- Stick salute to Brian Burke for pulling off two big-time trades for Dion Phaneuf and Jean-Sebastien Giguere and seemingly sending out a flotsam of B-listers (Matt Stajan, Niklas Hagman, Jamal Mayers, Ian White to Calgary, Vesa Toskala and Jason Blake to Anaheim) in return. However, that’s just under $18 million of the 2010-11 payroll budgeted to Phil Kessel, a young defenseman who’s regressed in his development, and a 32-year-old goalie whose best days are most likely in his rearview mirror. While young forwards like Tyler Bozak and Nazem Kadri could contribute next year, the Leafs need some go-to guys, especially down the middle, who can put pucks in nets. More deals are coming.
- Closest comparable I can think of for Anze Kopitar is Eric Staal — big, strong, skilled, rangy center who can’t be knocked off the puck. Haven’t seen enough of Kopitar in person. But after watching him in two games this year, I think I take Kopitar for my team ahead of Staal, even though the latter has a ring. Close call, but Kopitar’s hockey sense and age (three years younger) give him the edge.
- Don’t think anyone will be surprised if Steven Stamkos, the first overall pick in 2008, becomes an annual 30-goal scorer. That said, the Kings, picking one spot later, drafted the better player in Drew Doughty. At 20 years old, Doughty does so many things well. He can play a shutdown role. He can retrieve pucks and initiate the breakout by passing or rushing it out himself. He can dish at the point on the power play. He touches every part of the game.
- Sticking with the 2008 draft, can you imagine if Chicago had picked Tyler Myers (the skyscraping defenseman went one pick later to Buffalo) instead of Kyle Beach? A top four of Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Brian Campbell, and Myers. Unfair.
- Even in the preseason, several of the Bruins mentioned how much more structured the Senators played under Cory Clouston. They’ve all bought in, starting with captain Daniel Alfredsson. Clouston should be in the running for the Jack Adams Award.