With all of the picks coming on one day (Sunday), this year's NHL Draft will be more condensed than the usual Friday-Saturday pomp. Apparently it won't lack for rumor and drama, though.
Saturday has seen a foray of reports from actual hockey reporters (not just Twitter parrots and hucksters) about the trade and free agent conversations going on behind the scenes.
However, one development is official and fully public: Nathan Horton's agent has told multiple reporters that the Bruin winger wants to hit the free agency market. Horton hitting the market isn't too much of a surprise given the Bruins' constrained cap situation, but the player striking first and essentially drumming up demand for himself in advance is certainly news.
Like most UFAs, Horton's apt to get overpaid; he had a somewhat fortunate playoff (goals went in for his line at a higher rate than normal) and there is some question about how the major concussion from two years ago has affected him.
In less overt scuttlebutt:
- Also with the Bruins (and their cap situation), apparently they're listening to offers for Tyler Seguin.
- Dallas is among the teams "keen" on Vincent Lecavalier. In that report Pierre LeBrun says 15 teams have called, with Vinny set to cut that list down.
- This headline applies to any year since 1989: Sources: Finding goalie still Flyers' primary focus
- LeBrun's report, which is chock full of info on most of the topics here, also says the Flyers are shopping Braydon Coburn.
- Suddenly the Vancouver Canucks are considering moving Cory Schneider? This would make sense -- and has ALWAYS made sence since Schneider can retrieve something in a trade while The Roberto Luongo Contract probably cannot. It's just odd that the Canucks have gone two years pretending that this wasn't an option, and now it might even be too late since some think Luongo wants out regardless. (Oh, and yes the Isles have been linked to these Schneider talks, just as they were linked to the Luongo talks before they weren't and then they were.)
- This is how nhl.com views each team's needs at the draft. Skilled wingers is no shock for the Isles.
- Apparently the Wild have been shopping Cal Clutterbuck "all week." What a cluster. They are also trying to deal Tom Gilbert or else buy him out. And sticking with the Wild, Pierre-Marc Bouchard is going to walk, Agent Allan Walsh advertises.
- Manny Malhotra, shut down by the Canucks because of his eye, met with "a group of teams" in New York to shop his services.
- Sam Gagner is talking to the Oilers about a long-term extension.
We'll have more around here, particularly if major news breaks, leading up to the draft. Also look for the usual draft day coverage.
To prepare, here's a sampling of players who might be around at 15 if the Islanders luck out. And here are two sort of industry consensus quasi-mock drafts, from TSN's Bob McKenzie and Hockey Prospectus' Corey Pronman.
(I should note that neither is a straight-up "mock," with McKenzie's always doing a ranking based on how teams would pick if they selected strictly on consensus "best player available."
The draft begins at 3 p.m. EDT, with U.S. coverage on NBC Sports Network. The Isles draft table is set.
Here is the order for the Isles picks (they don't have a 2nd-round pick):
Round 1: 15th overall
Round 3: 75th overall
Round 4: 105th overall
Round 5: 135th overall
Round 6: 165th overall
Round 7: 195th overall
See you tonight, tomorrow, or on Monday when you catch up with the latest crop of teens.