Tag:Pittsburgh Penguins
Posted on: June 25, 2011 5:46 pm
Edited on: June 26, 2011 11:07 am
 

NHL Draft: Grading each team for the weekend

Anaheim Ducks: I like the move trading down in the first round to get another early pick in the second from the Maple Leafs, assuming they weren't absolutely in love with any prospect on the board at No. 22. With the additional pick in Round 2 they grabbed who many felt was the top goaltender available in USA's John Gibson. In time, he could be excellent. Grade: B

Boston Bruins: The Stanley Cup champions were very quiet, as you would expect. They were picking from a position of luxury at No. 9 in the first round to finally wrap up the Phil Kessel trade and had to be ecstatic that defenseman Dougie Hamilton fell to them. They closed out with a goalie in the sixth round, a good idea to grab one at some point. Grade: A-

Buffalo Sabres: The Sabres only had one pick in the top 75, which they spent on Finnish winger Joel Armia at No. 16. From there they selected three centermen, in Rounds 3, 4 and 7. But their biggest move was trading for Robyn Regehr and Ales Kotalik for Chris Butler and Paul Byron. I think the move benefits Buffalo most with Regehr's physical presence. Grade: B

Calgary Flames: Out of just five players drafted, the biggest they picked was a goalie in the sixth round. Three of the other four picks are all less than six feet, including fourth-round choice John Gaudreau. Top pick Sven Baertschi could be a very nice pickup for offensive punch. The move of Regehr and Kotalik wasn't a great trade in its own right, but it was solid when you consider it allowed them to re-sign Alex Tanguay. Grade: C+

Carolina Hurricanes: The 'Canes weren't active shoppers, content to take their six picks in peace. Among them, they selected three centermen, two defensemen and a goalie. Would have liked to see a little more balance and somebody to play outside, but there's always a chance for position changes. Top pick Ryan Murphy is unquestionably most offensive defenseman in the draft, but he's allergic to defense. Grade: B-

Chicago Blackhawks: Chicago was incredibly busy, selecting 11 players over the weekend, including six of the top 80. First-round selections Mark McNeill and Phillip Danault are both high-character, gritty forwards, then in the second round they scooped up a slipper in winger Brandon Saad. The biggest move though was getting rid of big contracts in Brian Campbell and to a lesser extent Troy Brouwer, freeing up cap flexibility. Excellent weekend. Grade: A

Colorado Avalanche: The Avs did most of their heavy lifting on Day 1 of the draft, first sending John-Michael Liles to the Maple Leafs for a second-round pick. I don't like the move all that much, but it shows they are serious about rebuilding. But they had a big play in the first round, selecting Gabriel Landeskog at No. 2, and he'll step in right away. They also grabbed a few defensemen, including Duncan Siemens at No. 11, to fill the void. Grade: B+

Columbus Blue Jackets: Their biggest move came Thursday when they landed Jeff Carter from Philly. It did cost them a first-round pick and a Jakub Voracek, but they got a guaranteed top-notch contributor, so it's a good get. They also traded Nikita Filatov to Ottawa. Thought they might be able to get more for him than a third-round pick, but it was a good decision to move him as he was likely going to KHL instead of returning and it just wasn't working in Columbus. As for the draft, I like the pick of LW Seth Ambroz in the fifth-round best. He was the 31st ranked skater by NHL Central Scouting. Grade: A-

Dallas Stars: Everything really is bigger in Texas. The Stars' six draft picks average over 6-feet-3 and 201 pounds. The three defensemen have an average height of just over 6'5 and 212 pounds, highlighted by first-round selection Jamieson Oleksiak from Northeastern at 6'7. It will take a little bit of time, but they will soon could have the biggest blue line in hockey. Grade: B+

Detroit Red Wings: In classic Ken Holland fashion, the Wings weren't afraid to move back in the draft, trading out of the first round to grab three picks in the second. Their first selection was Saint John winger Tomas Jurco at No. 35. I'm a big fan of the kid and he is oozing with potential. They decided to get defenseman-heavy with five out of nine picks, but I'm not going to challenge Holland's track record in the draft. Grade: B

