Where Are They Now Part 2!

We originally did a Part 1 which you can find here: http://notyouraveragehockeyblog.com/2015/05/01/where-are-they-now/. After posting on Reddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/hockey/comments/354ozm/anyone_have_a_where_are_they_now_request/), we’ve decided to do a Part 2. Yeah we know the post was a long time ago, but at least it’s here right? Make sure to keep on requesting and if we have enough requests, we’ll do a Part 3! Make sure to check us out on Twitter @hkyblogger and on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/NotYourAverageHockeyBlog

Taro Tsujimoto
I have been searching for him for hours, and I can’t find anything for him. Sorry guys… Kidding! He’s an imaginary player created by Punch Imlach who got frustrated in the 1974 NHL Entry Draft. Tsujimoto was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres and everyone believed it! All the major news outlets picked it up. No information could be found on him. Well it’s cause he didn’t exist! But if he did exist, he would have been 61 now. So where is he now? Still imaginary!

Sergei Zubov
Sergei Zubov, the He retired in 2010 after a season in the KHL, and was a coach for SKA St. Petersburg for the 2011-2012 KHL Season. After that he and had joined the St. Louis Blues front office as a consultant, while doing double duty with CSKA Moscow as an Assistant Coach. However, he seems to have chosen to leave his St. Louis Blues role before the 2013 KHL season. After the 2013-2014 season, he returned to SKA St. Petersburg as an assistant coach while helping out with National Team duties as an assistant coach as well. So where is Sergei Zubov? Well he’s keeping busy with KHL and National Team duties!

Owen Nolan
Owen Nolan played 18 years for the Nordiques, Sharks, Leafs, Coyotes, Flames, Wild, and the ZSC Lions before retiring. So where is he now? He’s now running two restaurants called Britannia Arms; one in downtown San Jose and one in Almaden, CA. Nolan also hosts a and hosts several TV shows. He’s now an avid fisher and hunter and you can catch his show Sportsman 360 TV on NBC Sports Outdoors on Wednesdays at 3:30.

Editor’s note: If you’re a hockey player or aspiring hockey player, training is key. So if you want to get bigger, get faster, make sure to check out our friends over at Hockey Training. Who knows? They could be the extra boost that you need.

Why the Trade Package Acquired for Phil Kessel Has More Value Than Advertised

When past top 5 goal scorer, Phil Kessel, was traded away on July 1st, it came to no surprise by fans. With Brendan Shanahan making it clear to the fans, he wanted to eliminate all aspects of the Burke-Nonis era and proved this by sending the whole coaching staff packing along with many scouts and other front office worked. It was clear at the draft that this franchise was no longer bent on acquiring players with “pugnacity” in Burkes words, but instead immense skill and hockey IQ, and just days after, traded their most skillful player. Phil Kessel was the player holding them back from acquiring a top 5 pick in every draft and is skillful enough to keep them a mediocre team for years. The front office realized that he must go so that they may rebuild properly through the draft and restock their farm system with as much high-end talent as possible. Many believed that the package the leafs would get would include former #8th overall pick defensman Derrick Pouliot and were frustrated when it came out that Pouliot would remain a Penguin. Although the Leafs did not acquire their best prospect, that does not mean they did not stockpile very high-end useful talent. In Kasperi Kapanen, you get yet another highly skilled RW with very similiar aspects to Kessel, and very different ones as well. Kapanen has a very quick release with an accurate shot that leaves goalies looking over their shoulders, with above average speed and over 0.5 points a game in the Finnish league and 5 points in 6 playoff games for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton after 2 points in 4 regular season games. He is a playoff performer that needs another half year to year to bulk up and further develop his 2 way game, but with already better numbers on the North American ice surface, there shouldn’t be too much worry that he further develops into an offensive top 6 winger. In the defence prospect, Scott Harrington, people see a peaked performer who’s best days are behind him in the world juniors. WRONG. He has never been a point producing defenseman during any part of his career, but provides an old school, hard-nosed, scrappy shutdown defender the leafs have been looking for. He is not big for a shutdown defender, but rarely makes mistakes with the puck and can play against teams top lines. With a shortened season last year due to injury, he only managed to play 48 games for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton amassing 12 points. Some would see this as minuscule but when you look at his +/- rating of 19, it shows that Harrington is a defender that will do all the little things right. A character guy in having an A on his jersey for Team Canada at the world juniors, Leafs fan should be glad they acquired Harrington and stop focusing on not acquiring Pouliot. In Nick Spaling they have an asset to flip at the draft for picks. An economic deal of 1 more year at 2.2 million, and 27 points in all 82 games next year with a decent size body and the ability to play both wing or centre, never mind his negative corsi on possession that everyone is now looking at, someone will give the leafs a decent draft pick (most likely 3rd) at the trade deadline for this role player. Add a probable late 1st round draft pick along with a third, and you have yourself a top six offensive winger, a top 4-top 6 shutdown defenseman to log big minutes, an asset to flip for a mid-round draft pick, a 1st rounder which gives this talent thirsty franchise another good chance for a solid NHL player, and a 3rd to sweeten the pot. What the leafs gave up in Tyler Biggs and Tim Erixon are purely for contract purposes, and it is understandable that Pittsburgh needs the 2nd round pick back after giving the leafs their 1st and 3rd. Leafs fans, get ready for an exhilerating few years where we can analyze how this trade turns out for Toronto.

