It's been almost a foregone conclusion since the Colorado Avalanche won the NHL's Draft Lottery that they'd claim what some consider their "local kid" in Seth Jones, making him the first African-American and the first Dallas born-and-trained prospect to be selected with the first overall pick. According to the Denver Post, Joe Sakic has decided that will not happen after all.
The NHL Entry Draft, while always an inexact science to be putting it mildly, has a few general rules of thumb for general managers to follow. One of those unwritten rules is that you never pass on elite offensive talent for a safe two-way player or defenseman. It's one of the reasons the Ottawa Senators drafted Alexandre Daigle in 1993, leaving Chris Pronger to go to the Hartford Whalers.
Now I'm not comparing Nathan MacKinnon, Jonathan Drouin, or Sasha Barkov to Alexandre Daigle, as each one of them has the potential to be a rock-solid franchise player for the Avalanche for the next twenty years, but Jones has been compared many times to Chris Pronger... a once in a generation defenseman with all of the tools, that every team could use.
You won't hear me crying about the decision. With the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning holding the second and third spots in this year's draft, respectively, the trade-off of this decision for those in the Metroplex is simple and not really all that painful. We will have to wait to see a kid from Dallas go first overall in the draft, but at least we won't have to see our first elite local product suiting up for a division rival just yet. [Denver Post]
In AHL (and Dallas Stars head coaching search) news, the Grand Rapids Griffins have won their first Calder Cup, defeating the Syracuse Crunch in six games. Grand Rapids, the top farm affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings, is coached by Jeff Blashill, who is rumored to be one of the many candidates for the Stars coaching vacancy. If the Stars were hoping to get an interview in, now is the time. [NHL.com]
The Philadelphia Flyers are in for an active summer, having already traded for and signed Mark Streit, and are rumored to be in for Anaheim's Bobby Ryan before next week's NHL Draft. They also have some decisions to make about their perpetually questionable goaltending stable, as they have told center Daniel Briere, and not Ilya Bryzgalov, that they will use their buy-out on his contract this summer. [CSN]
Joe Nieuwendyk's trade deadline deals are once again looking better and better as time goes by. Tomas Vincour, who was traded to the Colorado Avalanche at the deadline for Cameron Gaunce, has decided to leave the NHL (or AHL) in favor of the KHL. He has signed on to play for Ak Bars Kazan next season. [NBC Sports]
Sidney Crosby, without question one of the top talents the league has seen in decades, remains a polarizing figure around the league, largely for his attitude. Two weeks after being gloved by Zdeno Chara in the face, Crosby has spoken out, through his agent, against Chara, claiming it was an attempt to re-injure his broken jaw. CBS Sports says this kind of story is exactly why Crosby shouldn't be the face of the game, and I have to agree. [CBS]
While rumors swirl about the future of the Phoenix Coyotes, and the viability of Seattle as an NHL market, Wayne Gretzky gives his vote to the city of Quebec, saying that it's only a matter of time before NHL hockey returns to the great city. [NBC Sports]
It's no SIx Degrees of Kevin Bacon, or Mike Sillinger for that matter, but I found this little sequence interesting. Today's video is actually going to be a string of videos. Did you know that Stars GM Jim Nill is only three fight-links away from his own Jamie Benn?