Live at the NHL Draft

Friday June 26th, 2009

I will be filing news and notes from the draft throughout the evening.

• 11:30 p.m.: Things here at the Bell Centre have wound down now, and the trade waters, which had apparently been warming leading up to tonight's draft, went ice cold once things got rolling. Outside of the Chris Pronger deal, which was made before the first pick was made, things were predictable, almost boring. Why so quiet? Who knows? There were plenty of offers being thrown around all evening, according to almost every GM, but a. nobody wants to take on a big, long-term contract, and b. with the way the salary cap is looking to go, seems safe to say most are low-balling right now.

When all was said and done, we saw seven Swedes go, and not one of them went to the Detroit Red Wings! In fact, Detroit didn't pick at all, trading their 29th pick down to 32 to the Tampa Bay Lightning. But maybe the rest of the league is learning what the Red Wings knew years ago. The Swedes are pretty good hockey players. On that note, there was only one draftee from Russia, Dmitry Kulikov, taken by the Florida Panthers.

We also saw one son of a former NHL player go, but it wasn't Ray Ferraro's son, Landon, who was projected as a late first-rounder. Tim Erixson, son of former New York Ranger Jan, was chosen by the Calgary Flames at No. 23.

• 9:20 p.m.:Flyers GM Paul Holmgren took a few questions about the biggest trade to come into fruition thus far. Taking on Pronger's $6.25 million salary for next season means there will probably need to be a little cap finagling, but it'll only be for one year. Teams are a little weary about inheriting big, long-term contracts because of the uncertainty on where the cap will be next year, and Flyers Holmgren says they have enough room to fit Pronger in.

Joffrey Lupul is beginning a new contract for $4.25 million a year next season, and Luca Sbisa will make $875,000 for the next three years. That leaves them about $1.1 over. Take into account the cap will increase about $100,000, and that leaves them with about a million that they'll need to work out.

Mike Knuble, who made $2.8 million and scored 47 points last season, has yet to be signed, so this trade could mean he heads to the market.

8:20p.m.: Fans chanting "67" in honor of the year the last time the Leafs won the Cup. The crowd spontaneously started booing again when GM Brian Burke's face appeared on the video board. The camera caught him looking up at the board, and captured him realizing that the Montreal fans were booing him. He then looked down and shook his head. The Leafs drafted Nazem Kadri, a center from the London Knights.

8:10 p.m.: Matt Duchene settles for the Colorado Avalanche, though he's probably pretty psyched about that. He said he'll put his new draft jersey right between Patrick Roy's and Joe Sakic's, the two Avs jerseys he's got framed in his basement. A pretty interesting reaction from the crowd after Gary Bettman announced that Phoenix was on the clock. First were the grumbling boos, and then the chants of Ham-il-ton! Ham-il-ton!

7:24 p.m.: On the previous note, is reporting that the Ducks have traded defenseman Chris Pronger to the Philadelphia Flyers for Joffrey Lupul, Luca Sbisa and two first-rounders. Guess that takes the Bouwmeester idea off the table and adds a bit more girt. Flyers, gritty? Who would have thought.

7:22 p.m.: The Philadelphia Flyers, who made a big move --albeit unsuccessful --to pick up Florida Panthers defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, are still interested. They're attempting to clear some cap space to make way to bring the smooth skating blueliner to Philly. They could be in the market to give up a draft pick to get the exclusive rights to negotiate with him until he hits the free agent market July 1.

6:53 p.m.: The NHL draft is about to get underway, and so far, so hushed. The announcement that Scott Niedermayer is returning for next season means the Ducks will have to rethink some stuff tonight. Niedermayer, the British Columbia native, likely wants to keep things going considering that Vancouver 2010 is just around the corner. Otherwise, here's the early word on the rumor mill:

The San Jose Sharks have put captain Patrick Marleau on the block. They haven't gotten any legitimate offers for the 71-point scorer, but they're definitely listening.

There's also some chatter about the future of Tampa Bay forward Marty St. Louis. Though all the talk leading up to today seemed to revolve around his occasional linemate Vincent Lecavalier, word is the New York Rangers are sniffing around and potentially interested. For a team that has been lacking offensively, New York could definitely use an 80-point scorer on their roster. Their leading scorers this season, Scott Gomez and Nikolai Zherdev, finished the regular season with a dismal 58 points each.

Sources have told Newsday that the New York Islanders will draft Matt Duchene instead of highly-touted prospect John Tavares. If they do that with No. 1, it may go down as one of the worst moves ever. Duchene would likely be available at the second or third spot. And there will probably be a riot at the Isles' draft party in Nassau Coliseum...

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