A Broken Heart and A Missed Opportunity

A lot of people say, never fall in love with a player because sports are a business and anything can happen. For me personally, I try hard to never emotionally attach myself to a player and to remind myself that it's the crest or the logo on the front of the jersey that matters most and not the name on the back.

PK Subban was different. PK Subban was my inspiration and someone I looked up to. 

Let’s get right to this. What logic can be given as to why Subban was traded? The simple answer behind this was that there was no logic behind it. Bergevin and Therrien wanted Subban gone and it's as simple as that. Does Marc Bergevin really believe that Shea Weber is a better defenseman than PK Subban? I think the answer is yes, but I think that Bergevin was more concerned about getting Subban's full of life personality out of the dressing room, than the player that fans paid good money to see.

Maybe PK Subban was such a perfect fit in this city that it was destined to fail. Maybe some things are so great that they just can't work out. Maybe it was all just too good to be true. Maybe PK Subban would have been better off in the NBA, where his skill level and personality could have been marketed and the game could embrace the talent that they were given.

People need to realize this, PK Subban being traded was so much more than just a hockey trade. Trading away a top 5 defenseman in the National Hockey League is one thing, but trading away someone with such a big heart and one that had the biggest impact on the Montreal community since the late icon Jean Béliveau is a completely different thing.

It’s as simple as this, Marc Bergevin and Michel Therrien wanted PK Subban gone, and that’s a damn shame. What PK brought to Montreal can’t be replaced, and this is something that management doesn’t understand. PK was traded for being in the spotlight. The problem with this is that he EARNED the spotlight. Player’s like PK Subban don’t come along often and people of his character certainly don’t either. PK Subban was different. But not the type of different that Marc Bergevin portrayed him as in his press conference after the trade. PK was different because he was able to handle the spotlight and pressure in Montreal that few can. It’s driven people out of town, and it’s kept people away, but Subban embraced it. And he embraced it phenomenally.

Here lies a bigger issue. Look at what PK Subban has done for the Montreal community in his time here. How are you supposed to explain to a sick child in the Montreal Children’s hospital that PK Subban’s visits are going to be fewer and farther between? How are you supposed to explain to your child that this is a business and that their favorite star player was just traded away? This was more than just a hockey trade to the city of Montreal, and we are just beginning to see that.

I haven’t met many hockey players, but PK Subban was one of the few I got the pleasure of meeting. It was August 1st, 2014 and PK had just left his arbitration hearing in Toronto, where I had been waiting over two hours just to get the chance to see him. I wasn’t expecting him to welcome me with open arms because just minutes ago he was being told by Habs management why he wasn’t worth the money that he was asking for. I wasn’t even expecting him to stop for me. I was one of the few people there, as not many people knew of the location, but when PK Subban walked down the escalator, he saw my eyes light up like a Christmas tree and he came right over to me and shook my hand and said it was a pleasure to meet me. After just being in arbitration for a lengthened period of time, I was expecting him to walk right by me and into his cab, but instead he stopped for me and didn’t even have to think twice about it. That’s the kind of man that Montreal is losing today.

I think the problem here is that Habs fans will never have closure. It’s an utter shame that the last memory they might have of PK Subban in a Canadiens jersey is that of him being carried off on a stretcher. I’m going to miss him taking all the noise out of TD Garden with his slap shot, I’m going to miss his elite skill level and his many highlight reel plays, but most of all I’m going to miss the man that PK Subban is and the personality he embodies.

Shea Weber can’t replace PK Subban, and nor should he try, so it’s a shame that he’s going to be thrown into such a hostile environment right away and always be coined together with Subban.

Montreal is losing so much more than just an elite talent. They are losing a genuine human being that had an earth shattering impact on a city. The world needs more PK Subban’s, not less. If we had 10 million more PK Subban’s, I can promise you that this world would be a much better place.

Stay golden PK, stay golden. 

The Value of Keeping vs. Trading the 9th Overall Pick for the Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens were not fortunate enough to win a spot in the top 3 of the 2016 NHL draft and as a result they will be selecting 9th overall. After a season that Montreal fans and management certainly weren't expecting, there are changes coming, the latest being the hire of Associate coach, Kirk Muller. This hire is music to Habs fans ears, as Muller will be able to help a Canadiens powerplay that has no business struggling with the personnel they have, as well as serve as a perfect liaison for the players.

With the draft quickly approaching on June 24th, I thought it was appropriate to begin to discuss whether or not Montreal should keep the 9th overall selection or trade it for a top 6 forward that can immediately come in and contribute.

We have to now look at two things. We have to look at a sample of 9th overall selections in the history of the NHL Draft, and we have to also look at the value that a top selection in the NHL Draft carries. 

