Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens swap buried contracts: Zack Kassian for Ben Scrivens

Cam Lewis
December 28 2015 12:02PM

There hasn’t been much going on in terms of transactions this season, but just hours after the NHL’s Christmas holiday freeze was lifted, the Oilers and Canadiens struck a deal, sending forward Zack Kassian to Edmonton and goaltender Ben Scrivens to Montreal. Both Kassian and Scrivens cleared waivers earlier on in the season, so the deal represents an opportunity for each player to get their respective careers back on track in a new environment. 

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The Trouble With Drafting Goalies

Kent Wilson
December 26 2015 04:00PM

(This article was originally published on August 14, 2008 on my now defunct personal blog. It stands as perhaps my most seminal piece so I wanted to re-share it here. To some degree, it explains the goaltender market and why teams have generally moved away from drafting puck stoppers in the first round. I have edited it slightly to remove overly dated references.) 

During my look at Sutter's draft history as the Flames GM, I commented that I was surprised the club drafted two goalies in a single year (Keetley and Lalande in '05). That and the preponderance of goaltending prospects the organization (the two above plus McElhinney, Irving and James Spratt) has got me wondering about goalies recently, in particular the draft/develop part. 

I've come to the shaky but ever strengthening conclusion that drafting goaltenders is just about a complete waste of time.

Bear with me. 

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Future Free Agent Profiles: Victor Hedman

Cam Lewis
December 26 2015 01:10PM

Steven Stamkos’ contract situation has been a huge soap opera all year in Tampa Bay. Does he want to stick around, or is he going to take the chance to bolt to Toronto and fulfill his childhood dream of playing for the Maple Leafs? Should they trade him, becoming younger and cheaper in the process, or keep him around for a playoff run, as they’re just a few months removed from the Stanley Cup Finals? What a headache. 

Thankfully the Lightning, once their franchise centre makes his decision this summer, things will quiet down and return to normal, right? Wrong. Along with Stamkos, Steve Yzerman is facing the task of coming up with new contracts for pretty much his entire team over the next couple of summers. The name at the top of that list is Victor Hedman, who’s established himself as one of the league’s best defencemen, and arguably Tampa’s most important player moving forward. 

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2016 Draft-Eligibles to Watch at the World Juniors

Shawn Reis
December 23 2015 09:08AM

With the World Juniors right around the corner, it's about time we start sizing up some of the teams and some of the players.  Today we'll be taking a look not at the Leafs prospects playing in the tournament, but the players that could one day ultimately end up being Leafs prospects.  Let's take a look at the best players in this year's World Juniors eligible for the 2016 draft.

CANADA

Canada is bringing a young roster to the World Juniors this year.  And yet as young as the team is, there's only one player on the roster that's actually draft-eligible: Val d'Or's Julien Gauthier.  The consensus 7th-best player for the upcoming draft as of right now, there's a lot to like about Gauthier's game.  He's 6"4'.  He has 29 goals in 30 games played in the QMJHL so far this season.  He's got 109 shots on goal in those 30 games.  He's got a strong combination of a myriad of different skills: he gets around the ice well for his size, he can handle the puck, he can dish it off to a teammate if that's the right play to make, and yes, he can really wire it.  All of these factors combine to make Gauthier a likely top ten pick next June, and he'll probably be the second Canadian to have his named called at the draft, just after Sarnia's Jakob Chychrun, who was cut during Canada's selection camp process.

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Jared Spurgeon is easily worth the four-year, $20.75 million extension from the Minnesota Wild

Cam Lewis
December 22 2015 07:00AM

Chuck Fletcher answered an important question that’s been surrounding the Minnesota Wild for months now by signing defenceman Jared Spurgeon to a four-year contract extension worth $20.75 million. The Wild now have the brunt of their defensive core locked up for the foreseeable future as Ryan Suter, Jonas Brodin, Marco Scandella, and now Spurgeon locked up until at least 2020. 

With the 25-year old Spurgeon set to hit RFA status this summer, the Wild were faced with either opening up the bank and adding him to an already expensive D group, or dealing him to another team for younger and cheaper assets. Clearly they view him as an integral part of the team’s future, as his cap hit will make him the 34th highest paid defenceman in the league next season.  So, was signing worth Minnesota’s money?

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