Here's the agenda for the week.
The NHL Awards go down on Wednesday in Las Vegas. The league's general managers and board of governors will all be in town, meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Word is that the salary cap will (finally) be revealed on Tuesday. The number being bandied about is still somewhere between $70 and $71 million, which I expect will turn out to be true. As angry as the players are about the money that they're losing from their current paycheques, both the league and the NHLPA will be encouraging them to keep the cap escalator in place—especially in a year when there isn't much natural upward movement on the cap number.
I think once all the league brass is in the same place, trade discussions will begin in earnest. Maybe something will happen late on Tuesday, but I'd bet we'll start hearing things on Thursday, after the awards show has had its moment in the spotlight.
For now, we continue to wait.
has started to ramp up its draft coverage. I was especially intrigued by this piece
from Ben Kuzma, talking about how the Canucks' scouting process has changed.
The article focuses on potential sleeper picks that the Canucks could pick up with the picks they hold after the third round. Here's how the new scouting system works:
“I get feedback from scouts in the field and I go out and see who they identify, and it goes through that filter, and I identify for Jim Benning who he should prioritize,” says Canucks vice-president of player personnel John Weisbrod.
“People at several levels in the organization have seen the same players and probably six or seven have laid eyeballs on him. It (draft selection) is then a meaningful conversation.”
Weisbrod and Benning worked together in Boston, where Weisbrod was a pro scout for two years, then became the director of collegiate scouting and eventually, director of pro and collegiate scouting.
One success on his Bruins resume from the collegiate ranks appears to be Zach Trotman—now a 24-year-old who was drafted out of Lake Superior State in the seventh round in 2010, 210th overall. That made him the very last pick of the draft—and Boston needed to trade a seventh-rounder in 2011 to Chicago in order to make the selection.
At 6'3" and 219 pounds, Trotman's a big defenseman who split his time between Providence and Boston last season, playing 27 games with the big club.
He was a regular in the lineup for Boston's last 10 games of the season, when the Bruins were pushing hard to secure a playoff spot. That, plus his $625,000 salary next season, would suggest to me that he has an inside track on a full-time NHL job next year.
for more on Trotman, from @asmae_t at Stanley Cup of Chowder.
Trotman's career arc to date serves as a good reminder—defensemen take a long time to develop! Most likely, we won't be able to get a read on the late-round choices made by the Canucks' brass this Saturday for four or five years—and a lot could change by then.
I wonder how Benning and Weisbrod feel about seeing a player like Trotman pan out after they've both left the Bruins organization?
Canada Advances to Quarterfinal at Women's World Cup
Judging from the Team Canada jerseys I saw at BC Place yesterday, I wasn't the only hockey fan to join the fun as the Canadian women defeated Switzerland 1-0 to advance to the quarterfinal of the Women's World Cup.
The only other time I've sat on the upper level at the renovated stadium was for the Heritage Classic last year. The weather was much better this time around, and so was the game's outcome!
The big crowd was firmly behind Team Canada, but the atmosphere was...more hockey-like?...than you'd see at a Whitecaps game.
Personally, I don't mind that. There was some chanting and cheering—and a slow-rolling wave around the stadium after Josee Belanger's goal early in the second half—but fans seemed to be concentrating on the play. They were easily distracted from their revelries with each change of possession in the closely-fought contest.
Despite the low score, there was plenty of tension and excitement and the crowd responded when implored to make noise by the Canadian substitute players on the sidelines and by coach John Herdman.
Canada will find out later today whether its quarterfinal opponent will be England or Norway next Saturday at BC Place. As I write this on Monday morning, upper-bowl tickets for that quarterfinal match are still available. I'd recommend it if you can make it!