NHL Rumors VI: Penguins, Bruins and Maple Leafs

  • Will DePaoli of Insider Pittsburgh Sports: Penguins GM Jim Rutherford:

    “Some people came after me today and there’s ideas out there,” said Rutherford, per Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston. “I haven’t been throwing any ideas out, but I’ll listen. Obviously there’s going to be some new players there because just the position we’re in with the cap.”

    The Maple Leafs are said to be one of the teams that has checked in on James Neal. Rutherford doesn’t have a mandate to trade Kris Letang. Re-signing Matt Niskanen won’t be easy, but the likelihood of it happening would increase if they could clear some cap space out. Rutherford won’t bring in an enforcer to play two or three minutes. Upgrading their bottom-six is a priority, especially their bottom-three. Rutherford is comfortable with Marc-Andre Fleury in net.

  • Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Penguins GM Rutherford:

    “I’d prefer to [clear some cap space], but I’m not going to look at it as being ‘urgent,’ ” he said. “I’m not going to do it just to do it.”

    On their blueline:

    “We have to look at what we think we have as a top four or five,” he said. “If we get a comfort level with that, I’m not sure we have to bring anyone in right away.

    On trade calls:

    “Teams are going to be calling,” he said. “They always do. If we could get a little more grit up front to be able to be prepared for a couple of those teams in the East that are a little tougher to play, I may make a deal sooner than later.”

  • Joe Haggery of CSNNE: The Bruins are focusing on Jarome Iginla contract talks before they turn to their other free agents. Both sides are trying to close a deal. The Bruins have about $9 million for three forwards, two defensemen and a backup goalie. If/when they get Iginla’s deal done, they’ll turn to RFAs Matt Bartkowski, Torey Krug and Reilly Smith. Source said the Bruins haven’t had contact with pending UFA Shawn Thornton.
  • Jonas Siegel of TSN: Leafs GM Dave Nonis on the draft:

    “You’ve got a pretty good chance of getting a good player at eight or four,” he said. “For us to move up the price tag would have to reflect that fact.”

    “I wouldn’t say it’s a priority that we’re going to go for the most skilled player,” Nonis explained, “but I think the players that are going to be available in the top eight by and large are skill players so because of that fact there’s a good chance that’s what you end up with.”

    The Leafs have held preliminary talks with Dave Bolland. Nonis wouldn’t rule out the return of Mason Raymond, Nik Kulemin, Bolland and Jay McClement. Leo Komarov could be bought back at the right price.


  1. Chris

    06/12/2014 at 1:16 pm

    ““I wouldn’t say it’s a priority that we’re going to go for the most skilled player,”

    That’s the same strategy that has stocked the cupboards full of plugs like Biggs and Gauthier. This aggravates me beyond belief.

    The idea that you can draft big, strong guys and teach them skill and hockey sense is daft.

    It’s the opposite. You can’t teach a big, strong guy to be as skilled as Kopitar or Datsyuk; but you can make a guy who has Kopitar/Datsyuk type skill bigger and stronger VERY easily. Anybody can work out and eat right but very few people have high end skill at the NHL level…that is why those who do are called ‘elite’ ie. the best of the best. Why not draft people who have this characteristic?

    Keep it up Nonis. This is why I have face palmed myself at every single draft except 2012 and 2009 when you actually drafted for skill (and surprise surprise have two of your best young players to show for it).

  2. hotwings

    06/12/2014 at 3:29 pm

    you seem to be discounting reality in your logic Chris. Historically, the draft is full of players that just did not register on radar. It’s just the way it works. Drafting is not an exact science. Your statement that the clubs should “just draft elite players or have elite characteristics” is laughable and borderline autistic. The scouts have systems in place for measuring these players and obviously, if a player like Datsyuk falls so deep in the draft, then this just proves that drafting is never going to be an exact science, and people such as yourself who rant and rave about “simply” drafting elite talent are frankly mentally out to lunch.

  3. Chris

    06/12/2014 at 4:10 pm

    Yeah make fun of Autism. Real classy. Let’s make fun of people with cancer next. That would be hilarious.

    I know you have a tough time reading long passages but I feel like you really believe your specious arguments.

    In a hockey news article a few weeks ago Dave Poulin mentioned that their draft strategy was to take ‘safe’ players over flashy players. That’s why they picked Biggs instead of Jenner or Rackell. That’s why they picked Gauthier over Shinkaruk.

    Ken Holland went into detail in another hockey news interview where he said he specifically drafts for high end skill because of the reasons I mentioned. He addresses the Datsyuk issue by saying that it was part luck in that 29 other teams didn’t choose him for 6 rounds, but also part strategy because the idea is that if you draft 7 skill guys in a draft and if 1 works out then you have a top six forward or top four d man. The Leafs philosophy is that it’s better to have a 4th liner who works out than a 1st liner who doesn’t. Given the prices of 4th liners, this idea is stupid.

    In 2008 when the wings drafted Nyquist in the 4th round for his skill, the Leafs took ‘safe’ picks Luke Schenn and Jimmy Hayes in the 1st and 2nd for their size and physical prowess.

