By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media
PHILADELPHIA – Looking ahead to the Panthers being on the clock …
Event: NHL Entry Draft, Round 1
Time: 7 p.m.
Site: Wells Fargo Center
TV: NBC Sports Network (national), TSN (Canada), RDS (Quebec)
Penguins’ pick: 22
Here’s the NHL Entry Draft 2014 official page on NHL.com.
UPDATE 4:47 p.m.: Here’s the scene right now as front-office types head toward the 30 tables:
5:08: Bad news for the Penguins already. The NHL and NHLPA just jointly announced the salary cap for 2014-15 will be $69 million, well below some expectations. The current payroll is $55 million for 14 players signed to date. That’s an ouch.
5:55: The Penguins don’t have a trade in line for the 22nd pick, at least not at the moment. They’ve listened to offers. Their scouts have a handful of players they’ve identified for the No. 22 spot, but it’s impossible to even guess at who they might be.
6:54: Leave it to Flyers fans to start a new draft tradition and yell ‘SUCKS!’ after each team is announced. Just wait for Pittsburgh.
6:57: Ha! Well, they at least get credit for making the Penguins feel special. They bypassed the sucks and wait straight for passionate booing.
7:17: Man, I’ve seen Gary Bettman booed, including in Pittsburgh. Never like this. They aren’t letting the man speak. Incredible scene.
7:18: I’m actually enjoying the hell out of this. I’d almost forgotten where I was. Never change, Philly. Never change.
7:20: And the Panthers select — amid a cascade of continuing boos — defenseman Aaron Ekblad of Barrie (OHL) with No. 1 overall pick.
7:22: Give the Philadelphians a break, everyone: They haven’t seen an actual hockey event in June in, what, 40 years?
7:39: Much activity at Penguins table, and it’s unusual to say the least. Rutherford in intense talks with David Morehouse and … Ron Burkle? Yes, Burkle is seated right at the table corner, by the GM. Wow.
7:51: Rutherford’s back. Apparently had some communication with Colorado. Not that this would necessarily support that, but Rutherford also was in a long talk with Patrick Roy a half-hour before draft began.
7:58: Now Winnipeg comes up. Of course it does.
8:03: Whoa. Leafs just drafted the lead singer for Flock of Seagulls.
8:06: James Neal to Nashville, hearing.
8:08: Confirmed: Neal to Predators for Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling. Both are wingers. Have to rewrite column completely. Gotta go from here. Sorry.