It’s the week of the NHL entry draft, and off-season mode is picking up. We have players being waived, being bought out, and being traded. The rumour mill is heating up with more speculation on who else may get traded soon, maybe even before the draft. Speculation and, dare I say it.... rumblings?
The Leafs will be active on one front for sure — they need a goalie, and that may change to needing goalies in the plural by the time this off-season is over. They may be active at the draft, either to make a trade that helps them with that goalie problem, or just to get more picks. Or maybe both!
For my draft profiles, at this point I’ve finished all of my full profiles looking at players who may be available in the first three rounds. This week I’m writing lists of mini-profiles for players that should be available in the seventh round. At this point, the prospects available are... less great, and it’s more difficult to predict
There isn’t much else to talk about, except for the bits of news and rumours that I’ll share in the links. So.....
LINKS FROM THE BRANCHES
Elliotte Friedman has said on at least three occasions I’ve heard on the radio or podcasts that he wonders if the New York Rangers will qualify goalie Alexandar Georgiev. Or even if they can. The thinking here is that the Rangers have a bona fide star goalie, one who could be called the best in the world right now, and they don’t need to be spending $2.65 million (Georgiev’s QO) on a backup. From that point of view, he seems ripe to be traded, not go unqualified, and I expect he will be traded before July 12 and a new team can negotiate a deal with him.
For the Maple Leafs, the first step of the offseason process comes next Thursday, when they are set to select in the first round for the first time since drafting Rodion Amirov 15th overall in 2020.
While the 2020 draft when pretty much as expected through the first 15 picks, with minimal surprises or fallers, the 2022 draft does not appear to be the same. Outside of a consensus top three prospects (the order of which varies quite a bit), the draft is set to be one of the more unpredictable in recent memory.
With just three picks in the 2022 NHL Draft, the free-agent route is an attractive option for the Leafs. They’ll need to move picks or prospects in order to trade Mrazek, and they’ll want to save some draft capital to help them at next year’s trade deadline. Perhaps they add one goalie through trade and another through free agency, but it does seem fairly likely that at least one player on the free-agent list ends up on the Leafs next season.
There are nine free agent goaltenders who played in 10 games last season while posting a save percentage greater than .900. We’ll focus on those nine options here.
Exploring the Maple Leafs’ trade options in net: John Gibson, Semyon Varlamov, Antti Raanta, & more | by... well hey, it’s Kevin Papetti at MLHS again!
I recently previewed the free agent goaltending market here, and since Scott Wedgewood already signed, there are now just eight options available who posted a save percentage over .900 last season. Even if the Leafs like a certain free agent, all it takes is for one team to make a huge bid to take them out of consideration. The trade route seems likely, especially if they end up acquiring two goaltenders instead of one.
BriseBois said the plan was to work with Myers rather than exploring buying out the final year of his contract. “For whatever reason, things didn’t work out for him at the tail end in Philly and in Nashville last season,” he said. “We figure there are enough tools there that intrigue us enough to work with him and help him reach the potential we saw not too much long ago.”
21. Toronto: The Maple Leafs have indicated their top priority is sorting out their goaltending situation. Once again, I defer to the “deadlines spur action” rule, but, from outside, it seems there’s an unusual amount of inertia on the Campbell file. I think Toronto perused Murray when he was sent to AHL Belleville, but I don’t see that now. I’ve also heard that through the years, Anaheim never felt the Maple Leafs had enough to make a Gibson trade — although there’s a new GM, not that he’ll be aiming any lower. I’m curious to see how Kuemper — who has played in Minnesota, Los Angeles, Arizona and Colorado — would feel about Toronto, assuming he hits the market. It’s believed the Leafs interviewed Edmonton goalie development coach Sylvain Rodrigue for their vacant job. (Michael Leighton, now at OHL Windsor, will eventually be in the NHL). Spencer Carbery was a finalist for the Boston job, going as far as meeting with ownership.
Bob weighs in — during a long thread related to the draft — on the issue of Russian players in this year’s draft. He reiterates what we’ve heard from others before.
Some teams ranked RUS players on their lists as they always have. Some teams created a separate list of RUS prospects. Some teams kept RUS players on their composite rankings but devalued them based on their own internal scale.— Bobby Margarita (@TSNBobMcKenzie) July 3, 2022
For those who are blocked by the paywall, here’s the TL;DR shared with me:
- The victim in the story was attending one of those very expensive hockey academies.
- He was bullied by some of the other kids, who started joking how he (the victim) was into guns and was a school shooter.
- A different kid who was mad at the bullies faked a social media post that looked like the victim was threatening to do a school shooting, with the idea of scaring the bullies into cutting it out.
- The victim gets arrested while his dad was at the bank.
- The dad came back to see him surrounded by cops, guns drawn.
- The charges get dropped eventually.
- The family is suing the school and some of the bullies.
What a mess...
The NHL Draft is a few days a way. Be warned , I am told. For reasons no one can explain, at a time of cuts to really talented people Snet the network has decided to bring in Pierre Mcguire who will be on your tv for the draft & perhaps more.— jonah (@yyzsportsmedia) July 3, 2022
Have a great Monday everyone!