, and an unmasked goalie, Gerry Cheevers. The Red Wings touted their daily lineup of the Howe’s: Mr. Hockey, Mark, Marty and an adopted son named Jim, my brother. All players were seen smiling constantly during the battle, despite their inability to skate in any direction but a straight line. The technology was way ahead of its time. The players wielded metal one-piece sticks and skated on a hybrid surface made of painted particleboard. The game was played without a referee or linesman in sight and at one point, was delayed due to the combatants losing the only puck available. (It had rolled all the way under the sofa) Both teams were very flat and had trouble hitting each other.

The Bruins led the whole way, riding centerman Phil Esposito’s 16 goals to a comfortable lead! The Howe’s led the team from Motown, with the family netting a total of 14 goals. It was late in the third period when the game was halted for a bathroom break. What happened when play resumed would haunt me for the rest of my life! At the drop of the puck, the Bruin goaltender, Gerry Cheevers, suffered what can only be termed, a catastrophic spot weld injury and tumbled slowly to the fake ice. The Philp house rules vehemently stated that, “Once a player comes loose from his metal post thing, he must be removed from play immediately and may not return or be replaced during that game…unless mom says so.”


Those of you who are now part of the geriatric hockey set will recognize this scenario. Yes, the ice surface that comes in a box (assembly required)…Coleco tabletop hockey.

When you turned the rubber knob to strike the plastic, oversized puck (not the heavy one with the marble in it), you would here that unforgettable “TING” as the stick met the disk. All players had either sandy brown or jet-black colored hair and had that same psycho grin on their face. You know the look. It’s the one Matthew Barnaby used his entire career when he was agitating.

After Cheevers was yanked from the game, the Red Wings went on an offensive onslaught, scoring four goals in the last minute. The buzzer to end the game sounded in the familiar form that was my mom’s shriek, “Boys, put that god damned game away for a while!” It was over. Red Wings 18, Bruins 16.

December 24, 1970: A day that will live in infamy in the Philp household. I had shamed myself, the TTNHL (Tabletop National Hockey League), and most of all, the brotherhood of tabletop players…I had lost to my kid brother!!!!

As my brother paraded around the living room in his Heckle and Jeckle, footie pajamas (I hated those damn birds!) I found myself crying, but quietly happy for him. I had tasted victory so many times before that it had become a bland repast. Now I saw the hysterical glee on the face of my brother, whom I had destroyed 52 straight times before, and, for a brief moment, felt good.. I walked over to congratulate him on the victory and did what any good big brother would…I gave him a SUPER WEDGY!

Tuesday Train Wreck'o'Picks

8-25 (235) - New York Islanders - Alex Goligoski

Cap Hit: $1,833,333

8-26 (236) - Chicago Blackhawks - Shaone Morrisonn

Cap Hit: $1,975,000

8-27 (237) - Dallas Stars - Steve Ott

Cap Hit: $1,425,000

8-28 (238) - Tampa Bay Lightning - Anton Babchuk

Cap Hit: TBD

8-29 (239) - Vancouver Canucks - Pavol Demitra

Cap Hit: $4,000,000

8-30 (240) - Calgary Flames - Kristian Huselius

Cap Hit: $4,750,000


9-1 (241) - Calgary Flames - Jan Hejda

Cap Hit: $2,000,000

9-2 (242) - Vancouver Canucks - Greg Zanon

Cap Hit: $1,933,333

9-3 (243) - Tampa Bay Lightning - Guillaume Latendresse

Cap Hit: $803,250

9-4 (244) - Edmonton Oilers - Todd Bertuzzday

Cap Hit: $1,500,000

Monday, August 17, 2009

Manic Monday picks: Team CLS/Sports and the City finally jumps on the bargain bandwagon

It was a weird day in the draft, with people accidentally leapfrogging each other and not a whole lot getting done. But no harm, no foul.