Simon Woodgate

Greedy NHL Blows Expansion

Now that Gary Bettman and the NHL has separated the “men from the boys” as far as expansion goes and has now discovered the truth about “who is really serious” about getting a team, it behooves every “common” hockey fan in North America for one of the few times in the last several decades to kick up their heels and roll on the floor in complete laughter. For once the greedy rich sports owners/leagues/officials/management/media/players etc., who have done so much to make North American sports unaffordable for mostly everybody, with unaffordable ticket prices, overpriced merchandise with the team’s name and logo, exclusive and expensive pay-tv packages, taxpayer paid billion dollar arenas and stadiums, and other symbols of arrogance like the $10 million “consideration fee” with $8 million refundable, get several well aimed eggs deservedly thrown in their faces.

The real meaning of this expansion- and it is a message sent to all four major leagues, the NHL, the NFL, MLB, and the NBA – is that while we would like to join you, unless we are deranged fanatics like Quebec and Las Vegas, we are not going to be suckers. Go your own way, we can spend our money in better ways.

In 1997 during the last NHL expansion, the NHL had eleven wooers, including three from Houston, trying to get a team with an $80 million expansion fee. Now with the arrogant and irresponsible $500 million price tag, only two clients (suckers) have applied. From all those tempting stories swirling around the NHL since the last expansion including Houston, Hamilton, Hartford, Toronto, Milwaukee, Seattle, Portland, Oklahoma City, Kansas City and possibly more, only Quebec and Las Vegas are desperate enough to parade themselves before the NHL gentlemen. The other ladies of the evening have decided that these men are too ugly, even for them.

Bettman and the NHL were expecting multiple bidders to choose from. Now they have to take what they can get. They were hoping for Quebec and three western cities to balance out the league. What they will get if they choose to expand is Quebec and Las Vegas and a still unbalanced league. The only benefit to them is that Quebec and Las Vegas make the NHL a symmetrical 32 team league and now it can realign into a sensible NFL structure of 2 conferences with 8 divisions of 4 teams.

Expansion should have been a fun exciting process with keen bidders like before competing among themselves for that rare opportunity to join an exclusive club, to bring the sport of hockey to passionate fans who have been starved for it. Instead the story has been, “go to hell, you greedy bastard”.

