Reaction over the top picks in the 2013 NHL Draft, updates on Kris Letang, Roberto Luongo, Tyler Seguin and Nino Niederreiter, and more.
DENVER POST: Terry Frei believes the Colorado Avalanche could regret not selecting defenseman Seth Jones with the first overall pick. The Avalanche selected Halifax Mooseheads star Nathan MacKinnon.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless the Avalanche are planning a significant move to bring in an established top-two defenseman this summer, I concur with Frei. Don’t get me wrong, I believe MacKinnon’s going to be an NHL star, but the Avs were already strong at forward and desperately need blueline depth.
If they don’t address this problem, the Avs will be an exciting offensive club next season whose defensive weaknesses will cost them a playoff berth.
MIAMI HERALD: David J. Neal believes Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon made a gusty choice in picking forward Aleksander Barkov over Seth Jones.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I was surprised at first by the Panthers pick, but upon reflection it’s an understandable move. The Panthers have two promising blueliners in Erik Gudbranson and Dmitri Kulikov, along with puck-moving veteran defenseman Brian Campbell. Barkov is considered a promising two-way center who should provide invaluable depth up front.
TAMPA TRIBUNE: Jonathan Drouin’s talent level proved too good for the Tampa Bay Lightning to pass up, selecting him with the third overall pick.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Having bought out Vincent Lecavalier and with Martin St. Louis pushing forty, this was a move the Lightning had to make. He’ll be St. Louis’ heir apparent.
THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators GM David Poile was thrilled Seth Jones was still available when it came time to make his pick. Poile, who considered Jones the best player in this year’s draft, selected the young blueliner with the fourth overall pick.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yes, he’s a defenseman and won’t address the Predators offensive needs, but he really was too good to pass up, and could blossom into a Norris-contending defenseman in a few years.
NJ.COM: With the fourth-last pick in the NHL Draft, Devils great Martin Brodeur selected his son Anthony Brodeur.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nice touch by the Devils trading to get that pick, then allowing Brodeur to make the selection. Brodeur was the only active NHL player whose son was selected in this draft, but several former NHL’ers, like Tie Domi, Sean Burke and Warren Rychel, saw their sons selected yesterday.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Rob Rossi reports the Pittsburgh Penguins and defenseman Kris Letang are still hammering out the details in his new eight-year deal worth $7.25 million per season. It’s believed Letang wanted an agreement from the Penguins not to trade him next summer, which the Penguins balked at.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t recall a contract negotiation falling through over a trade clause once term and dollars were agreed upon. I don’t expect this deal to fall apart now.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL: Eric Duhatschek wonders if Roberto Luongo will be able to reconnect with the Vancouver Canucks in the wake of the Cory Schneider trade.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Luongo has only two options. He returns to the Canucks or retires. The Canucks couldn’t move his hefty contract, which cannot be renegotiated, and ownership won’t buy him out. Play or quit. Those are his choices.
NJ.COM: Having acquired Cory Schneider from the Vancouver Canucks, the New Jersey Devils could buy out the remaining season of backup Johan Hedberg’s contract.
BOSTON HERALD: Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli confirmed he fielded trade inquiries for Tyler Seguin, though he would soon change his mind after Nathan Horton said he would test this summer’s free agent market. Chiarelli hopes the trade speculation will improve Seguin’s professionalism, which the GM found was lacking this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tough love from Papa Grizzly. It’ll be interesting to see if this provides the boot in the arse Chiarelli feels the 21-year-old Seguin needs.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher believes recently-acquired Nino Niederreiter is close to becoming a full-time NHL player.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Niederreiter was considered a top prospect not that long ago but he failed to crack the Islanders lineup the past couple of years. He could benefit from a fresh start in Minnesota.
NEW YORK POST: The NY Rangers have announced they’ve hired Ulf Samuelsson as an assistant coach.