8-18 (228) - Pittsburgh Penguins - Tyler Kennedy
Cap Hit: $725,000

8-19 (229) - Phoenix Coyotes - James Neal
Cap Hit: $821,667

8-20 (230) - St. Louis Blues - Jason Blake
Cap Hit: $4,000,000

8-21 (231) - Atlanta Thrashers - Chris Drury
Cap Hit: $7,050,000

8-22 (232) - Nashville Predators - Saku Koivu (nice)
Cap Hit: $3,250,000

8-23 (233) - Philadelphia Flyers - Niklas Hagman
Cap Hit: $3,000,000

8-24 (234) - Toronto Maple Leafs - Matt Niskanen
Cap Hit: $850,000

(Niskanen's technically American, but let's face it: that's basically three straight Finns!)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday picks

8-10 (220) - New Jersey Devils - Drew Stafford
Cap Hit: $984,200

8-11 (221) - New York Rangers - Jason Pominville
Cap Hit: $5,300,000

8-12 (222) - Carolina Hurricanes - Mark Recchi
Cap Hit: $1,000,000

8-13 (223) - Minnesota Wild - Andy McDonald
Cap Hit: $4,700,000

8-14 (224) - Los Angeles Kings - Tim Connolly
Cap Hit: $4,500,000

8-15 (225) - Detroit Red Wings - Brad RICHards
Cap Hit: $7,800,000

8-16 (226) - Columbus Blue Jackets - Nikolai Antropov
Cap Hit: $4,062,500

8-17 (227) - Washington Capitals - Owen Nolan
Cap Hit: $2,750,000

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Picks Update (August 14 and 15)

7-23 (203) - San Jose Sharks - Keith Tkachuk
Cap Hit: $2,150,000

7-24 (204) - Ottawa Senators - Ryan Whitney
Cap Hit: $4,000,000

7-25 (205) - Boston Bruins - Matt Hunwick
Cap Hit: $1,450,000

7-26 (206) - Buffalo Sabres - Sami Pahlsson
Cap Hit: $2,650,000

7-27 (207) - Anaheim Ducks - Wojtek Wolski
Cap Hit: $2,800,000

7-28 (208) - Montreal Canadiens - Maxim LaPierre
Cap Hit: $687,500

7-29 (209) - Colorado Avalanche - J. P. Dumont
Cap Hit: $4,000,000

7-30 (210) - Florida Panthers - Michael Frolik
Cap Hit: $1,275,000


8-1 (211) - Florida Panthers - Francois Beauchemin
Cap Hit: $3,800,000

8-2 (212) - Colorado Avalanche - Andrew Ladd
Cap Hit: $1,550,000

8-3 (213) - Washington Capitals - Jaroslav "Sissy" Spacek
Cap Hit: $3,833,333

8-4 (214) - Anaheim Ducks - Joe Corvo
Cap Hit: $2,625,000

8-5 (215) - Buffalo Sabres - Daniel Briere
Cap Hit: $6,500,000

8-6 (216) - Boston Bruins - Barrett Jackman
Cap Hit: $3,625,000

8-7 (217) - Ottawa Senators - R.J. Umberger
Cap Hit: $3,750,000

8-8 (218) - San Jose Sharks - Chuck Kobasew
Cap Hit: $2,333,333

8-9 (219) - Toronto Maple Leafs - Mike Komisarek
Cap Hit: $4,500,000

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Scotty Wazz of Face Off Hockey Show shares his Earliest Hockey Memories

Logo by Gray from Couch Tarts

Scotty probably doesn't know this, but he's actually one of the first "bloggers" I ever knew about. The reason's simple: my first online writing "gig" (gig is in quotation marks because I didn't get paid a dime) was for as the LA Kings correspondent and Wazz was one of the most prominent contributors there. That "gig" sort of kind of pushed me to drop Earl Sleek an e-mail about Battle of California and the rest is (obscure) history.

Anyway, Wazz has been around for a LONG time, as his hockey-oriented Radio Show/Podcast recently celebrating its EIGHTH anniversary! (Whoa) Make sure to give Face Off Hockey Show a listen, as it's absolutely one of the best hockey podcasts around. Also, make sure to follow Scotty's blog as well. Thanks a bunch, Scotty. You're welcome back any time.

