November 08 2016 12:00PM
Let's quickly review the rules for the upcoming NHL expansion draft. One specific rule, actually:
All first- and second-year professionals, as well as all unsigned draft choices, will be exempt from selection (and will not be counted toward their club's applicable protection limits).
Brett Kulak played his 2014-15 season in the ECHL, AHL, and NHL. He played his 2015-16 season in the AHL and NHL. He is playing his 2016-17 season - his third professional year - in the NHL.
It does not matter how many games Kulak plays this season. Kulak could be sent to Adirondack and play the rest of the year there and he would still be eligible to be taken in the expansion draft unless he is specifically protected. He is not a part of any exemptions, just as Emile Poirier and Hunter Shinkaruk are not.
The Flames will meet player exposure requirements with him or without. They have no impact on Kulak's status as a third-year pro.
And the way things are currently going, he could be the most interesting story on the Flames this year.
November 08 2016 10:00AM
Morgan Klimchuk will always have big boots to fill. Being the guy who was traded for Jarome Iginla, he has most often been the butt of the joke that was post-apex Jay Feaster management.
While Sean Monahan dazzled in the NHL and Emile Poirier was lighting lamps in the Q, Klimchuk plodded along in the Dub. He probably was the least impressive of the 2013 first rounders, struggling to find his place among the WHL's best. At the same time, Monahan was scoring 60 in the NHL and Poirier was being named an AHL all-star in his first year of pro. His unimpressive WHL stint turned into a disappointing AHL stint, with nine points in 55 games during his first full try in the league. Many, probably everyone, thought he was done.
That's why it's such a shock to see people clammoring for him to be called up, or to have no choice but to acknowledge him as one of the best prospects in the organization right now. Morgan Klimchuk has broken last year's records for points and goals in 48 fewer games. How did he turn the corner?
November 08 2016 07:36AM
Over the past four or five seasons, I've been a pretty harsh critic of Tyler Bozak. I've frequently argued that he was a poor player propped up by playing with one of the league's most dynamic wingers, and that if it weren't for Phil Kessel, Tyler Bozak would score very few points in the National Hockey League.
Despite my criticisms, Bozak has continued to put up points since Kessel was traded to the Penguins, and I think it's time for a re-assessment of Bozak's play. Let's take a look at how we got to here, and what the evidence seems to say today.
November 07 2016 06:53PM
Yes, that's a scary title. Don't worry though, "Tank Nation" isn't back on. No need to panic, Leafs fans.
November 07 2016 04:00PM
The Vancouver Canucks opened the floodgates against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. At least in a relative sense.
While the three goals Vancouver scored on Saturday may not seem like much, for a club so goal-starved as the Canucks, it probably meant the world. The Canucks, as I'm sure you know, are off to the worst offensive start in franchise history, averaging just over 1.5 goals per game. For context, there isn't another team averaging fewer than two.
It's safe to assume that the Canucks are likely to suffer these ills going forward, too. Even with the added caveat that positive regression is inevitable. They're going to get their fair share of bounces eventually. Whether they can convert on enough of their chances to beat the opposition on a regular basis is another thing entirely.