At 7:00pm tonight the official defense of the Stanley Cup begins for the Pens.
As soon as the New York Islanders, and all the teams that follow say.." And Congratulations to the Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins."
It is on.
After the jump Us and Rick take a look at every team and how we would run them starting with the draft.
Anytime you have the number one pick, there is massive pressure. It is a franchise changing type of thing.
It doesn't happen that often.
Where the Islanders are right now, they need an impact offseason. With the impending doom of their arena shit, they need to get some cash money, meaning they need people in the seats.
Short term that translates into taking Tavares. But we're talking long term here.
And that's why you draft Swede Victor Hedman.
Hedman makes your already somewhat nasty defense, a little nastier.
But we're not done. The Isle have 26 million dollars under the cap.
Once free agency starts, you go out an sign the Sedin Twins to 6 year 40 million dollar deals.
With still plently of room, maybe go after another top six forward in free agency. Within a week the Islanders become a player in the Atlantic Division.
Kyle Okposo is big time. And he is going to have a solid season. 30 Goals at least. That ain't bad. Doug Weight is mud, but Josh Bailey is waiting in the wings.
The Defense is actually solid in terms of the NHL. Mark Streit was maybe the best forgotten about signing last year.
In two years him and Hedman running your powerplay.
If DiPierto can actually stay healthy, all of sudden his 4.5 million against the cap, looks like gold.
If the Islanders take Tavares, the Lightning will take Hedman. He's exactly the sort of defenseman they need.
If the Islanders end up selecting Hedman, the Lightning may end up trading the second overall pick.
One team that desperately wants that second overall pick is the Toronto Maple Leafs. Brian Burke has been very vocal about this. Why would the Lightning trade their pick to the Leafs? Remember that Tampa Bay sent Olaf Kolzig, Jamie Heward and Andy Rogers to the Leafs at the deadline in what was essentially a salary dump. The Leafs did Tampa Bay a favor then so it's possible that Tampa Bay uses the draft to return the favor.
If Tampa Bay wants to dump more salary they could look to move either Ryan Malone, Vincent Lecavlier, Martin St. Louis or any combination of the three.
Here's what we do if we're Tampa Bay:
Trade Ryan Malone and the 2nd overall pick to Toronto.
Toronto would send their 7th overall pick, 50th overall pick (from NYR) and Luke Schenn to Tampa Bay.
Toronto would select John Tavares with the second overall pick.
Tampa Bay wouldn't be done at the draft however.
We would have them send the first round pick they just got from Toronto and either their second round pick (32nd overall) or Toronto's second rounder to Los Angeles in exchange for the fifth overall pick. With that pick they would select Luke Schenn's brother Brayden.
As far as free agent signings, the Lightning need defense.
The Lightning only have two NHL level defensemen under contract for next year (Andrej Meszaros and Paul Ranger.)
After moving Malone, they would have the cap space to pursue a free agent defenseman. They would love to have Jay Bouwmeester, but he likely wants out of Florida and would want to head to a contender. Philippe Boucher, Hal Gill or Rob Scuderi may be options for them as well, especially if they want to continue to to known as Pittsburgh South. Mike Komisarek could be an option as well. They would also have Luke Schenn and thus some of their defensive woes would be solved by that trade.
Colorado is actually in the best shape of the this draft. They don't have the pressure of taking Hedman or Tavares. Instead they can take everyone's big time pick Matt Duchene.
As far as the players on the team now, it is still a highly skilled team. They sit with about 10 million under the cap to play with, and have a decent top six.
Joe Sakic will most likey retire opening the door for a big time free agent.
But if we were them we would find a goalie. Now, granted the market is soft on goalies:
That is the top 25 in terms of last year salary.
Do you make a play for Manny Fernandez? Most likely not. But you have to do something.
Current goalie, Peter Budaj is restricted. But he sucks.
The Thrashers are more confused than the gay kid in "My So Called Life."
might go down as one of the worst GMs in the history of hockey. If he would have stayed the course, the Thrashers would no question be a force right now. He sacrificed everything to end up getting swept in 2007.