The Past Ten 9th Overall Selections

2015 Timo Meier RW Halifax (QMJHL) San Jose Sharks- Career Stats-Yet to make NHL debut

2014 Nikolaj Ehlers RW/LW Halifax (QMJHL) Winnipeg Jets-Career Stats-72 GP-15G-23A-38P 

2013 Bo Horvat C London (OHL) Vancouver Canucks-Career Stats-150 GP-29G-36A-65P

2012 Jacob Trouba D USA U-18 Winnipeg Jets-Career Stats-211 GP-23G-49A-72P

2011 Dougie Hamilton D Niagara (OHL) Boston Bruins-Career Stats-260 GP-34G-92A-126P

2010 Michael Granlund LW HIFK (Fin.) Minnesota Wild-Career Stats-240 GP-31G-101A-132P

2009 Jared Cowen D Spokane (WHL) Ottawa Senators-Career Stats-249 GP-15G-31A-46P

2008 Joshua Bailey C Windsor (OHL) New York Islanders-Career Stats-557 GP-93G-157A-250P

2007 Logan Couture F Ottawa (OHL) San Jose Sharks-Career Stats-431 GP-154G-169A-323P

2006 James Sheppard LW Cape Breton (QMJHL) Minnesota Wild-Career Stats-394GP-23G-68A-91P

If we look at all of these selections, in all likelihood, the Habs will be getting a serviceable NHLer at the 9th overall pick, and potentially even an impact one. 

Recent Trades Involving Top 10 Selections

Boston Bruins trade Phil Kessel to Toronto for the 2nd overall pick in 2010 (Tyler Seguin), 32nd overall pick in 2010 (Jared Knight), 7th overall pick in 2011 (Dougie Hamilton) 

Winner: Boston Bruins. When all was said and done, the Leafs didn't even end up with the best player in the deal. Of course, at the time, they didn't know they'd be giving up the 2nd overall and 7th overall pick, but it's still certainly noteworthy now.

Philadelphia Flyers trade Jeff Carter to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Jakub Voracek, 8th overall pick in 2011 (Sean Couturier) and 3rd round selection in 2011 (Nick Cousins)

Winner: Philadelphia Flyers. Trading for a 30 goal scorer like Jeff Carter probably seemed like a good idea to the Blue Jackets at the time, but when we revisit this move now, it's clear that the value the Flyers got was well worth dealing away Carter. 

Pittsburgh Penguins trade Jordan Staal to the Carolina Hurricanes for Brandon Sutter, Brian Dumoulin, and the 8th overall pick in 2012 (Derrick Pouliot)

Winner: Pittsburgh Penguins. This was hardly a one sided deal, but Pittsburgh ended up getting some very good value for an often overrated Jordan Staal. 

Vancouver Canucks trade Cory Schneider to the New Jersey Devils for the 9th overall pick in 2013 (Bo Horvat)

Winner: New Jersey Devils. Bo Horvat is going to be a serviceable and talented NHL player, but Cory Schneider is already a star goalie in this league. 

Anaheim Ducks trade Bobby Ryan to the Ottawa Senators for Jakob Silfverberg, Stefan Noesen, and the 10th overall pick in 2014 (Nick Ritchie)

Winner: The hardest deal to analyze so far because it was more recent, but I think you can make a case for both sides winning the deal here. I'll say Anaheim has the marginal advantage because I like the depth they received. 

What can we gain from these observations? 

The way I look at it, the deals made involving top 10 picks would be a lot closer in value if it were just the pick involved, but that's not usually the case. The team that acquired the top 10 selection plus other assets usually come out on top, which should be a lesson to Habs management that they should let their selection develop and add assets through the draft and free agency. 

My 2016 First Round NHL Mock Draft

With the NHL season wrapping up in the coming weeks and a Stanley Cup winner about to be named, were getting to that time of year again that scouts love, mock draft season. After thorough research throughout the Junior hockey season, I have put together a mock draft of my own for the first round of the 2016 NHL draft. 

1) Toronto Maple Leafs-Auston Matthews-Zürich: Has all the tools to be a franchise number 1 center. Leaf fans are already drooling at the potential Matthews brings to their lineup next season.

2) Winnipeg Jets-Patrik Laine-Tappara: A natural goal scorer to play with Schiefele? Sign the Jets up. The Jets are thrilled to have Laine on the board with their selection at number 2 after winning a spot in the top 3 at the lottery.

3) Columbus Blue Jackets- Jesse Puljujärvi: The third player of "the big three", the Jackets will happily select Puljujärvi at 3rd Overall. Puljujärvi provides size and skill and will look to be the Jackets biggest star since the Rick Nash days.

4) Edmonton Oilers- Matt Tkachuk-London- After the big three, it gets a little unpredictable. Could Edmonton trade down and draft a defenseman? Absolutely, but if they stay at 4, Tkachuk is a great fit to bring a physical, pro style game to a team that needs more of a physical presence up front. Tkachuk can also put the puck in the net and has a creative element to his game as well.

