The Chicago Blackhawks made the first major trade of this offseason post Stanley Cup Final.
On Monday, the Blackhawks sent future Hall of Fame defenseman Duncan Keith along with forward Tim Soderlund to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for defenseman Caleb Jones and a conditional draft pick in 2022. The draft pick is Edmonton’s own third rounder in 2022. It can become a second rounder in 2022 if the Oilers win three rounds and Keith is one of the four top defensemen on the Oilers in total time on ice.
Keith requested this trade as he wanted to be closer to his home in Penticton, BC where his son lives. The Blackhawks did what they could to accommodate this request. But there could be more to this in the coming days and weeks.
A Precursor to a Bigger Move?
The Blackhawks have long been rumored for a while to be in on trying to acquire Columbus Blue Jackets’ defenseman Seth Jones. Seth has one year remaining on his current contract before he becomes an unrestricted free agent. He has already told the Blue Jackets that he will not be signing an extension with them and intends to test free agency.
With the news that Seth’s brother Caleb is now with the Blackhawks, that opens up a convenient door for them. Perhaps the chances of a long-term extension with the Blackhawks went up thanks to this trade. Should Seth be traded to the Blackhawks, he would get the opportunity to play with Caleb. It makes you wonder if the Blackhawks think they’re a preferred destination for Seth.
As of this writing, it is not clear why Seth wasn’t interested in signing an extension with the Blue Jackets. It’s not clear how many teams he’d sign a long-term extension for either. So unless the Blackhawks know something, acquiring him for one year is a bit of a gamble. Perhaps having Caleb there will convince him to sign for longer. That is of course if the Blackhawks aren’t on his no-trade list.
Exploring Seth Jones Makes Sense
With Keith now in Edmonton, there is a need for a top defenseman on the Blackhawks blueline. Although it was a down season for Seth in Columbus, that doesn’t diminish how valuable he can be. He had a season of 16 goals and 57 points in 2017-18 on a good Blue Jackets’ team.
When he’s on his game, Seth can take over a game on his own. He has the ability to impact the game with his skating. He also has a knack for offense. He can also contribute on both special teams units. That’s why some have considered him an eventual Norris Trophy winner. Need a reminder of how good he can be? Think back to when he played 65 minutes in the five-overtime marathon in the Toronto bubble against the Tampa Bay Lightning. He said he felt “fine” and was ready for more.
With Jonathan Toews recently saying he’s coming back, the Blackhawks are positioning themselves to try to make a last run or two with him and Patrick Kane together. In order to make a significant run, they need a top defender like Jones. If they swing and miss on pending UFA Dougie Hamilton, then the Jones situation seems like a perfect match for them.
There Will Be a Cost
If the Blackhawks do make this trade and can get Seth to sign an extension, that will increase the return for the Blue Jackets. That is their preference. Many teams around the league are interested in Jones, but only if he signs long-term.
Even before the Caleb Jones’ trade, some believed that Seth would have considered the Blackhawks. It’s also believed that Colorado is on his short list. Again we can’t say for 100% certain. But the opportunity for the Blue Jackets appears to be there for the taking if they want it.
In a rental scenario, you’re talking getting some futures back. The Blue Jackets need now help and futures help. The Blackhawks seem to have some interesting pieces available in a potential deal assuming an extension is signed.
The Blue Jackets would ask for Kirby Dach but I don’t see the Blackhawks doing that. Therefore the start of a package should center around both a first-round pick and prospect Lukas Reichel. Reichel was the 17th-overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.
Then to finish it off, I’d see if the Blue Jackets could get Connor Murphy. Murphy went to Dublin Jerome High School and would be a homecoming to Columbus. With Jones going to the Blackhawks in that kind of deal, Murphy would be able to provide immediate blueline help. Perhaps the Blue Jackets could get a forward included such as Dylan Strome to help their center ice position or an Adam Boqvist to help their blue line.
And as for the first-round pick, the Blue Jackets already have three firsts this year. I’d wonder if they’d seek a 2022 first rounder to give them two in a loaded draft. If I’m the Blue Jackets especially if Strome is included in a package, I’m strongly considering the possibility.
Regardless, the Blue Jackets should expect a bigger return and the Blackhawks have some interesting pieces assuming they can agree to an extension with Seth. Don’t forget that Stan Bowman and Jarmo Kekalainen have a history of draft trades. Both Brandon Saad and Artemi Panarin found themselves traded between these teams. There’s an obvious comfort level between these GM’s so the chances of a trade are pretty good should it get that far.
Will we see a Seth and Caleb reunion at the United Center? Don’t discount the possibility.
I am a fully credentialed writer who covers the Columbus Blue Jackets, Cleveland Monsters and Erie Otters as well as the Ontario Hockey League and NHL Draft. The 2021-22 season will mark eight seasons with the Hockey Writers. I am also the site’s Credentials Manager.
