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Draft Diaries: The NHL Has Taken Over Broadway

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Tyler Yaremchuk
11 months ago
Stick taps to the NHL for the way this week is looking.
The league has put the NHL Awards and the NHL Draft in the same city and the vibes are immaculate. Broadway, the famous party street in Nashville that features over 30 bars, is fully decked out for the NHL Draft and everywhere you go, people are talking about it. There is a legitimate buzz about the NHL having a major event in a city that isn’t a traditional hockey market.
Last year, it wasn’t a surprise to see Montreal vibrating with excitement. They had the first overall pick and it’s a hockey-mad city. To see Nashville have close to the same level of buzz is quite something. 
Here’s my favourite day one story: Jason Gregor and myself are taking a walk to go find a good chicken sandwich. While we’re waiting to cross the street, a lady turns to Gregor and says, “So is this your client?”
We were both slightly confused for a moment before we realized what she was asking us. No, I am sadly not eligible for the 2023 NHL Draft and despite his dashing good looks, Gregor is not an NHL Agent. Nice to know that I could still pass for 18 though.
We did get some breaking news on day one of draft day thought and Taylor Hall was shipped to the Chicago Blackhawks. The UFA rights to Nick Foligno were also a part of the move and the Blackhawks sent back Alex Regula and St. Albert, Alberta product Ian Mitchell to the Boston Bruins.
If you want to watch Frank Seravalli break the trade live on the air, you can go check out today’s episode of Oilersnation Everyday and fast forward to the 49:00 mark.

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This move really makes a lot of sense for both sides.
The Blackhawks need to find NHL calibre wingers to put around Connor Bedard and while Taylor Hall may not be at the level he once was, he can still pop home 20-25 goals a season. I also think adding a former first-overall pick, who’s experienced the pressure that comes with being a number one overall pick in a big market is a big positive. Hall really is the perfect veteran for the Blackhawks to throw into this lineup.
The big win for the Bruins is that they got out from $6 million without having to sacrifice anything. They desperately needed cap space as they currently have Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Dmitry Orlov and Tyler Bertuzzi sitting as pending UFA’s.
Now, Bergeron and Krejci haven’t made decisions about their futures but if they do come back, they’ll take hometown discounts like they did last season. But this newfound cap space means that the Bruins can try to bring back one of Orlov or Bertuzzi, which would obviously be huge.
So that is our first big move of draft season, and there will undoubtedly be more in the next 24 hours as the league convenes in Music City.
Things are quiet on the Oilers’ front as of right now, but that could change soon. The first domino that’s expected to fall is a trade involving Kailer Yamamoto. The Oilers apparently have some suitors and it’s just a matter of finalizing the deal.
Like the Hall deal, the Oilers aren’t looking to get anything in return. They just want to get out from under Yamamoto’s $3.1 million cap hit and give themselves a little bit of flexibility.
If they can, then there’s a chance we see Ken Holland pursue a bigger move. Frank Seravalli said today on the show that if Holland is going to go for a bigger piece, it’s likely going to be a forward. Don’t hold your breath for an Erik Karlsson or Brett Pesce trade. Karlsson is basically impossible and Pesce seems like a long shot.
Frank also threw a little bit of cold water on the idea of Connor Brown, basically saying that it could be tough for Brown to turn down a three or four-year deal from another team that could pay him around $12 million just to take a one-year gamble with the Oilers. He might prefer the security.
Jason Gregor and I will be going live for another hour tomorrow at noon on the Oilersnation YouTube. Gregor is going to be covering the Ken Holland media availability earlier in the day, so we could have some updates on a few of the Oilers’ pending UFAs.
I’ll also be at the awards tonight where Connor McDavid will absolutely clean up. The expectation is that he’ll win the Hart, likely by a unanimous vote, as well as the Ted Lindsay. There is an outside chance that Stuart Skinner becomes the first Calder Trophy winner and Darnell Nurse is up for the King Clancy Award. Should be a fun night with some of the biggest stars in the league all in Nashville.
Oh, and Frank is going to eat hot chicken on live TV during the awards. You won’t want to miss it.
That’s all from day one in Nashville.

THE NATION NETWORK DRAFT COVERAGE

Stay tuned to the website, social media, and our YouTube page for extensive coverage of the NHL Entry Draft. From instance analysis from Nashville to quick updates from the event, we’ll have you covered on all things draft all week long.

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