And the strangest thing is that they have drafted OKAY.
Look at their picks since coming into the league:
That isn't that bad. Other teams have done worse over a ten year span. Where Wadell
got in trouble was making bizarre trades to win now. It killed him.
So how does this team right the ship? It is the tougest case in maybe the entire NHL.
But this franchise can be salvaged.
First and foremost is Kovalchuk. He is their franchise player.
He is a free agent after next year.
Do one of two things. Extend him or trade him. That solves everything. Every minute they have wasted was a huge mistake.
Just go to him, and ask him if he wants to stay here. He says no. Trade him.
Who wouldn''t make that deal?
And it is a shame, because we already know what the Thrashers are going to do. They'll wait all summer, and midway through the season they'll deal him at half his worth. So dumb. Trade him this summer. There are plently of teams that would take his rather affordable 7.5 salary.
If he wants to stay, sign him to a 5-year 45 million dollar deal, let Byran Little develop a little more, draft Kane, and in a few years you'll have a decent team
How Don Waddel even has a job at this point is so unreal.
Thanks to a trade with Tampa Bay via Toronto, the Los Angeles Kings would have the seventh overall pick as well as two early second round picks.
The Kings need offense. Picking Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson seventh overall would be a good choice. In the second round they might be looking at the likes of Marcus Johansson, Stefan Elliott, Joonas Nattinen or Carl Klingberg to further strengthen their offense.
They also have the cap space to dip into the free agent pool. Marian Gaborik, Marian Hossa or Martin Havlat could be on their radar. So could Alex Tanguay, Alexei Kovalev, Petr Sykora or the Sedins.
Adding a solid defensive defenseman like Rob Scuderi or Hal Gill might be possible as well. If the reports are true and Jack Johnson wants out of LA he could be traded. If that's the case Los Angeles could see themselves with both another high draft pick and looking for another defenseman. They may even consider trading Johnson to the Thrashers for the right to draft Evander Kane and some spare parts from Atlanta.
Running the Coyotes right now is like being Bernie Madoff's banker.
They have an astounding 26 million dollars of cap room, which is more money than the team may be worth. We feel bad for the fans, and yeah there are some, that actually care about the coyotes.
When you look at there team, most of it is still under contract:
But what can you even do? No player in their right mind wants to sign there.
Whatever does end up happening, in a few years they will be in great shape.
Until then, barf.
Based on what we worked up before, they've moved up to select Tavares and traded for Ryan Malone, the Leafs are on the way to becoming a Brian Burke team.
With Pavel Kubina scheduled to become a free agent after this season the Leafs may consider moving him. He may even head to Tampa Bay or Los Angeles as part of their big three way trade.
The Leafs also have the cap space to sign some free agents as well. If we're the Leafs we play very aggressively with the free agent pool.
Jay Bouwmeester immediately comes to mind. Francois Beauchemin could be a possibility as well. Brian Burke may even make a play for the Sedins. He drafted them and clearly has a high opinion of them.
The Leafs will likely let almost every one of their free agents walk. They may wish to re-sign Martin Gerber to back up Toskala. No one on the Leafs roster is untouchable and thus anyone could be traded as the Leafs hope to rebuild quickly.
We would cut as many current players as possible, try to stock up on a few draft picks and dip into the free agent pool as often as possible. The Leafs have a ton of money. They would be wise to spend that money on coaching and scouting. There is no limit to the amount of money a team can spend on finding and training new players and thus the Leafs need to take advantage of that.
Dallas isn't that bad. With 14 million to spend in free agency, they're going to end up drafting a solid player like defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Being that their Defense is total crap they are going to be addressing that issue all summer.
A quick look at the best available defenseman:
Sign Mike Komisarek and maybe a jobber like Anton Babchuk =Playoffs.
What a mess. The Senators have like 50 cents under the cap. Dany Heatley
wants out, and they have no goaltending, and they are about to enter rebuilding.
