Top Line: Hall of Fame debate; NHL free agency scraps; more links

Tuesday July 9th, 2013

Scott Niedermayer is likely to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2013. Defenseman Scott Niedermayer looks like the lone shoo-in for the Hockey Hall of Fame this year. (Kyle Ericson/AP)

By Allan Muir

An annotated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:

James Mirtle examines the field for this year's Hall of Fame class. He hits most of the potential honorees, but overlooks one I think should be a no-brainer.

Two ex-Red Wings should earn admission to the Hall of Fame on Tuesday. And I'm right there with Helene St. James on pick No. 4.

• Look, we get it. The Senators are still curled up in the corner, eating Ben & Jerry's by the pint and listening to Taylor Swift songs after being dumped by Daniel Alfredsson. But this is freaking ridiculous.

• So maybe Mark Messier wasn't kidding when he said he had good reasons for leaving the New York Rangers.

• Here's an in-depth look at the challenges and opportunities expected to come with the move of the New York Islanders to Brooklyn.

• You say you like charts and graphs? And you like rubbing numbers in the face of your Maple Leaf-loving friends? Then, brother, are you going to love this piece detailing why the David Clarkson signing was a brutal mistake by Toronto.

David Staples knows just what the Oilers need ... and how tough it will be to get it.

• The Oilers are hoping for a bounce-back year for one of their top prospects.

Milan Hejduk wants to keep playing. The Colorado Avalanche are ready to move on. Looks like we could have another awkward "He doesn't look right wearing that sweater" situation ahead of us ... but honestly, the way he played last season, Milan may have to head overseas to find a team that's willing to take him on.

Terry Frei has some promising thoughts on the credibility of the Avalanche in the Denver market. Amazing how quickly the team has emerged from the wilderness after putting its fate in the hands of some actual hockey people.

Ryan McDonagh is ready to reward the Rangers for the confidence they showed in him during contract negotiations.

• Here's a look at the scraps left on the free-agent table. Not a lot of meat left on the bones, eh?

• Though honestly, Mikhail Grabovski might be able to help somebody ... at the right price, of course.

Kent Wilson talks Nate Silver, "the winner's curse" and NHL free agency.

• While one forward couldn't wait to leave Winnipeg, another can't wait for the chance to fly with the Jets.

Justin Bourne details the steps a prospect takes from draft day to training camp. Nope, it's not all handshakes and photo ops.

• Washington GM George McPhee might want to point to that story when he explains why he is avoiding free agency as an option to replace Mike Ribeiro and Matt Hendricks.

• Looks like the Devils may be going heavy on the enforcers next season.

• Here's the biggest challenge facing Claude Giroux ... and it's not rebounding from a sub-par year.

• Judging by what this kid has shown so far in prospect camp, Philly may have unearthed a gem from Columbus' scrap heap. Hard to believe a team so desperate for offense let him slide.

Bill Meltzer argues that maybe the Flyers' system isn't the developmental graveyard for defensemen it used to be.

Two generations of Bertuzzis
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