It’s D-Day. Follow along live at all the rumors, all the trades, all the draft picks and analysis right here at Faceoff-Factor. Check out the three round mock draft that was created by Jesse, Alex and myself.

2:55 PM – Draft completed. Analysis to follow.

Completed trades that weren’t mentioned yet:

Pittsburgh acquires: 6th round pick in 2010
Montreal acquires: 211th (P. Simila)

Phoenix acquires: the rights to Shaun Heshka
Vancouver acquires: 187th (S. Anthony)

Atlanta acquires: 117th (E. Pasquale), 120th (B. Chariot), 203rd (J. Samuels-Thomas)
Los Angeles acquires: 95th (J.F. Berube)

Atlanta acquires: 5th round pick in 2010
Chicago acquires: 177th (D. Pacan)

Dallas acquires: 6th round pick in 2010
San Jose acquires: 189th (M. Viedensky)

Edmonton acquires: 6th round pick in 2010
Ottawa acquires: 191st (M. Sdao)

Los Angeles acquires: 84th (N. Deslauriers), 107th (traded)
Calgary acquires: 74th (R. Howse)

Florida acquires: 107th (G. Wilson), 138th (W. Megan)
Los Angeles acquires: 3rd round pick in 2010

Nashville acquires: 5th round pick in 2010
Tampa Bay acquires: 148th (M. Zador)

Nashville acquires: 7th round pick in 2010
St. Louis acquires: 202nd (M. Tardy)

Columbus acquires: 56th (K. Lynch)
Islanders acquire: 62nd (A. Nilsson), 92nd (C. Cizikas)

Islanders acquire: 3rd round pick in 2010
Coyotes acquire: 91st (M. Lee)

12:56 PM – The Phoenix Coyotes have acquired defenseman Jim Vandermeer from the Calgary Flames in exchange for forward Brandon Prust. Prust was traded from Calgary to Phoenix previously in the Olli Jokinen deal.

12:51 PM – The Pittsburgh Penguins have traded goaltender Chad Johnson to the New York Rangers for 151. The Penguins took Andy Bathgate’s grandson…Andy Bathgate with the pick.

The New York Rangers have acquired Brian Boyle from the Los Angeles Kings for a third round in 2010.

12:05 PM – The Phoenix Coyotes have acquired Sami Lepisto from the Washington Capitals for a 5th round pick in 2010. Lepisto is a good young offensive defenseman with a ton of upside. A favorite of mine, a player that is probably very close to playing in the league and may quickly find his way to 40 points per year from the backline.

11:39 AM – The Minnesota Wild have acquired Kyle Brodziak and 161st from Edmonton for 99 and 133. Brodziak is a good two-way forward that fits perfectly on a third or fourth line.

10:46 AM – The Penguins select Ben Hanowski. “You couldn’t get drafted by a better team than Pittsburgh,” said Hanowski after being selected. He comes from the Minnesota high school system. Just about 6’2”, 200 lbs. already. In 25 games this year, he scored 57 goals and 110 points for Little Falls High. He plays a high skill game more than a power forward game, a little more finesse than his size would lead you to believe. Crafty hands and a great shot. Not a two-way forward, plays well from the center line in. Has a good scoring touch. He’s off to St. Cloud State to continue to hone his skills. He’s probably at least a few years away, but he has a lot of upside.

10:39 AM – The Penguins select Philip Samuelsson from the USHL. Samuelsson is Ulf’s son. He’ll go to Boston College. Samuelsson is a 6’2, 200 lb. defensive defenseman. Doesn’t play with reckless abandon like his father did, but plays the body pretty well. Good penalty killer. Decent shot, decent passer, but no frills. Average or below offensive instincts, average skating.

10:35 AM – Jay Bouwmeester’s rights have finally been traded. The Calgary Flames acquired the rights to Jay Bouwmeester for the rights to Jordan Leopold and 67th overall. The Flames are really on the clock now, Bouwmeester becomes a UFA in roughly 84 hours.

