June 25, 2002

If a tree falls in the woods, and no one is around, does it make a sound?: The same question could be asked about the NHL draft, which happened this weekend with little to no fan interest and minimal media coverage. Such is the fate of hockey, the least popular of the big four pro sports. Columbus picked Rick Nash, LW from the London Knights, number 1 in the draft. Probably more interesting is that Hasek is going to retire. Expect more interesting things to happen with trades, as the Red Wings shop for a new goaltender and coach, and the Leafs try to figure out what to do with Cujo.

posted by insomnyuk to hockey at 10:35 AM - 16 comments

Free agency starts on July 1, maybe something interesting will happen then.

posted by insomnyuk at 10:41 AM on June 25

A classmate of my brother was picked #11. Keith Ballard of the University of Minnesota was selected by Buffalo. Crazy.

posted by emoeby at 10:50 AM on June 25

The problem with the draft is that it was a weak crop of players to choose from beyond the top 3. How could you tell? Look at how many teams traded their first round picks for either more picks or established (but not great) players. It would be like getting hyped up about the SECOND round of a usual NHL draft, it just doesn't happen.

posted by grum@work at 01:43 PM on June 25

Hasek's done, it's official. I expect a press conference concerning Cujo's migration to Detroit on Monday. The draft wasn't huge because only a handful of the players weren't no-names, and there wasn't much speculation on who would end up where. Although Columbus' insistance on getting Nash was kind of interesting.

posted by Succa at 01:49 PM on June 25

Columbus badly needs scoring (they badly need everything, though). They took a goalie in the first round of the last draft, and their defense is pretty decent, although they traded Mattias Timander for a draft pick. They're looking for a franchise player to build their offense around. They don't really have anyone else on the team who is impressive offensively, save Sanderson, who was injured all last season. As someone who has watched their team, it seems like he will fill a big hole in the Blue Jackets lineup.

posted by insomnyuk at 02:18 PM on June 25

The baseball draft doesn't get a lot of attention either, for the same reason as the NHL: Most of the picks will be completely meaningless to the fortunes of the selecting team for at least four years. Many won't ever make it beyond the minors.

posted by rcade at 02:26 PM on June 25

I would have started a thread about it, but since it is mentioned here, why hog the front page... Who should Detroit sign? I have misgivings about every goalie available. Then again, being a goalie in Detroit is some very big shoes to fill (ask Cheveldae, Osgood, et al.) Eddie "I do'nt have to go to practice" Belfour? Curtis "Softie" Joseph? Byron "has not come up big in the playoffs" Dafoe? Mike "busted knee" Richter? Rumors also have Melrose or Colin Campbell up for head coach. God help me.

posted by adampsyche at 03:42 PM on June 25

Actually I kind of like Melrose, he got screwed in the Finals back in 93, but he's no Scotty Bowman (nobody is). If I had to choose between Belfour, Joseph, Dafoe, and Richter, I would take Cujo, because I think Belfour and Richter are both washed up, and Dafoe can't cut it in the playoffs, while Cujo has lots of playoff shutouts, he's just never backstopped a team with a very respectable defense.

posted by insomnyuk at 04:01 PM on June 25

Everyone is talking about a replacement top-line goalie for Cujo, but what about their current back-up, Legace? Sure, he doesn't have the name impact of the other top prospects, but doesn't the kid have potential -- especially if he were to see more action? Or is he forever relegated to back-up? I would think that now would be the best time for the Wings to try and develop a long-term goaltender investment, rather than go after another late in his career oldie.

posted by mkn at 04:10 PM on June 25

They won't go with Legace because he is a back-up. The moment he loses 3 games in a row, the Detroit fans would be crying "Why didn't you sign a goaltender?" and that would be it. Detroit is stuck in the vicious part of the development cycle, where they have expensive veterans who will need to be replaced, but a fan base that won't accept them ever having a losing season again. It'll take a brave GM to announce that Legace is their starter, or to make a trade where they acquire a young goaltender (Marc Denis?). They know they have one (MAYBE two) year(s) left in their veterans (Federov, Yzerman, Shanahan, Chelios, Lidstrom, Hull, Robitaille), so they might as well shoot for the moon one more time. If Cujo signs with Detroit, Toronto will sign Belfour (for 2 seasons, prepping Tellqvist for the role) and Dafoe and Richter will be left in the dust.

posted by grum@work at 04:25 PM on June 25

Can somebody explain to this non-American idiot how Columbus are allowed to select a player from another team in another league?

posted by salmacis at 05:06 AM on June 26

This kind of explains it. Basically its fairly complicated(wow thats a poor choice of words). But most NHL teams have rights to the players in lower leagues, and the draft is really just the league stating to a player "If you wish to play in the NHL, this team has the right to sign you or trade you". It works, for one thing, because most leagues other than the NHL don't sign players to long term contracts. Since Nash (drafted by Columbus) was playing for the London Knights, a team in the OHL, he was only receiving a stipend from the Knights, a Junior A team, which means he did not have a binding long term contract (I'm guessing). Technically Nash could say no to the draft, but that would be madness.

posted by insomnyuk at 12:41 PM on June 26

Interestingly, Detroit may not want Cujo: few teams other than the Leafs want to pay him $9-million for three years. Question is, is Cujo so pissed at Quinn that he'd take a pay cut just to get the hell out of the T-dot?

posted by D at 07:22 PM on June 26

From the Hurricanes front, we have great news, and some horrible news that may not be so bad afterall. The Canes are on the verge of being thee sports team in the Triange, what with their unifying effect, but if they let Ronnie Franchise walk, it would be a PR disaster. They have sign the guy to two years if that's what he wants and I'm sure that GM Jim Rutherford will get the deal done. Oh, by the way, "Hi." I'm new here. I like this site.

posted by NoMich at 12:01 AM on June 27

Welcome to the growing contingent of SportsFilter hockey fans, NoMich.

posted by insomnyuk at 10:02 AM on June 27

Regarding Cujo and his 9 million a year contract - I'm betting he goes to the Rangers. They're paying 9 million a year for Bobby Holik (for crissakes!).

posted by Samsonov14 at 08:28 AM on July 02

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