It’s mid-July, but your mailbag questions continue to come in at their usual pace. Thanks to all who submitted something, even if I didn’t get to it here.
Hey Adam, Now that all the big names are off the market, who do you think are the winners of the NHL’s free agent frenzy? Even though they didn't add the biggest names, I think the Carolina Hurricanes and Nashville Predators both got the biggest returns. The Canes added a backup who will help in the future and veteran defensive help which they needed. The Preds addressed their needs at forward by getting both scoring types and energy players. Thanks.
Ethan Jorge, Raleigh, N.C.
I covered off the teams I thought were the biggest winners and losers in my Thursday column; the Predators made the list because I think GM David Poile made the most of his limited cap space and bulked up Nashville’s group of forwards.
I wouldn’t put the Hurricanes in either the best or worst teams, although I have to admit I wasn’t overwhelmed with optimism for them after seeing their moves. Most people I speak with believe their biggest area of need is on defense. Yes, signing former Bruins backup netminder Anton Khudobin might turn into a positive (especially if Cam Ward can’t stay healthy), but bringing in Mike Komisarek and Andrej Sekera isn’t my idea of a major upgrade from last season.
Now, I did think Carolina should have been a playoff team this past season, but Ward’s injury underscored how important he is to their post-season hopes. If he goes down again, they could well be in trouble again.
Hi Adam, What is the deal with teams allowing the children of their owners and executives to be on stage during the draft? It seems tacky that the drafted players are getting their inaugural photos taken with some kids in jerseys that aren't part of the team.
Kurt Weigle, Detroit
I’d chalk this up to the Golden Rule of Sports Team Ownership: whoever has the gold makes the rules. And while I understand where you’re coming from, if you owned a business, I’m guessing you’d agree one of the perks is getting to do nice things for your children. I find it hard to blame parents for that and I certainly don’t blame the kids.
Hi again Adam. I was wondering what's your take on Kyle Turris? I know he is a first-round pick, someone who is supposed to be better than he is at the moment, but I liked the way he has developed in Ottawa. Twenty-nine points in each of the past two seasons may not sound great, but this season he was the “go-to guy” for quite some time and while his production dipped a bit he wasn't a complete disaster.
The overall point here is that do you think his game matured this season to the point where he can be considered a steady two-way performer with potentially great offensive upside?
Miika Haapalainen, Oulu, Finland
Hi again, Miika,
First thing’s first – we can’t forget Turris still is only 23 years old. He still has time to evolve and improve. That said, he’s not performing the way someone who was drafted third overall (in 2007), but as we all should know by now, the draft is not an exact science.
It will be intriguing to see if the arrival of Bobby Ryan to the Sens does anything to boost Turris’ offensive output, but I wouldn’t assume that to be a sure thing. Ryan is likely to start the season on Jason Spezza’s line, but between power play time and the line-changes that almost inevitably happen, I’d guess Turris and Ryan will see some minutes together.
Ultimately, the jury remains out on Turris, but anyone who tells you they know what he’ll be is simply not being honest.
Adam, so many former first round picks are on the move. The draft seems a crapshoot to me. Are the scouts reports predicting less than MVP careers? Why do teams give up on a prospect and new teams think a change of scenery will produce?
Ed Ostrowski, Greenville, S.C.
With very few exceptions, the draft definitely is a crapshoot. You can improve your odds of winning it with savvy scouting and development, but there are no guarantees.
Why do teams give up on talented youngsters these days? A number of possible reasons: they’re convinced the player has realized all the potential he can; the player’s development timeline doesn’t match with the team’s competitive cycle; or there are personal issues that cloud the picture. Tyler Seguin met the second of those descriptions: the Bruins have a veteran core and are aiming to win now, but Seguin doesn’t have the maturity to be as focused, so he was moved out for Loui Eriksson. Former Kings defenseman Thomas Hickey is an example of the first situation; he didn’t realize expectations, so out the door he went.
As numerous hockey people have told me over the years, if you’re a first-round pick and it doesn’t work out for you with the NHL team that selected you, there will always be another franchise willing to take a chance on you. Why? Because they believe they can employ you in a better capacity, or motivate and/or teach you better than your original team did. It’s usually not true, but the instances where it does work out are all the evidence teams need to take a flier on someone.
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