The 2012 NHL Entry Draft is only a few days away, and the rumors have already began to swirl as to what might happen come Friday night at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.
After a draft day like last year, the 2012 edition has big shoes to fill.
When you consider who was involved in draft day deals in 2011, you could put together a half-decent first line. With players like Devon Setoguchi, Troy Brouwer, Ryan Smyth, Brent Burns and Brian Campbell all being moved last year, it will be interesting to see if this year's draft holds as many surprises.
Who goes first overall and what team selects that player?
Is Bobby Ryan running out of time in Anaheim?
Does Rick Nash finally move out of Columbus?
These are all questions that will be asked, and soon enough will be answered. For now, however, it is always fun to speculate what may or may not happen come draft day.
So without further ado, here are five shock deals that could take place at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
Imagine: three Staals all playing on the same team.
Now if only the Hurricanes get another rumor going that Marc Staal may be on his way over, then we could be getting somewhere.
All kidding aside, there are some serious talks going on right now that the Carolina Hurricanes could be making an attempt to trade for Jordan Staal of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
According to Kevin Allen of USA Today, the Carolina Hurricanes would be the best fit for Staal, and also the best team for the Penguins to deal with.
For Jordan, he would finally be able to get out of Pittsburgh and away from the shadows of being a third-line player. Even with his known talents, he still does not get all the credit he deserves playing behind Crosby and Malkin. He also will get to play with his brothers, not just Eric but also Jared if the time comes, which Allen presumes to be a big factor.
As for the Penguins, the Hurricanes have a few assets that they could move in a deal.
Last year, they drafted Ryan Murphy in the first round. Murphy is a player that would be desired by all other 29 teams in the NHL, so he could present an option for compensation in a trade for Jordan Staal.
The Hurricanes also hold the eighth overall pick in the draft this year. With the draft being done in Pittsburgh, the team may be interested in having that pick so their fans can have something to cheer about, says Allen.
In the end, Staal's name has been rumored before and it looks like he will eventually be moved. If a team like the Hurricanes are really interested, the time is now to try and make the trade, rather than waiting for the trade deadline next year when the price may rise.
Considering all the talk of Nail Yakupov being the undisputed best player in the draft by most scouts, it would be quite a surprise if the Oilers went with Ryan Murray instead.
That being said, the Oilers do need a defenseman and Murray could turn out to be a great one. He would be a great fit with the team, as it would give them some stability on the back end for years to come.
You have to think that the team already has all the superstars it could ever need up front, with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle all young and still growing.
Although it does sound like a logical choice to take Murray for an Oilers team needing a true stand-out defenseman, Yakopov is still considered head and shoulders above the rest of the draft class.
Meaning Murray taken over him would create quite a shock.
Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal reports that Hockey Canada Chief Scout Kevin Prendergast believes Murray should be the first player to be picked at this year's draft however:
I think you have to draft a defenceman because nobody’s going to give you one. Murray has a special knack. He could play for 15 years. He’s tough, he’ll fight, he’s got good hands, he adapts quickly. Nothing fazes him.
Matheson goes on to say that former Oiler Paul Coffey thinks the team should go after a defenseman as well. The reason being that the forwards would have someone that can move the puck up to them. Coffey compares this to the situation in Los Angeles with Drew Doughty.
The big question, however, is if the Edmonton Oilers are the team to make Murray that first overall selection.
Bobby Ryan seems like a player who can never stay away from the trade rumors. The exact same thing happened at the trade deadline, and now the rumor is picking up again at the draft that he will be moved out of Anaheim should someone present an offer.
TSN's Bob Mackenzie reported that Ryan may once again become available—for the right price, that is.
It does not seem like the Ducks are trying to just throw him away, but rather test the market and see what exactly it is that they can get for him.
This is big news for teams that were interested in Nash but could not afford the steep price Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson was asking. Ryan becomes a viable option for these teams, one such team being the Maple Leafs.
Sean Gentille of the Sporting News suggests that like the last time Ryan was made available, the Maple Leafs will be in the running to trade for his services.
The only problem that many have seen is the relationship between Ryan and former Duck coach Randy Carlye, who happens to coach the Maple Leafs at the present time.
However, Gentille goes on to mention that Leaf winger Joffrey Lupul, who also had problems with Carlyle during his Anaheim days, has not had any problems that have been noted.
Ryan is a former pick of Brian Burke and possesses the size that he likes to see in his players, which also makes Toronto seem like a good fit. Not to mention that they are in need of another top forward.
Many mock drafts that have been completed have Subban outside the top 10 picks, generally slotting him somewhere around the middle of the first round, if in the first round at all.
He seems to be all over the board, but one thing that we can know for sure is that he is a goalie who will keep getting better. What one has to remember is that Subban has only been playing goalie since the age of 12 and has gotten a lot better each and every year.
Although the basis of his goaltending capabilities relies on his pure athletic skill, he does have great lateral movement within his butterfly style.
Subban is the top-ranked North American goalie and could easily slip into a top-10 position. There a couple teams drafting within the top 10 spots that need, or will need, a goalie in the next couple of years.
Among the teams that jump out are the Winnipeg Jets in the ninth spot and possibly the Tampa Bay Lightning in the tenth spot. The Jets may not have Ondrej Pavelec back between the pipes with the chance he could be headed to the KHL. Also, even though the Lightning were able to grab Lindback from the Predators they may still be interested in making sure their net is secure.
Damien Cox of the Toronto Star believes that after the first overall pick (assuming it is Yakupov) the rest of the draft is wide open. He names Malcolm Subban as one of his dark horses to go higher than expected, going on to say:
So much emphasis on goaltending in this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs, yet still a great reluctance in the NHL to draft netminders high. Last year, a goalie didn’t go until 39th overall (John Gibson). There hasn’t been a top 10 goalie pick since Carey Price in 2005. Could Subban change this trend?
It looks like at least someone is expecting Subban to be taken a lot higher than expected. After all, he could turn out to be the next Henrik Lundqvist, a goalie he is drawing comparisons to. Do not be surprised if a team looks to trade up in order to get him.
Rick Nash will be traded at some point. When and to whom has yet to be determined.
But one thing no one expected in the whole circus surrounding Nash is that the Ottawa Senators are interested in the big winger. Out of the blue, the Senators have joined in, and they are carrying a pretty big offer into the mix.
According to Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun, the Senators are actively pursuing Nash and have already released the names of the players they are willing to send to Columbus for him.
Included in the package would be the Sens' sixth overall pick last year, Mika Zibanejad.
Zibanejad, who, according to Hockey's Future, is the fifth-best prospect in the NHL, played nine games for the Sens last year during a trial at the beginning of the season. Although he only got one assist, he showed why he could be a dangerous top-line forward in the coming years. He has the speed and the skill to do so, as well as good defensive play for a young player.
Also included in the deal would be forward and former first-round pick Nick Foligno and young goaltender Ben Bishop.
Bishop, who was picked up by the Senators at the deadline this year, was thought at the time to be one of the best goalies not playing in the NHL. He may just be the kicker for the deal to happen, as Blue Jacket GM Scott Howson feels like a top-notch young goalie would be an added plus if he can manage that in a deal, reports Kevin Allen of USA Today.
Brennan says, however, that other pieces to the trade have not been mentioned. It would be expected that a draft pick was included, or another player that could step right into the lineup for the Blue Jackets, for this deal to go through.