For common fans who have suffered from the repeated recessions since 1990, including the Mortgage Meltdown, for ordinary Americans who have watched Presidents like George W. Bush spend trillions on adventures like Iraq and Afghanistan, for people who have watched Michael Moore films like “Fahrenheit 911″ where you see cities like Flint, Michigan turned into ghost towns of shacks and empty houses, for 44 million Americans – 10 million more than entire population of Canada and several times the number of millions of most countries of the world – who have been unofficially classified by American authorities as “poor”, this is just a small payback for the bitterness they have suffered, their cries unheard.

In the unreal world of professional sports, this was just a dose of reality, a bucket of cold water being thrown on rich faces. The more embarrassing loss of face, the more shame produced, the more pride and ego crushed, the better.

It would have been great to see cites like Quebec, Hamilton, Toronto, Hartford, Seattle, Portland, and Milwaukee, cities where hockey is truly loved, – not the Phoenixes, Atlantas, and Miamis which were chosen mostly to get a rich American television contract – cities that have been conspicuously ignored by the NHL during Bettman’s time as Commissioner, finally get an NHL franchise which would be cherished and valued. Instead, with the exception of Quebec they have been forced to turn their backs.

Quebec City Will Be One Of Four NHL Expansion Teams

Two of the main questions that are being asked about the upcoming NHL expansion (If it occurs and there are at least 500 million reasons per candidate why it will) are which cities will get the teams and by how many teams will the NHL expand. A third closely related question is will expansion change the NHL’s structure. All three questions can be answered with some predictable success.

First, in answer to question three, the NHL will use expansion to revise its current awkward playoff format in favor of a simplified NFL structure of two conferences with four divisions of four teams. This new structure (which will probably be adopted by the NBA and MLB as well once they get the scent of expansion money too) will allow every professional sports league to comfortably expand to the next symmetrical number of 40 and even to 48 teams without any problems. It has to be remembered that currently there are approximately 60 major metropolitan areas in the United States and Canada and that the current size of every major professional sports league is only a fraction of what they could be in the future.

Revision of the NHL’s structure will answer question number two. It is true that the NHL would like balanced conferences but since it will be easy in the future to expand within this new format, there is no need to balance up the conferences right now. Why settle for 1 billion dollars when you can get 2 billion right now with more awaiting you down the road? So the current expansion will be for four teams with more expansion to come once the new teams are absorbed and consolidated.

There is a second reason why the NHL will expand by four teams and why part of the answer to question one will be Quebec City: Bettman and the NHL have made a commitment to them.

It is to be remembered that in 2010, Commissioner Gary Bettman made a tour of the three cities he took NHL franchises from in the 1990s and gave them the terms for readmission to the NHL. There was a favorable reaction in all three of those cities, Quebec, Winnipeg, and Hartford.

Bettman and the NHL had three conditions for readmission. First was an adequate and enthusiastic fan base which all three had when they were members of the NHL. No problem there. The other two conditions were the reasons why these cities lost their teams: lack of good ownership and an NHL-size arena.

Winnipeg was the first off the mark, building a new arena and recruiting the richest man in Canada, Dave Thomson, to be its owner and was rewarded with the chance to buy an existing team, when the Atlanta Thrashers crashed. And now Quebec has followed suit by building an NHL arena with billionaire media giant Quebecor to be its owner.

If the NHL can swallow Winnipeg with its tiny 15,000 seat arena and the smallest market in the league (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Northern Ontario), they can certainly accept Quebec with an 18,000 seat arena and a much better market that comprises all of Eastern Quebec province and all the Maritime provinces. Bettman kept his word to Winnipeg and there is no reason to doubt that he will not keep his word to Quebec.

Why should fans trust Bettman in this matter? Because you do not tell governments and their taxpayers to spend $400 million on an arena and then cheat them when they comply. It is not good business and if Bettman and the NHL want to attract the best investors to be future owners of NHL teams, the league cannot afford to get a reputation for doing bad business. Quebec will get its Nordiques back. It would be very shocking if they do not.

