The Carolina Hurricanes and newly promoted GM Don Waddell are listening to offers on the second overall pick in the NHL Draft, but don’t expect them to make a move. Waddell spoke with the media at the NHL Draft Combine with week and said that if teams “want to present something to us, we’ll look at it” but, quickly added that “it’s going to be hard for us to move that pick.” After moving up nine spots in the draft lottery to #2, the Hurricanes are looking to make the most of their good luck. Although Carolina’s biggest need is a star center – something that isn’t available in this draft – they can still land a generational talent up front. Waddell stated that forwards Andrei Svechnikov, Filip Zadina, and Brady Tkachuk are the most likely candidates, but there could also be a possibility that Jesperi Kotkaniemi could slide into the spot, as the Finnish center has reportedly been flying up draft boards. Waddell did say that he was impressed with several of the top defensemen in this class, but feels the Hurricanes are well-stocked on the blue line. That is an understatement for what is one of the deepest and most talented groups in the league with promising prospects still on the way. Forward is the big need and the ’Canes seemed prime to make the pick, but Waddell will listen if another team is ready to blow him away with an offer or present him with an intriguing reason to move back in the first round.
- Entering a crucial off-season, New York Islanders forward Brock Nelson has decided to move on from his current representation, according to The Athletic’s Arthur Staple. Nelson has hired Ben Hankinson of Octagon Sports to handle his negotiations this summer as he enters restricted free agency. As Staple points out, Nelson’s last foray as an RFA did not go smoothly. Former agent Ron Salcer struggled in his dealings with the Islanders and talks grew contentious over the 2015 off-season. Nelson ended up finally re-signing with the Isles on the eve of training camp. Although Nelson has the benefit of arbitration rights this time around, he would still prefer a more civil negotiation with New York and new addition Lou Lamoriello in his new pursuit of an extension.
- Contrary to an erroneous report, the agent for young Pittsburgh Penguins forward Dominik Simon says that his client has no immediate interest in leaving North America. Agent Allan Walsh dismissed rumors that Simon could join Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the KHL if the Penguins did not offer the part-time winger a one-way contract extension, reports Jonathan Bombulie of the Tribune-Review. Walsh states that Simon is focused only on playing in Pittsburgh in the future and that any talk with foreign teams would be originating from the teams themselves and not the player side. Simon is an RFA this summer and at 23 scored twelve points in 33 games as a rookie and impressed at the AHL level as well. It would be no surprise to see him land a one-way contract, but Walsh makes it sound as if that won’t make a difference in where he plays next season.