Edmonton Oilers: They came in to the draft in a great position, obviously holding the top spot, but also the 19th overall selection. Drafting Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was the easy, but right choice. With their second pick they grabbed Swedish defenseman Oscar Klefbom. While many point to his lack of offense as a concern, I'm very high on him as a project. They did draft two goalies, one in Samu Perhonen who most considered the top European goalie. Grade: A-

Florida Panthers: The first pick of Jonathan Huberdeau was a great selection as I will maintain he could be the best in this draft. The Panthers didn't have quite the same impact as last season, but still selected eight of the first 91 players, including 5'6 dynamo Rocco Grimaldi. The move everybody is talking about, though, is trading for Brian Campbell. It's not a bad move for Florida as it actually needs to take on salary just to get to the floor and he has some use for an inexperienced blue line. Grade: B+

Los Angeles Kings: They too hopped into the Philly salary shedding by snagging Mike Richards in exchange for Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn. I love the addition for the Kings as it gives them two elite centermen in Richards and Kopitar. They didn't draft until 49th overall when they grabbed who I thought was the best goalie in Christopher Gibson, but didn't get any defensive help in any of their six picks. Would have liked to see at least one D-man. Grade: B

Minnesota Wild: I thought they made the best trade of the draft itself with their deal to get Devin Setoguchi, Charlie Coyle and San Jose's first-round selection -- which they used to get centerman Zack Phillips -- for Brent Burns and a second-rounder next year. They had a big need in offense and they addressed it for the current time with Seto. They also traded up to grab local favorite Mario Lucia, one of two Minnesota high-schoolers they drafted. Grade: A-

Montreal Canadiens: They patiently waited until the 17th pick when, much to the surprise of most, puck-moving defenseman Nathan Beaulieu was still on the board. For a team that's a bit thin on the blue line, he was the first of five defensemen they brought aboard. But Beaulieu was the only pick they had until the fourth round began, so they got great value and somebody who could prove to be a great pairing with P.K. Subban down the road. Grade: B+

Nashville Predators: I like the player they drafted with their first pick, No. 38 overall, but I don't like the fit. Magnus Hellberg is a very intriguing goalie prospect who stands 6'5, but going goaltender with your first pick, and making Hellberg the top goalie selected, was a bit surprising, especially when they have a still-young Pekka Rinne. After that they added a few guys who are a bit more stout, toughening up for years of Barry Trotz hockey. Grade: C

New Jersey Devils: With their first pick they took top defenseman Adam Larsson, who became the highest defenseman they drafted since Scott Niedermayer. But that's partly because the Devils don't often draft this high. And here they got a guy who most years would have gone first or second, but offensive needs above them dropped Larsson to New Jersey and I'm sure the staff has no qualms about that. Thought this was one team that could have stood to grab a goalie late. Grade: A-

New York Islanders: A lot of smoke before the draft was that they were showing the most interest in defenseman Dougie Hamilton, but they instead went out to get a Ryan Strome, a centerman they hope can be the yin to John Tavares' yang. He has great playmaking ability so it could be a great complement down the line. They got their big-bodied D-man in the second round with a nice selection of 6'4 Scott Mayfield from St. Louis, Mo., after trading Bruno Gervais to Tampa Bay Grade: B+

New York Rangers: Another team that was very quiet in this draft, they went up the middle with centers in their first three picks, starting with American J.T. Miller at No. 15 overall. It will be interesting to see how their last two picks develop, two defensemen who stand at least 6'3 and both weigh more than 205 pounds, you have to like where those guys are starting for blue line bruisers. But all in all, not much was happening for the Blueshirts. Grade: B

Ottawa Senators: My favorite team in this draft. They had a ton of draft picks entering the weekend and they made the most of them, spending two second-rounders to move into the first round for a third pick. Their No. 1 selection of Mika Zibanejad should be a good one, he's got a lot of power and grit. They got a lot of potential scoring with the other first-round picks in Stefan Noesen and Matt Puempel. They topped everything off by getting a talented but still unproven Nikita Filatov from Columbus for just a third-round pick. Grade: A+

