2012 Hall of Fame Class

By Thomas Waind

2012 Hall of Fame Inductees: Pavel Bure, Mats Sundin, Joe Sakic and Adam Oates

Wow this is a very deep draft class! Everyone of the four players elected to the Hall of Fame  had fantastic careers that perfectly define what the Hockey Hall of Fame is all about. All four had a positive impact on the game with their excellence, leadership, influence and consistency.

Joe Sakic is a personal favourite of mine. The product of Burnaby BC is a proven winner, captaining the Avalanche to 2 Stanley Cups. He has also proven himself on the world stage taking a gold medal home from the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. It is said that he may have one of the most lethal wrist shots in NHL history and his 625 career goals would attest to that. “Burnaby Joe” is easily one of the best captains in NHL history and I am extremely happy for him.

Mats Sundin definately deserves this. He is the last Leafs captain to captain a team to the playoffs in 2004 and he was the first European to be taken first overall in a draft ever when the Nordiques took him in the 1989 draft. People have questioned his induction because of his failure to capture a Stanley Cup but if you look at his resume you will see he has led Sweden to three World Championships and an Olympic gold medal in the 2006 Turin Olympics. Sundin is a class act, true captain and a winner and being a Leafs fan I am ecstatic to see another Leaf in the Hall.

Although the critcs have doubted Sundin, I am more skeptical of the inductions of Oates and Bure. Don’t get me wrong both belong in the Hall. Oates is one of the best passing forwards of the 90’s racking up 1079 assists over a 22 season career where he wore the uniform of seven different teams. He was just named the new head coach for Washington Tuesday also. Great day for Oates.

Bure was one of the first of a wave of Russian snipers to break into the NHL and really put Vancouver on the map with his unreal scoring touch. Injuries shortened his career to 702 games but he stil managed 437 goals with five 50+ goals two of them he topped 60. A longer career would put him in the discussion of best scorers ever with The Rocket, The Jet and Super Mario.

In a ballot that included Brendan Shanahan and the late Pat Burns I  was surpried to see that both Oates and Bure made it. Shanahan is a proven winner with three Stanley Cup rings and an Olympic gold medal in the storied 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. Didn’t quite put up the same numbers as Oates and wasn’t the pure scorer Bure was, but has a better playoff and international track record than both combined.

When Pat Burns lost bis battle with cancer in earl 2010, the NHL lost one of the best coaches of all time. An all-time record of 501-353 with a Stanley Cup in 2003 Burns is one of the most winning coaches in NHL history. He coached for Montreal, Toronto, Boston and New Jersey until he retired in 2005. I thought Burns was a lock this year and if his family has to wait one more year for Burns to get the recognition he so rightfully deserves, then there is a serious flaw in the induction process. He is only 16th on all-time regular season wins but is 6th in all-time playoff wins. He would have likely still be coaching today if his life wasn’t cut short at the age of 58. Hopefully we’ll see his picture hanging in the Hall next year.

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2012 Draft Recap

By Thomas Waind

Top five in this year’s draft went:

1. Nail Yakupov Edmonton Oilers

2. Ryan Murray Columbus Blue Jackets

3. Alex Galchenyuk Montreal Canadiens

4. Griffin Reinhart N.Y. Islanders

5. Morgan Rielly Toronto Maple Leafs

Here are some of the most notable stories from this year’s draft.

Surprise, surprise Yakupov went first
There was no doubt in anybodies mind that Yakupov was going first. He put up numbers in the OHL that are comparable to former Sting member and 2008 first overall pick, Steven Stamkos. The only question going into the draft was if the Oilers would move the pick so they could get Ryan Murray in the top 5 or package it in a deal to acquire the coveted top 4 defenseman. But now that Yakupov joins Oil City the Oilers could potentially boast a top line of first overall pick with Hall (2010) and Yakupov on the wings and Nugent-Hopkins (2011) up the middle. Edmonton better start winning soon though because once their young core’s entry level deals run out, a Black Hawkesque decimation is imminent.

Leafs take Rielly no. 5
I am a huge Leafs fan so when the number five pick came around I was on the edge of my seat with anticipation. My first reaction when they took Morgan Rielly was disappointment because I thought Filip Forsberg would look good in the old blue and white. But the more I hear about the kid the more I like him. I’ve watched some of his highlights on youtube and first thing I notice is how fast he skates. He is an incredible skater and puck handler and probably the best available for skill blue liners in the draft. I think he may even have the highest ceiling of any defenseman in the draft, even Murray. Murray is by far the better defenseman now, but Rielly has the raw skill and strength that translates to an elite puck rushing defenseman like a Paul Coffey or Erik Karlsson. Skill set wise he reminds me a lot of current Leafs prospect Jake Gardiner. Leaf biases aside I do think that Rielly has the potential to be at least a top four defenseman if not greater.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biCYAX2AVxE

