2008 NHL Draft and Off Season

A slower day in sports today so I want to look back at the NHL Draft and look ahead to the off season. I consider myself an NHL fan (a Boston Bruin fan to be precise), but I cannot say that I followed the draft very closely. I can tell you that the Tampa Bay Lightning chose center Steven Stamkos number one and that the Bruins drafted center Joe Colborne number 16. I can tell you that after Stamkos, the next four players chosen were all defense man and that 12 defense man were chosen in the first round. I can tell you that the tallest player taken in the first round was Tyler Myers by the Buffalo Sabres (12th pick).

If you want me to start analyzing individual picks, don’t get your hopes up. Most players in this draft will not be in the NHL for years to come, whether they are going to college or playing overseas. However, the top picks in the draft will look to make a difference next year. Stamkos will make the Lightning better immediately and the four defense man chosen after that should all have impacts on their respective teams next year.  Almost none of the playerstaken after the top five will see NHL ice time next year. With that in mind, it is extremely difficult to grade teams in the draft. Not just are most players not ready for the NHL and will spend a couple years getting better, but it is tough for NHL general managers to predict their respective team’s needs years in advance. So I am sticking away from grading each teams. I can barely grade my beloved Bruins. I have mixed feelings over picking Colborne. He is a talented player with great upside, but from what I’ve read, he may be too soft for the NHL. I guess Bruins management (and their fans) are hoping his time at Denver University will toughen him up. Continue reading “2008 NHL Draft and Off Season”

Let the Off Season Begin

As the NHL off-season begins, teams have been quick to jump on marquee free agents, especially the New York Rangers. On the first day of free agency, Glen Sather (GM of the Rangers) signed Scott Gomez and Chris Drury to a seven-year, $51.5 million deal and a five-year, $35.25 million deal respectively. Both are tremendous players with Stanley Cup experience and will make a huge impact immediately. These two terrific acquisitions make the Rangers a favorite for the Stanley Cup next year. Yet, the amount of money and the length of these contracts are astounding. Gomez had 60 points last year, and is entering his prime, but the Rangers are going to be paying for a long time. For over seven million a year, Gomez better have a phenomenal season. The same can be said for Drury who is also making over seven million dollars a year for the next few years. Whether the money is worth it or not, both Gomez and Drury will make huge contributions to the Rangers next year. Though their defense may have its holes, the offense does not as New York now has two of the game’s premiere centers to accompany stars Jaromir Jagr and Brendan Shanahan (if they re-sign him). That has to be considered the best offense in the NHL. With Hendrik Lundqvist in between the posts, this team looks like the top of the league going into the 2007-2008 season. Continue reading “Let the Off Season Begin”