Philadelphia Flyers: Philly did its work on Thursday with their three blockbuster moves. While they seem to have weakened the roster by getting rid of Carter and Richards, it allowed them to bring in Ilya Bryzgalov and clear some cap space to maneuver. And, the part many were forgetting on Thursday, gave them a high first-round selection, which they must be thrilled with. Sean Couturier was a preseason favorite as the best player in the draft class, so to get him at No. 8 was a great nab. Could help fill one of the holes that just opened. Grade: A-

Phoenix Coyotes: The pick of defenseman Connor Murphy in the first round carries with it plenty of risk. He missed a significant amount of time due to injury and he has a pretty long projection. This is another organization I thought would be well served to look at a goaltender, considering they are pretty thin all throughout the organization, including with the big club. It's a need they will certainly look to address via free agency. Grade: C

Pittsburgh Penguins: They really must have taken the best player available strategy as they went defense with their first two picks, starting with Joseph Morrow at No. 23. I thought they really could have used some forward depth in the organization considering they have seven defensemen under contract next year with the big club and a good amount more in the system. The last three picks (just five total) did go offense, though. Grade: C+

San Jose Sharks: I said it before and I'll say it again, I don't like the Setoguchi-Burns trade, and right after they signed Seto to a new deal? Ouch. Sure, the Sharks landed a great defenseman after losing Niclas Wallin from the back after last season, but the price is too steep for me. As a result of dealing their first pick, San Jose wasn't on the clock until pick No. 47, taking Boston University's Matthew Nieto. For a team that is in full-contention mode, the move addresses a need, but I just feel the cost was too high. Grade: D+

St. Louis Blues: The Blues sat out the first round, but had three selections to make in the second and came out alright. Their pick of Ty Rattie at No. 32 was a very good one, getting a first-round talent. He still needs to put on some weight, but I like his outlook. Their next two picks of winger Dmitrij Jaskin and 6'5 Canadian defenseman Joel Edmundson were solid. They were another team that spent two picks on goaltenders, but it's an organization that could use some reinforcement in the crease. Grade: B

Tampa Bay Lightning: With their first three picks (Rounds 1, 2 and 5) they went all Russian. In the first they grabbed Vladislav Namestnikov, a center who can also play wing and was projected by many to go a little higher. They followed that up with winger Nikita Kucherov then defenseman Nikita Nesterov. One thing is for sure, though, they didn't add much size in the draft with nobody over 6'0. They know something about short guys, though. Add a little something to the blue line now in a small deal for Isles D Bruno Gervais. Grade: B

Toronto Maple Leafs: Brian Burke came out to make some moves, and he did. The first was landing John-Michael Liles from Colorado, a player he long coveted. While Toronto has a slew of defensemen already, Liles is still a solid addition. He then made a swap with Anaheim to move up for two picks in the first round, using one to grab defenseman Stuart Percy. I'm not terribly high on the guy, but he's somebody they saw a lot of in Ontario, so at least they have a conviction. The other first-round pick was Tyler Biggs, a true power forward. All in all, they added a lot of prospects to the system. Grade: B+

Vancouver Canucks: No team was treated more rudely in Minnesota than the Canucks, taking the podium each time to a chorus of boos and mocking shouts, many calling for a new goalie. I'm sure they are in no hurry to push Roberto Luongo away, but they did draft goaltender David Honzik with their second pick of the weekend. Their first selection of Dane Nicklas Jensen is a very nice selection as he possesses potential to become a potent scorer when his game is more refined. Grade: B+

Washington Capitals: Were the Caps even present in the Twin Cities? Aside from a move to get Troy Brouwer from the Blackhawks in exchange for Washington's first-round selection. Because of that trade, the D.C. brass sat on their hands until the fourth round when they spent their first pick on a goaltender. I do think the addition of Brouwer will be welcome as a power forward, but they leave the draft without taking home much in the way of restocking the system. Grade: B-

Winnipeg Jets: Well let's just start off by saying nothing is going to take away from the high in Winnipeg right now as the Jets are back and this was the first true hockey steps as a franchise in the 'Peg again. With that said, their pick of Mark Scheifele at No. 7 came as a surprise. With Couturier still on the board, they seemed to reach a little early for Scheifele, but they said after the pick they had done their homework on him. With the rest of their picks, they added great size. But we won't rain on any parades here. Grade: B+

--Brian Stubits

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl on Twitter or @BrianStubitsNHL

Posted on: June 25, 2011 12:33 am
Edited on: June 25, 2011 5:55 pm
 

NHL Draft: First round winners & losers

NHL Draft night in Minnesota turned into Hockey Night in Canada.