Scotty Wazz in 1999

Living in Glen Burnie, Maryland for the first 21 years in my life was decent when it came to exposure to hockey. I was born in 1983, when the Baltimore Orioles were coming up on their third World Series trophy against the Phillies, the Baltimore Colts were about to move in the middle of the night to Indianapolis, and the Skipjacks had come back into the Baltimore Arena after the Clippers disbanded from the EHL. Down the road in the DC Metro area, the Redskins were king coming off their first Super Bowl win, the Capitals had a great young stable of talent, and had teams that could succeed, and the Bullets played basketball.

The Burnie was smack between NHL and AHL country with the Washington Capitals being to the South and Baltimore Skipjacks to the North. The Skipjacks were in a transition of their affiliation from the Pittsburgh Penguins primary affiliate to the Caps affiliate. I would learn later in my life that my grandmother was a Skipjacks season ticket holder when they first came into town in 1981 with the ACHL, then once they moved to the I-AHL and AHL. I didn't know that at all was said and done and it makes me believe that's partially the reason why my life went to hockey over everything else.

I did partake in the Orioles and Redskins early in my life because that's how my household was, mostly because dad was favorable to those teams, even to this day. I was still young and trying to figure out the simple walking, talking, and not crapping myself. It should be known, I've conquered all those things. In any case, I actually stumbled on hockey by my lonesome. I was lucky enough to get TV privileges when I was four years old and was flipping through the channels to stumble on something on WDCA 20 when the Washington Capitals took on the New York Rangers from Madison Square Garden. I had recognized the sport because I remember having a wooden hockey stick with the Caps colors on it from my godfather. My godfather had played hockey within the area too, which is another reason why I was probably more favorable to hockey over other sports, it was instilled in my family and I had no bloody clue until after I took it up.

Having watched some of the game, I immediate went running to the mother asking her to get my stick down from the wall in my room and I started to emulate the stick handling on the ice and trying to imitate the TV as much as an impressionable youth can be. It went further when I figured, "Hey, I have something like that in my (Fisher Price) adjustable roller skates!!" To which, I also begged my mom for me to put those on and just go around the hallway skating and mimicking stick handling. The skates had bells on them when I rolled and soon I had to take them off or risk my mom and dad strangling me to death.

An action shot of Wazz ('94)

I started to catch the games in that 1987-88 season and got to know most of the players' names and got into the stats of hockey like I already had done with other sports. All my friends were all about baseball and some football, but it seemed I was the only one really into hockey. While they knew all about Cal Ripken, Jr., John Riggins, and Art Monk-- I knew them, plus Mike Ridley, Michal Pivonka, and Rod Langway. It kind of made me feel a bit unique by knowing about a sport no one else really did-- kind of like I was in a secret group amongst my friends. I learned the game through the '87-'88 season and began to follow the Caps and league in '88-'89.

My dad saw this and did something for me that got me hooked into the whole game. My father worked for the Prince George's County government at the time and worked near the Capital Centre in Landover. He knew some contacts there because he did a lot of work on the traffic signals and signs around the arena. He was able to get some tickets for a game on February 3rd, 1989. Before we go on, I'll confess I didn't know the date, I had to go to Mike Liut's page on to find it out. I remember the score, the opposing team, but couldn't remember the date.

Anyway-- I believe this was my first live sporting event, as far as I remember. It was against the Hartford Whalers, which is pretty special knowing they don't exist anymore. It was also player t-shirt giveaway day, which became a tradition for me going to those games because the shirts were like the Caps home jersey, down to the red shoulders. That year's player was Bengt Gustafsson and while I knew the name, I didn't think he'd become my favorite player of all-time when I entered the Cap Centre. We were at the end where the Caps defended twice, which gave me a nice downward view of the rink where the Caps were shooting at twice, we weren't too high, but high enough to have a great view of it all.

The game was going on and it was an exciting game, but no scoring as of yet. My luck, I asked my dad to give me my t-shirt during the second period. Whilst I was struggling to get it over my head and other shirt, the crowd erupted and the siren was wailing like it did on TV. It turned out the t-shirt player of the day, Gustafsson, was the goal-scorer. It excited me because that was the first goal I saw live.....and turned out to be the only goal on the day. It made Gustafsson my favorite player since he scored the first goal and game winner in my first game.

Thanks to my dad's contact, I was able to attend more games at the Cap Centre year after year. I have a ton of ticket stubs with all the cool designs over the years on them. It was something that me and my dad really got to bond with. It was about a 40 minute ride to and from the arena, which gave us time to share moments, talking about life and that stuff. While he and I played catch in the backyard all the time, I treasure the moments at the Cap Centre more and more.