But you can still make out very well and be somewhat competiive in a mini- rebuilding mode.
You do this.
Trade Heatley to the Blues, for Brad "Little" Boyes, a pick, and one of the Blues D prospects [Polak?].
Boyes is a 40 goal scorer, and he will replace Heatley.
We have no respect for Jason Speeza but, keep him around, and maybe use him as a trading deadline tool. Aflie is old, but still capable
The rest of the nucleus is fit to handle the rest.
Ottawa's draft day will shape the Eastern Conference picture big time today.
Pierre says the Oilers will draft Scott Glennie. So you know they won't.
David Staples nails it as usual in saying don't be to excited about this pick. [Cult Of Hockey
The Oilers are interesting. They have their entire team almost under contract and about 9 million dollars to play with.
We'd be taking a run at restricted FA goalie Karri Lehtonen. Why not?
Lehtonen never reached a decent level in Atlanta, but he is still young. The Oilers defense is good.
And we all know Kevin Lowe loves his restricted free agents/Dustin Penner fail.
[On The Forcheck
] says the Preds
will draft Jordan Schroeder. Which is good for hockey bloggers because we can make Ricky Schroeder jokes when he gets to the NHL.
The Preds have a lot to do. They have tons of free agents and they don't normally spend.
We'd go all in and sign at least two big time players. Martin Havlat and maybe Mike Cammalleri.
But they won't. They'll sign some boring players. And to their credit, it works. They usually make the playoffs every so often.
They also almost moved like 50 times,
Minnesota will be another team that is going to be in the middle of everything.
There are no worries who they are going to draft. The more interesting thing is are they going to resign Gaborik, trade for Heatley or do something else.
Being that they have really no one good enough to trade for Heatley, we're re-signing Gaborik. Can't let him walk. When healthy is the amongst the best in the game.
With a new system in place, the Wild have a real chance to actually not put people to sleep.
The Sabres have had two of the worst offseasons of all time in the last few years. And it is not their fault.
They lost Chris Drury and Joke Bierre three years ago.
They forgot to sign Brian Campbell two years ago and traded him for nothing.
Then Kevin Lowe drove up the price for Thomas Vanek, crippling them in the salary department.
They'll have 8 million to play with.
The Florida Panthers will likely lose Bouwmeester to free agency. They may attempt to trade his rights before July 1st in order to avoid him walking away for nothing. They could probably get at least third round pick for his rights.
The Panthers just barely missed the playoffs last season. Without Bouwmeester they will have even more trouble this year.
They will also have trouble luring marquee free agents to their team. Players like Mike Comrie, Alexei Kovalev, Steve Sullivan, Chad LaRose or Travis Moen could be on Florida's wish list.
Could care less what the Ducks do.
We had to work in a King of the Pop tribute in somewhere.
Columbus could use an offensive, puck-moving defenseman. If we're Columbus we make a serious attempt to sign Bouwmeester. Falling short of that, Darryl Sydor or Philippe Boucher would be on the list.
Also, if it doesn't look like Rick Nash will re-sign with the team after this season, Columbus may want to send some feelers out early to see what other teams would be willing to offer in a trade. We wouldn't necessarily trade him yet but we'd see what he's worth at this point.
If Los Angeles wants to trade Jack Johnson, Columbus may want to get in on that.
The Blues have quietly built themselves into a powerhouse of prospects. Big time year coming up for them.
If we can get Heatley for Brad Boyes, a pick and a prospect… Sold.
Didn't know they were fielding a team this year.
Scott Gomez made 8 million dollars last year?
We refuse to peview the Rangers for that fact alone.
Calgary ended up in serious injury and cap trouble at the end of the last season. They weren't even able to dress a full lineup for some games.
The Flames will want to add some low cost depth to their organization in order to prevent the same thing from happening this season. They may also want to look into acquiring a different backup goaltender. Mikka Kiprusoff played a ridiculous 76 games last season and he was responsible for all but one of Calgary's victories. Someone like Brent Johnson, Scott Clemmensen or Kevin Weekes may be on the Flames radar for next season.