It all started with the Winnipeg franchise announcing its nickname would be the one all the fans back in Manitoba hoped for, the Jets. Then Edmonton had the first selection again and picked up a superstar in the making in Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

Between the seven teams that now call Canada home, there were 11 selections made in Friday night's first round. That included two for Edmonton, three from Ottawa and two from Toronto. Those are some quick ways to rebuilding in a top-heavy draft.

Then among the teams with only one pick, Montreal had to be pretty pleased with its outcome. Waiting patiently at No. 17, talented two-way defenseman Nathan Beaulieu -- expected by many to go in the top 10 of the draft -- fell all the way to them. Taking the podium to a chorus of boos -- the only low moment on a night of great moments -- the Habs snatched up the defenseman who plays his junior hockey in Quebec.

We even had a bit of an old-fashioned Alberta battle between Calgary and Edmonton, who were apparently both fighting to get Ryan Smyth from the Kings. While the trade wasn't ever made official on the night, it looks like the Oilers won, getting back a player who spent much of his career in the orange and blue.

Yes, it was a good night north of the border.

Winners

Ottawa Senators: Sens GM Bryan Murray was very busy, entering the night with two first-round picks and making it three without sacrificing anybody on his current roster. In their three picks, he selected an entire line, going center then two wings. It's a good start to a rare rebuilding process in Ottawa, something that we haven't really seen since the organization was born.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Brian Burke was his old usual self, dealing on draft day. He got it started before the draft by acquiring defenseman John-Michael Liles from the Avalanche in exchange for a second-round selection. Then he improved his draft position in a draft-pick swap with Anaheim to grab a very physical power forward in Tyler Biggs. But the best move of the night was getting Liles, a good puck-moving defenseman.

Chicago Blackhawks: If for no other reason than finally unloading the albatross of a contract that is Brian Campbell. Wouldn't you know it, they found a willing partner in the man that originally signed Campbell to the massive deal, Dale Tallon in Florida. The Panthers have a ridiculous amount of cap space, so the burden isn't heavy and the Blackhawks don't get much in return (Rostislav Olesz, who makes more than $3 million per year despite a career high of 14 goals in one season). Then they picked up two forward prospects with high character. Not a bad day's work.

Minnesota Wild: I wasn't in love with their first selection in Jonas Brodin, a good defenseman from Sweden, but that's because I felt they needed to add more offense. Then they made a deal with San Jose and brought in immediate help with Devin Setoguchi and a first-round talent in Charlie Coyle as well as another pick in this year's first round, which they used on center Zack Phillips from Saint John in the QMJHL with great passing ability. And they were the host. So, kudos Minnesota.

Losers

San Jose Sharks: So they not only traded out of the first round, but sent Setoguchi packing along with their first-round pick from last season? Sure, they got an excellent defenseman in return, but they essentially traded three first-round picks for Brent Burns and a second-round selection. They obviously saw a need to bolster the blue line, but the move seems a bit excessive.

Phoenix Coyotes: This is a team for which you have to wonder how much longer the window can stay open -- perhaps it closes a bit with Ilya Bryzgalov gone -- so then they drafted a player with some injury questions who projects as a long-term prospect? The selection leaves something to be desired for me.

Pittsburgh Penguins: They had the chance at a few very solid forward prospects when they came to the podium at pick No. 23, but instead elected to take a defenseman who isn't necessarily a guy who figures to be able to command the power play, something the Penguins were lacking last season. It wasn't the worst of nights, but I thought an offensive guy would have been the better fit.

-- Brian Stubits

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl on Twitter or @BrianStubitsNHL



Posted on: June 23, 2011 12:39 pm
Edited on: June 23, 2011 12:46 pm
 

2011 Draft Order

The following is the order of selection for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft to be held June 24 (round 1) and 25 (rounds 2-7).

