"Because I am crazy, I am ordering every player to be released from their current contracts and we will organize a new draft with every player." — NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman
Not really, but with the upcoming 2010 NHL Draft, I will honor the idea here as presented by crazy Mr. Gary Bettman.
This will be done in sort of a "franchise" mode way (First Round only).
Players with higher potential will be considered higher than a player on the brink of retirement.
Guys like Martin Brodeur and Nick Lidstrom will most likely get passed over.
Guy's like Doughty and Stamkos will find themselves drafted very high.
With the first overall pick in the 2010 NHL Re-Entry draft, the Atlantis Plugs select...
Let the Ovechkin fanboy club flame.
To spoil the second slide, Ovechkin and Crosby were always going to go No. 1 and No. 2 (with some side competition from another Pen).
A few factors why I'm making Sidney Crosby the first overall pick in this Re-Entry draft.
Crosby is Centre, and this year emerged as a dominant force in the faceoff circle.
Personally, I'd rather have a Centre who I can count on winning a faceoff in the defensive end when leading by a goal, or win one in the offensive end when down by a goal.
Crosby finished 11th in faceoff percentage (amongst players who meet the minimum criteria as per NHL.com.)
He also led the league in faceoff's taken with 1791.
When Crosby first entered the league, he passed the puck almost any chance he got; he was a playmaker. But this summer, he wanted to go into the season shooting more.
He took the most shots of his NHL career with 298 and tied for the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy with 51 goals.
Again, in the summer Crosby wanted to be on the Penguins penalty kill. He worked with the coaches and watched tape, and low and behold he kills penalties for the Penguins (obviously not all the time or he'd play 40 minutes a game).
His faceoff ability and penalty-killing really help him to be a complete player.
Two years isn't the biggest difference, but it's a difference.
Now obviously hockey isn't a one man sport, but Crosby has an Olympic gold medal, two finals appearances and a Stanley Cup ring.
Ovechkin has none. Not much more to say.
Only one other player could have been here, and if you don't know who it is (you should) you'll find out soon.
But on to Ovechkin. He has almost every individual trophy you could ask for in the NHL, and he holds many, many team and league records.
There's not much more to say about Ovechkin that hasn't already been said. He has a blistering shot that can make a goaltender wet his jock strap, and his creativity when flying down the ice can leave defenders wondering what just happened as their goalies pick the puck out of their net.
Only 24-years-old, there is still time for Ovechkin to win a Cup and Olympic gold, and with the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia the Russian team is sure as hell to leave everything on the ice on their homeland.
There is obviously time for Ovie to win a Cup too, especially with all that talent in Washington (just don't bring up the name "Halak" there).
Some have called him dirty and/or reckless. Ovie is not dirty (Pronger is dirty), but he can be reckless at times. He's not afraid to throw his body around and is strong on the puck, but sometimes he makes some reckless hits that he really shouldn't be making.
A lot of people seemed to forget about Geno after his injury-plagued season.
Some even went on to say that he had a bad season, which is not the case at all. I won't pretend that I wasn't guilty of this at times, but at the end of the season I looked up that Malkin, despite being limited to 67 games this year, recorded 77 points and had 11 points in 13 games for the Penguins in the playoffs.
Malkin is also a great locker room guy. Most think that he is a quiet guy, but he is quite the jokester and along with teammate Maxime Talbot both can really lighten the mood.
He's a creative playmaking centre with no shortage of tricks up his sleeve. Also strong on the puck, Malkin would be a valued centre on any team.
You could simply put him on a line with two plug wingers they'd score goals. Like many of the players higher up on this list, Malkin makes his line mates better.
His ability to hold the puck up on the side-boards and dish it out on the power-play makes me think he is one of the best on the PP.
Plus who doesn't love his parents?
In what is probably the first surprise in this NHL Re-Entry Draft, I have Stamkos as the fourth overall pick.
Stamkos was a bit of a disappointment in his rookie year. This was mostly due to some bad coaching, and when he finally got the ice time he showed signs of improvement, but I don't think anyone expected Stamkos to explode like he did last year.
51 goals, tied for the Maurice "Rocket" Richard trophy and finished fifth in points with 95.
He also finished first in the league with 24 goals with the man advantage. Do I need to remind you he is 20-years-old?
The chemistry that was built with veteran winger Martin St.Louis helped Stamkos out, but you can't deny his talent.
Stamkos' rocket speed and willingness to drive to the net really makes him one of the league's elite goal-scorers.