10:33 AM – Second round is underway, analysis and updates to follow very soon.

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11:03 PM – That’s it for the first round. The second round starts at 10 am tomorrow. Thanks for joining Faceoff Factor for the first round and all the pre-draft coverage and continue to stay with us throughout the rest of the draft and the offseason.

10:58 PM – The first round ends with this pick, the Stanley Cup champions select: Simon Despres from St. John’s. Despres is an effortless skater, especially for a big man. Teammates with fellow Penguin prospect Alex Grant. Very big, defensive player with a physical side to his game. Has untapped offensive potential that is stifled a bit with the Sea Dogs. Negatives are that he may have physically matured so early that his physical dominance is neutralized now, his advantage may be gone. Not the smartest player on the ice and isn’t in a program that has very good coaching.

10:56 PM – Two-way sniper Landon Ferraro makes a lot of sense here.

10:54 PM – The Tampa Bay Lightning trade up to grab Carter Ashton the power forward from the Western League. Very good skater, kind of a jack of all trades but master of none. Doesn’t use his body very well, but gets his goals in the blue paint.

10:48 PM – The Red Wings slide out of the first round once again. Tampa gives 32 and 75 for 29th. The Lightning are up, then the Champs finish things off. Flyers will talk extension with Pronger who is in the last year of his deal. Apparently, the figure being thrown around is 5 years, $30 million but that’s a long-ways off I imagine – I wonder how much more foolish this trade looks if Pronger walks in 369 days.

10:42 PM – With Scotty Bowman practicing the name while Tallon’s at the podium. Chicago Blackhawks select Dylan Olsen from Camrose. Physical edge player, big league shot, still ooks a little lanky on the ice but plays a smart, defensive game.

10:40 PM – The Carolina Hurricanes pick Philippe Paradis. One of the best shots in the draft, with good size. Pretty solid all-around, not to fast or dominant. I had Paradis at 73rd to New Jersey, but that’s lower than most.

10:32 PM – The Ducks will get a second crack at their second pick of the first round. They may have wasted their first on Peter Holland, maybe. With the 26th pick they select Kyle Palmieri. A big, strong kid, maybe the strongest in the draft. Another New Jersey kid to join Bobby Ryan. High technical skill but character issues.

10:27 PM – The Boston Bruins amidst the boos they tip into the province’s reserves – Jordan Caron. Caron is a very good player. Good size, average or slightly below skating, really good wrist shot and tremendous hand-eye coordination. He’s not afraid to get to the net or get physical, and he can dish the puck well too. That’s a good pick, the kid from Rimouski.

10:20 PM – The Washington Capitals go off the board and take Marcus Johansson. Swede #7 in the first round. Johansson is already a pro at the Elitserien level. I had him going at 60 to Detroit. Johansson has a good head on his shoulders and soft hands. Speedy player that is a puck distributor. Average sized but not soft.

10:13 PM – The Calgary Flames select Tim Erixon. This is a no frills, no flash player. Erixon is very smart, very calm, very reliable. Good size, good skater that has the bloodlines (Jan Erixon). Not a sexy pick, but he’s a sure thing at this point in the draft. Swede number six by pick #23.

10:12 PM – Gillis believes the Sedin’s will be in the lineup next year. He was asked if they were close and Gillis started laughing. So those are contradictory. The Luongo extension will probably be announced July 1st from what I’ve taken from everything today.

10:08 PM – Roberto Luongo at the podium. He makes the pick for Vancouver – Jordan Schroeder from the University of Minnesota. He slipped down to Vancouver. Very talented offensive player, scorer, passer, very high upside. A fairly small player, but comes from a great program. And he goes to a Minnesota arch-rival, Vancouver.

10:00 PM – Columbus Blue Jackets select John Moore. This is a great pick here. Tremendous skates under this kid. Great skater, smooth passer, very composed, offensive-minded kid. He’s willing to go to college or major junior hockey – whichever the Jackets want him to do. Pairing him with Kris Russell down the line might be the most mobile pairing in the league.