Round 1

1. Edmonton Oilers
2. Colorado Avalanche
3. Florida Panthers
4. New Jersey Devils
5. N.Y. Islanders
6. Ottawa Senators
7. Winnipeg
8. Columbus Blue Jackets
9. Boston Bruins (from Toronto Maple Leafs)
10. Minnesota Wild
11. Colorado (from St. Louis Blues)
12. Carolina Hurricanes
13. Calgary Flames
14. Dallas Stars
15. N.Y. Rangers
16. Buffalo Sabres
17. Montreal Canadiens
18. Chicago Blackhawks
19. Edmonton (from Los Angeles Kings)
20. Phoenix Coyotes
21. Ottawa (from Nashville Predators)
22. Anaheim Ducks
23. Pittsburgh Penguins
24. Detroit Red Wings
25. Toronto (from Philadelphia Flyers)
26. Washington Capitals
27. Tampa Bay Lightning
28. San Jose Sharks
29. Vancouver Canucks
30. Toronto (from Boston)

Round 2

31. Edmonton
32. St. Louis (from Colorado)
33. Florida
34. N.Y. Islanders
35. Ottawa
36. Chicago (from Winnipeg)*
37. Columbus
38. Nashville (from New Jersey)
39. Toronto
40. Boston (from Minnesota)
41. St. Louis
42. Carolina
43. Chicago (from Calgary via Toronto) *
44. Dallas **
45. Calgary (from N.Y. Rangers)
46. St. Louis (from Buffalo)
47. Florida (from Montreal)
48. Chicago *
49. Los Angeles
50. N.Y. Islanders (from Montreal)
51. Phoenix
52. Nashville
53. Anaheim
54. Pittsburgh
55. Detroit
56. Phoenix (from Philadelphia)
57. Calgary (from Washington via Carolina via N.Y. Rangers)
58. Tampa Bay
59. San Jose
60. Vancouver
61. Ottawa (from Boston)

* Chicago will transfer pick No. 36, 43 or 48 to Ottawa
** Dallas will transfer pick No. 44 or 75 to New Jersey

Round 3

62. Edmonton
63. N.Y. Islanders (from Colorado)
64. Florida
65. Anaheim (from N.Y. Islanders)
66. Ottawa
67. Winnipeg
68. Columbus
69. No selection
70. Chicago (from Toronto)
71. Minnesota
72. St. Louis
73. Carolina
74. Edmonton (from Calgary)
75. Dallas **
76. Florida (from N.Y. Rangers)
77. Buffalo
78. Montreal
79. Chicago
80. Los Angeles
81. Boston (from Phoenix)
82. Nashville
83. Anaheim
84. Philadelphia (from Pittsburgh) ***
85. Detroit
86. Toronto (from Philadelphia)
87. Florida (from Washington)
88. St. Louis (from Tampa Bay)
89. San Jose
90. Vancouver
91. Florida (from Boston)

*** Pick No. 84 is conditionally traded to Phoenix

Round 4

92. Edmonton
93. Colorado
94. Nashville (from Florida)
95. N.Y. Islanders
96. Ottawa
97. Winnipeg
98. Columbus
99. New Jersey
100. Toronto
101. Minnesota
102. St. Louis
103. Carolina
104. Calgary
105. Dallas
106. N.Y. Rangers
107. Buffalo
108. Winnipeg (from Montreal)
109. Chicago
110. Los Angeles
111. Phoenix
112. Nashville
113. Montreal (from Anaheim)
114. Edmonton (from Pittsburgh)
115. Detroit
116. Philadelphia
117. Washington
118. Philadelphia (from Tampa Bay)
119. San Jose
120. Vancouver
121. Boston

Round 5

122. Edmonton
123. Colorado
124. Florida
125. N.Y. Islanders
126. Ottawa
127. N.Y. Islanders (from Winnipeg)
128. Columbus
129. New Jersey
130. Toronto
131. Minnesota
132. St. Louis
133. Winnipeg (from Carolina via Florida)
134. N.Y. Rangers (from Calgary)
135. Dallas
136. N.Y. Rangers
137. Buffalo
138. Montreal
139. Chicago
140. Los Angeles
141. Phoenix
142. Nashville
143. Anaheim
144. Pittsburgh
145. Detroit
146. Detroit (from Philadelphia)
147. Washington
148. Tampa Bay
149. Winnipeg (from San Jose)
150. Vancouver
151. Boston

