|06.24.10 at 6:28 pm ET|
Edmonton general manager Steve Tambellini said that his Oilers, who are the owners of the top overall pick in Friday night’s NHL draft, have nearly reached a decision on whom they will select in Los Angeles.
“We’re close,” Tambellini said. “But we haven’t formally sat down as a group and said, ‘This is who we’re taking.’ ”
The Oilers have Windsor Spitfires left wing Taylor Hall and Plymouth Whalers center Tyler Seguin to choose between. Seguin is the top-ranked player according to the NHL Central Scouting Bureau, but many believe the gutsy winger Hall will come off the board first after an electrifying Memorial Cup performance.
With the Bruins picking second, general manager Peter Chiarelli has been in contact with Tambellini about a potential deal that would send some sort of compensation to Edmonton in order to assure Boston’s preferred player will be available to them. The top two picks would not actually be moved in such a deal.
|06.24.10 at 5:20 pm ET|
TSN is reporting the Panthers have been actively shopping the 15th overall pick, which was the centerpiece of the package sent to them from the Bruins in exchange for forwards Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell. Darren Dreger of the Canadian sports outlet reports the pick is “most definitely in play” and that Oilers have been in contact with the Panthers, as they have been seeking another first-rounder to go along with the top overall pick in the draft.
Dreger says a potential deal might not happen until during the draft and that the Flames and Maple Leafs could also be interested.
|06.24.10 at 4:08 pm ET|
All indications out of California say that Bill Zito, the agent for Tim Thomas, has been cleared to talk shop with other teams regarding a new home for the goaltender. The story was first reported by TSN and it makes all the sense in the world, given the Bruins’ tight salary cap situation and Thomas’ $5 million cap hit for the next three seasons.
It is unknown which teams may be in on Thomas, though the Lightning have been rumored to be one of them. A source told WEEI.com earlier this week that the Flyers were not among those interested. Thomas’ no-trade clause doesn’t figure to be an issue in a potential deal, as the ’08-’09 Vezina winner’s ultimate goal is to start, which he wouldn’t do in Boston due to Tuukka Rask‘s stranglehold on the job.
|06.24.10 at 12:49 pm ET|
The Bruins and would-have-been unrestricted free agent defenseman Johnny Boychuk have agreed to a new deal to keep the defenseman in Boston. Multiple outlets have reported it’s a two-year deal worth around $3.75 million. The deal was first reported by the New England Hockey Journal.
Boychuk had a breakout year for the Bruins last year, chipping in 15 points. He highlighted the campaign with strong play in the postseason. He was on the ice for just over 26 minutes per game, trailing only Zdeno Chara, and blocking 39 shots in 13 games. He added six points.
“He made great strides this year,” Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli said in Marina Del Ray, Calif., where the NHL draft will take place on Friday. “He was patient before he got into the lineup, he learned our system, he’s got a dimensional shot, he competes, he’s got size, but the biggest thing that I saw was that he improved from being the defenseman of the year in the [AHL] to being maybe our seventh [defenseman] to start [while] patiently waiting to learn along the way. We have a very good defensive system and Johnny has picked it up and showed improvement while he is in the lineup. He’s a good kid and he’s still young.”
Boychuk didn’t have much of a desire to test free agency, he told reporters in a conference call. Though the ride from forward, to defenseman, to the NHL, to being a healthy scratch, to playing, to being on the top pairing in the playoffs was a bit hectic, returning to Boston was his priority.
“I was thinking about maybe going to free agency and seeingwhat was out there, but when I looked around the league, I knew what kind of position I’d be in,” Boychuk said. “Just to come back to Boston to a great coaching staff that we have there and I know a lot of the guys.
“It made it a lot easier decision knowing that we would have all these people back in boston, so that was the main factor that tipped the scale for me.”
As for his role, he anticipates being a more regular contributor with the recent trade of Dennis Wideman to the Panthers in the Nathan Horton deal.
“When they moved Dennis, obviously it maybe makes an opening for me to maybe jump into the top four and play little more minutes than being a five or six guy,” Wideman said. “When they moved him, it kind of just maybe sent a message to me saying ‘You’d better be ready to be a top four guy.’ And even if I’m not, I want to play like I am.”
Boychuk’s new deal, which carries a $1.87 million cap hit in each of the next two seasons, leaves the Bruins with $5,723,690 in cap space. Notable contracts still to be tacked on include Taylor Hall/Tyler Seguin (anticipated $3.75 million), and Mark Recchi, should he return.
Graig Woodburn contributed to this report from Marina Del Ray, Calif.
|06.24.10 at 6:41 am ET|
Craig Ramsay, who was an assistant coach for the Bruins the past three seasons, will be named head coach of the Thrashers, according to ESPN.com. Ramsay, who spent his entire 14-year NHL playing career with the Sabres, also has served as an assistant coach for the Sabres, Panthers, Senators, Flyers and Lightning. He had brief stints as head coach of the Sabres (21 games in 1986-87) and Flyers (25 games in 1999-2000 and 28 games in 2000-01).
|06.23.10 at 5:48 pm ET|
The Blackhawks made a big step towards fixing the disaster that is their salary cap situations on Wednesday. According to reports from ESPN and TSN, the Stanley Cup champions shipped winger Dustin Byfuglien (he of a $3 million cap hit), defenseman Brent Sopel ($2.3 million), restricted free agent Ben Eager, and prospect Akim Aliu to the Thrashers for the 24th overall pick (which they acquired from the Panthers in the Ilya Kovalchuk deal) and forwards Marty Reasoner and Jeremy Morin.
The Blackhawks had entered the day with just $1.8 million in cap space according to CapGeek.com. The salary cap for the ’10-’11 season will be $59.4 million after the NHLPA exercised a five percent inflator clause on Tuesday. The deal was announced by both teams early Thursday morning.
|06.23.10 at 5:16 pm ET|
Courtesy of Oilers_Travels and retweeted by the Oilers, here are a couple of pictures of top NHL prospects Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin taking batting practice at Angel Stadium. The two are in town for the NHL draft on Friday night.
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