- The Isles, holders of the 1st overall choice, are all but assured of taking John Taveres despite Canadian-based media attempts to rumour that they intend to take Hedman or Duchesne. " We simply would be shocked to see that" is what one well placed source told FR2 last night. Odds they pick Taveres/keep their pick: 95%
- The Bolts pick next and it would seem a natural choice to pick Hedman, the defenseman who the team actually has a significant need for. Another possible reason that TB may not get into trading the pick (and out of the Lecavalier trading posture) is that their two headed monster of ownership with Bickering Tampa Bay Lightning owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie on track for a messy divorce. Things are so messy that we hear that other teams' GM can't be sure that TB GM Brian Lawton is going to be the point man for a trade. Word is that Barrie wants Lawton replaced and there is even rumour he independently has courted the agents of potential UFA, while Koules is solidly a Lawton man and wants Lecavalier dealt. They are meeting with the Principal (Gary Bettman) its anyone's guess who will/can be given the reigns or if the NHL has to (again) step in to run an NHL team. Odds of a trade of the #2 pick: 10%
- The Avalanche holding the #3 slot probably have the easiest choice to make. They will simply select who is remaining of the 'big Three'. Either way they will end up with a very good hockey player. Odds of the 'lanche trading the pick: 10%
2) We are NOT saying that trades involving trading up or down a few slots won't happen. They are always a common occurrence. Its almost a given that the Islanders will try to move up using some of their other 4 top 50 picks to do so, but we have not heard of any block busters involving one of the top 10 picks. It is totally conceivable that there won't be a single trade before the top 10 or so players are off the board already. "GM's are so enamoured with this year's draft class that it would take a prohibitive compensation package to get one of those picks pried away".
3) Now as to the possibility of active players traded during the weekend's festivities. Again, this is NOT uncommon. Last season we saw Mike Cammalleri , Ollie Jokinen, Alex Tanguay change teams on draft day, but NONE involved picks higher than 25th.
- Speculation will swirl around Lecavalier especially with the draft taking place in Montreal. As alluded to earlier a trade of Vinny took a major hit with the Lightning situation going from bad to worse. Also what GM would want to take on his contract of 11 more years at a 7.727 cap hit AND a no movement clause to boot?. Odds of a Lecavalier trade: 25%
- Additionally we'll sure to hear plenty of discussion about Dany Heatley. However, we are told by more than one source that most teams interested in acquiring him would prefer it to take place AFTER July 1st(when he's paid a 4 million dollar bonus) So expect any Heatley deal to be a early July deal. Odds of a draft day deal: 30%
- NT Ranger writers are trying to say that GM Glen Sather will try to deal Scott Gomez and or Chris Drury and their obnoxiously long/lucrative contracts. "Not with the salary cap flat lining of possibly declining next year", is what we have heard. Odds of a deal: 10%
- As FR correctly pointed out last week Dion Pheneuf is going NOWHERE! Odds of a deal: 10%
- Phil Kessel to be dealt by the Bruins? If his demands are exorbitant its always possible but the B's are NOT actively shopping the 21 year old RFA. Odds of a deal: 10%
- JS Giguere- IS available we are told, and it will probably be a combo of player(s)/picks but NOT anything in the top 10 for sure. Odds of a deal 50%
4) So there you have it. Yes, there will be some player movement and trades of picks among teams, but this is standard operating procedure NOT a draft that will be remembered for MAJOR trades/Earth shattering movement up or down among the 30 NHL squads. We will amend that opinion (eat crow) IF one of the top 3 teams trade their pick/and or major player trades like Vincent Lecavalier and Heatley are dealt Friday night. As we wrote earlier, the odds are against it.