Kevin Allen and I are going to do a Podcast to discuss the draft and surprises so far.
The unexpected was the rule rather than the exception in the first round of the NHL draft. Not too many mock drafts accurately forecast all the twists the draft took. Players rising and fall and some interesting player moves
Here's how we rated those moves:
Senators/Blackhawks Trade: The Chicago Blackhawks deal forward Alex DeBrincat to the Ottawa Senators for the No. 7 and No. 39 picks in this year's draft, plus a third-round pick in the 2024 draft.
Nuts and Bolts: DeBrincat is 24 and he has scored 161 goals in the first five seasons of his career. That's 32.2 goals per season. He has crossed the 40-goal level twice. DeBrincat has one season left on a contract with a $6.4 million cap hit. At that point, he will be a restricted free agent.
Why the Blackhawks wanted to make the deal: DeBrincat is heading toward a major payday and the Blackhawks seem to be headed toward a rebuild. They need young players to fuel that rebuild
Why the Senators wanted to make the deal: The Senators want to be more competitive next season. They have an overflowing number of prospects, but they are short of players who can help them now. DeBrincat will help an offense that ranked 26th in the NHL in scoring last season.
Fallout: Blackhawks are telling fans the rebuild is starting. Do they expect to keep Patrick Kane after trading away DeBrincat?
Analysis: The Blackhawks didn't get nearly enough for such a proven goal scorer.
Trade: The Rangers sent goalie Alexandar Georgiev to the Avalanche for third-round and fifth-round selections in the 2022 NHL Draft, plus a third-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft.
Nuts and Bolts: Georgiev, 26, didn't have an exceptional season (.898 save percentage, 2.98 goals-against average), but he has promise. He was also blocked in New York by Igor Shesterkin's brilliance. He has a chance to expand his role in Colorado.
Why the Avalanche wanted the trade: He's a skilled younger goaltender who could be a future No. 1.
Why the Rangers wanted the trade: Shesterkin is workhorse goalie. There's not future for Georgiev in New York
Fallout: This signals that Darcy Kuemper, Colorado's Stanley Cup goalie, is moving on as an unrestricted free agent. Colorado Hockey Now is reporting the Avalanche didn't have the salary cap space to meet his demands. Pavel Francouz is now the presumptive starter. He has two years left on a deal paying $2 million per season. Georgiev will challenge. He's a restricted free agent with no leverage to ask for a big salary. It seems likely Kuemper will end up in either Toronto or Edmonton. Perhaps the Washington Capitals is a possibility.
Analysis: Return on Georgiev nothing to to bragg about. Would expect at least a second-round pick for a younger goalie with potential. Might have gotten it in 2020-21, but not now.
Signing: Defenseman Kris Letang, 35, agrees to a six-year contract extension with the Pittsburgh Penguins for an average of $6.1 million per season.
Why Letang took the deal: He will get paid until he's 41. Hard to beat that. He preferred to stay in Pittsburgh. It's now likely he will spend his entire career with the Penguins.
Why the Penguins offered the deal: The loss of Letang would have been devastating for a team that wants to remain a Stanley Cup contender. Letang posted 68 points last season. This defense would look ordinary with him leading the way. The length is too long. You shouldn't give out contract years into an athlete's 40s. But they were able to keep the salary cap lower this way.
Analysis: Both sides are probably happy about this. The fans should be happy.
Winner: Letang. The Jackpot bells and whistles are going off.
Trade: Toronto Maple Leafs traded goalie Petr Mrazek and pick No. 25 to the Chicago Blackhawks for the No. 38 pick . The Leafs didn't retain any of Mrazek's $3.8 million cap hit.
Nuts and Bolts: Blackhawks are getting a new No. 1 goalie with 140 career wins and a .909 career save percentage. Maple Leafs only gave up 13 spots in the draft to get rid of Mrazek's salary.
Why the Maple Leafs wanted the trade: Mrazek isn't in the Maple Leafs plans and they needed his cap space.
Why the Blackhawks wanted the trade: They need an experienced NHL goalie and they wanted another first-round pick to continue to feed their rebuild.
Fallout: With Jack Campbell expected to go to free agency, the Maple Leafs will have no proven goalie heading into free agency. This opens up the possibility of landing Kuemper.
Analysis: Give the Maple Leafs extra credit for figuring out how to dump Mrazek's full contract value.
Winner: Both teams happy with the deal
Trade: The Blackhawks traded Kirby Dach was traded to the Canadiens for the No. 13 and No. 66 picks. Montreal had acquired the No. 13 pick from the New York Islanders in a deal for defenseman Alexander Romanov and the No. 98 pick. The trades were announced at the same time.
Nuts and Bolts: Three teams were needed to make sure everyone got what they wanted. The Canadiens and Islanders got immediate help and the Blackhawks are getting help for the future.
Why the Canadiens made the deal: They wanted a young center after passing on Shane Wright with the No. 1 pick. (They took winger Juraj Slafkovsky. Dach is a 6-foot-4 center who is still developing. He's only 21. Last season, Dach had nine goals and 26 points.
Why the Blackhawks made the deal: They wanted another first-round pick to help with their rebuild. They took Frank Nazar, an entertaining dynamic forward. He played for the U.S. Under-18 team.
Why the Islanders made the deal: Romanov will fill a need they had on their defense. He's only 22 and plenty of promise.
Analysis: Every move the Blackhawks made was about rebuilding for the future. Discounting the secondary draft picks, this is the crux: The Canadiens get Dach. The Islanders get Romanov and the Blackhawks get the No. 13 pick.
Winner: Give an edge to the Blackhawks because prospect Nazar has magic in his game.