The Flames will also have to decide whether they wish to re-sign Mike Cammalleri.
He is very talented offensively and he finished second in Flames' scoring last season. However, there are rumors that he has a bit of an attitude problem. If we're Calgary we trade his rights before the draft to gain an extra pick.
Calgary could also use a right winger. Steve Sullivan would be a good fit on the Flames.
Please trade for Jay Bouwmeester so Crosby can turn him into a statue six times a year instead of four. Jokes.
Most important Offseason of Vancouver's life. The Sundin thing was a massive failure. But if they sign Gaborik, re-sign the Sedin twins… holy balls.
The Devils don't need too much. Scott Clemmensen, Kevin Weekes or both may leave the team due to free agency. This isn't a big problem for the Devils as long as Brodeur is healthy. If he isn't healthy, the Devils could be looking for a capable backup. Ty Conklin, Mathieu Garon or Andre Raycroft come to mind here.
They will also need to decide what to do with their free agent forwards.
If we're New Jersey we re-sign Travis Zajac and John Madden. Brian Gionta will likely be let go unless he's willing to cut his $4 million by at least $500,000. Brendan Shanahan reportedly wants to play for one more year. If he does, New Jersey might give him a shot.
The Devils do need to get younger however, and thus trading for additional draft picks may help them.
Texas Ted has 10 million to play with. If we're running the Caps, we're going to Hossa. Why not? AO is great, but it is more than apparent that Semin isn't the sidekick AO needs. Caps will never get past the Pens with AO alone.
If we're Carolina we make signing Chad LaRose and Erik Cole to new contracts our priority. Cole has stated that he would like to remain in Carolina.
We also try to sign Hal Gill. He's the big body that Carolina needs to stand in front of Cam Ward. The Penguins showed weaknesses in the Hurricanes defense during the playoffs and Gill would help close those weaknesses. Re-signing Dennis Seidenberg would help as well.
The Hurricanes may have some issues with cap space. Cole may need to take a paycut to remain a Hurricane.
During the Stanley Cup finals, Mark Madden had a great interview with the Penguins PR man Tom McMillian.
McMillian was sharing a story about when the Penguins were drafting in the late 80's he learned the term "assets," from one of the Pens GM's at the time.
McMillian said the Penguins started to develop not only some players around 66, but some assets.
They turned these assests like Craig Simpson and others into Paul Coffey and Tommy B.
And referencing that, this is what the Penguins need to do more than ever now. They have to develop a stable of assets so, if and when they need to make a trade, they can pull some of these assets.
Lets face it. Whoever the Pens draft, they aren't ever going to be better than Geno or Bing. If they do somewhere, we're all in trouble.
Building around two massive contracts in this salary cap era has to be daunting.
Lets take a look at Shero's drafts:
Staal clearly made it. If you don't think so, he can't hear you, his Stanley Cup ring is stuck in his ear.
According to Hockey Futures, both Sneep and Strait are top ten prospects within the Penguins organization.
You can read both their profiles here:
Chad Johnson is rated 14 in the Pens system as far as prospects go.
Timo Seppanen is still property of the Pens. He plays in some finnish league.
Big time draft.
Espo was part of the Hossa deal, so that is a win.
Grant is the third rated player in the Pens system, Caputi 4th, Jeffrey 5th, 6th Pierro-Zabotel… you get the picture. It was a draft that we are going to start seeing results from shortly.
Pens had like no picks, but still all of these guys are hanging around on the prospects list from [Hockey Futures
] which ranks the Pens as a whole at 19th in the league:
Not a bad job by Shero in his first three drafts.
We're going to save the Pens free agents stuff for next week, but here is a compliation on what some mock drafts:
Some guy and Pierre picks:
Some other guy:
Just a programming note, Rick City will be doing a live blog for the draft tomorrow, so feel free to email him and shit with tips, and pics.
If he doesn't, whatev.