Surprise followed by surprise? Sure, why not.
Although with the year Toews has had, I don't think this should come as a huge surprise.
Toews probably won't win you an Art Ross, he's not the flashiest guy in the game, but he does it all.
One of, if not the best, two-way players in the game today.
You can't deny the talent he possess, as he captained his Blackhawks (at the tender age of 22) to Stanley Cup glory and took home the Conn Smythe as MVP of the playoffs.
Any team would love to have a guy like Toews on their team. In clutch situations he is a guy to go to. He can elevate his game when he needs to and he rarely gets frustrated on the ice.
He was voted best forward at the 2010 Winter Olympics and like I said, awarded the Conn Smythe.
The only question, where does he go now? You can't have a much better season than Toews had this year.
(Also rumored to be on the cover of EA Sports NHL 11)
The Swedish centre has been playing on a line with Ovechkin, so some wonder if that makes him better. Well it obviously does, but it goes both ways.
Backstrom has put up steady numbers since coming into the NHL, and had a breakout season last year with 101 points that earned him a new contract worth about $6 million a year (almost a steal for a player of Backstrom's talent)
He is a slick passer and that's his main job, but that didn't stop him from tallying 33 goals this year. Great vision helps him pick out teammates with tape-to-tape passes.
Backstrom and Ovechkin will be around for a long time, and there should be some worry if the Capitals still don't have a cup.
The pending UFA comes in here at No. 7, but this isn't based on his playoff performance.
Kovalchuk was pretty dreadful during his tenure in New Jersey, but he is a top talent in the NHL.
Some teams might be scared of him fleeing to Russia, so his rights are unlikely to get traded from the Devils, but for this Re-Entry draft I won't be considering the KHL factor.
Ilya is one of the league's best snipers, and his soft hands and big frame allow him to get into open lanes and fire shots at will.
At 27-years-old, he is in his prime right now so he should be considered highly, though who knows how long he can stay elite with a lot of these up and coming players.
"Defense wins championships"
I have the first defenseman taken in the NHL Re-Entry draft Drew Doughty, and while some would argue he doesn't deserve to be the first taken, I think his sophmore Norris Trophy nomination (and possible win) as the league's best defenseman refutes that notion.
Doughty brings it all to the table, which is remarkable at the age of 20.
He was a surprise pick for Canada at the Olympics, but ended the tournament on the top defensive pairing and was phenomenal.
He can block shots and night in and out shut down opposing top lines, but his forte is probably his offensive skills.
Junior coaches told him his spin move wouldn't work in the NHL, but we have all seen his coaches were wrong.
He quarterbacks the Kings' power play and doesn't always shoot to score, he'll shoot low to set up rebounds for his teammates.
Doughty was only in his second year in the NHL, but the way he carried himself and his hockey IQ you'd think he was a 10-year vet.
Miller was by far the best goaltender this year (with a little competition from Bryzgalov in Phoenix).
But really, we all saw what Miller did at the Olympics this year. He took a young USA team on his back and they almost earned themselves the gold medal.
Night in and night out, Miller gives his Sabres a chance to win games. With him between the pipes, his team can just play good and let him do the rest.
He should take home the Vezina trophy for league's best goaltender this year, and he could win many more.
Not exactly considered old either at the age of 29 (30 in a month), Miller will be among the league's best for a while and could one day lead his Sabres to the promised land.
The first "vet" on the list comes as Joe Thornton.
Big Joe has been scrutinized for his less than great playoff performances but you can't overlook how good of a player he is.
He could probably be named the undisputed best passer in the league and no one would complain.
He's great at faceoffs as well, and his huge body allows him to take physical contact and also dish it out.
Thornton's vision is unparalleled, and he is able to create immense chemistry with his teammates.
Getzlaf is one of the league's best power forwards and won the Cup with Anaheim three years ago.
Only 25, Getzlaf has had some minor injury concerns in the past, but is always a threat on the ice.
Getzlaf is not afraid of contact and has no fear to crash the net. Playing on a line with Bobby Ryan and Corey Perry, they were near dominant.
He's not a "grinder" though, he possesses a massive arsenal of tricks, but his shot could be considered his greatest asset.
Henrik Sedin had a breakout year of sorts. The Swede earned the Canucks their first Art Ross trophy when he finished atop of the league with 112 points.
But the big storyline was when twin Daniel Sedin was injured.
The Sedin's have always been on the same line and it was interesting to see how Henrik would play without his brother on his side.
