Monday, July 21, 2008

Predictions and plans for August

Things that wouldn’t surprise me if they happened:
* Mark Popovic signing in Finland with Tappara. That’s the same team as Niclas Lucenius, by the way.
* Colton Fretter signing with the AHL Houston Aeros. They were interested in him last summer but he chose to re-sign with Chicago.
* Kevin Doell signing in Finland (or Sweden). He had a deal lined up with Espoo last summer with an NHL out clause. He was an UFA then and now. If anyone bemoans the loss of Doell, Rylan Kaip should be able to take over those checking responsibilities with the Wolves.
* Brett Sterling traded before the end of the calendar year. Left wing is still log-jammed with Kovalchuk and Kozlov. He is probably more valuable in a trade right now.

What would surprise me is 2000 draft pick Ilya Nikulin signing with the Thrashers. Everyone in the organization has said for years, “I’ll believe it when I see it,” because it seems every year noise gets made and then he doesn’t come. Even a signed contract wouldn’t be enough at this point for me. Don’t believe he’s coming until you see the whites of his eyes. It’s hard to extricate players from Russia for reasons that go even beyond the current dispute over contracts.

When Nikulin was drafted, Zach Bogosian was 9 years old. Think about that for a moment.

Thanks to prospect camp, July has been the busiest month ever on the blog, and it’s only the 21st of the month. Thanks for stopping by, though I’ll admit the traffic makes me feel pressure to write every day. If you want to save yourself some clicks, and take some pressure off me, set up an RSS feed with the blogs you read and then it will show you if they’ve updated.

In August, I’ll do more “rules related to prospects” posts as people found them useful. Some may want to revisit the one on the NHL/CHL agreement now to understand why Angelo Esposito can’t play for the Chicago Wolves for the 2008-09 season (until his junior season is over). If you have another rule you’d like to understand better, just let me know.

Soon we’ll start hearing that so-and-so got invited to this or that NHL camp. That’s great except for Philadelphia’s. For the past couple of years, they’ve brought in 60+ players so that they can have a four-team mini-tournament at the start. Guys are brought in just to be bodies, and quickly released.

Conveniently holding off until the end of prospect camp was the premiere of season 5 of Project Runway. Last season I won my pool by picking Christian Siriano to win. To me he stood out right away. This season the talent is more spread out, with no clear favorite. I had to do a substantial amount of research this weekend to decide on my pick. I’m going with Jennifer Diederich. She’s got a clean look in her work that I think the judges will go for. If you do not yet watch the show, you’re missing some good TV. It’s on Wednesdays at 9pm on Bravo.


Andrew J. Ferraro said...

Just out of curiosity, how strongly do you feel about Fretter signing with Houston?

He just went to an Islanders rookie camp apparently, unless I am reading this wrong.

Just curious ... great blog by the way.


Holly Gunning said...

I just went to the Islanders site and don't see Fretter on the rookie camp roster. Where did you see his name?

A month or so ago, the Sound Tigers GM was quoted as saying he wouldn't be re-signed. That's why I think he could end up with Houston. I still think it's a strong possibility.

Thanks, glad you like it.

toph2o said...

Top Chef > Project Runway! ;)

Holly Gunning said...

I tried to watch Top Chef, but I got frustrated because I couldn't taste the food like I could see the designs. It just doesn't satisfy the same way.

Brent said...

Do you have any idea why a guy like Fretter seems to have a hard time catching on? He's as natural a goal scorer as anyone playing below NHL level now. When he played at Gwinnett he seemed extremely focused...he didn't have a reputation for being difficult, other than maybe milking an injury a bit in order to get his roomie to run his errands for him...

Holly Gunning said...

It's his skating. Has always been his issue.

That roomie played against him last year in the AHL and told me Fretter's skating stuck out.

But I think his skating is good enough to get by if he's scoring half a goal a game. If Andrew Brunette can have a career, Fretter can too.