Craig Button of TSN updated his rankings for the NHL Entry Draft, and there is big movement among the first round. After Timothy Liljegren has remained in the conversation for top-3 for so long, Button has now dropped him to eighth, as he struggles to find ice time in Sweden. Martin Necas slides into the spot following Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier, as Button compares the Czech center to a young Claude Giroux.
Cale Makar from the AJHL has made his way into the top five, an impressive feat for someone playing in a “lesser league”. Button doesn’t consider this a problem, as he is focused on evaluating where they will be at the next level, not their current competition. Makar has 75 points in 54 games as a defenseman, and has received many comparisons to Erik Karlsson in the way that he handles the puck.
- Columbus extended three restricted free agents yesterday when they inked Markus Hannikainen, Lukas Sedlak and Scott Harrington to two-year deals. The team still has three RFAs left for this summer, and according to Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch the Blue Jackets aren’t worried about signing them. Alexander Wennberg, Josh Anderson and Joonas Korpisalo all require new deals, and the Jackets are going to be tight on money once again. Depending on who is taken at the expansion draft, they may have to consider some sort of salary dump—like Scott Hartnell, who will be scratched tonight in favor of Sedlak—in order to keep their cap structure in tact.
- The Montreal Canadiens experienced a heartbreaking loss last night to one of the worst teams in the conference when they fell 2-1 in overtime to the Detroit Red Wings. Again their expected top line of Max Pacioretty, Alex Galchenyuk and Alexander Radulov was broken up in the third period, something that has become far too common. Eric Engels of Sportsnet writes about how Galchenyuk in particular had a rough night, and doesn’t seem to mesh well with Radulov in terms of play style. The young forward had a breakout 30-goal campaign last season, but has struggled all year with his consistency and defensive play. With just nine games remaining until the playoffs, most first-place teams don’t have the kind of doubt Montreal is feeling with their #1 centerman.