So in answer to question one, Quebec City and Las Vegas have almost a lock on two of the new four expansion franchises. They are their franchises to lose. The only unanswered part is who will join them.

Why the Trade Package Acquired For Phil Kessel Has More Value Than Advertised

When past top 5 goal scorer, Phil Kessel, was traded away on July 1st it came to no surprise by fans. With Brendan Shanahan making it clear to the fans, he wanted to eliminate all aspects of the Burke-Nonis era and proved this by sending the whole coaching staff packing along with many scouts and other front office workers. It was clear at the draft that this franchise was no longer bent on acquiring players with “pugnacity” in Burkes words, but instead immense skill and advanced hockey IQ. Just days after making this obvious to the public,The leafs compromise their roster by trading their most skillful player. Phil Kessel was the player holding them back from acquiring a top 5 pick in every draft and is skillful enough to keep them a mediocre team for years. The front office realized that he must go so that they may rebuild properly through the draft and restock their farm system with as much high-end talent as possible. Many believed that the package the leafs would get would include former #8th overall pick defensman Derrick Pouliot and were frustrated when it came out that Pouliot would remain a Penguin. Although the Leafs did not acquire their best prospect, that does not mean they did not stockpile very high-end useful talent. In Kasperi Kapanen, you get yet another highly skilled RW with very similiar aspects to Kessel, and very different ones as well. Kapanen has a very quick release with an accurate shot that leaves goalies looking over their shoulders, with above average speed and over 0.5 points a game in the Finnish league and 5 points in 6 playoff games for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton after 2 points in 4 regular season games. He is a playoff performer that needs another half year to year to bulk up and further develop his 2 way game, but with already better numbers on the North American ice surface, there shouldn’t be too much worry that he further develops into an offensive top 6 winger. In the defence prospect, Scott Harrington, people see a peaked performer who’s best days are behind him in the world juniors. WRONG. He has never been a point producing defenseman during any part of his career, but provides an old school, hard-nosed, scrappy shutdown defender the leafs have been looking for. He is not big for a shutdown defender, but rarely makes mistakes with the puck and can play against teams top lines. With a shortened season last year due to injury, he only managed to play 48 games for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton amassing 12 points. Some would see this as minuscule but when you look at his +/- rating of 19, it shows that Harrington is a defender that will do all the little things right. A character guy in having an A on his jersey for Team Canada at the world juniors, Leafs fan should be glad they acquired Harrington and stop focusing on not acquiring Pouliot. In Nick Spaling they have an asset to flip at the draft for picks. An economic deal of 1 more year at 2.2 million, and 27 points in all 82 games next year with a decent size body and the ability to play both wing or centre, never mind his negative corsi on possession that everyone is now looking at, someone will give the leafs a decent draft pick (most likely 3rd) at the trade deadline for this role player. Add a probable late 1st round draft pick along with a third, and you have yourself a top six offensive winger, a top 4-top 6 shutdown defenseman to log big minutes, an asset to flip for a mid-round draft pick, a 1st rounder which gives this talent thirsty franchise another good chance for a solid NHL player, and a 3rd to sweeten the pot. What the leafs gave up in Tyler Biggs and Tim Erixon are purely for contract purposes, and it is understandable that Pittsburgh needs the 2nd round pick back after giving the leafs their 1st and 3rd. Leafs fans, get ready for an exhilerating few years where we can analyze how this trade turns out for Toronto.

Simon Woodgate

Last Minute Final Mock Draft

Here is our final last minute mock draft. I chose each individual ranking by the greatest need for the team and not necessarily the best player available. You might not agree with our rankings, so let us know! Comment below, tweet me @hkyblogger or tell us on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/NotYourAverageHockeyBlog. Without further to do, he is our 2015 NHL Last Minute Final Mock Draft!