9:57 PM – Bob Murray isn’t done moving. The pick they got from Philadelphia (21st) goes to Columbus (who had previously traded down) for 26th and 37th. Good value by Anaheim. Anaheim is in great hands with Bob Murray. Two great GMs are passing through, Brian Burke gone now and now Bob Murray. Murray really understands it, he’ll soon be called one of the league’s best executives by the end of the year.

9:53 PM – Heavy accent still in tow, Lou passes it off to David Conte, the Devils select Jabob Josefson. He slipped way down and I forgot all about him. This is a good two-way center with lots of playmaking ability. Decent skater, decent size, poor shot.

9:51 PM – Calgary trades 20th overall to New Jersey for 23rd overall and 84th. Lou sees something he really likes. Last time Calgary and New Jersey swapped picks…1990 – Brodeur for Kidd. Correction: Hall of Famer Lou Lamoriello.

9:43 PM – The Rangers give a salute to the Pittsburgh Penguins, they also pay tribute to Aleksei Cherepanov who we lost too soon this past year. The Rangers select Chris Kreider. Perhaps the draft’s best skater and he’s big at 6’2” near 200. He’s off to Boston College. Major dominance at the USHS level, but that’s relatively weak competition to the other picks ahead of him. The Rangers may have hit a homerun with a power forward though here.

9:40 PM – The Edmonton Oilers, looking ahead, said they want to swing for the fences with their second round pick. And ideally, would like to trade back into the first round again. It makes me think Toni Rajala perhaps, but there’s a lot of players that have a high upside still out there. Edmonton picks again at 40 as of now.

9:34 PM – The Montreal Canadiens, in front of the home fans select, Louis Leblanc. Much fanfare for this. A francophone for the fans, a kid that played in the USHL for a management that loves American kids. This is a win-win here and there would have been riots (ala 1993) if they went anywhere else. Leblanc is a speed, skill and great playmaking ability – great vision. Leblanc is off to Harvard.

9:26 PM – The St. Louis Blues select David Rundblad. Big time puck mover, big time offensive upside. Mike Green type of player that loves to join the rush, lead the rush, crisp passer and great shot. Little lax defensively, doesn’t have Mike Green’s skating ability. Very fair pick by St. Louis.

9:21 PM – The Minnesota Wild will make the pick after trading down, they select Nick Leddy. Undersized, mobile defenseman with a ton of offensive upside. Mr. Hockey in Minnesota this year. The Wild take a kid out of a Minnesota high school. I had Leddy at 41 to Nashville, so, I was a little off.

9:16 PM – First of two picks for Anaheim here, this is their own, they select Peter Holland. Tons of skill, tons of size, and very good skating. You can liken his game to Eric Staal. One thing that is concerning is that Peter Holland seems to live in his own world…he’s not the smartest player, he’s not the most consistent, and he often gets caught on the perimeter of the action as a spectator. I hate to keep breaking it out in such a good draft, but this is a good bet to bust. If he turns out, he could be a real steal.

9:15 PM – Ottawa and the Rangers talking things over. Apparently Sather didn’t like what Bryan Murray was selling. I think Murray wants Marc Staal and I’m quite sure Sather wants no part of that.

9:09 PM – The Florida Panthers hold on to the pick and select Dmitry Kulikov. That’s a great value pick there. Kulikov is a prospect that’s about as close to professionally ready as you’re going to find in this draft. Two-way defenseman that plays a smart, economic game. He does everything very well. Apparently his slide stemmed from a reported 2 year deal with a KHL club. There’s actually a legitimate chance that Kulikov is there opening night for Florida.

9:03 PM – The Buffalo Sabres select Zack Kassian. Bang and crash forward. He’s about as mean of a player in this draft, best hitter, best fighter. A little inconsistent, doesn’t bring the compete level maybe every night. But this guy will stick up for his diminutive forwards in Buffalo. Not very quick, not the highest skilled guy in the draft (but a lot of talent for a big man), but this guy will be a factor at the next level in some way.

