The Stanley Cup Finals are still underway between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks, but much of the attention around the NHL has turned to the 2013 NHL Draft, scheduled for June 30th at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
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After 2012 saw a first ever Stanley Cup for the Los Angeles Kings franchise, 2013 brought forth a noble defense of the title but elimination in the Conference Finals by the Chicago Blackhawks. In what is considered the most difficult of tasks, the Kings came just three wins from reaching a second consecutive final and a chance at repeating as champions.
The Calgary Flames head into the 2013 NHL Draft four years removed from the playoffs. General Manager Jay Feaster has come to terms that the team is in a “rebuilding” mode rather than a “retooling” one. Gone is former captain Jarome Iginla and assistant captain Jay Bouwmeester, and in return are two first round picks acquired via both players waiving their no-trade clauses at trade deadline. The status of goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff is in the balance and his decision could also change the dynamics of the team next year should he decide to retire. The Flames find themselves at an interesting junction with a lot of questions to be answered. The upcoming draft could be the most important one in the team’s history.
The Boston Bruins had several players step up and have big post-seasons, but none have made a greater impact than Torey Krug. With multiple injuries to the Boston Blue line, the Bruins called upon the likes of Dougie Hamilton, Matt Bartkowski, and Krug to fill the void. When Dennis Seidenberg and Andrew Ference returned however, Krug remained.
The 2012-13 season saw many of the Tampa Bay Lightning's top prospects work their way onto the NHL roster. Radko Gudas and Alex Killorn both saw substantial time and made significant contributions with the big club while Tyler Johnson, Richard Panik, Ondrej Palat, and Mark Barberio also made their NHL debuts at various points throughout the lockout shortened season.
Adler, a small, rather nameless coastal resort just south of Sochi that is receiving worldwide attention as one of the hosting places of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, recently was packed with hockey scouts, journalists and the top players born in 1995 or later for the IIHF Under-18 World Championship.
The Montreal Canadiens surprised everyone by jumping from 15th place in the Eastern Conference in 2011-12 to second in the conference and winning their division in the lockout shortened 2012-13 season. The quick first round exit from the Stanley Cup playoffs by the Canadiens against the Ottawa Senators only confirmed to General Manager Marc Bergevin that his team is not built yet to be a yearly playoff contender in the Eastern Conference.