Rossy’s Ramblings

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2012-07-05

 

Wednesday, July 4th – 8:20pm

 

I hope that all of you hockey fanatics enjoyed the Canada Day and Fourth of July celebrations, as well the Free Agency “Frenzy” that took place. After spending nearly a week in cottage country I am just catching up on all of the changes throughout the NHL.

 

 

As expected, Justin Schultz was signed by the Edmonton Oilers. As Rich Dillon stated earlier, perfect fit for the former Anaheim Duck as Schultz will get plenty of opportunity to display his talents among this incredibly talented forward group of Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, Yakupov, Eberle, Hemsky, Gagner, and Paajarvi. The pressure to succeed certainly increases for Schultz but I’d expect a season of 40-45 points for him. I am very interested to see which forward(s) are dealt eventually for help elsewhere. I’d agree with Dobber and most other people in thinking Gagner and Paajarvi are the two most likely candidates.

 

At the 2012 NHL Draft, there was no shortage of speculation that Tambellini might draft defenseman Ryan Murray ahead of Nail Yakupov. I wonder how confident Steve Tambellini was in winning the Justin Schultz lottery and how that played into his decision. For me, Yakupov was a no-brainer but if he somehow knew that the Oilers had the inside edge in securing Justin Schultz, I am sure it made his decision to take the forward much easier.

 

 

Wild GM Chuck Fletcher did a great job courting both Ryan Suter and Zach Parise to come to the Minnesota Wild. The team instantly improves their chances of contending by tenfold. Not only do the Wild strengthen their forward and defense by these signings but with their great prospect depth, it will give Chuck Fletcher plenty of flexibility to move some of his prospects for immediate help if the team finds themselves in a battle for the Stanley Cup. I’d suspect that only Mikael Granlund, Mathew Dumba and Jonas Brodin are considered “untouchables” but it’d probably take a lot to pry away Charlie Coyle, Johan Larsson, and Brett Bulmer. Zack Phillips, Jason Zucker, Raphael Bussieres, Chad Rau, Mario Lucia among others gives the Wild plenty of options. Minnesota Wild fans have to be ecstatic at how the culture of this team has changed overnight with the additions of leader-type players in Parise and Suter.

 

For me, the biggest question for the Wild will be how their goaltending situation plays out with Backstrom’s large salary and Josh Harding’s newly inked deal. I’d expect that Harding will be given plenty of opportunity to steal the starting job so that the Wild could potentially rid them of Backstrom’s contract. Matt Hackett is a good goaltending prospect in the Wild’s system that has made solid progress since being drafted in 2009 while Darcy Kuempfer and Johan Gustafsson give them good depth in the crease.

 

NHL prospect development camps are continually popping up around the league. Last week, I provided some news on Rangers’ camp.  Let’s turn to the Maple Leafs’. Toronto is currently in the middle of their scrimmages and after two days there are several prospects garnering headlines.

 

David Broll was involved in two heavy weight fights against 2011 first round pick Tyler Biggs and invitee David Wolf. For anyone who hasn’t caught any live viewings of David Broll playing for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL), his physical presence is something to see. He’s a huge specimen out on the ice and looks like a tank coming down the ice. His future is as a fourth line heavyweight.

 

For more information on Tyler Biggs, Morgan Rielly as well as some other more unknown Maple Leaf prospects please have a quick read of Draft Schmaft’s observations of the players.

 

From the article, views on Tyler Biggs….

The greatest improvement in Biggs’ play could be attributed to the skating work he has put in over the past month. Biggs seems to have more explosiveness and his diagonal cuts were sharp. Biggs found open ice for himself on several occasions. His wrist shot did not hit the net but had some heat to it. Played a physical game which should come as no surprise to anyone.”

 

Views on Morgan Rielly

“As advertised. Competes with Tony Cameranesi for best skater award at camp. A multi-directional skater who gives the impression of his skates barely touching the ice surface. His pivots are smooth and effortless and Rielly has great lateral mobility. Rielly showed great hockey sense and vision in where he places himself, how he navigates through bodies, and how he chooses to attack the offensive zone. As Jim Hughes stated, his passes are hard and quick and in my opinion – at the pro-level. Rielly also sought out and found