5) Vancouver Canucks-Pierre-Luc Dubois-Cape Breton- Dubois is the perfect fit for the Canucks, a player that plays well at both ends of the rink and can have an impact on both the power play and penalty kill. The Canucks like the versatility that Dubois brings, being able to play both wing and center. Dubois' strong skating and defensive awareness make him a special player. (Keep an eye on Juolevi here. Could see the Canucks potentially going this route as well)

6) Calgary Flames-Alex Nylander-Mississauga-Nylander brings a skill and finesse game to a team that already employs Johnny Gaudreau, a superbly talented winger. This is a great fit for a team that has already quietly built a great backend. Building up front with a core of Bennett, Monahan, Gaudreau and Nylander will make Flames fans very happy.

7) Arizona Coyotes-Jakob Chychrun-Sarnia- This was a difficult pick for me. I really think the Coyotes take a defenseman and that it comes down to Chychrun and Juolevi. The Coyotes have a high amount of skill that should be making the jump next season in Dvorak and Strome and there is certainly a need to add some more defensive prospects to their cupboard. I think Chychrun's physical, two way game really provides a nice compliment to what Oliver Ekman-Larsson brings and that this pairing could be dynamic together in the future.

8) Buffalo Sabres-Olli Juolevi-London-The Sabres continue a mini-run on defenseman with the selection of two way Finnish stud Olli Juolevi. Juolevi could potentially slot into the pro game right away and may eventually form a fantastic top pairing with Finish star Rasmus Ristolainen. His calm and steady influence on the backend will make Sabres fans happy for years to come.

9) Montreal Canadiens-Logan Brown-Windsor-The Habs could go a few ways with this pick and this is certainly one of them. Brown provides another skilled, big bodied center down the middle for them that already has a pro-frame. For such a big guy, his skating is very good and his skill level for someone of his size surprises many. The Canadiens may also be looking at Keller/Jost here. 

10) Colorado Avalanche-Mikhail Sergachev-Windsor-I think the Avs have an interesting off-season ahead. Whether they deal the rights to RFA defenseman Tyson Barrie or one of their offensive stars up front, I think both those factors will play a big role in how they go about this draft. Another two way force, Sergachev has a great shot from the point and shows a great deal of poise on the backend.

11) New Jersey Devils-Clayton Keller-USNDT-Keller fits the mold here of what the Devils seem to be lacking, which is a highly skilled creative player that knows how to generate goals. Whether Keller fits better as a center or winger, time will tell, but the Devils take a chance here on the small but highly skilled center Keller.

12) Ottawa Senators – Julien Gauthier-Val-d'Or –When you hear the name Julien Gauthier, you think of two things, goal scorer and power forward. His strong play in the corners and great shot make him a valuable commodity on draft day. The only issue here is consistency. If Gauthier becomes more consistent as a player, he could make some GM’s look stupid on draft day.

13) Carolina Hurricanes- Tyson Jost-Penticton-If Jost is still on the board at thirteen, this selection makes a lot of sense for the Canes. Jost is a smart, versatile goal scorer that thinks the game exceptionally well. Jost could actually be a higher or even a lower pick if he played in a more competitive league, but the fact that his competition was lower will raise some questions, but his great performance for Team Canada at the U18s has quietly put this sentiment to rest.

14) Boston Bruins-Charlie McAvoy-Boston U- McAvoy is a bit of a project, but the Bruins would be smart to let him continue his development at Boston University at the NCAA level. The Bruins are looking to fill their defensive cupboards with Chara on a steady decline and the hometown kid is a nice selection here with the 14th pick. McAvoy is a smart puck carrier with poise that takes a lot of well calculated risks. After just missing the playoffs, McAvoy could be a nice project for the Bruins.

15) Minnesota Wild-Jake Bean-Calgary-Jake Bean has elite offensive potential. Bean’s offensive potential is off the charts and he certainly could be the first defenseman off the board in this draft if a team is enamored with him. Bean has a cannon of a shot and the Wild will gladly select him if he is still on the board here. The perfect home run pick in the middle of the first round.

16) Detroit Red Wings-Michael McLeod-Mississauga-McLeod has a very similar top gear to that of someone Wing's fans know fairly well in Darren Helm. McLeod is a highly skilled, quick center that also boasts nice size. His top speed will help make his transition to the pro game much easier. The debate is whether or not McLeod has the high end skill that teams look for in this range, but Detroit will gladly take the gamble here at 16. 

17) Nashville Predators -Kieffer Bellows-USNDT-Bellows is a highly skilled power forward that directly has the ability to change games with his combination of size and skill. Nashville is a team that has had offensive question marks, so Bellows is a nice offensive project that they can add to their prospects cupboard and not rush to the NHL. 

