Finally the Oilers may discontinue their horrendous draft record from the years 1984 to 1992, where not one of their first round picks made the team, by having another solid day at picking and choosing the hope for the future. Under the Current salary restrictions of being a small market team Edmonton must build through the draft since it has very little chance of competing on the free agent market. Also, development of these players is even more crucial because of the recent resignation of Glen Sather who made one savvy deal after another to keep his team from falling into the basement of the league.
This years war room is headed by director of player personnel Kevin Pendergast who has been with the Oilers for nine years and is on the lookout for players who might eventually have to replace Doug Weight since he is a free agent in two seasons. A big scoring center is at the top of the list, and preferably one that could possibly come and play in a couple of seasons. This would be a luxury they have not had since Jason Arnott.
When the 1999 NHL draft came and went everyone seemed excited with the idea that the Rangers had managed to reel in two blue chip prospects. One fact that was ignored however, was that the cost of adding these players was the loss of a first round pick in the 2000 draft. The Rangers would have drafted 8th overall and they may have ended up with a solid player, but the fact of the matter is the 1999 draft was far superior to the 2000 version in both depth and initial talent levels. A year later the Rangers have two kids who should fight for an NHL spot while it appears Tampa Bay will merely get a “good” player with a chance at the NHL. While nothing is for certain the Rangers should end up with the better end of the stick on this one. With a new GM in the fold the team attempts to pull off the feat of drafting a solid NHL prospect in the second round, something they have had very limited success with in the past 4 years.
The Los Angeles Kings face a critical couple of weeks as they will hope Minnesota and Columbus do not clean them out in the expansion draft and then hope a skilled forward lasts to their pick in the expansion draft.
The Kings expansion protected list was a couple players shy of what the Kings were hoping for. After potentially holding their cards too long the Kings had to protect two goalies and therefore could not protect Sean O’Donnell and Pavel Rosa. The loss of either or both of these players would hurt the Kings. Rosa is the most tradable forward in the Kings organization and after suffering through some horrible seasons, Sean O’Donnell has turned himself into a solid blueliner and an imposing fighter whose lack of penalty minutes speaks to his evolution. He is also one of the top scrappers on the team. Since O’Donnell knocked out Jeff Odgers a couple years ago, most enforcers have steered clear of Odie.
Rosa is still an attractive offensive forward that the Kings could package with a goalie after the draft and possibly get a major contributor. Rosa is also the best of a poor collection of forwards in the Kings system and his departure would leave the cupboard bare.
The 2000 entry draft is vital for the Kings future. They seem to be solid at goalie and defensemen, so drafting some forwards with size and skill who can contribute will be key.
With the Red Wings forward prospects cupboard bare, the chance of losing 2 promising young players in the expansion draft, an aging roster, and no #1 pick in 2001 it will be critical for the Wings to pick up 2 or 3 forwards with some skill in this years draft. With this in mind GM Ken Holland sent a large portion of his scouting staff to Europe at the end of the season, hoping to uncover a few talented forwards.
The Red Wings have only 3 or 4 forwards in their organization with a good chance of making an NHL roster, and none of them has 1st or 2nd line talent. They have not drafted a contributing NHL forward since Tomas Holmstrom in 1994, and have not drafted a 1st or 2nd line player since 1990 when they picked Keith Primeau and Slava Kozlov.
In the coming expansion draft (June 23rd) the Wings stand to lose 2 of the following young players(C-Stacy Roest, LW-Daryl Laplante, D-Maxim Kuznetsov, D-Yan Golubovsky, G-Manny Legace). The Wings decided it was more important to protect proven NHL veterans Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby, so it looks like the future is still being mortgaged in hockeytown.
SCOOP up those Messiers. This was my thinking in the first year of this wave of expansion, but I quickly realized that if your salary starts out outrageous, you will sooner than later contend with an outrageous salary transferring over to guys on your roster who were ranked #16 on their original teams rosters. Follow me on this: The “star” comes and makes 4 mil. and plays first line wing for example. The guy you got playing second line gets lucky and scores 5 goals and 20 points less than your ‘star’, so when his contract is up, he goes to arbitration and has a strong case for a huge raise. this continues throughout your entire roster.
When there was the first wave of expansion from 6 to 12 teams, a guy could come in from an original six roster and establish himself as a let’s say, #1 or #2 defenseman, on an expansion team. An original club would see his improvement over the course of say three years, and might have a chance to trade for him. THEY would not because he would want the money level he was getting on the weaker club. (He IS worth it you say?) He may be…but when he arrives your #2-4 guys know he is as good as they are and getting paid more than he is worth compared to them. The term “it will throw off our salary base” has always been a major concern by NHL owners even when they were making a killing at the gate, and had players at next to nothing wages.