A look at the teams with the top picks and the potential players who could be selected, updates on the Coyotes and Devils, and more.
DENVER POST: Nathan MacKinnon, projected to go first overall in this year’s NHL Draft, has long been expected to become an NHL star.
MIAMI HERALD: The Florida Panthers expect to land a game-changing star with the second overall pick.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Tampa Bay Lightning also expect to land a potential young NHL star with the third overall pick.
THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators GM David Poile knows he’s going to get a good player with the fourth overall pick.
NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Russian winger Valeri Nichushkin, Swedish center Elias Lindholm or Canadian defenseman Darnell Nurse could be on the radar for Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford with the fifth overall pick. The Hurricanes, like all NHL teams, have invested thousands of dollars in scouting and evaluating the top prospects in this year’s draft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: MacKinnon, Seth Jones, Jonathan Drouin and Alexander Barkov are projected to be selected with the top four picks. Where they go in the order remains to be seen but it could be in the order I’ve listed. As for the Hurricanes, there’s talk they could trade their pick, perhaps for a top-four defenseman.
NEWSDAY: For the first time since 1968, the NY Rangers don’t have any picks in the first and second rounds. Those picks were dealt away in trades, most notable their acquisitions of Rick Nash and Ryane Clowe. The Rangers could try to trade up into the higher rounds.
TORONTO STAR: Peter Tingling, a business professor at Simon Fraser University, claims after years of analyzing NHL draft the idea some teams make better draft decisions than others is a myth. He concludes it ultimately comes down to guesswork.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe he’s right, though it seems some teams over the years have been better guessers than others.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: cited reports from TSN’s Darren Dreger the Phoenix Coyotes are close to re-signing goaltender Mike Smith to a six-year deal worth $5.7 million per season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Considering the uncertainty over the future of the Coyotes, re-signing Smith would be a significant move. Hopefully, we’ll find out more later day or in the coming days.
NJ.COM: New Jersey Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek is reportedly in talks an investment group led by attorney Andrew Barroway which could result in his selling the club to the Barroway group.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Vanderbeek sells the Devils to the Barroway group, the club won’t be relocated.
ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Dan Bickley suggests even if the Phoenix Coyotes aren’t moved, their fans won’t have any closure. An out-clause in the proposed arena lease agreement with prospective buyers Renaissance Sports and Entertainment means a five-year period of uncertainty would hang over the franchise.