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NHL Notes: Opinions and Some Good Reads

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Things to ponder while waiting for Home Game #2 of the pre-season.

The Phil Kessel Trade.

The Toronto Maple Leafs dealt two 1st round picks and a 2nd rounder to Boston for Phil Kessel. Was it a win or a loss? How you score this likely depends on where you think the Leafs will finish. Personally, I think the Leafs are still going to finish in the bottom 10 of the NHL even with Kessel, which means they just gave up a top 10 pick.

Another factor is that Phil Kessel has a reputation as a giant prick. Before he was drafted none of his teammates had anything good to say about him and the same is true now that he is in the NHL (see this article for more - Blogs - Without proper pieces, a Kessel experiment would fail). Phil Kessel reminds me a lot of Joe Murphy--a very talented hockey player who was a little bit of a headcase. Advantage: Boston.

Junior Players Making the Jump to the NHL

Our Colorado writer has a taken a look at players who skip the AHL and go straight to the NHL: Another Look at Drafted Junior Players - Mile High Hockey. This is a huge step in terms of degree of difficulty. The Thrashers Evander Kane and Paul Postma are still in camp and could potentially be making this jump.

The Versus Dispute with DirecTV

I was planning to switch to DirecTV when the NHL season started, but for the moment I'm holding off because I don't want to miss those VS games (what's that you say, the Thrashers don't appear on the national broadcast schedule?).  But as Mike Chen points out, (KuklasKorner : Mike Chen's Hockey Blog : Versus vs. Common Sense) my situation is probably a big exception. If Versus thinks they're going to bring DirecTV to their knees by making all the NHL fans cry out--well they've overestimated the impact of hockey viewers.

NHL Training Camp Trade Winds

Everyone was waiting for the Heatley and Kessel situations to be resolved. Now that both of the big name players have homes teams are looking to fine tune their rosters. The Columbus Blue Jackets might be in the market for some D since all four of their Top Four D are injured right now (Groins, Hips Not Cooperating (Puck-rakers), while rumor-meister Bruce Garrioch suggests Ottawa might be willing to deal defenseman Schubert. Perhaps a OTT-CBJ trade might be in order?

The other thing to keep an eye on are the goaltender slots. The Thrashers have too many. In particular they need to find a new address for Johan Hedberg if they intend to keep Pavelec and Legace to start the season. Are they some teams looking for a backup with a $1.1 million cap hit? I wouldn't be totally shocked if Lehtonen were traded but he needs to get healthy before anyone is going to gave up much for him.