Round 6

152. Toronto (from Edmonton)
153. Colorado
154. Florida
155. Phoenix (from N.Y. Islanders)
156. Ottawa
157. Winnipeg
158. Columbus
159. New Jersey
160. Toronto
161. Minnesota
162. St. Louis
163. Carolina
164. Calgary
165. Dallas
166. San Jose (from N.Y. Rangers)
167. Buffalo
168. Montreal
169. Chicago
170. Los Angeles
171. Ottawa (from Phoenix via Anaheim)
172. Nashville
173. Toronto (from Anaheim)
174. Pittsburgh
175. Detroit
176. Philadelphia
177. Washington
178. Tampa Bay
179. San Jose
180. Vancouver
181. Boston

Round 7

182. Edmonton
183. Colorado
184. Florida
185. N.Y. Islanders
186. Ottawa
187. Winnipeg
188. Columbus
189. New Jersey
190. Toronto
191. Minnesota
192. St. Louis
193. Carolina
194. Winnipeg (from Calgary)
195. Dallas
196. Phoenix (from N.Y. Rangers)
197. Buffalo
198. Montreal
199. Chicago
200. Los Angeles
201. Phoenix
202. Nashville
203. Toronto (from Anaheim) ****
204. Ottawa (from Pittsburgh)
205. Detroit
206. Philadelphia
207. Washington
208. Tampa Bay
209. Pittsburgh (from San Jose)
210. Vancouver
211. Chicago (from Boston)

**** Pick No. 203 is conditionally traded back to Anaheim

Posted on: June 22, 2011 11:48 am
Edited on: June 22, 2011 6:42 pm
 

Daily Skate: Jagr loves Mario; Bryzgalov money

We present to you the return of the Morning Skate here at the Eye on Hockey blog, where we catch you up on what you might have missed while you were sleeping.

JAGR WATCH CONTINUES: First, it was contacting the Red Wings. In the last couple of days, it's been all about the Penguins. Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review sheds some light on Jagr's interest in returning to Pittsburgh: "A longing to reconnect with the Penguins could be part of what brings back legendary forward Jaromir Jagr. He loves that team, that city," agent Petr Svoboda said Tuesday from the Czech Republic. "And he loves Mario [Lemieux], so that is all on his mind." Jagr is expected to speak with the Penguins some time today.

BRYZGALOV LOVE: The Flyers and goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov are still working on getting a deal done to help cover Philly's Achilles' heel, but as of yet, nyet. There has been talk that Bryz wanted to be the highest-paid goalie in the NHL and reports are starting to leak that he could become just that as the ballpark number right now is $7 million. Seems a bit much, don't you think?

LONG FOR LONG ISLAND: The Islanders are getting closer and closer to solidifying their home in New York as sides work toward a new arena. According to Newsday, details of the deal have emerged, and it would call for Nassau County to receive 11.5 percent of all revenue from a new Nassau Coliseum and would give owner Charles Wang a 30-year lease, beginning in 2015.

SHIRTS AND SKINNER: A finalist for the Calder Award as the NHL's top rookie, Carolina Hurricanes teen-sensation Jeff Skinner agreed to let readers of Seventeen dress him for the occasion (tonight at 7 ET on Versus). He and his family had a good laugh when reading Skinner was referred to as "The Justin Bieber of hockey."

NEVER TOO SOON FOR SNUBS: The Calder hasn't even been handed out yet (it will go to Skinner), but that doesn't stop Ricky Doyle at NESN from thinking Brad Marchand not only should have been invited, but maybe even should be the front-runner. He makes the argument, but I just don't see it. If we included playoffs, sure, but Skinner, Logan Couture and Michael Grabner all earned their spots.