Once I started playing hockey, he was really into it-- buying a lot of Blackhawks gear, since our team was the Chesapeake Chiefs. My mom even got into it, though she thought it was too dangerous, but that's mothers for you. She wouldn't let me play football, but allowed me to play hockey. I think it worked out for the better. Both my folks supported my love of the game, regardless of the cost of it and looking back now, I'm indebted to them for actually allowing me to enjoy the game and grow with it because I enjoyed watching and then playing it.

A recent photo of Wazz with his family

Speaking of playing, it took a while for me to get the swing of things when I started at a young age, but I turned into a decent player, or at least I was told to keep my fragile ego in tact. I started playing rec hockey back in 1993 and was in the rec program until 1997, when I went onto the travel team in bantams. I was captain in my first and third year playing midget hockey for the Chiefs. I captained my high school team, Mount St. Joseph’s High School in Baltimore to it’s second JV High School title during my junior year, but thanks to a fateful knee injury while trying out in college-- I’ve been reserved to playing beer league hockey….which isn’t a bad thing. It’s competitive to a point, but everyone is out there because they love playing it.

That exposure to the game on that February night allowed me to get hooked to the game, which has led me down a road to all aspects of the hockey world. From playing locally, to being a stick boy with the ill-fated ECHL's Chesapeake Icebreakers and then going into the media aspect of the game, doing internet radio and blogging, with my peak being writing for FHM Online as a fantasy hockey guy. Now, I'm a U-List internet radio show host with a panache for randomness, crude humor, and ADHD. And I think that because I was able to flip on WDCA that fateful day, I'm the fanatic that I am today. Whether that's a good thing or not is up for debate on how you look at it and who you actually are. It is what it is.

And that’s what’s up.

Thursday the 13th Picks

7 - 12 (192) - Ryan Callahan - Phoenix Coyotes
Cap Hit: $2,300,000

7 - 13 (193) - Mikhail Grabovski - Pittsburgh Penguins
Cap Hit: $2,900,000

7 - 14 (194) - Brendan Morrison - Washington Capitals
Cap Hit: $1,500,000

7 - 15 (195) - Alexei Ponikarovsky - Columbus Blue Jackets
Cap Hit: $2,105,000

7 - 16 (196) - Tom Gilbert - Edmonton Oilers
Cap Hit: $4,000,000

7 - 17 (197) - Todd White - Los Angeles Kings
Cap Hit: $2,375,000

7 - 18 (198) - Mark Giordano - Dallas Stars
Cap Hit: $891,667

7 - 19 (199) - Justin Williams - Carolina Hurricanes
Cap Hit: $3,500,000

7 - 20 (200) - Nick Schultz - New York Rangers
Cap Hit: $3,500,000

7 - 21 (201) - Fedor Tyutin - Columbus Blue Jackets
Cap Hit: $2,843,750

7 - 22 (202) - Patrice Bergeron - Toronto Maple Leafs
Cap Hit: $4,750,000

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Picks Update: August 11/12

6-17 (167) - Montreal Canadiens - Chris Phillips
Cap Hit: $3,500,000

6-18 (168) - Pittsburgh Penguins - Marek Zidlicky
Cap Hit: $3,350,000

6-19 (169) - Phoenix Coyotes - Zbynek Michalek
Cap Hit: $1,250,000

6-20 (170) - St. Louis Blues - Brian Gionta
Cap Hit: $5,000,000

6-21 (171) - Atlanta Thrashers - Mattias Ohlund
Cap Hit: $3,607,143

6-22 (172) - Detroit Red Wings - Jonathan Ericsson (Acquired from Nashville, via Edmonton)
Cap Hit: $900,000

6-23 (173) - Detroit Red Wings - T. J. Oshie (Acquired from Edmonton)
Cap Hit: $1,275,000

6-24 (174) - Philadelphia Flyers - Christian Ehrhoff
Cap Hit: $3,100,000

6-25 (175) - New York Islanders - David Perron
Cap Hit: $918,333

6-26 (176) - Chicago Blackhawks - Andrew Brunette
Cap Hit: $2,333,333

6-27 (177) - Minnesota North Stars - Kyle Quincey (Acquired from Dallas)
Cap Hit: $525,000