1. Edmonton Oilers – Connor McDavid
He’s a generational talent. What more can I say?

2. Buffalo Sabres – Jack Eichel
Not a bad prize for getting the second overall pick. Can’t say that for many drafts.

3. Arizona Coyotes – Dylan Strome
4. Toronto Maple Leafs – Mitchell Marner
The Leafs would rather get Strome as the team would like to add another big center to build around. Marner is a nice player, but he’s undersized at 5’11. I’d personally like to see the Leafs grab Hanifin and solidify the blue line with Hanifin and Reilly, but all points are pointing the blue and white grabbing Marner instead.

5. Carolina Hurricanes – Noah Hanifin
Any other draft, Hanifin goes 1st overall, but this draft is so top heavy, the Boston College defenseman goes 5th overall. Canes will be beaming from ear to ear to get him.

6. New Jersey Devils – Matthew Barzal
7. Philadelphia Flyers – Mikko Rantanen
Flyers are filled to the brim with young defenders in their system with players such as Morin and Gotishbehere in their system. The young right wing sniper is exactly what the Flyers need.

8. Columbus Blue Jackets – Ivan Provorov
Their GM has openly said they would like to improve the defense in their system. With Hanifin gone, it’s a toss up between Provorov and Werenski.

9. San Jose Sharks – Lawson Crouse
10. Colorado Avalanche – Zach Werenski
11. Florida Panthers – Pavel Zacha
12. Dallas Stars – Timo Meier
13. Los Angeles Kings – Kyle Connor
The Kings would like to shore up on their center prospects. It was a toss up between Kyle Connor and Travis Konecny but the Kings like their centers to have some size. Konecny is 5’9.75 while Connor is 6’1.

14. Boston Bruins – Nick Merkley
15. Calgary Flames – Jeremy Roy
16. Edmonton Oilers (From PIT) – Ilya Samsonov
Oilers aren’t picking anyone else but McDavid with the 1st overall pick. But the Oilers need help with goaltending and defense as well. Samsonov is the best goalie in the draft, but are they willing to lose out on Samsonov for a defenseman they need?

17. Winnipeg Jets – Evgeni Svechnikov
18. Ottawa Senators – Colin White
He’s a good two way forward who doesn’t play a flashy game but he gets the points. Was at a point a pace game last year.

19. Detroit Red Wings – Joel Eriksson Ek
Detroit loves their Swedes. Eriksson Ek is a player

20. Minnesota Wild – Jansen Harkins
Might be a bit of a reach here, but the Wild would like a guy who can all 200ft of the ice. My only issue with him is his offensive game.

21. Buffalo Sabres (From NYI) – Thomas Chabot
After picking up Eichel with the 2nd overall pick, the Sabres will need to restock the defensive prospect cupboard with the best defensema available. Enter Thomas Chabot. His physical game needs a bit more work but his offensive game is very good. He had 29 points in 66 games in the QMJHL last year.

22. Washington Capitals – Paul Bittner
My personal favourite pick. Plays a big game and will develop into a prototypical power forward. Going to be the steal of the draft in my opinion. Needs to work on his shot and bulking up though.

23. Vancouver Canucks – Daniel Sprong
24. Toronto Maple Leafs (From NSH) – Brandon Carlo
The Leafs picked up Marner with the 4th overall pick and will use this pick to pick up some defense. Carlo is sort of like an anti Reilly. He stays in his own zone and plays a physical game while Reilly likes to wheel and deal around the ice. Creates an interesting pairing though. Maybe with Gardiner?

25. Winnipeg Jets (From STL via BUF) – Jakub Zboril
26. Montreal Canadiens – Anthony Beauvillier
The Habs have been linked with the young small sniper.  He will need to bulk up as he is only 173 lbs., but he skates fast, and has a wicked shot.

27. Anaheim Ducks – Jeremy Bracco
28. Tampa Bay Lightning (From NYR) – Denis Guryanov
29. Philadelphia Flyers (From TBL) – Jordan Greenway
The Flyers like their guys big and Jordan Greenway is 6’4.75. He’s physical and has plays a pretty good offensive game, but his defense will need some work.