Tokyo 2020: Canada wins first medal after swimming to silver in women's 4×100 freestyle relay – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News
The Canadian Press
Published Saturday, July 24, 2021 10:55PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, July 24, 2021 10:55PM EDT
TOKYO — Canada has its first medal of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after the women’s 4×100 freestyle relay team raced to silver.
Penny Oleksiak and Kayla Sanchez of Toronto, Margaret Mac Neil of London, Ont., and Rebecca Smith of Red Deer, Alta., finished in a time of three minutes 32.78 seconds as Canada picked up a medal in the event for a second straight Games.
Australia won gold in a world-record time of 3:29.69, while the United States finished third in 3:32.81.
Oleksiak swam the anchor leg and narrowly beat out American Simone Manuel at the wall.
Canada’s women are looking to duplicate the success they had in the pool at the 2016 Rio Games, where they picked up six medals.
Earlier on Sunday, Mac Neil also advanced to Monday morning’s 100-metre butterfly final. The 21-year-old world champion in the event posted the sixth-fastest time in the semifinals.
An hour after qualifying for the butterfly final, Mac Neil drew into the relay lineup for Taylor Ruck who swam the heat for Canada. The women posted the third-fastest time in the preliminaries.
Sanchez led off the final followed by Mac Neil and Smith with Oleksiak bringing the team home.
Oleksiak and Ruck won a pair of freestyle relay bronze medals as 16-year-olds in Rio de Janeiro five years ago.
They teamed with Sandrine Mainville and Chantal Van Landeghem in the 4 x 100 to win Canada’s first medal of the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Oleksiak also swam the anchor leg in Rio.
Canada’s women aim for the podium in all three relays in Tokyo after earning three bronze at the world championship in Gwangju, South Korea two years ago.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 24, 2021.
The Edmonton Oilers select big German defender Luca Munzenberger at #90 overall – Edmonton Journal
The Edmonton Oilers trading down on Day #1 of the NHL draft was converted not 24 hours later into Defenceman Luca Munzenbeger.
Gotta love the name! Munzenberger is an 18-year old out of Dusseldorf, Germany. He has a late (November) 2002 birth date.
He’s a big, left-handed shot at 6’3, 194 LBS.
Munzenberger spent the majority of 2020-21 with Kolner Junghaie of the DNL U20. In 6 games he went 1-2-3 and served as Team Captain. His time in junior versus pro left open the door for him to play in college. Munzenberger also played for Team Germany at the World Junior Hockey Championships in Edmonton (0-0-0 in 5GP). More on that in a minute…
Munzenberger is considered to be an excellent PK man, but possesses a big shot which makes him a threat from the point as well. Scouts say he has a soft set of hands and makes an effective first-pass out of his own zone. Those who have seen him play, namely amateur scout Brock Otten, describe the kid as a “suffocating physical defender” with a mean streak. He’s an above-average skater for his size with a massive stride and a big wingspan. He’s effective at clearing the slot and his reach helps him get to pucks ahead of attackers. In my own viewing of his highlights from the WJC’s, Munzenberger closes quickly and effectively on the opposition along the walls. The foot-speed, reach and size are visibly key tools in his ability to break up the cycle.
A side note from that tournament that may indicate the quality of his intangibles: Munzenberger was in COVID quarantine at the very beginning ot the WJ’s, but emerged from that status prior to Christmas and rebounded with a strong performance. That would seem to speak to the kid’s resilience. The young man in a foreign country responded to a stressful situation and considerable uncertainty extremely well.
Draft analyst Steve Kournianos says of him: “A big bodied vacuum cleaner on defence… He has ideal size but the mobility and agility to cover faster players… He plays a mean, physical brand of hockey and can be considered a throwback… He has soft hands and delivers clean passes to any area in the offensive zone, but what makes Munzenberger dangerous is his lethal shot — he owns a bomb of a shot, not only for its velocity but for the sheer power he generates with little backswing. His wrister is just as nasty.”
It is fair to consider this pick as somewhat “off the board”. Elite Prospects had him at #214. No other service had him listed at all. One wonders if fellow countryman Leon Draisaitl had and offered any insight on the player to the Oilers draft team? He and his father surely know of every sharp prospect in that nation.
Munzenberger is committed to NCAA University of Vermont in 2022-23 which offers another interesting tidbit. Todd Woodcroft is the coach of that program, the brother of Bakersfield Condors bench boss Jay Woodcroft. So, there may well be some added insight from that connection.
Montreal Canadiens select Joe Vrbetic with 214th pick – Habs Eyes on the Prize
After a very long day, the Montreal Canadiens final picks are finally upon us, with 214th overall being up first. The Habs acquired this pick after trading out of an earlier round, and with this pick the team selected Joe Vrbetic from OHL’s North Bay Battalion.
Unfortunately like many other prospects in the OHL, Vrbetic was not able to play this year due to the Covid pandemic. In his last full season he posted a 4.23 goals against, an .881 save percentage along with a 14-25-1 record on a dreadful North Bay team that won just 17 out of 62 games.
The Habs have the penultimate pick in the draft at 223rd overall this year coming up.
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