6-28 (178) - Tampa Bay Lightning - Matt Stajan
Cap Hit: $1,750,000

6-29 (179) - Vancouver Canucks - Ryane Clowe
Cap Hit: $3,625,000

6-30 (180) - Calgary Flames - Daymond Langkow
Cap Hit: $4,500,000


7-1 (181) - Calgary Flames - Dan Hamhuis
Cap Hit: $2,000,000

7-2 (182) - Vancouver Canucks - Jack Johnson
Cap Hit: $1,425,000

7-3 (183) - Tampa Bay Lightning - Ryan Malone
Cap Hit: $4,500,000

7-4 (184) - Dallas Stars - Craig Conroy
Cap Hit: $1,050,000

7-5 (185) - Chicago Blackhawks - Dan Cleary
Cap Hit: $2,800,000

7-6 (186) - New York Islanders - Kyle Okposo
Cap Hit: $1,671,667

7-7 (187) - Philadelphia Flyers - Ilya Bryzgalov
Cap Hit: $4,250,000

7-8 (188) - Edmonton Oilers - Blake Wheeler
Cap Hit: $2,825,000

7-9 (189) - Edmonton Oilers - Tuomo Ruutu (Acquired from Nashville, via Detroit)
Cap Hit: $3,800,000

7-10 (190) - Atlanta Thrashers - Sam Gagner
Cap Hit: $1,625,000

7-11 (191) - St. Louis Blues - Tobias Enstrom
Cap Hit: $3,750,000

Monday, August 10, 2009

Re-Draft August 10: our favorite players list keeps getting skinnier

6 - 161: Marc Staal stays with the New York Rangers
Cap Hit: $826,667

6 - 162: Kris Letang goes to the Carolina Hurricanes
Cap Hit: $835,000

6 - 163: Joe Pavelski goes to the Minnesota North Stars
Cap Hit: $1,637,500

6 - 164: Anton Volchenkov to the Los Angeles Kings
Cap Hit: $2,500,000

6 - 165: Alexandre Edler to the Detroit Red Wings
Cap Hit: $3,250,000

6 - 166: Alexandre Burrows to the Columbus Blue Jackets
Cap Hit: $2,000,000

(Every single pick made me sad today. Literally. Sigh.)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

As the Blackhawks turn OR The Young and the Reckless OR Don't call them the Chicago Cabs

I know that was the predictable photo to run, but c'mon.

Let me ask everyone: has any NHL team EVER had a crazier off-season than the Chicago Blackhawks?

Hearing the details of Patrick Kane's bizarre, alleged assault of a cab driver, it was hard to believe it wasn't a joke at first. (It's not a joke, is it?) The event as an alleged incident brings up plenty of questions:

Is there ANY way booze was not involved? What is pocket change to a guy who will earn more than $3 million in the 2009-10 season? Does EA boot him off the cover, like they did with Dany Heatley?*

Well, at least hockey players didn't electrify dogs

* - Obviously, Heatley's incident was way worse. But is getting arrested the EA NHL series' answer to the Madden curse? Heatley, Eric Staal and now Kane. Just sayin'.

ANYWAY, it's truly been a crazy summer for the Chicago Blackhawks franchise. Let's look at the biggest stories/snafus/angry Tweets in chrono-illogical (like what I did there?) order.
  • A lot of people liked the Hossa signing, but who could defend Fax-gate? By not properly sending Kris Versteeg and Cam Barker qualifying offers, the cracks in the 'Hawks foundation were starting to become undeniable.
  • Dale Tallon, the butt of many CLS jokes, gets fired. Fax-gate is more or less an excuse to promote Scotty Bowman's son. I find out that maybe Tallon wasn't the only one behind the BRILLIANT resurgence of the Blackhawks. (Sorry, Dale, I should have spread the snark)
Chicago's omelette of sadness
  • In a watershed moment for social media, Martin Havlat badmouths the Blackhawks on Twitter. Apparently, the team owed more to a guy who earned his contract for exactly one season. The Blackhawks franchise now has enough egg on its face to make an omelette.
  • Hey, you know that already questionable Hossa signing? It gets better. Apparently, Hossa needed off-season shoulder surgery. He could miss up to 30 games in the very regular season they are risking everything for. Rumor has it, the team didn't even require Hossa to take a physical. Notice a pattern yet?
  • And now the face of EA Sports' hockey game ... a guy who will represent USA Hockey ... a #1 draft pick Patrick Kane is now in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
And there is still a solid amount of summer to go. What do the 'Hawks have left for us?

