As Usual, NHL Teams Give Fans Reason to Buy Programs
No league likes rolling the roster dice like the NHL does.
Edmonton did what everyone thought they would do, taking Connor McDavid with the first pick. Not even Liam Neeson could stop it:
Then, first year General Manager Peter Chiarelli added another young player, getting Griffin Reinhart from the Islanders, defenseman Eric Gryba from Ottawa, and then getting Rangers' goalie Cam Talbot. It's long past time for the Oil to make a move; maybe it's finally happening.
Meanwhile, in Beantown, Chiarelli's replacement is having a field day dismantling his predecessor's club. Former player Don Sweeney had better know what he's doing, dealing away fan favorites Dougie Hamilton and Milan Lucic as well as center Carl Söderberg.
According to Sweeney, it came down to dosh:
Those moves resulted in Boston winding up with three straight picks in the first round, the first time in NHL history that's happened. With the Bruins not making the playoffs last season and coach Claude Julien on the hot seat going into 2015-2016, no one can predict what will happen in Boston this winter.
Putting it mildly, the New York Rangers have come close to hoisting the Cup the past two years, and now, two players who figured prominently -- Carl Hagelin and Cam Talbot -- have been traded. As with the Boston moves, salary cap restrictions were the cause.
Sometimes, a team's gotta do what a team's gotta do.
Hagelin went to Carolina, with the Rangers getting back rugged forward Emerson Etem while Talbot only got draft picks back. Talbot, who many say saved the Rangers' Presidents' Trophy season when star goalie Henrik Lundqvist was out for over a month with an injury, should step in and be a steady influence for the Oilers. The Rangers did pick up a back up goalie, Antti Raanta, from Chicago, for a minor league player, Ryan Haggerty.
Other goalies who moved and may help their new teams are:
The Sabres also made a splash with their second pick, another no-brainer in Jack Eichel from Boston University:
That is, if he signs. But it's hard to believe he wouldn't.
The Sabres also traded for Ryan O'Reilly, a forward who can score. New coach Dan Bylsma is hoping to make a splash in Buffalo after success in Pittsburgh, the Sabres' fans are starving for a winner, and General Manager Tim Murray has them going in the right direction.
Now, the next level of fun starts. Free agents will be pulling up stakes all over the league this week. Money will be the motivator, as will -- to a lesser extent -- the need for speed. Chicago and Tampa Bay set a breathtaking pace in the Final, and it didn't go unnoticed.
Apparently, the Rangers think they've got it to burn.
And the Kings are about to see much more of it this coming season.