The Montreal Canadiens could make the first real move in the NHL draft with the third overall pick.
If everything goes as expected in Big D on Friday night Peyton Barber Jersey , play-making Swedish defenseman Rasmus Dahlin will be the first overall pick by the Buffalo Sabres. Russian forward Andrei Svechnikov will then go to Carolina.
”Obviously Rasmus and Andrei deserve it, they’re unbelievable players,” American prospect Brady Tkachuk said Thursday. ”From the third (pick) on, it’s just whatever the team wants, so we’ll see what happens. But it’s going to be pretty exciting to be a part of.”
So the real draft action should begin when Montreal goes on the clock.
The Canadiens will have their choice of the other top prospects like right wing Filip Zadina, who’s playing in the Quebec league, and Tkachuk, the left wing from Boston University who is looking to follow father Keith and brother Mathew into the NHL. Maybe Finnish center Jesper Kotkaniemi.
Plenty of other top defensemen will also be on the board, including Adam Boqvist, Quintin Hughes, Noah Dobson and Evan Bouchard.
”The most important is going to be tomorrow when Montreal goes on the stage, and they will say my name or not,” Zadina said. ”I’m just glad I can be there in the top five, top six players. It’s unbelievable.”
Or maybe the Canadiens Kalen Ballage Jersey , who have 10 picks in the seven-round draft over two days, make a deal and let another team move into that slot.
Trevor Timmins, Montreal’s assistant general manager, expects GM Marc Bergevin’s to be ringing.
”We’re ready to go,” Timmins said Thursday. ”The list is never set in stone until we go head to the draft from the hotel here, but we’re confident of the prospects that we like … right from that third overall pick to the last pick we make on Saturday.”
Timmins said centers, offensive defensemen and scoring wingers have the highest asset value on the Canadiens draft board, and that all are needs in their organization.
Ottawa has the fourth pick, and No. 22, and team officials were going through scenarios again Thursday.
”It was one of the best meetings I’ve had with scouts in 20 years talking about what we plan on doing at (No.) 4, what possibilities are at 22, how these players will impact our organization moving forward,” Senators GM Pierre Dorion said. ”We’re just excited. We suffered this year. There’s no doubt we suffered as a team with the number of losses. But the one good thing is we know we’re getting a really good player here.”
Arizona, Detroit Montee Ball Jersey , Vancouver, Chicago, the New York Rangers and Edmonton hold the final picks in the top 10. The New York Islanders, who on Thursday hired Stanley Cup champion coach Barry Trotz, then have consecutive picks before the draft-hosting Dallas Stars select 13th.
The draft at the American Airlines Center comes 25 years after the former Minnesota North Stars moved to bring NHL hockey to Dallas.
Coyotes GM John Chayka said he has five players who would fit his team in the fifth spot.
”We understand that there’s a variety of outcomes that could exist and then we’re going to have a plan in place that accounts for any of the iterations of what could occur,” Chayka said. ”It’ll be an interesting draft. I’m sure there’ll be opportunities to move up and opportunities to move down and opportunities to stay and take the pick.”
While general managers and team officials did their final prep for the draft, several of the top prospects took part in other activities in the Dallas area.
The prospects first were at a youth hockey clinic with several players from the Dallas Stars. There was then a media availability at Reunion Tower, more than 500 feet above the ground. That vantage point overlooks the city and next to the open lot where once stood Reunion Arena, the home of the Stars when the won the Stanley Cup in 1999.
Dahlin said he wasn’t feeling nervous about the likelihood of having his name called first Friday night.
”I haven’t actually thought about it so much yet,” Dahlin said. ”It’s crazy to be here actually, I can’t believe it. … Sometime in the near future I will stop and think what I am going through. I’m just trying to enjoy this time as much as I can.”
AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno contributed to this report.
Jon Gray went back to his power-pitching roots in a strong return to the majors.
Gray returned from a two-week minor league demotion to pitch into the eighth inning, Carlos Gonzalez homered and the Colorado Rockies extended their strong finish to the season’s first half by beating the Seattle Mariners 4-1 on Saturday night.
”I put that panic away and just had fun making pitches out there,” Gray said. ”I was trying to be as natural as I could. I took so many mechanical things out of my mind. Just see the out in your head and make the pitch. I made it that simple today. It was a lot better.”
Ian Desmond added a one-out RBI triple in the fifth that chased Wade LeBlanc, who lost for the first time in his 22 career starts for Seattle. Nolan Arenado DeSean Jackson Jersey , on his bobblehead night, doubled, singled and drove in a run, helping Colorado win for the ninth time in 11 games heading into Sunday’s final game before the All-Star break.
”It was nice to put some runs up early and contribute with a home run, but the night belonged to Jon Gray,” Gonzalez said. ”He did a tremendous job, dominated. Playing defense behind him was relaxing; not a lot of action, except for the eighth inning when they scored that run. But other than that he was tremendous.”
Colorado clinched its fifth consecutive series win, all against teams with records above .500. It’s the first time the Rockies have done that in franchise history.
Gray, who had struggled at times with big innings, especially early in his outings, was optioned June 29 to Triple-A Albuquerque in hopes of developing greater consistency in his approach. He made two starts, going 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA before being recalled, and came out strong from the outset Chris Wormley Jersey , leaning on his 97-mph fastball working the edges of the plate.
”I think Jon was pitching with a lot of conviction,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. ”I think he was determined today to get back on track.”
Gray (8-7) allowed one run on five hits in 7 1/3 innings while striking out six and walking none. He did not allow a hit until Jean Segura singled to start the fourth.
Ryon Healy’s one-out single in the fifth was the only other hit Gray allowed until Ben Gamel singled ahead of Chris Herrmann’s one-out RBI double in the eighth. Pinch-hitter Nelson Cruz beat out an infield single and Gray was relieved by Adam Ottavino, who retired the next two batters to quash the threat.
Wade Davis pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 27th save.
LeBlanc (5-1) allowed four runs on six hits in 4 1/3 innings.
”It’s just not very much fun throwing in a park like this,” LeBlanc said. ”Not for a guy that relies on late movement because that kind of gets taken away with the thin air. And then you have balls that carry further than it would in normal parks, and bigger outfield because the ball carries. It’s just not a good place to pitch. If you don’t have you’re A-plus game, it’s probably going to be a long night here.”
The Mariners played well most of the first half but have dropped six of their last eight.
”It’s been a rough week or so. Just really haven’t been able to connect all the pieces,” Herrmann said. ”We’re not really hitting in timely situations. The defense has always been there, but it’s just one of those things. It’s baseball, man. It’s a hard sport. There’s going to be a lot of ups and downs.”
Rockies: 2B D.J. LeMahieu was a late scratch because of lower back tightness. Utilityman Pat Valaika took his place in the starting lineup. … The day after earning his first career win in a relief outing, LHP Harrison Musgrave was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a right hip flexor strain. LHP Sam Howard was recalled from Albuquerque to fill his roster spot.
RHP Christian Bergman was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma the day after allowing five runs in 4 1/3 innings in a 10-7 loss to Colorado on Friday. RHP Matt Festa had his contract from Double-A Arkansas selected by Seattle before the game and made his major league debut when he came on in relief in the fifth inning. Arenado drove his first offering into center field for an RBI single.
Mariners: RHP Mike Leake (8-6, 4.36 ERA) has gone four innings in each of his last two starts after going seven or more innings in seven of his previous 17 outings.
Rockies: LHP Tyler Anderson (6-3, 3.76 ERA) has gone 2-0 with a 0.41 ERA over his last three starts.
Donte DiVincenzo Jersey