As many of the DobberHockey faithful know, I fight forest fires during the summer months. Fire, the cruel mistress that she is, had me called away for two weeks just after Game One of the Stanley Cup Final.
It wasn't the first Cup Final I've missed because of fire and it surely won't be the last. The good news, I'm not sure I missed much. Sure, there were overtime games like crazy but was anyone surprised by the end result? I wasn't. Not even a little bit. The Kings have what looks like a core that will contend for a long time. Between the Kings and the Chicago Blackhawks I'm not sure there will be many Cups for anyone else.
Of course, it's easy to say that since these two have won multiple Cups in recent years but remember, the Kings were on the brink of defeat in multiple series this spring so it's not like they can't be toppled.
Sean McIndoe has a nice breakdown of how the Kings were not supposed to win the Cup but did anyway.
McIndoe also looks at some of the popular theories going into the playoffs that were way wrong.
And so now talk turns to free agency and the draft. You'll obviously want to pick up the 2014 Prospects Guide because that thing is just pure gold.
As far as I can tell this draft class is looking weaker, at least in terms of top end talent. Probably not the year you wanted to tank in. But the lack of sure-fire top talent almost makes this more exciting because anything could happen and a team might come away with the best player in the draft later in the first.
You may be interested in checking out the mock draft some of us writers are engaging in on the forums. You can also join the discussion here.
I took the armchair of the Oilers GM and selected Leon Draisatl. It seemed a pretty straight forward pick to me. After Aaron Ekblad was mock drafted first overall there was no player I wanted more. You've got to have size up the middle to compete in the West.
I wouldn't be shocked to see the Oilers move this pick if they can secure a player who will help them immediately though. You could actually say the same for a lot of teams. Again, this is where the lack of a no-brainer top selection could make things interesting.
And just to be clear – while I am saying there is no "sure-fire" top pick I actually do believe that Ekblad is hands down the best prospect. I would take him first 100 times out of 100. I just don't think he gets teams hot and bothered the way many previous top picks have. For instance, if Ekblad is in last year's draft he may not go in the top five. That's just the way these things go.
It looks like the Red Wings will be moving on from Todd Bertuzzi, Mikael Samuelsson and