Of course, there's been plenty of activity since the draft, leading up to the July 1 start of free agency. Personally, I'm not looking forward to it all that much.
For starters, I'm very sorry to see the likely end of the Sean Avery era in New York. I'm going to try not to hate his guts when he goes back to another team, but if he goes to another team I am favorably disposed to - i.e. the Blues, Panthers, etc. - that should make it easier. I think it's most likely that Avery winds up back in his old stomping grounds in Los Angeles. Other than New York, I think it's the only city that really offers Avery the kind of life that he wants to have, including his new celebrity stylist business.
By the way, I also think Los Angeles is a sensible destination for the recently bought-out Ray Emery. The Kings are high on Jeff Zatkoff from what I've heard after a strong debut in Manchester following the college season, but he's obviously not going to step right into the NHL. Emery is a proven goaltender who can get hold down the fort until Zatkoff is ready, by which time Emery will have likely worn out his welcome in the locker room anyway. I have no idea if the Kings are thinking about this as I am, but it would make sense.
But enough about the Kings. The main thing I'm not looking forward to is seeing the Rangers make a play for Mats Sundin. Same old Rangers, going for the big name because they think that's what it takes. Just wait until it turns out Sundin and Jaromir Jagr have no chemistry and Brandon Dubinsky comes back to the top line, leaving Sundin centering the second line, Scott Gomez on the third, and - get this - Chris Drury on the fourth line. ARGH!
Of course, the other development, the one that's been getting most of the talk, is the hiring of Barry Melrose as the new coach of the Lightning. I think it's a great hire. Barry is being talked about as a players' coach, in contrast to John Tortorella, which should proabably make for a nice change and a sizable "new coach bump."
It's great for Barry, too. It's one thing to be ESPN's lead NHL commentator when you actually have NHL games. It's another entirely when the Mouse isn't doing games. Of course, his years with ESPN will instantly make him the second-most recognizable coach in the NHL (Wayne Gretzky, obviously, being No. 1 on that list).
It's also fairly obvious that since Barry and his mullet will no longer be calling college games for ESPN-U, and can no longer be considered part of college hockey, Don Lucia is left with an undisputed claim to the college game's most talked about hair.
Hey, I had to...