I, for one, cannot wait to find out what happens next.

The Re-Draft works on a Sunday

aHow to draw Olli Jokinen

5 - 147: Pavel Kubina goes to the Anaheim Ducks
Cap Hit: $5,000,000

5 - 148: Joffrey Lupul to the Montreal Canadiens
Cap Hit: $4,250,000

5 - 149: Keith Ballard to the Colorado Avalanche
Cap Hit: $4,200,000

5-150: Marc-Andre Bergeron to the Florida Panthers
Cap Hit: $1,254,000

*** END of 5th Round ***

6 - 151: Patrick Sharp to the Florida Panthers
Cap Hit: $3,900,000

6 - 152: Olli Jokinen to the Colorado Avalanche (nice)
Cap Hit: $5,250,000

6 - 153: Brian Rolston to the Montreal Canadiens
Cap Hit: $5,062,500

6 - 154: Scott Hartnell to the Anaheim Ducks
Cap Hit: $4,200,000

6 - 155: Chris Osgood to the Buffalo Sabres
Cap Hit: $1,416,667

6 - 156: Ryan Smyth to the Boston Bruins
Cap Hit: $6,250,000

6 - 157: Stephen Weiss to the Ottawa Senators
Cap Hit: $3,100,000

6 - 158: Kari Lehtonen to the San Jose Sharks
Cap Hit: $3,000,000

6 - 159: Willie Mitchell to the Toronto Maple Leafs
Cap Hit: $3,500,00

6 - 160: Brooks Laich to the New Jersey Devils
Cap Hit: $2,066,667

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Cycle like the Sedins - Saturday August 8 Re-Draft picks

#5 - 143: Rob Blake to the San Jose Sharks
Cap Hit: $3,500,000

#5 - 144: Derick Brassard to the Ottawa Senators
Cap Hit: $1,246,667

#5 - 145: Johnny Oduya to the Boston Bruins
Cap Hit: $3,500,000

#5 - 146: Claude Giroux to the Buffalo Sabres
Cap Hit: $821,667

Friday, August 7, 2009

Cycle Like Sedins NHL re-draft - August 07

5-7 (#127) - Patrick Berglund to the Philadelphia Flyers
Cap hit: 1.247M/yr

5-8 (#128) - Kris Versteeg to the Philadelphia Flyers
Cap hit: 3.067M/yr

5-9 (#129) - Jamie Langenbrunner to the Nashville Predators
Cap hit: 2.800M/yr

5-10 (#130) - Milan Lucic to the Atlanta Thrashers
Cap hit: 0.850M/yr

5-11 (#131) - Slava Kozlov to the St. Louis Blues
Cap hit: 3.667M/yr

5-12 (#132) - Mike Commodore to the Phoenix Coyotes
Cap hit: 3.750M/yr

5-13 (#133) - Alex Tanguay to the Pittsburgh Penguins
Cap hit: (no one knows!)

5-14 (#134) - Mike Knuble to the Washington Capitals
Cap hit: 2.800M/yr

5-15 (#135) - Zach Bogosian to the Columbus Blue Jackets
Cap hit: 3.375M/yr

5-16 (#136) - Brian Campbell to the Nashville Predators
Cap hit: 7.143M/yr

5-17 (#137) - Drew Doughty to the Los Angeles Kings
Cap hit: 3.475M/yr

5-18 (#138) - Marc-Edouard Vlasic to the Minnesota North Stars
Cap hit: 3.100M/yr