Obviously, he did well enough to capture the Art Ross despite Daniel playing only 63 games.
One thing to take note of was Alex Burrows. In the regular season, he played with the Sedin's (Henrik when Daniel was out).
He had a career year and potted 35 goals. In the playoffs, Burrows was moved off of the Sedin line and his production dropped significantly as he had three goals (one empty netter) in 12 games. Also see, Anson Carter.
To sum up, Henrik Sedin makes his teammates play better.
There is one con against Gaborik—his health.
He was often injured in Minnesota, but it seems that the many surgeries he has gone through have somewhat healed him and while he can't be considered glass anymore, there is always the worry he could go out at anytime.
Last season he dressed for 76 games, not too bad. He was leading the Art Ross race for a while at the beginning of the year, too.
One of the fastest players in the NHL, with one of the most feared shots, any team would be glad to have Gaborik.
His creativity and hockey IQ are also off the charts, and he can often find space with his speed and hands to fire off shots.
Gabby and Lundqvist on their game could put the Rangers in the playoff mix. If they get some solid defense and secondary scoring, the Rangers could be scary.
(Also YouTube "Gaborik Hasek" if you don't know where the picture is from).
On the other side of 30 now, Datsyuk is getting older, but what he brings to a team is far too great to let him drop further.
Probably the softest hands in the league, Datsyuk's dangles will leave you in awe.
He's always a threat on the score sheet. But a lot of his offensive production stems from his defensive production.
He has won two straight Frank J. Selke Trophies (leagues best defensive forward) and is nominated for it again this year.
He will often be seen forechecking deep, trying to get the puck from the opposition, and he usually gets it as he led the league in takeaways this year.
Paired with his hands, he can get the puck from defensive players and dangle his way to the net or hold the puck up and wait for his team to get open for a pass.
Keith is also nominated for the Norris Trophy this year, and along with Doughty was one of Team Canada's best d-men.
Simply Keith is a two-way player. He contributes offensively, but his defensive play is just as good.
He fell into a little slump after the Olympics, but bounced back and was one of the best Blackhawks as they won the Stanley Cup.
His hockey IQ is also excellent, as he can quarterback the power-play and set up his teammates for rebounds and such (which is great when a guy like Byfuglien is in front of the net).
Got a new contract this year, Keith at 26-years-old should figure to be among the leagues best defenseman for a while.
Iggy is often considered one of the best captains in the NHL. He's 32-years-old, but I highly doubt he would fall much further.
His slap shot and wrist shot are complete rockets.
His strength and determination are noticeable and you can tell he is giving 100 percent every game.
When he gets riled up, he usually plays better.
Every time you see him talking to the media he has a smile on his face, and you can tell he truly loves what he does. Hopefully he can get a Cup before he retires, he deserves it.
Henrik Lundqvist can be streaky at times, but he is an elite goalie in the NHL. He always gives the Rangers a chance to win games.
At 28, he is in his prime, and as I said before, Lundqvist and Gaborik could take the Rangers on their back and lead them to the playoffs next year.
Lundqvist has a fast glove, and his side-to-side movement is very good. He is very composed and not often frustrated in his crease.
Also for all the ladies reading, he is considered the sexiest NHL player. Ow, ow.
The Flyers captain had a bit of an off year this year, tallying only 62 points, but he is among the revolution of "young captains" around the league and truly is a leader.
He was operating at a point per game during Philly's Cinderella run to the Cup Finals this year and was one of the best Flyers during the whole playoffs.
Richards isn't just a passer or shooter, he does both very well (31 goals, 31 assists this year). Richards also played a role in Team Canada's gold medal triumph this year.
At only 25-years-old, Richards will most likely surpass his 62 point total from last year and we can look forward to seeing him near the top of the NHL scoring race for the next few years.
Mike Green might as well be listed as a forward.
Although he has immense offensive upside for a defenseman, he can sometimes be a liability in his own end.
It's not usually a problem, but it can be and was in the Capitals' fall to the Habs this year.
He holds the record for consecutive games with a goal by a defenseman (eight games) and has been nominated for his second Norris Trophy.
Because Green is only 24, there is time for him to improve in his own end, although it is not absolutely vital.
Ever since winning rookie of the year, Kane has done so much in so little time.
As everyone knows, the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup this year and Kane was huge in that putting up 28 points.
Usually wingers tend to be snipers, but Kane is more of a playmaker.
