June 08 2016 01:00PM
After a number of years as a fantastic bottom-pairing defenseman for the San Jose Sharks, Jason Demers definitively established himself as a top-four defender upon being traded to the Dallas Stars for fellow rearguard Brendan Dillon. Demers was a steady presence on a blueline that was in desperate need of one, while still contributing to the Stars' quick and aggressive forecheck.
Demers finds himself at the top of the second tier of defensemen in this year's free agent class, just behind the likes of brand-name top-four defenders like Alex Goligoski, Dan Hamhuis, Keith Yandle, and Brian Campbell. He's likely to net significant value to whichever team decides to pay for his services this off-season. Whether or not that team is the Vancouver Canucks is another story, however. We'll discuss that after the jump.
June 08 2016 10:00AM
When discussing the Vancouver Canucks off-season gameplan, Alexandre Burrows and Chris Higgins find their names left out more often than not. For some, it's all but a given at this stage that the Canucks will buy out or trade one or both of the two.
Though I appreciate Higgins and all he's brought to the Canucks lineup since joining them at the 2011 trade deadline, he's never been more than a secondary element to the team. It's hard to be too attached to him, you know?
Burrows is another story completely. He's been with the Canucks for his entire career and been a heart-and-soul player for the franchise the entire way through. There's almost nothing more the Canucks or this city could ask of Burrows.
So, with that in mind, I'm asking you: Should the Canucks buy Burrows' contract out?
June 08 2016 08:00AM
18 year old Michael McLeod of the Mississauga Steelheads checks in at #14 in our Nation Network draft rankings. The centre is the epitome of a playmaker, amassing 40 assists and 21 goals in 57 games. McLeod has been playing on and off with Alex Nylander, another future first round draft pick.
Lets take a look at what McLeod brings to the table.
June 07 2016 11:00AM
Justin Schultz will be a restricted free agent on the other side of this contract, but likely not for long. For the Pittsburgh Penguins to retain Schultz's rights, it will cost $3.9-million in the form of a qualifying offer. That's about $4-million that the Penguins don't have at their disposal. Not for Schultz, anyways.
That means Schultz, who turns 26 in July, is en route to his second taste of unrestricted free agency at the end of his fourth NHL season. I get the sense there's going to be considerably less interest this time around.
This isn't the end of the line for Schultz, but he's getting closer. Schultz came to the NHL as advertised -- a high-risk, high-reward defender that struggles from the defensive zone. The hope was that NHL coaching would be enough to iron those wrinkles from his game, but four seasons later and progress has been stagnant.
Now another team has to decide if they have the coach to right the course. Will that team be the Vancouver Canucks?
June 07 2016 09:34AM
At 15th in the Nation Network draft rankings we have one of the most interesting prospects of the 2016 class, Logan Brown.
Brown's upside is obvious: he's a 6'6 centre who put up 74 points in 59 games in the OHL this season. On paper, he sounds like a certain top-ten pick. But he has been dogged by questions of consistency, effort, and play away from the puck. Some of those issues were addressed over the course of the season, and Brown shot upwards in many draft rankings as a result.
The possibility of drafting a big number one centre outside of the top five won't be taken lightly by teams. But will GM's be eager to use valuable early first-round picks on a player with Brown's question marks? He might have the most uncertainty of any first-rounder in this draft -- he could feasibly be drafted anywhere between the number 6 and number 20 slots.