Staal Bros. unite in Carolina 
Just before the eighth pick of the draft the story of the night unfoldedIt was announced by some Bettman that the Carolina Hurricanes had traded the eighth pick, Brandon Sutter and Brian Doumolin. In return the Hurricanes got 2006 second overall pick Jordan Staal. This would give Carolina two of the four Staal brothers. I think this was a great trade for all parties involved. Pittsburgh got a great return of young talent and it frees up significant cap space for them to go after all star winger Zach Parise. Staal gets a chance to finally get out of Crosby and Malkin’s shadow and get top 6 minutes as he rightly deserves. He also gets the unique chance to play with his brother. The Hurricanes got a great two way center that is starting to hit the prime of his career who is a great penalty killer, will spend time on the power play and can put the puck in the net. There was no clear cut favourite in this trade as it was beneficial to both teams.

Other draft day trades
To Toronto Conditional 7th round pick To Winnipeg Jonas Gustavsson
To Tampa Bay Benoit Pouliot To Boston Michael Oullet and a 5th round pick
To Columbus Sergei Bobrovsky To Philidalphia 2nd round pick and two 4th round picks
To N.Y.I Lubomir Visnovsky To Anaheim 2nd round pick
To Washington Mike Ribeiro To Dallas Cody Eakin and a 2nd round pick
To Phoenix Zbynek Michalek  To Pittsburgh Harrison Ruopp, Marc Cheverie and a 3rd Round Pick
To Philadelphia  Luke Schenn To Toronto James van Riemsdyk

Biggest slide: Filip Forsberg

This guy was ranked as high as second overall and a sure fire top 5 pick. He has otherworldly skill and plays in Sweden’s top league, so it was a surprise to say the least that he dropped right into the laps of the Washington Capitals. Washington seems like a good fit with their deep pool of young talented European forwards that features fellow countryman Nik Backstrom. He could be the steal of the draft.

Biggest head scratcher: Mark Jankowski
Probably with the thinnest farm system in the NHL, Calgary was holding on to the 14th pick and looked to finally add a high level prospect to the system. Instead they traded down to the 22nd pick for a second round pick. But what I found was the head scratcher was that they chose Mark Jankowski, the youngest player in the draft who’s only opponents thus far have been high school students. It was a risky pick to say the least. I am all for Calgary getting the extra pick to stock the shelves but from a team that boasts draft busts such as Tim Erixson (23rd 2009 still a good prospect but waived by team), Greg Nemisz (24th 2008) to name a few, they should really focus on quality over quantity or better yet both.

For a complete list of 2012 draft picks visit http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=635936

2012 Draft Preview

By Jack Arnott

The 50th NHL Entry Draft will be held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania tonight at the newly constructed Consol Energy Center June 22-23, 2012. The rankings have been determined, and #1 prospect Nail Yakupov is set to go #1 to the Edmonton Oilers. But does Edmonton really need another young forward? They already have an influx of talent of front. With forwards like Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Sam Gagner and Magnus Paajarvi they don’t need any more gamebreakers. What they could use is a good defenseman, and that is where the confusion begins.

If the Oilers decide not go for Nail, who will they pick second?

Well if they do decide not to draft Nail, watch for them to trade down a pick or two where they will snap up a defenseman, and another team will take the skilled Russian sniper with the #1 pick. But who will be taken 2nd overall?

I believe that Ryan Murray has the potential to go 2nd overall. They key thing about Murray is that he is not risky pick. All the scouts that have seen him play believe that he will play in the NHL some day. However, it may be as a 3rd or 4th defensemen, they aren’t quite sure. He only recorded 31 points in 46 in the ‘Dub this season. Despite that, he is the surest pick in the draft and could be a mainstay on any teams blueline.

Another player that could be snapped up 2nd is Swedish forward Filip Forsberg. Already previewed on my blog, he blends size with skill and standing at 6’2 and 181 pounds, Forsberg only has room to increase his advantages. He lead a strong Swedish team with 4 goals in 5 games at the Ivan Hlinka tournament in the summer against players of his own age. Forsberg can also play a 200 foot game and would be a welcome addition to a team that needs some size up front.

Mikhail Grigorenko is forward that has an outside shot of being picked 2nd in the 2012 NHL Entry draft. The best prospect from the QMJHL challenged Yakupov for #1 prospect status for much of the season. He is another big player at 6’3, 200 pounds and seems ahead of his age group, recording 85 points in only 59 games in the Q. Known to take over games with his talent, the Russian factor will work against him and he may fall.

The real dark horse is Russian center Alex Galchenyuk.  After a season where he recorded 83 points in 68 games with in the OHL with the Sarnia Sting, he missed all but two regular season games this year due to a knee injury. Galchenyuk was drafted #1 in the 2010 OHL Priority Selection Draft and he has a tremendous amount of skill. Ranked at #16 by the International Scouting Service, a team that is looking to take a risk could hit it big with him.

https://dumpandchasehockey.wordpress.com/2012/06/22/2012-draft-preview/