    In 2009 the wings took Tatar at the end of the 2nd round using their ‘skill’ strategy, while the Leafs used their ‘safe’ strategy to pick mediocre AHLers Jesse Blacker AND Kenny Ryan.

    In 2010 the wings again used their ‘skill’ strategy to pick Riley Sheehan at 21st overall and three others in that draft who have played NHL games. The Leafs used their ‘safe’ strategy to pick Brad Ross at 43 who spend time in the Marlies press box this year or in the ECHL.

    In 2011 the wings again employed their ‘skill’ strategy to pick Tommy Jurco, Xavier Oulett and Ryan Sproul all in the 2nd round. All have at least 1 NHL game to their credit. The Leafs? They picked Biggs and Percy in the FIRST round and are worse prospects than Leivo (an actual decent pick) who was picked in the 3rd round. Imagine coming out of that round with Jurco, Gibson, Oulette, Jenner etc AND Lievo?

    You can call it luck if you want and you’re right that most players don’t work out. But when Detroit consistently drafts NHL players, and players that end up being top six guys or top four guys, while the Leafs simply do not (after the 1st round anyway) you can’t simply call it a ‘coincidence’ Keep drinking the Kool Aid if you believe that but the reality is that the Wings don’t have garbage like Biggs, Devane, Knodel, MacWilliam, Barron Smith, Broll etc. in their system.

    You are entitled to your own opinions but not your own facts so if you think that drafting Gauthier using the safe strategy and then spending 5 years developing Gauthier into the 3rd line centre he has always been projected to be then by all means enjoy the Kool Aid but the Leafs abysmal draft record speaks for itself. If they changed their stupid strategy they’d have better results.

  4. Chris

    06/12/2014 at 4:34 pm

    I know it’s only a matter of time until you troll this comment and I don’t often check back so I’ll leave you with this if you don’t want to read one of my ‘rants’.


    This is Ken Holland’s interview. You can get somebody to help you with the big words.

    If you don’t agree with him that his strategy is why they draft so well then troll him. You obviously know a lot more about draft strategy than Ken Holland.

    Oh and my ‘ideas’ on draft strategy I have always attributed to Holland so I do not claim to have the answers but I CAN examine what GMs say and do and determine which ones work better than others.

  5. Matt

    06/12/2014 at 7:16 pm

    I Agee with what your saying Chris I think it’s also worth notin. That Detroit is one of the best at developing and making a prospect reach their full potential. They can only look so good though and with your poit need to draft guys that have one or two very good characteristics that stand out and they can make that player successful.

    Probably not worded the best but hope yea get what I’m saying

  6. EastCoastHockeyFan

    06/12/2014 at 7:25 pm

    @ hotwings, chris’s logic and reasoning are solid, he is not saying that the leaf’s are going to get a nathan mackinnon in the later rounds, what he is saying that out side of the first round the leaf’s have tended to aim for the safer bet to be an nhl player, but that usualy means big body projected bottom 6 players that have a strong chance of making the nhl instead of taking the gamble on a player with the skill set to be a top 6 IF they turn out, but lesser chance of making it. its the safe way to draft but low risk=low reward


    06/12/2014 at 9:37 pm

    Just thought I would play a little devils advocate here;

    Since Dave Morrison took over the head scouting the drafting has been pretty good with the limited picks that we have, when you go into a draft with 5 picks it forces you to make the safer option. I agree with everything that has been said, and that article is very interesting, but the drafting hasn’t been as damnable as is stated above. The returns we have had from limited picks has been great, the trading of prospects and picks for no return is where the failure is paramount.

  8. hotwings

    06/13/2014 at 2:14 pm

    Autism can also be used to describe scatter brained, nonsensical thinking.

    Sorry, but you seem to be in this constant dreamworld, where you constantly berate the Leafs and their draft picks, based on 20/20 hindsight. There were 29th other teams that missed picking later picks such as Datz, Zetterberg, etc…

    Also, on the topic of autism, you refer to Gauthier as a ‘plug’, yet this guy just got drafted 1 year ago and has been constantly described as a 2-way centre and not a one-dimensional plug. Maybe wait a few years before passing judgement, like some spastic autistic headcase.

  9. hotwings

    06/13/2014 at 2:24 pm

    “In a hockey news article a few weeks ago Dave Poulin mentioned that their draft strategy was to take ‘safe’ players over flashy players.”

    Again, don’t be so superficial. Use your brain a bit here Chris. Poulin’s quote can be read a number of different ways. Flashy and skilled are closely related words and characterizations, but they mean different things. Example: Zetterberg is skilled. Linus Omark is flashy. See the difference? Learn to use some logical reasoning in your interpretations of other people’s (Poulin’s) comments.


  10. EastCoastHockeyFan

    06/13/2014 at 2:33 pm

    hotwings, since 2000, toronto have drafted 105 players, out of those 105, 43 have played at least one nhl game
    out of those 43 there has been 4 that have been top 6 or top 4 players on toronto. afew of there picks have become top 6 some where else. but when you make the safe bet every time you end up with alot of 3 and 4 liners that play afew games in the leauge, and not alot of top line players, again its not that they dont draft nhl players, they dont take the risk to get the high end players