Nation World HQ
June 24 2016 05:00AM
Big week for the Leafs, should the Jets make a big trade, Flames hire new coach, is Marc-Andre Fleury a fit in Calgary, Datsyuk disaster in Detroit, 10 years since Oilers went to the cup final, Vegas expansion confirmed, official expansion draft rules, 2016 mock draft, free agency and more in this week's Nation Roundup brought to you by Violent Gentlemen.
June 23 2016 06:07PM
Photo Credit: Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports
BUFFALO, NY – Despite efforts to move up in the first round of Friday’s National Hockey League draft, expect the Vancouver Canucks to head to the podium and use the fifth-overall pick they currently hold.
In a wide ranging question and answer session with the media at the team’s hotel on Thursday, general manager Jim Benning discussed his draft plans and revealed that he had made inquiries about working his way up the ladder and has fielded several calls about trading out of the fifth spot, too.
“We’ve tried to move up, but it doesn’t make sense for us to move up,” he said. “I like being in the five hole. The cost of the trying to move up for us isn’t worth it.”
June 23 2016 03:50PM
Photo Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern/USA TODAY Sports
In silly season terms, this is as silly as it gets.
Following up on reports from TSN's Bob McKenzie and Darren Dreger, the sitting general manager of a team in a huge Canadian market admits on the radio that he's called to inquire about a super-duper star playing in another huge Canadian market. Even if Canucks general manager Jim Benning admitted that a deal was "nowhere close", this is sort of news that can shake the host city in the lead up to the draft.
And indeed it has. As I write this, every media luminary in hockey is loitering around the Hyatt Regency lobby waiting for Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin to address the press. Benning's candid admission on TSN 1040 on Thursday has put the Canadiens executive in something of a difficult spot.
Will Bergevin duck the questions and give us some "people call about good players and the only reason they're calling about P.K. is that his no-trade clause kicks in on July 1" boilerplate? Or will he admit that his club is at least considering the possibility of parting with a perennial Norris Trophy candidate?
June 23 2016 03:00PM
The date was April 30, 2016 – a Saturday. Like many Canuck fans, I was huddled around the television watching as Bill Daly unveiled, in reverse, the order of the 2016 NHL draft. When it had become obvious the Canucks had dropped from the top three to their most likely pre-lottery position of fifth, I immediately moved to console myself with the knowledge that, historically, fifth overall has actually been a pretty decent position from which to select. If the Canucks had moved up to fifth from a lower position, instead of two spots down, I’m certain I would have been elated rather than disappointed.
June 23 2016 01:00PM
Lee Stempniak is as well-traveled an NHLer as you're going to find on the open market, having played for nine different teams in the span of his ten-year career. In spite of all that movement, he's quietly been a very effective producer of offence for the majority of his career.
After toiling away for a number of years as a bottom-six piece in Calgary, Pittsburgh, New York, and Winnipeg, Stempniak had something of a renaissance season in 2015-16. After joining the New Jersey Devils on a PTO, he would go on to lead the team in scoring for much of the season before being traded at the deadline for a third consecutive time.
After a brief period of relative obscurity, Stempniak's name will be back on the radar come July 1st. His production last season has earned him a sizeable raise from the cap hit of $850,000 he boasted in 2015-16, but he'll still be a relatively cheap option who should have plenty of suitors once free agency begins.