Digging deep into the mail on a warm Friday morning ...
I like the Eight Belles line, Ian, but honestly, I'm not sure this was such a brutal deal for the Kings. Tukonen, the 11th overall pick in 2004, certainly has the better pedigree. The right winger has a pro build (6-foot-2, 200) and he's a demon in the corners and along the boards. That said, his hands have never really developed as the Kings hoped, and a series of injuries that seemed to cost him at least 20 games each of the past four seasons earned him the tag of being brittle. Add to that the presence of
The Stars, having lost
In Clune, the Kings get a smaller but feistier left wing with the potential to be a fourth line energy player, but a greater likelihood of spending his season in the ECHL. That should tell you all you need to know about Tukonen's value around the league, and why L.A. had no concerns about trading him to a divisional rival.
Depends who you ask. Canvass the picks, and you'll get 30 guys who think they're ready for the big time. Ask the general managers, and you might hear 10 names. Ask the coaches ... well, you get the point.
Although teams are more willing than ever to give a long look at their top picks, the odds are stacked against them, especially blueliners. Just four members of the 2007 first round saw action last season, and one of those,
But that may change this season with
While those three are probables, there's only one sure thing: top pick
Other forwards who are thought to have a chance to play this year are
In terms of impact? Give me Stamkos and Bogosian.
Ever since Aug. 9, 1988, I've learned never to say never about trade buzz, no matter how outlandish. All I can tell you with any certainty is that a rumor has made the rounds suggesting Kopitar would go to the Blackhawks,
Sounds crazy, but is it possible? Sure. Still, I'd be willing to bet the house against it happening.
Why? Well, multi-team deals are rare because they're notoriously difficult to pull off, especially in the cap era. And when they do happen, you almost never hear of them in advance.
And more to the point, this is a terrible deal for the Kings, who would be giving up their franchise forward for a journeyman goalie and a marginal second-pairing defender. It would set them back five years.
That said, I can see some of these pieces moving around this year. Khabibulin seems to fill a need in Ottawa, and Chicago would certainly like to clear his salary out of the crease after signing
Bottom line, if you've got a Kopitar jersey, I'm betting you'll be able to wear it to home games next season, and for many years to come.
It's a good question, Adam, and one that might have been answered differently under different circumstances. I tend to agree that this type of patch job is more damaging in the long run because it leads to both mediocre finishes and mediocre drafting positions. But the thing is, the new ownership group clearly wasn't of a mind for a long, drawn-out rebuild, especially with two key players,
And there's method to their madness: the Lightning think they have the players in the system who one day will be able to step into key roles. All they needed were some gap fillers, guys like
I had more than one source tell me that there was almost no chance Miller would re-sign with the Sabres because of the team's growing reputation for not taking care of its players, so this has to feel good for Buffalo's fans to keep one for a change. I think this season is looking a lot less stressful for their die-hard supporters than it otherwise would have. Given the team's inability, or unwillingness, to sign a number of key free agents over the past few years, the Miller situation would have been a significant distraction if not addressed as early, and as successfully, as it was.
As soon as they take care of
As for the thoughts of Miller playing out the season before heading to Detroit, well, I'm sure there were those in that organization who were, ahem, aware of Miller's contract status and his ties to the state that might have made the Wings an intriguing long-term employment opportunity. But now they'll have to look elsewhere for their goalie of the future.
A tip of the cap, Ryan. Thanks for correcting my mistake.