18) Philadelphia Flyers- Max Jones-London-Another power forward off the board is Max Jones of the London Knights. Jones screams the type of selection that the Flyers will make and fits the mold of a player that you think of when the Philadelphia Flyers come to mind. Jones is very strong on the puck and his speed and skill allows him to drive the net and gain the power forward persona. Although Jones has some discipline issues, the Flyers will be happy to take him here at 18. 

19) New York Islanders-Luke Kunin-Wisconsin-Kunin’s ability to protect the puck and his high hockey IQ are just a few things to like about the Wisconsin forward. Kunin possesses a great shot and some great finishing ability. His offensive prowess is one of the reasons he could be a potential selection for the Islanders, who could also be thinking about a defenseman like Dante Fabbro here.

20) Arizona Coyotes (via NY Rangers) - Dante Fabbro-Penticton-Some will argue that Fabbro deserves to be included in the discussion as on the top three defenseman in this draft class. Fabbro is a steady, two way defenseman that has great offensive upside. Fabbro definitely has difference maker potential, so Arizona will be happy if a player like Fabbro is still on the board at 20. 

21) Carolina Hurricanes (via L.A. Kings) – Tyler Benson-Vancouver –Benson has had a steady decline from where he was originally projected to go and injuries have derailed him. On the other hand, his skill level is to hard to ignore, and a team that takes a chance on him could get very lucky here. The durability issues may be a concern, but the highly touted Benson’s skill is too hard to ignore. The Canes swing for the fences with this pick, as you should do at this point in the first round.

22) Winnipeg Jets (via Chicago Blackhawks) - Riley Tufte-Fargo- Tufte’s mix of size and skill make him a unique prospect and one that the Jets may look to move in on. The 6’5 forward has surprisingly good hands for someone of his size but needs to work on his skating ability, which could definitely come with time. Look for a team to capitalize around this time in the draft for the big forward. 

23) Florida Panthers -Alex Debrincat-Erie-A lot of people wonder what the actual potential of Debrincat is, but it’s safe to say that he certainly knows how to put the puck in the back of the net. The small forward has a great skill-set that a lot of scouts see as being a useful NHL forward. Debrincat not only has great skills, but he is actually very difficult to play against in the corners, even with his small frame. 

24) Anaheim Ducks -Kale Clague-Brandon-Clague is an offensive defenseman that’s two biggest assets are his deceptive skating and smooth hands. His great vision allows him to move the puck well but it may take some time for him to become a complete two way defenseman. Clague could be a very handy offensive defenseman down the road in the National Hockey League.

25) Dallas Stars-Logan Stanley-Windsor-The big framed two way defenseman is someone that a lot of teams will covet come draft day. His physical play and big body will certainly have some teams drooling wherever he falls in this draft. Still a big project, Stanley certainly has the potential to become a good two way defenseman in this draft class. 

26) Washington Capitals-Pascal Laberge-Victoriaville-Laberge brings a solid two way presence and really showed some scouts he deserved consideration here at the top prospects game. His great set of hands allows him to win puck battles in the corners and create plays. With that being said, Laberge seems like the exact type of two way player Washington should target. 

27) Tampa Bay Lightning-Taylor Raddysh-Erie-Raddysh played a big role in the post Connor McDavid Erie Otters era and has a significant amount of skill to bring to the table. Raddysh has some consistency issues, but to be able to select someone with this type of skill at the end of the first round is something that Tampa Bay may be smiling about for years to come. Raddysh's size and strength allow him to win battles along the boards and play tough in the corners. 

28) St. Louis Blues -Rasmus Asplund-Farjestads B.K.-The Swedish playmaker has a solid 200 ft game that formulates around great hands and a willingness to win battles and chase pucks in deep. Asplund sees the ice very well and has great vision, which can certainly help translate to NHL success. He has a solid hockey IQ and will continue to focus on his two way play and gaining mass.

29) Boston Bruins ( via San Jose Sharks)- Brett Howden -Brandon- Howden already embodies an NHL frame, and uses this frame to help him win puck battles and chase pucks in deep. Howden sees the game really well and plays a consistent 200 ft game that is more valuable than ever in the NHL today. His decision making and hockey IQ are what separates him from others in this draft class. His ability to play with a physical edge makes him a great fit in Boston. 

30) Toronto Maple Leafs (via Pittsburgh Penguins)- Vitali Abramov-Gatineau- The small, skilled forward has the skill and skating ability to be a top six forward at the NHL level. Abramov will have to get stronger, especially with his upper body strength in order to transition his game to the next level, but he certainly has the skill level and skating ability to contribute down the road in the National Hockey League. 

Thanks for reading! Comment below and let me know about your thoughts on my mock draft. 

Follow my twitter handle and tweet me your opinions.