5-19 (#139) - Erik Cole to the Carolina Hurricanes
Cap hit: 2.900M/yr

5-20 (#140) - Jason Arnott to the New York Rangers
Cap Hit: $4,500,000

5-21 (#141) - Milan Michalek to the New Jersey Devils
Cap Hit: $4,333,333

5-22 (#142) - Teemu Selanne to the Toronto Maple Leafs
Cap Hit: $2,625,000

Thursday, August 6, 2009

That's more like it: August 6 Re-Draft picks

111. Kevin Bieksa to the Matt/Atlanta

Cap Hit: $3,750,000

112. Steve Sullivan to the Section 303/Nashville

Cap Hit: $3,750,000

113. Alex Kovalev to Paul/Philly (how dare you put Kovalev in Philadelphia colors! Ewww.)

Cap Hit: $5,000,000

114. Kimmo Timonen to Paul/Philly

Cap Hit: $6,333,333

115. Paul Kariya to Dominik/the Islanders

Cap Hit: $6,000,000

116. Steve Stamkos to Clare/Chicago

Cap Hit: $3,725,000

117. Dustin Brown to Kontos/Minny

Cap Hit: $3,175,000

118. Milan Hejduk to Cassie/TBL

Cap Hit: $3,900,000

119. Cam Barker to Vancity Canuck

Cap Hit: $3,083,333

120. Patrik Elias to Five Hole Fanatics/Calgary

Cap Hit: $6,000,000


121. Paul Martin to Calgary

Cap Hit: $3,833,333

122. John Tavares to Vancouver

Cap Hit: $3,750,000

123. Brent Burns to TBL

Cap Hit: $3,550,000

124. Rene Bourque to Dallas

Cap Hit: $1,350,000

125. Brooks Orpik to Chicago

Cap Hit: $3,750,000

126. David Backes to NYI

Cap Hit: $2,500,000

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Cycle Like Sedins NHL re-draft - August 05

4-12 (#102) - Jordan Staal to the Carolina Hurricanes
Cap hit: 4.000M/yr

4-13 (#103) - Robyn Regehr to the Dallas Stars
Cap hit: 4.020M/yr

4-14 (#104) - Ray Whitney to the Los Angeles Kings
Cap hit: 3.550M/yr

4-15(#105) - Niklas Kronwall to the Edmonton Oilers
Cap Hit: $3,000,000

4-16(#106) - Luke Schenn to the Columbus Blue Jackets
Cap Hit: $2,975,000

4-17(#107) - Loui Eriksson to the Washington Capitals
Cap Hit: $1,600,000

4-18(#108) - Dustin Byfuglien to the Pittsburgh Penguins
Cap Hit: $3,000,000

4-19(#109) - Michael Ryder to the Phoenix Coyotes
Cap Hit: $4,000,000

4-20(#110) - Bryan Little to the St. Louis Blues
Cap Hit: $900,000

Gray's Earliest Hockey Memories

Logo by Gray from Couch Tarts

We've become buddies with quite a few San Jose Shark bloggers through Battle of California and CLS. Generally, they seem to be incredibly high quality people who deserve more post-season bliss than their seemingly great team has been able to produce.

Gray from Couch Tarts is one of our SJBFFs for sure (hell, she even concocted that adorable logo) and provided this week's Earliest Hockey Memories entry. Make sure to follow the Couch Tarts and try not to make more than a couple obligatory Shark Week jokes. These nice people have suffered enough.

Like a lot of other American kids, I grew up living and breathing baseball. Sure, football existed too, but I didn't care about that. It was all baseball. These were the days of the Bash Brothers in Oakland, and the '89 world series. If you lived in the East Bay and didn't love baseball, you were pretty damn weird.

And yet, somehow, hockey slowly started to trickle into my sub consciousness. I don't remember how or why, maybe it was the Mighty Ducks movies, maybe it was watching Strange Brew too many times, who knows, but my friends and I suddenly developed a strong desire to play hockey. (ok, it was the Mighty Ducks movie) We went to a sporting goods store, got sticks, (the best bright plastic on wood that 15 dollars could buy), a bag of orange plastic pucks and set up a small soccer goal at the end of my friend's drive way and started to play.

