Draft Grades, Hockey Diversity Alliance, Free Agents, and more!
It’s the Thursday Edition of Links, News, and Notes
The lead-up to the 2020 NHL Entry Draft was one of the most exciting in Ottawa Senators’ history, and for about 24 hours we were treated to a veritable all-you-can-eat buffet of Sens-related news. Among the highlights was the selection of Timothy Stutzle third overall, and and the trade for Matt Murray. There was also a lot of action not immediately related to the draft taking place in the nation’s capital and throughout the league. Let’s a take a spin through the last few days’ news, shall we?
- In addition to their surprising move of not qualifying Anthony Duclair, the Sens also declined to make qualifying offers to Andreas Englund and Jayce Hawryluk. They qualify everyone else that was eligible was qualified: Connor Brown, Chris Tierney, Nick Paul, Rudolfs Balcers, Christian Jaros, Filip Chlapik, JC Beaudin and Joey Daccord.
- Speaking of Anthony Duclair, the Hockey Diversity Alliance announced they will be operating independently from the NHL. We’ll see what comes next, but this feels like a lost opportunity for the league to do something meaningful in support of their players of colour and to better hockey as a sport. I’m hopeful the HDA will still be able to help bring meaningful change to the game but it’s a big disappointment the NHL couldn’t bring themselves to be real partners. Here’s the full announcement courtesy of Elliotte Friedman;/
Also today, the HDA announced it will continue to operate independently from the NHL. pic.twitter.com/AAgG4wEwlA— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) October 7, 2020
- In other player contract news, Jesse Puljujarvi came to terms on a two-year agreement with the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday. Puljujarvi had a very good year in the Finnish Liiga last season, and could prove to be a real boon to an Oilers team that is paper thin up front.
- Former Ottawa Senator Kyle Turris had his contract bought out by the Nashville Predators on Wednesday. Turris’ time in Nashville started out promisingly and the Preds appeared poised to remain contenders in the West for years to come but lately he’s fallen on hard times:/
Kyle Turris, bought out, has been dreadful recently. pic.twitter.com/dY75ScAtuj— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) October 7, 2020
- Max Domi’s signed a two year, $10.6M deal with Columbus. I don’t have any deep thoughts here — seems fine, I guess?
- Meanwhile, the Vegas Golden Knights locked up one of their depth forwards by giving Chandler Stephenson a four year, $11M contract. This seems like an awfully rich contract for a team that could already be facing some cap troubles, so it’s a bit of a head-scratcher.
- Over at ESPN, Emily Kaplan and Greg Wyshynski hand out their “Winners and Losers” from the Entry Draft. Pierre Dorion gets some real love for his work.
- It’s linked in that ESPN piece, but this really was a touching moment from the San Jose Sharks welcoming their first round pick Ozzy Wiesblatt:/
The moment @ozzywiesblatt was drafted was absolutely amazing 💙 pic.twitter.com/UXBC3cXWSa— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) October 7, 2020
- And, last but not least, if you’re looking for other reviews of the Sens’ draft, Corey Pronman is very positive in his assessment for the Athletic. A quick snippet: /
Ottawa had three first-round picks and made them count. No. 3 pick Tim Stutzle will be a star, possibly as a No. 1 center. Jake Sanderson will play big minutes on a top-two D pair, and Ridly Greig has 2C potential, but likely is a 3C on an org now suddenly overflowing with young center talent. I think Day 2 picks Roby Jarventie and Egor Sokolov could be bottom-six guys, and even though I’m not the biggest fan of Tyler Kleven at 44, I respect he’s a prospect and brings some things to the table. You can quibble over whether they should have picked this guy over that guy, I would have picked different players at 5 and 44, but overall I think the haul is very impressive and could be a big part of turning the franchise around.
Ultimately, I arrive at almost the same place as Pronman: there are some things I would have done differently (especially the Kleven pick) but the Sens got a whole lotta new youngsters and took a major step towards a better future.