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Evan’s NHL Daily: Top Prospect Likely To Be Traded, EJ Update

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Avalanche Erik Johnson nhl

It’s funny that every time an NHL Draft rolls around, we hear a lot about the so called “Russian factor.” I’m trying to remember the last Russian that didn’t eventually come over to the NHL or caused problems. Maybe the new thing that teams have to be aware of is the “NCAA factor.” Earlier this year, we had Cutter Gauthier basically tell the Flyers he wasn’t going to sign with them, so they better trade him. Winnipeg is dealing with a similar issue right now, but for very different reasons, as players are starting to wield the power that playing NCAA hockey gives them.

Avalanche fans have a lot of love for Erik Johnson, and for good reason. Last year was a tough season for him in Buffalo and Philadelphia, but according to Danny Briere, he wants to keep going. Not a huge surprise, but don’t expect an Avalanche reunion.

Colorado Hockey Now

Does trading Ross Colton make sense? How long would I be willing to go on a Jonathan Drouin contract? And who will kill penalties next season? I went over all that in a new Avalanche mailbag.

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News And Rumors

Philly Hockey Now: This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but Erik Johnson does want to keep playing. The number 1,000 might have something to do with it, as he’s just 13 games away from playing 1,000 NHL games. Here’s what Danny Briere had to say about him…

“I think he wants to keep playing, and we’re trying to figure out how we can fit him in and if it makes sense. We saw the value that Marc Staal brought off the ice with our young players. We want to provide, if possible, that again, for our young guys. Experience in the NHL is tough to find, there’s a lot of value to it, and Erik Johnson is one of those ultimate professional, team leaders that everybody loves to have around. Can keep it light, has won a Stanley Cup; that’s a lot of value there. So, it’s something that we do have interest in.”

I don’t think an Avalanche reunion is in the cards. EJ has slowed a fair bit and the numbers just haven’t been good the last two years. Still, I hope he does hit that milestone. If not for injuries, he would have hit it a long time ago.

The Athletic: The NCAA strikes again. More and more NCAA players are understanding they have some power when it comes to their NHL contracts, and they all seem to have really cool names. There’s a good chance that Rutger McGroarty gets traded in the next week because of a disagreement with the Jets. Winnipeg wants him to play and grow in the AHL, while he wants to play in the NHL. The 20 year old center was the Captain of Team USA at the WJC’s and put up 52 points in 36 games at Michigan last year.

I imagine every NHL team will be calling Winnipeg about him, including the Avalanche. I doubt Winnipeg would want to trade him within the division, but you have to do your due diligence if you’re Colorado. Would you move this year’s first for him? I know I would, especially if he can play and help this season.

Florida Hockey Now: No matter what happens on Monday night, history will be made in the Stanley Cup Final.

Detroit Hockey Now: Steve Yzerman isn’t making any promises with his UFA’s, and it sounds like most of them will hit the market, including Patrick Kane.

Chicago Hockey Now: What will the Blackhawks do at #2? Do they go with a big defenseman, or try and get Connor Bedard some help up front?

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