This NHL entry draft is lacking much fanfare for the Colorado Avalanche but Director of Amateur Scouting Alan Hepple was made available to answer a few questions leading up to the festivities in which they currently hold the 25th overall pick. The draft begins tonight at 5pm MT on NBCSN in the US and Sportsnet in Canada.
Although drafts are very difficult to predict beyond the first handful of picks TSN’s Craig Button has the Avalanche taking center Brendan Brisson in his final mock draft.
ICYMI: With the NHL Draft finally getting under way on Tuesday, #TSN Director of Scouting @CraigJButton locks in his projections for the first round - including Ottawa's third and fifth overall picks - https://t.co/kXn5ADOIxB#TSNHockey #DraftCentre pic.twitter.com/hntuGSfLLK— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) October 4, 2020
Also in another mock draft, The Athletic’s Corey Pronman has the Avalanche going in an entirely different direction with defenseman Justin Barron.
Joonas Donskoi is still in town and was on hand to help out in the Colorado Avalanche Charity Golf Classic. He was captured describing his excitement for the team moving ahead.
Those familiar with the Avalanche practice facility might notice something missing the next time fans are allowed to observe practices and camps. It’s the end of an era with the Lollipop Park portion of the building shutting down and selling off all their equipment.
As for news around the league, late last night, Bob McKenzie came out of semi-retirement and dropped a number of Bob Bombs on Twitter.
First he mentioned that it is very likely Henrik Lundqvist is going to stay in the Metro Division.
That would make sense both ways. WSH would get capable vet on affordable deal to platoon/push burgeoning No. 1 Ilya Samsonov, who’s only 23. Lundqvist would get good chance to play decent number of games on a team with a chance to contend. And in the Metro Division, no less.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) October 6, 2020
He then went on to discuss the Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning. He referenced the team’s salary cap issues and that a lot of money would need to be moved out this offseason. McKenzie listed Tampa’s “untouchables” as Andrei Vasilevskiy, Victor Hedman, Brayden Point, Nikita Kucherov, Anthony Cirelli, Mikhail Sergachev and Erik Cernak (those last three should quiet down the talk of offer sheets). You might notice that there was one very big name not listed:
A big reason for moving is to be able to sign those young RFAs. Notably absent from untouchable list is captain Steven Stamkos. That doesn’t guarantee Stamkos will be dealt but it’s within realm of possibility though his health could obviously be a factor.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) October 6, 2020
It’s far more likely that the Lightning trade multiple players - Tyler Johnson, Alex Killorn - before they trade their captain but this is the second time in as many weeks that a well-connected insider mentioned a potential blockbuster for Tampa. With Stamkos out of the lineup for most of the playoffs, the Lightning have proven that they’re able to win without him. That said, he is the heard and soul of the team so trading him would be very hard on the organization and their fans.
To complicate things, Stamkos has a full no movement clause in his contract - something that cam in exchange for taking a salary that was well below market value. If the Bolts are going to trade away the best player in franchise history, it will be on his terms and to a team and city he wants to go to.
For fun, I’ve spent a lot of time the last 9 hours trying to figure out what the Avalanche could offer in exchange for Stamkos. The deal would obviously start with Bo Byram and Colorado’s 2021 first round pick. Joe Sakic would likely have to add Andre Burakovsky’s RFA rights to the package - would that be enough to get it done? Could that be a big swing Joe would take if he is unable to spend his cap space on impact players in free agency?