Vision and excellent passing skill are a few of his highly touted skills, though he does have a knack for scoring big goals in big moments (he did score the Stanley Cup OT winner in Game Six), and last year put Luongo to shame as he scored a hat trick as the Blackhawks put up seven on the Canucks to eliminate them from the playoffs.
Oh yeah, he's 21-years-old.
Rick Nash often draws comparisons to Calgary captain Jarome Iginla, and rightfully so.
Nash is a power forward that doesn't quite have the shot Iggy does, but he makes up for it with his hands.
Nash makes the highlight reel almost every week and will leave you in awe, truly a player that is fun to watch. He's never put up more than 79 points, but Nash is always a threat to toy with the opposition.
Another one of the young captains, Rick Nash is only 26-years-old and has been the captain of the Blue Jackets for about two years now.
25-year-old Corey Perry, can always set up linemates Bobby Ryan and Ryan Getzlaf. He can score too, but is is usually providing for his skilled linemates.
He was an important cog in the Ducks' Stanley Cup victory three years ago, and played a role on Team Canada at the Olympics this year.
Like Nash, Perry doesn't always put up a ton of points, but his play is very consistent.
Early on in the season, Kopitar was atop the scoring race. He cooled down a bit, but he finished with 81 points.
At only 22-years of age, he will be with the LA Kings for a long time, and an important piece of their young core.
His strength is passing, but he put in 34 goals this year. He plays well with Ryan Smyth, and his point production declined a bit when Smyth went down to injury, so having a gritty guy who can open up some space for Kopi does help.
Some rumors have Kovalchuk going to LA, and if Kopitar was paired up with Kovalchuk that could be one of the best lines in the NHL.
Weber is more of a defensive player, but his two-way game is great.
Weber's hits can leave guys aching for weeks, his big frame helps this cause.
At 24-years-old, his development will continue and you should see his name up there for the Norris trophy for years to come.
His strength though, would have to be his slapshot. I'm sure no goalie wants to face one of Weber's shots, and his 39 goals in the past two seasons show that he has a rocket of a shot.
This past Olympics Weber clapped it from the point and the shot was so hard it ripped right through the mesh.
Heater was questioned a bit on character when he wanted out of Ottawa so bad last year. You can't deny his skills though.
Heatley has often played with great centres like Spezza and Thornton, but I am sure centres love playing with Dany Heatley.
He could be in contention for having the best shot in the league, and has 219 goals in his past five seasons.
This might be a little early, as Myers could suffer from the sophomore slump but he could anchor a team's blue line for the next 10 years.
This year Myers really did it all. He was good on the power play, contributed offensively, and with his massive frame his has a huge stick to block lanes and he can lay out big hits.
He put up 48 points and is only 20-years-old. Being 6'8" helps him fight the opposition off the puck, and if he wants to hold the puck up.
Another one that could be taken too high and too soon here, Rask had a phenomenal rookie campaign, but could fall to the sophomore slump ala Steve Mason.
Tim Thomas coming off of a new contract wasn't playing near his Vezina form.
Rask came in and was lights out for the most part and was near the top of every goaltending statistical category. In the playoffs, he outplayed Ryan Miller and led the Bruins to the next round (where they choked, but it was hardly Rask's fault).
A very quick goalie, Rask is quite humble (you wouldn't think so after that blow up with the Providence Bruins). With some offensive tweaks, Rask could carry the Bruins to a Stanley Cup challenge next year.
Parise, at 25-years of age, is one of the snipers in the NHL, although he tallied 44 assists this year.
He finished ninth in goals, and is sure to be a franchise player for the Devils.
He is one of the most underrated players in the league, but that is changing as people see the talent Parise possesses. One day, he will wear the C for New Jersey.
Twins, but almost opposite in playing style.
The Sedin's are quite dynamite with each other, and you could put a 12-year-old on their line and he would probably score 20 goals.
Daniel is more of the shooter than Henrik. A very, very good pair, they always seem to know where the other is on the ice and can pick each other out with blind passes.
Daniel is also very creative and will go to the net hard.
The 25-year-old, new captain of the Hurricanes ends our Re-Entry draft.
Very deserving of the Captaincy, Eric Staal is a hard worker. He always gives it his all on the ice, and this past season had a few injuries, but was still able to put up 70 points in 70 games.
Staal was a huge part of the Hurricanes' 2005 Cup triumph over the Oilers, and now as the captain will be a huge part of the Carolina franchise for years to come.