30. Arizona (From CHI) – Oliver Kylington

Who Do The Leafs Draft With The 24th Pick?

Quite possible the most popular team in the NHL, there is no other team with the immense pressure and spotlight as the Toronto Maple Leafs. If there wasn’t enough pressure before, adding the most sought after free agent before the Stanley Cup is even awarded has made Toronto the center of the hockey world’s attention once again.

The Leafs are looking forward to the upcoming draft. They have both the 4th and 24th pick in the first round after acquiring the 24th pick from Nashville. The 4th pick is widely believed to be used to select either Dylan Strome, Mitchell Marner, or Noah Hanifin. Of course, if for some reason Jack Eichel or Connor McDavid is still available, that pick will be used to select who’s left. There’s 3 legitimate options for the 4th pick and 2 highly unlikely options. They’ve also been written to death about, so let’s change it up! What about the 24th pick? There’s not a lot of stuff written on it in comparison. But here’s our suggestions for the 24th pick!

A name that has been mentioned quite a bit is Oliver Kylington. He’s a 6’0 defenseman who played in the Swedish Hockey League when he was 16. From what i’ve read and seen, he’s a very strong skater and plays a good offensive game. His shot is a plus, but it’s his skating that is a plus plus tool. For the Leafs fan out there compare him to Morgan Rielly but not that high of a ceiling. Still a very serviceable player. I can’t imagine the Leafs picking Kylington if they pick Noah Hanifin with the 4th pick. He’s been dropping in the rankings as he’s had a poor Five Nations tournament and it seems like scouts feel that he’ll need to bulk up quite a bit. He seems like one of the biggest wildcards in the draft. The Leafs have two picks in the 1st round which allows them to be a bit more aggressive in the draft. His NHL ceiling is a powerplay quarterback who could be a 3D in the NHL.
Fun fact: He’s both Swedish and Eritrean!

Personally, I’d like to see the Leafs draft Paul Bittner if he’s still available at 24. He’s a big power forward who likes to use his size shovel goals in. His only issue is that he is still very raw and will need to work on his defensive game, but his offensive game is very good already. One of the biggest strengths he has is his size. He isn’t a goon on the ice, but he uses his size very well. When he needs to get infront of the net, he uses the entire six feet four inches he has to push people around. He will have to work on his defensive game to succeed at the next level. The NHL comparison for him is James Van Riemsdyk. If the Leafs got a player who is as good as JVR at 24, wouldn’t most Leafs fans be happy?

Our black horse unlikely pick is Ilya Samsonov. I’m suggesting this pick mostly because of preparation of the future and the lack of depth in the system. Goalies tend to take longer to develop in comparison to skaters. Yeah yeah, I know Bernier and Reimer are 26 and 27 respectively so they have a few years before it’s a necessity, but Samsonov is an intriguing prospect. He’s a high reward goalie with relatively low risk. He’s going to be developing in the KHL as he’s signed a 3 year contract with Metallurg Magnitogorsk. Being able to develop in the second best league in the world (Sorry AHL and SHL, it’s not even close) would do wonders for a guy like him. With the 24th pick, the Leafs have a much higher risk tolerance as the 4th pick will be a guy who will be a star in the league in a few years. I’d love to see Samsonov in a Leafs jersey some day but I’m not sure if he’ll be there at 24.

We considered players such as Jansen Harkins and Jeremy Roy but the Leafs already have players similar to them in organization with Harkins being a comparison to Frederik Gauthier and Roy comparing to Matt Finn.

Do you have any other teams or picks you’d like us to write about?Let us know by commenting below, commenting on the post or tweeting me @hkyblogger! We know that everyone has different ideas on the 24th pick so let us know! If you like our stuff, show us support by following us on Twitter and liking us on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/NotYourAverageHockeyBlog !

We will also be publishing our Mock Draft 3.0 soon too, so make sure to check in often!