PERRY GOES BLUE: Ducks star Corey Perry is in Las Vegas too as he's up for the biggest trophy of them all, the Hart. If his name isn't called for that award, at least he won't leave Vegas without making an appearance on a stage. Perry was called onto stage by the Blue Man Group and took part in their show. I was very excited to watch this video when I came across it, until I saw the footage and was left wondering what exactly Perry did. That was the equivalent of an empty-netter.

DEALIN' DAYS OF SUMMER: This is always a busy time for trades across the NHL, what with the draft on the docket and all. One team that could be an active participant is the Blue Jackets. The Columbus Dispatch says GM Scott Howson is surprised at some of the names available, and it would be wise for him to look at trades since the team's needs are plentiful.

NOT SMITTEN FOR SMYTH: There's been some debate on whether Kings forward Ryan Smyth asked L.A. for a trade to Edmonton, where he began and played most of his career. Smyth himself denied it, but media sources like Bob McKenzie of TSN wouldn't back off their reports. John MacKinnon of the Edmonton Journal says it shouldn't matter; Smyth isn't a good fit for the rebuilding club anyway.

TRADE TRACKER: Trying to remember who exactly your team traded to get that backup goalie in November? Want to forget that organization-crippling move your GM made? Here's a handy, dandy look at all the NHL trades made last season, thanks to hockeyinsideout.com.

-- Brian Stubits

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl on Twitter or @BrianStubitsNHL

Posted on: June 21, 2011 4:25 pm
Edited on: June 21, 2011 5:43 pm
 

Crosby beats out Ovechkin for top-selling jersey

So who's the bigger star: Sidney Crosby or Alexander Ovechkin? It's an ongoing debate, but you can notch one in The Kid's department. Again.

For the sixth consecutive season, Crosby's Pittsburgh Penguins jersey was the highest-selling jersey in the NHL, edging out Ovechkin at No. 2. They were followed up by Blackhawks teammates Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, then Crosby's teammate Evgeni Malkin rounded out the top five.

Both the Blackhawks and Penguins led the way in the top 20 with four players apiece. Joining Crosby and Malkin for Pittsburgh were Marc-Andre Fleury and Kris Letang. Chicago's dynamic duo was joined by Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp.

Somewhat surprising considering the tremendous amount of interest Boston just got done showing in its hockey team, there is only one Bruin on the list -- and it's not Zdeno Chara or Tim Thomas. Nope, checking in at No. 16 is Milan Lucic.

This goes a long way in showing Crosby's star power, if there were any questions left. Despite missing half the season, he was still No. 1 in the merchandise business.

Your move, Ovie.

-- Brian Stubits

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl on Twitter

Posted on: June 20, 2011 4:24 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 4:59 pm
 

Report: Jagr reaches out to Penguins about return

First it was the Detroit Red Wings. Now forward Jaromir Jagr has apparently reached out to his longtime team the Pittsburgh Penguins, too.

Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported on Monday that Jagr's camp got in touch with the Penguins about possibly returning for another season. Jagr has been playing in the KHL the last three seasons, but has shown serious interest in coming back to the NHL. Part of the reason is because of financial issues with his Avangard Omsk team. That doesn't mean he won't return to the KHL, but he is showing sincere interest in coming back to North America.

Now at the ripe old age of 39, Jagr still managed a point per game last season.

This summer the Penguins will have a bit of a reunion in the 20th anniversary of their 1991 Stanley Cup champion team, to which Jagr had already been invited.

Just last week it was reported Jagr had also approached the Red Wings about playing in Detroit for next season. The short list for Jagr has been rumored to contain the Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers in addition to the Pens and Wings, but as of now it appears to just be two with signs pointing toward Detroit being the leader ... until he contacts the next in line.

-- Brian Stubits

Posted on: June 2, 2011 4:36 pm
Edited on: June 2, 2011 4:40 pm
 

Crosby cleared for offseason off-ice workouts

It's been some time since we had an update on Penguins star Sidney Crosby. Well, here you go.

Crosby has been cleared by team doctors to begin offseason off-ice workouts. From nhl.com:

Penguins General Manager Ray Shero said Crosby will be joined by his longtime personal trainer for the next 2-3 weeks as he works back into his routine in his hometown of Cole Harbour, N.S.

