The Toronto Maple Leafs have finally moved Phil Kessel. It was announced earlier today that the Maple Leafs sent Kessel, Tyler Biggs, Tim Erixon, and a 2016 second round pick to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Nick Spaling, Kasperi Kapanen, Scott Harrington, a 2016 first round pick, and a 2016 third round pick. As part of the deal Toronto will retain 15% of Phil Kessel’s salary.
The 2015 NHL entry draft is just days away, and the Florida Panthers have the privilege of playing host to one of the most anticipated drafts since Sidney Crosby was selected first overall by Pittsburgh in 2005. Another superstar is about to emerge, with center Connor McDavid being touted as the obvious first choice by the Edmonton Oilers. Of course, as most people know, there is a lot more to the draft than just young men realizing their lifelong dream. The following is everything fans need to know to prepare themselves for the festivities that will take place on Friday and Saturday.
The Top 30
First, let’s talk about the prospects. McDavid is already a household name, but what about the other 29 prospects that could hear their names called in the first round? Here is the complete list of the top 30 North American skaters available:
To see the full list of skaters and goaltenders from North America and Europe, click here.
Round 1 Draft Order
One of the most exciting parts of any draft day are the trades. Every year at least one team pulls the trigger on a blockbuster deal in hopes to improve their team. Last year it was Anaheim who bolstered their lineup on draft day by acquiring Ryan Kesler from Vancouver. His contributions helped his new team reach the Western Conference finals before falling to the eventual Stanley Cup champions, the Chicago Blackhawks.
Fast forward to this weekend’s draft and there are plenty of big names available for the taking. The Toronto Maple Leafs are looking to unload their two biggest stars, Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf, while the Chicago Blackhawks need to shed salary, and they may look to do so by trading Patrick Sharp and Bryan Bickell. Other names being mentioned in trade talks include Cam Talbot (NYR), Milan Lucic (BOS), and Eric Staal (CAR). TSN has compiled an entire list of players that are rumored to be up for grabs this weekend, which can be seen here.
Schedule of Events
Finally, the Florida Panthers are doing their best to provide a fantastic weekend for everyone attending the 2015 NHL entry draft. From autograph signings to trading card shows there will be something for everyone on Friday and Saturday. For the entire schedule of events just look below.
For any other questions about the draft fans can refer to draft central, a web portal created by the Florida Panthers. Round one of the 2015 National Hockey League entry draft takes place this Friday, June 26th, at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, FL.
Sunday, October 16th marked the end of the first week in Fantasy Hockey, and what an exciting week it has been! Some surprises emerged whether it be from starting out strong or slow offensively, putting on a goaltending clinic, or letting just about every shot faced fly in. I’m here to point out some of the “stars” from the first week as well as some of the disappointments, and to provide a list of players to consider trading for at some point.
1. Phil Kessel TOR – (5g 3a 8pts +7): Kessel is my pick for the top player trending upward this past week. Strong goaltending caused Toronto to post a 3-0-0 record during the first week which usually results in confidence from forwards. If it keeps up look for Kessel to have a career season.
2. John Tavares NYI – (5g 3a 8pts): Tavares posted back to back 4 point nights last week along with his first hat trick of the season. The Islanders are starting out strong and again look for the forwards to feed off of this and raise the intensity of their play.
3. Joffrey Lupul TOR – (3g 2a 5pts): Lupul is benefiting from the strong play of Kessel as seen in his numbers. You can expect to see a career season from him if it keeps up. Keep an eye on him!
4. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins EDM – (4g 0a 4pts): This years first overall pick has made the decision tough on the coaching staff on whether to send him back to juniors after the first 9 games. Strong play along with Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle has boosted his value greatly this past week and I expect good things from him. How can you turn down a kid who scored a hat trick in just his third NHL game?
Notable players to watch this week: Kris Versteeg FLA – 3GP 1G 2A 3PT, Marc-Andre Bergeron TBL – 5GP 2G 3A 5PT, James Neal PIT – 6GP 5G 1A 6PT, Thomas Vanek BUF – 4GP 3G 4A 7PT, Al Montoya NYI – 2-1 1.35GAA .953S%, James Reimer Tor – 3-0 2.49GAA .917S%
1. Dwayne Roloson TBL – (3GP 1-1-1 5.09GAA .858S%): Roloson is off to a shaky start and it’s apparent in the Lightning’s record, look for Mathieu Garon to get more starts in an attempt to shake things up.
2. David Booth FLA – (3GP 0G 1A 1P -3): Booth is a surprise on this list as he was expected to be among Florida top forwards this season, but his slow start is proving otherwise.
3. Steven Stamkos TBL – (5GP 2G 1A 3PT): The leading goal scorer in the NHL the past two season is off to a slow start like the rest of his team, and unless something drastic is done to shake the team up he may not break out of the “slump” this week.
Players to look out for in the coming weeks:
Taylor Hall EDM – Top line is gaining momentum and he looks to benefit from it.
Anaheim’s Top Line – Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan all started out slow but look for all three of these players to heat up.
Rick Nash CBJ – With Jeff Carter out for possibly a few weeks look for Nash to step up and help his team turn around from one of it’s worst starts in history.
Sidney Crosby PIT – Nobody knows the timetable on Crosby’s return but he was cleared for contact this past week which only means he’s one step closer to that day, so watch out for his return and be ready to have him in your lineup!