Auston Matthews
TORONTO, ON - MARCH 7: Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates during warm up before playing the Detroit Red Wings at the Air Canada Centre on March 7, 2017 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images)

Lou Lamoriello says there is no urgency about appointing a captain, the Chris Tanev trade rumours are heating up in Vancouver, SCF Game 2, and more in Wednesday’s links.

Leafs/NHL Links

Lamoriello on draft combine, BPA vs. positional need, backup goalies (MLHS)
First of all, I think it’s a very important position. I thought [Curtis McElhinney] did an outstanding job for us. No decision has been made at that position at this point. Certainly, not much can and will be done I don’t think until July 1. We are going to certainly fill that position, whether it’s with Curtis or whoever we feel is the right person that is available.

The Maple Leafs have some decisions to make on unsigned prospects (MLHS)
It’s worth keeping in mind that the Leafs have made 26 draft selections since 2014 — tied with the Lightning for the most in the NHL — with 20 of those picks coming in the last two years. They picked 11 players last June, only two of which have received NHL contracts as of this writing in Auston Matthews and Grundstrom. The Leafs will also select seven times in seven rounds in 2017 as of now. It’s easy to see how the non-roster player situation could get rather tight rather quickly as the Leafs project their contract spaces over the next few years.

Lamoriello suggests Leafs may go another season without a captain (TSN)
During his conversation with Pierre LeBrun, Maple Leafs general manager Lou Lamoriello suggested that Toronto may go another season without naming a captain.

Right now that isn’t something on the forefront. I think we’ve had tremendous leadership this year with a lot of young players. I don’t think right now that is something that is on the forefront or is being considered at this point. I would not be surprised if we did not have a captain next year.

What are the chances the Leafs make the playoffs next year? (TSN1050)
Craig Button predicts the likelihood of the Maple Leafs making the playoffs next season:

I look at the evolution of the team and the individual players. We know what Matthews did and we know what Nylander did and what Marner did, and Connor Brown. But the evolution just seems to be continuous — Nylander at the World Championships, Maner at the World Championships. There just seems to be this continuous evolution, and you know that Mike Babcock and the coaching staff are going to continually evolve. Despite the fact that five teams that made the playoffs in the East Last year missed this year, I think with the goaltending, Zaitsev with a year under his belt, the continuous growth of this team… I’m putting them at 80% to make it next year.

Botchford: Trading Edler a non-starter, but Tanev a different story (TSN1040)
The Province’s Jason Botchford says the Canucks won’t get much for Alex Edler, but teams are always calling about Chris Tanev. Botchford believes Tanev’s coveted by other teams as he’s a top-four player right now, and with the right partner, he’s a top pairing guy.

I actually thought [Benning’s quotes] were as open as I’ve seen Jim to moving Chris Tanev. I honestly don’t think Edler — considering the restrictions on the trade market there because of his No Trade Clause, because of his reluctance to waive that, and because of his salary — is worth a lot. Teams aren’t calling the Canucks about Edler. For me, Edler is a bit of a non-starter. It doesn’t get my juices going.

Chris Tanev — 30 teams are going to be interested in Chris Tanev. He’s got a great contract. He should be at a peak performance athletically in the NHL. He’s got years left on his deal, and he’s got no trade restrictions right now.  He’s open to dealing with anyone. He is the guy that the Canucks receive the most calls on. They were all last summer and I guarantee you they will be this summer. At the draft, they will be calling and feeling the Canucks out and possibly making offers.

To me, there was an open door there, where if they got their doors blown off by an offer, they would be willing to do that. That is a difference from this summer to last summer. Last summer, it was no way.

I think a first-rounder plus something [is the return the Canucks are looking for]… I think you can get a substantial amount for him. Chris Tanev is worth a hell of a lot. Defencemen like him are very difficult for teams to get. Obviously, we know he is a top-four defenceman, and I think with the right pairing partner, he is a top-pairing guy. If you put him up on the right-side of a second pairing, you have a real chance to build a top-four that can compete.

Golden Knights close to agreement for van Riemsdyk, Kruger (TSN)
Seravalli, who added the situation could be flipped, with the Golden Knights taking Kruger in the draft and trading for van Riemsdyk, said the deal is not 100% done yet but is looking likely. The Blackhawks are motivated to make the move because should the salary cap remain flat for next season, they would be $4 million over. Kruger is scheduled to make a little over $3 million per year the next two seasons.

Penguins wary of confident Preds ahead of Game 2 (CBC)
“It’s not always pretty,” Sullivan said Tuesday. “We don’t get points for style. But what I love about our team is that we find ways to win, we compete.”True, though for the majority of Game 1, the competition was pretty one-sided. The Predators controlled the pace and the puck, just not the scoreboard. It left the guys from “Smashville” in a new position for the first time since they began their mad dash to the final a month ago: chaser instead of chasee as Game 2 looms on Wednesday night.

Road to Predators’ Stanley Cup run went through Milwaukee (Puck Daddy)
For the 2016-17 Predators, there are 18 players on their Stanley Cup Final roster who have spent time in Milwaukee, either getting a start on their professional careers or developing. That has led to success at both the AHL and NHL levels, with the Admirals winning four division titles and making 11 playoff appearances since 2005-06.

Capitals GM opens up about potentially trading Alex Ovechkin (Puck Daddy)
“I don’t think it makes sense in my mind just to blow it up or make a major change. As soon as that Game 7 finishes, everybody’s angry and that shouldn’t happen and we should have played better in the game — I get all that but how do you address that? It’s a good team. And there’s issues too. Obviously, there’s some issues and they need to be addressed internally,” he said.

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