There's already a lot of news breaking leading up to the start of the draft on this beautiful Friday afternoon (if you're in the NYC area, anyway). Let's recap...
- Your first draft day trade: The Sharks have sent Vesa Toskala and Mark Bell to the Maple Leafs for a conditional (are there's a lot of conditions) 2007 first round pick, a 2007 second rounder and a 2008 fourth rounder. If the 'player San Jose wants isn't available,' then the first round pick will move to 2008. If the Leafs get a top 10 pick next year, the pick will move to 2009. If Mats Sundin's head explodes randomly during a home game, the pick moves to 2010. Ok, I made that last one up... This is a pretty swift no confidence vote in Andrew Raycroft. Toskala is a bargain, making only 1.375 this season, but will hit the free agent market next summer. Raycroft still has two years left, valued at a total of $4.2 mil. Let the media frenzy begin, there's going to be some serious competition in the Toronto net this September... Alan Muir's throws down the people's elbow. I mean, he's got some analysis.
- Your second draft day trade; the dismantling of the Predators marches slowly along: Nasvhille has sent Tomas Vokoun to the Panthers for a first rounder and two second rounders. This is a great trade for both teams. Florida no longer has to deal with Ed Belfour, and has a serious #1 goaltender in Vokoun. From a Nashville standpoint, three high draft picks is a great return... This makes me wonder; even if a local group buys the Preds and keeps them in Nashville, will there be anything left? This is going to be a really ugly team next season... The situation regarding Forsberg and Kariya staying in Nashville is no longer a matter of if they will re-sign with Nashville. After this trade, it has turned into a matter of when they will sign elsewhere.
- Adrian Aucoin wants nothing to do with Bill Wurtz: And who can blame him? After signing as a free agent with the Hawks in 2005, the Hawks captain has waved his no trade clause and is moving to Calgary. Aucoin's years in Chicago were two of the worst season's of his career (statistically speaking), both plagued by injuries. A 2007 seventh round pick accompanies Aucoin to Calgary. In return, the Hawks gain Andrei Zyuzin and Steve Marr.
- Cows are people, too: Some Wisconsin hockey players are getting fined for tipping over a cow. Actually, it wasn't even a cow. It was a sculpture of a cow. Let it be known that the state of Wisconsin does not want you messing with their cows. This marks the first step of the bovine take over of the United States. You've had fair warning, cows will soon rule the day!
- Your daily Predators update: The Tennesseean is reporting that Jim Ballsillie's exclusive negotiation period with Preds' owner Craig Leopold has expired. This paves the way for a local ownership group to make a serious bid, if they can find the finances to do it. The way Balsillie was acting by taking deposits for a team in Hamilton suggests things were close to finalized. I'm not too sure what to make of this, but if Balsillie is the smart businessman that he seems to be, it will only be a minor bump on his path to Hamilton.
- Blatant marketing ploy, or far fetched theory to try and increase scoring? You decide: As you might have heard, the NHL is going to change over to some fancy schmansy futuristic looking uniforums next season, and they'll be unveiled tonight. Apparently, this is what the Caps will be wearing.
- Let's have one more go around, ol' boy: Mark Recchi and Gary Roberts have re-signed in Pittsburgh for one year. Recchi will make $2 mil, including bonuses, and Roberts will snag $2.5 mil.
- Anaheim will have 86% more Giguere: Giggy has re-signed with Anaheim for four years, a deal totaling $24 million. The contract is pretty backloaded. He will make $5.5 mil each of the next two years, a figure which escalates to $6 mil and $7 mil in the final two years of the contract. That being said, Ilya Bryzgalov will probably be on the move.