"I met with Sid Wednesday before he left for home and talked to Dr. Collins," Shero told the Penguins website. "[Crosby] will resume his workouts and get back into his program in Cole Harbour."

Crosby, who spent the past three weeks on vacation, will not start on-ice workouts until late July or early August, which is his normal offseason workout schedule.

"Everything will be closely managed by Dr. Collins in terms of his progression leading up to him getting on the ice later in the summer per his usual routine," Shero said.

Out since early January with concussion symptoms, there was some cautious hope Crosby was going to be able to return for the Penguins in the postseason. Obviously that didn't happen as Crosby began dealing with headaches. There was some fear it was a major setback for Crosby. It looks like that fear has disappeared.

While this is the next step in The Kid's road to recovery, it's important to note it's just a step. There are still things that have to happen before Crosby will return fully for training camp, hurdles to clear.

You will remember that Crosby was on an absolute tear in the first half of the season. Despite playing exactly half a season (41 games) Crosby still finished tied for 14th in the NHL with 32 goals and had 34 assists.

-- Brian Stubits

Photo: US Presswire

Posted on: May 11, 2011 4:04 pm
Edited on: May 11, 2011 7:01 pm
 

Potential landing spots for Jagr in NHL

Every offseason since he left for the KHL, rumors constantly swirl in the summer surrounding the possibility of Jaromir Jagr returning to North America.

After his hat trick for the Czech Republic in its shutout of the USA today, the talk is quickly starting again. Now keep in mind, Jagr hasn't played in the NHL for three seasons. So at this point the talk about him coming back could be like years past and just Wild talk from hopeful fans looking for a veteran who might still have some gas in the tank. But he doesn't have a contract right now.

As he told Yahoo! earlier this week:

"I have to see. There is time. I haven't thought about it. My contract just ended, and if I have a good offer [from Avangard] I will certainly consider it. Maybe some other teams will make me offers. As for the NHL, we'll see. I think that if I want to play in the NHL, I will come and I will be able to play in the NHL. I am not saying I will play on the first line, but I will be able to play."

So if he were to return to the NHL, who would be a fit?

Pittsburgh Penguins: There's obviously plenty of nostalgia that could lure him back to Pittsburgh. Plus, once Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are back at full strength, the Pens are instant contenders for the Cup. The Penguins wouldn't need a ton of production, so it could be a nice ease-in situation for him to come back to and not be asked to do too much at this stage of his career. This would seem to be the most likely. Per Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: This likely play out with #Jagr staying in #KHL; #Pens working him back into franchise fold then retiring no. 68, I'm told.

Montreal Canadiens: The Habs make the list because a recent report out of Montreal said the Canadiens would be on Jagr's short list of teams. Part of the allure could be joining fellow Czech Tomas Plekanec, helping Montreal take the next step. The Habs have been getting closer the past few seasons to being a true contender in the East. While Jagr's goal totals are declining, he can still score and is a very capable player, even at 40. He could help them get over the hump.

New York Rangers: The last team he played for in the NHL, New York could certainly be in play. If he were to go to the Rangers, it would likely be for familiarity reasons as much as anything else. He would be brought in with the hopes of being a somewhat significant contributor as the Rangers are a little deficient these days in offensive production.

Washington Capitals: The other team Jagr spent time with in his career, he might be a nice fit back in the Capital. Much as is the case with the Penguins, Jagr wouldn't be called upon to be a big-time contributor. But if there's any team that could benefit from an experienced veteran to help come playoff time, it's Washington. Perhaps he could help the Caps get the postseason monkey off their backs. Of course, you wonder if there would be any ill will between Jagr and Alex Ovechkin after this big hit in the Olympics.

Edmonton Oilers: There was a lot of talk a year or two ago that Jagr could be headed to play in Alberta, but obviously that didn't happen. However, because the team showed serious interest in him then, he might keep that in mind and consider the Oilers. What makes me doubt it is the team isn't anywhere near close to winning and you expect a guy like Jagr to come back with winning a Stanley Cup in mind.

Of course there are a lot more teams that could use a talented vet like Jagr, but you would have to assume these would be the favorites. But since we don't even know right now if he'll return, this is nothing but speculation.

-- Brian Stubits
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com