Earlier this week, the Maple Leafs hired Laurence Gilman to be their Assistant GM. The former Winnipeg, Vancouver, and Arizona executive brings a terrific resume. He was a capologist, trade negotiator, AHL GM and media darling in Vancouver. His stint on the airwaves with TSN1040 the last year was a great success. He shared countless stories from behind the scenes that illuminated and entertained.
Gilman also helped facilitate the Las Vegas expansion process with the league. Additionally, the Winnipeg-native reportedly rejected the GM gig in Carolina (who hasn’t turned that job down though?). He’ll run the Marlies and the Leafs’ Player Development team and bring veteran leadership to Dubas’ team.
There have long been whispers that Canucks’ owner, Francesco Aqualini, had prohibited Gilman from taking an executive position elsewhere. This was Aqualini’s right as he continued to pay Gilman for the remainder of his Vancouver contract. But it certainly isn’t a practice of most organizations. When you fire someone, you let them work elsewhere.
The shackles are off now though and this is a slick hire.
If we’re being honest though, the true winners with the regime change in Toronto are the beards. Sorry, NYI.
For you draft junkies, I continued a series of compare/contrast pieces on closely related and ranked 2018 draft eligibles. Last week was a dig into Oliver Wahlstrom and Brady Tkachuk. Have a read here.
The most recent IIHF World Championships debuted some in-game technology. This type of information is amazing to have and will hopefully become the norm at all high-level hockey events (including the NHL!).
Here are just a few of the final tallies:
Some Canucks news came down Friday. The team announced they have signed their most recent first-round selection and top prospect, Elias Pettersson. For my money, Pettersson is the top-rated fantasy prospect in the world. Including the 2018 crop that is about to enter the fray.
P.S. Apparently the proper pronunciation of his name is “Eh-lee-as Peter-son”
GM, Jim Benning took to the airwaves and discussed the signing, the upcoming draft and some other news. Most notably, he said the team was not looking to move Chris Tanev. This news doesn’t come as a shock or hold much in the way of fantasy implications.
Perhaps it’ll keep the roar from Canucks and Leafs’ fans from getting too boisterous at the draft. The two squads have long been linked together in a potential Tanev deal.
As always, you’re encouraged to let me know who you would have in your top 10 and why.
1st Overall: John Tavares
There’s not much to say here. The franchise centre leads all 2009 draftees in games (669), goals (272), assists (349), and points (621). He’s been a pillar of many a fantasy squad. Tavares has an opportunity to be the most sought-after free agent in NHL history if the Islanders are unable to re-sign him before July 1st. Something tells me it won’t matter what sweater he’s wearing next season, he’ll continue to be a stud.
2nd Overall: Victor Hedman
The second overall selection is also the second pick in this re-draft. Hedman took his time becoming a fantasy stalwart. He averaged 0.34 points-per-game over his first four campaigns – a 28-point pace. In the 368 games since, he’s accrued 258 points (0.7 points-per-game) or a 57-point pace. There are just a handful of blueliners capable of impacting the scoresheet like the big Swede can.
3rd Overall: Matt Duchene
For a while there it appeared as though the former Brampton Battalion star would be the second most valuable asset from this crop. Third place isn’t too shabby though. Duchene peaked early with seasons of 0.68, 0.84, 0.94, and 0.99 in his first five campaigns. It looked like a point-per-game would become his norm. However, since 2013-14 he’s averaged 0.68 points-per-game (a 55-point pace). He’s still a valuable depth piece, but not a player to build your fantasy team around
4th Overall: Oliver Ekman-Larsson
OEL is a horse. He logs a ton of minutes and almost always hits double-digit goals. No seriously, he’s scored 12 or more goals in six of his eight NHL campaigns. As long as your league doesn’t count plus/minus, he’s been good for at least a half-point-per-game in each of the last six seasons. Toss in a 55 point season in 2015-16 and you’ve had a strong blue liner on your fantasy squad for years. With AZ trending in the right direction, his value will continue to hold steady.
5th Overall: Ryan O’Reilly
After being selected in the second round, ROR was a surprise to make the Avalanche as an 18-year-old back in 2009-10. His ability to impact the game defensively has likely held his offensive ceiling back. However, he’s become a stable and consistent 55-70 point-pace pivot. The Sabres landing Dahlin via the draft lottery sweepstakes isn’t going to hurt his ability to generate in all situations either.
6th Overall: Mike Hoffman
Taken in the fifth round (130th), Hoffman was a long-shot to even see NHL ice. He completed four seasons in the QMJHL, spent four seasons in the American league, and even had a cup of coffee in the ECHL. Now he’s a near-lock to break 25 goals and 50-points. The sniping left-winger has become an underrated add for many a fantasy squad.
Who likes scoring goals? Anders Lee likes scoring goals! Taken with the first pick in the sixth round, the powerful left-wing took his time getting to be an NHL regular. Now that he is, he’s hanging with the elite finishers. He’s averaged 37 goals the last two seasons with a career-high 40 this past season. He’s the only player from 2009 to hit that lofty milestone. Making sweet music with Tavares in all situations has contributed to his success. We’re guessing he wants JT back for eight more years as much as anyone.
8th Overall: Tyson Barrie
50-point defenders are a rare bird these days. The soon-to-be 27-year-old has two of those campaigns under his belt with a 49-point season tossed in there too. It hasn’t always been rosy in Colorado since he joined the squad full-time in 2013-14. But the Avs are heading in the right direction and his ability to create offence is unquestioned.
9th Overall: Brayden Schenn
Long considered one of the top prospects in the world, Schenn hasn’t quite lived up to his billing. It’s not too often a fifth overall pick is traded twice in their twenties while being an NHL player, but Schenn has managed to succeed despite it. His most recent 70-point output represents a career-high. His chemistry with Vladimir Tarasenko means he’s in a strong position to at least come close to replicating it.
10th Overall: Marcus Johansson