We didn't really know how, but we knew hockey players hit each other, so the games usually revolved around how hard we could check the opposing player to the ground before stealing the puck and scoring a goal. Rules were generally ignored in favor of shin hitting mayhem, unless of course someone thought you scored a goal unfairly. Then a huge debate would be started, usually ending with someone shooting a puck at someone else, and generally in a very tender spot. (as a girl, I got the best part of this deal) After all, what was hockey about if it wasn't about beating up the other side?

Later on, in middle school, they added street hockey into the PE curriculum. We'd play on the basketball courts, with only slightly more attention paid to rules and positions than to checking. Classes were co-ed, so we weren't supposed to make contacts, but the boys always did. I'm sure some of it was an excuse to hit girls in the chest and feel their boobs. The Sharks had come to town by this point, but it was still rare to find someone openly discussing hockey in school. Fans existed, but I didn't know many.

Once in high school I had little time for impromptu games on someone's street, and I generally forgot about hockey. I didn't get to my first NHL game until after college. Anyone who thinks a California kid can't fall in love with hockey is dead wrong. It might take us a little longer to get there, but when we eventually get to a live game, we'll be hooked. Even if it means making more Mighty Ducks movies.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tuesday's light day-o-picks

Dude, dropping to #99 doesn't give you the excuse to start blubbering. Rub some dirt on it.

#98 - Brad Boyes goes to Mr. Plank and the San Jose Sharks

Cap Hit: $4,000,000

#99 - J.S. Giguere goes to Sports and the City/CLS and the Toronto Maple Leafs (woooo!)

Cap Hit: $6,000,000

#100 - Ryan Suter goes to In Lou We Trust and the New Jersey Devils

Cap Hit: $3,500,000

#101 - Chris Kunitz goes to Scotty Hockey and the New York Rangers

Cap Hit: $3,725,000

Monday, August 3, 2009

Re-Draft Steals: Round 1

With the fourth round underway, it seems like there is enough separation to have a little fun with the CLS League Re-Draft.

To revive your memories of the first round, there were some big surprises amid the expected decisions.

Obviously, the biggest surprise was most likely Cassie's pick of Henrik Lundqvist at #3. It wasn't the only pick that defied expectations, however, so there were some top-end players going toward the end of the first round.

Calling Evgeni Malkin (#4), Nicklas Lidstrom (#6) or Pavel Datsyuk (#7) steals might be a bit much, even if they were great picks. So for the sake of argument, we'll go into the teens before we consider anyone a true "steal." Feel free to vote and comment on whom you think ended up being the Hamburglar of the first round.

It's not crazy to call Geno a steal at #4

11. Roberto Luongo

Perhaps it wasn't a banner season for Bobby Lou after he faced a tough mid-season injury and fell victim to a Patrick Kane hat trick in the playoffs, but it's still surprising that he was not the first goaltender taken.

16. Jarome Iginla

It's been a while since Iginla powered the Calgary Flames to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, but he hasn't shown many signs of slowing down as one of the premier power forwards in the game. He does everything you'd want, from scoring to fighting to being a charismatic leader.

19. Martin Brodeur

His stock is sliding a bit, but Brodeur is still one of the biggest names in the NHL. He's won Stanley Cups, Vezina trophies, gold medals and oh yeah, the most games of any netminder ever. Couple that with a reasonable cap hit ($5.2 million) and what was a staggering workhorse streak before the 2008-9 season and he has to at least be considered a steal.

23. Chris Pronger

Pronger might be the most hated player in the NHL, considering that he poses a far more legitimate threat than Sean Avery's mouth. But for my money, if I want to win a Cup next year I'd either go with Pronger. He might not be as cerebral as Lidstrom, but that doesn't mean he cannot think the game. He might not be as large as Zdeno Chara, but he makes up for their small size difference with an indifference for human life. Oh, and he's also a helluva powerplay quarterback to boot.

25. Joe Thornton

Yes, he gets a lot of crap for his playoff chokings (whether that perception is fair or not) but Jumbo Joe is a guy who's made millionaires out of solid forwards ever since he got comfortable in the league. He's huge, awesome in video games and puts up huge numbers every year. In my book, he's easily a top-15 player.

26. Henrik Zetterberg

Zetterberg can do it all. He's one of the league's best two-way players, can shift between center and LW with ease and score tons of points. His durability can be a bit of a concern, but other than that he's a guy who has no business dropping to the later part of the first round.