Kuba Worth Considering?
First off good luck to Ken Hitchcock, David Backes, and Doug Armstrong at tonight's award show.
There’s no question the phones are heating up as the NHL draft nears and rosters begin to form moving into next season. NHL coaches and Executives I speak with tell me they’re going about their business as usual and assume the season will begin on time.
While nobody truly knows the direction the labor negotiations will turn I wouldn’t recommend setting aside time to attend pre-season games in the fall. At the very least it appears the start of training camp will be delayed. I’ve had some prominent people on the NHLPA side suggest the lockout will extend as far as American Thanksgiving but again I stress, nobody truly knows at this point. We can only hope the season starts on time.
In the meantime there are some players making headlines with Pittsburgh’s Jordan Staal taking some of the attention away from Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.
Sources tell me Staal has indicated to GM Ray Shero that he will not be re-signing with the club once his contract officially expires. Staal has one year remaining at $4million. This would not fall in line with what Shero has stated publicly although it certainly gives him some leverage by suggesting he has no plans of moving his third best center. Again take most of what you hear publicly this time of year with a grain of salt. There’s nothing for Shero to gain by telling reporters Staal has told the team he will not re-sign.
There’s no urgency for Shero, who I personally respect as much as any GM in the game today, to move Staal now. There’s plenty of time for that decision to be made as his value will remain high at the trade deadline or even after next season. A player like Staal would be tough for Pittsburgh move at the deadline assuming they’re in position to contend. Might be hard to cut the cord with one of your best players just before the playoffs.
Sidney Crosby made it through the playoffs concussion free but there’s always a level of uncertainty when you’re dealing with head injuries. You better make sure your best player is fully healthy and doesn’t suffer any setbacks before you turn your back on a player as skilled as Staal.
Carolina GM Jim Rutherford has been rather vocal in his attempt to land a top offensive player. It’s rather obvious Staal is at the top of his list. Sources close to Staal tell me he would love nothing more than to land in Carolina or New York and play with one of his two brothers currently playing in the NHL.
Wouls Filip Kuba Look Good in St.Louis?
When you consider soon to be free agent Filip Kuba mentored Erik Karlsson and his 78 points this season it only makes sense to assume he could be a solid addition to play with Alex Pietrangelo. The Blues obviously have a need on the left side and Kuba is a veteran guy with a track record of excelling with young players. Karlsson recently credited the Czech native with his recent success and he’s an option worth considering. Kuba is an interesting, under the radar guy who can play the PP, PK, and play north of 20:00 minutes. He played about 23:00 minutes per game this past year while leading the team in shifts. He’s been a big part of teams led by some great coaches when you consider Jacques Lemaire, John Tortorella, and Paul MacLean. Kuba is a consistent 30 point player who is relatively durable at 35 years of age. He missed nine games last season with a shoulder injury and the team struggled going 3-6 during that time.
Sources suggest Kuba would be willing to sign a shorter term contract with a playoff team although it might take $4 million a year to get a deal done. Is that too much for the Blues?
Any Bite Left in the Bark?
If you re-did the 2004 NHL draft it’s doubtful Cam barker would be taken third overall. Then again Marek Schwartz wouldn’t go 17th overall either. Can he still play? Those close to him obviously suggest he still has untapped potential. A torn tendon in his ankle derailed his season last year and he never seemed to recover. Will a team take a chance? One NHL Exec tells me he may need to change his work habits off the ice.
Chorney on Radar?
The Blues didn’t want to lose Taylor Chorney to waivers last season but obviously couldn’t do much about it. I won’t be surprised to see him land back in the organization this summer. He was only with the club for a matter of weeks before Edmonton snatched him back off waivers when the Blues tried to sneak him through.
What’s the story with Dave Allison?
The recently hired coach in Peoria has been scouting with Pittsburgh and by all accounts is a great guy. He’s been living in Des Moines, Iowa right in the heart of USHL country. Those who have played for him, and it’s been a while when you consider he hasn’t coached since the 07-08 season, say he’s a very intelligent, well rounded individual. He’s known to quote Shakespeare, Einstein, or Herb Brooks. He’s a guy that cares about his players, loves to teach, and forms a bond with his players. Welcome to the organization Dave!
The Blues have sent qualifying offers out to T.J. Oshie and David Perron along with AHL players Brett Sonne, Jay Barriball, Anthony Peluso, and Jori Lehtera.
Yes it’s a down year for the NHL draft. Much of this has to do with the crazy amount of injuries to some of the top prospects available. We’re talking significant injuries too. The draft also lacks some depth which is why you’ll see plenty of trades made during the actual selection process.
There’s talk of Montreal and Edmonton flipping spots although many suggest the Oilers will hang on to the pick. They’re not too shabby at picking number one as they have plenty of practice. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad.
There’s a chance we see three goaltenders taken in the first round….I believe that’s a record and what does that say about the draft?
Word is Columbus will not take a Russian with the second pick as they’ve already been burned before. Swedish prospect Filip Forsberg is a strong possibility here.
There’s a very good chance we don’t see a Canadian forward taken in the top 10….how often does this happen?
Next year’s draft is considered very strong which is why the smart organizations will look to load up 2013 picks. With that being said the teams that do their homework and research will find some gems in this draft.
Some believe KHL forward Nikita Gusev is a forward worth taking a shot on. He’s been passed over the last two years but has put on some size and is coming off of a strong World Junior Championship. He’s a goal scorer and could be on Tampa bay’s radar as they have some players in their system who have played with Gusev in the past. Could he sneak into the first round?
More to come,
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