It's Draft Day eve and the news and gossip is really starting to heat up.
When we last left the NHL Draft gossip mill, we discussed speculation that Columbus' third overall pick might be in play for a blockbuster Draft day trade. Lovably blunt Buffalo Sabres GM Tim Murray put that to rest:
Murray on trading up to No. 3: "I called Jarmo and asked if he wanted to trade 3 and he said, ‘I don’t want to trade 3.‘"— Joe Yerdon (@JoeYerdon) June 21, 2016
I didn't think a deal would get done, but you can basically forget about this happening.
But that doesn't mean all Puljujarvi-related speculation and drama is dead. TSN's Bob McKenzie wisely dropped this nugget on Twitter moments before stepping on an airplane, thus avoiding seeing his mentions turn into a tire fire.
Jets, as is their style, haven't tipped hand but several teams told me to not rule out notion of Puljujarvi going 2nd overall to WPG.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 23, 2016
Could Winnipeg take Puljujarvi second overall instead of Patrik Laine? It'd be a big surprise, but I could honestly see it. Laine would get the nod from me for second overall because he's the more dynamic goal-scorer and the toughest thing to do in hockey is to score a goal.
But I can also see the argument that Puljujarvi is the "safer" bet. Can Laine maintain the focus he showed in his draft year, or will some of the attitude issues he's shown in the past creep back up? Does what Puljujarvi can bring beyond just scoring make up the difference in natural scoring ability in Winnipeg's eyes? 'Safe is death' is the common cliche at the NHL Draft, but keep in mind we're still talking about a top line, franchise caliber forward with Puljujarvi. It's a tough decision, but really, I don't think Winnipeg can go wrong with either one that they choose.
In other rumors, Arizona general manager Jon Chayka said he received "a pretty impressive offer" to trade down from seventh overall in the Draft. That, of course, is NHL general manager-speak for "please start calling me with more impressive offers".
We've previously discussed the final draft rankings from TSN's Craig Button. Yesterday, he released his mock draft, which is different in that it's what he thinks will happen, rather than what he thinks should happen. It's all pretty well-reasoned and by-the-book. The most notable thing is that he joins the small cadre of people that think Denver commit Henrik Borgstrom could slip into the late first round.