8:54 PM – Nevermind. The New York Islanders select Calvin de Haan. A puck moving d-man that’s a smooth skater. He plays a Tomas Kaberle-like game. I didn’t have de Haan going for at least 10 picks here, this is a strange trade up to go off the board. Snow must have heard something that we didn’t know. Kulikov’s slide continues.

8:50 PM – The Minnesota Wild have acquired 16th, 77th and 182nd from the New York Islanders for 12th. If this is Kulikov, the Islanders may have just won the draft.

8:49 PM – Minnesota might be fielding offers for this. With Dmitry Kulikov sliding, this pick has a lot of value now all of a sudden. Minnesota could go off the board a touch here (John Moore) or way off (Charles Olivier-Roussel).

8:46 PM – The Nashville Predators select Ryan Ellis. My mock draft is just about finished at this point. With Shea Weber, Ryan Suter and Jonathon Blum, I’m not sure why. Ellis is a huge offensive player, cannon of a shot with good offensive instincts. Power play quarterback extraordinaire. Not a good skater, not good defensively at all. He’s very small at 5’9” with the highest body fat percentage at the scouting combines. This guy is my favorite to bust among first rounders this year, I’m not sure if this guy can be an impact player at the next level. About as high of a ceiling as you can find, but high risk, he’s a long ways away from contributing if he can at all.

8:38 PM – For more information go to www.paajarvi.com? Edmonton is interested in Dany Heatley, they’ve had discussions with Ottawa about him. Steve Tambellini didn’t look too happy after he realized he admitted that.

8:34 PM – The Edmonton Oilers select Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson. This is a big Swede that has power forward attributes. Smooth skater and extremely fast and finisher. High skill, drives to the net. Not sure about his defensive responsiblity, not sure about his playmaking ability – those are big time question marks. Highest potential left on the board, and a good pick by Edmonton, he’s a couple years away.

8:29 PM – Jared Cowen said he wanted to play for a Canadian team, so he got his wish. Bryan Murray doesn’t believe that Heatley will be moved. Murray will keep him if he can’t get the offer he wants. That could be interesting.

8:26 PM – Will the surprises continue? The Ottawa Senators missed out on Nazem Kadri, they select Jared Cowen. This is a great pick here, great value. Big, two-way defenseman. More of a defensive guy, physical, good skater, a dominant presence in junior. Think Braydon Coburn, I feel he’s almost a carbon copy of him with similar potential maybe higher. Ottawa just took the best player left on the board.

8:19 PM – Another shocker, Scott Glennie goes to Dallas. It wasn’t on my radar as a pick for the Stars. This is a power forward. Played with Brayden Schenn, he’s a center and a winger that can bury pucks and is very quick with a projectable frame.

8:13 PM – Rumor that Jay Bouwmeester has been traded. Details to follow. Brian Burke says that it would have cost Luke Schenn to get into the top 3 of the draft. That’s a smart move by Burke to hold off on that, but the pick isn’t amazing. High ceiling, not as likely to hit it.

8:09 PM – Ottawa and Toronto talking things over. But nothing comes from it. Brian Burke loves the attention. The Maple Leafs select Nazem Kadri. Big surprise here. That’s a little off the board. This kid has a lot of skill, he comes from the London Knights system. He’s Muslim and he has to fast which effects his weight during the season. He’s an inconsistent player, a little streaky sometimes. Highest bust potential of the picks so far.

8:02 PM – The Phoenix Coyotes select Oliver Ekman-Larsson. I got word earlier today that OEL was the guy for Phoenix, that came through. I feel it’s a little early for him, but this is a good pick. Very smooth skater, he’ll be a player in this league. Pretty much unknown 12 months ago. Think Nicklas Lidstrom, think Niklas Kronwall. Probably could hit the weight room, but this is a very smooth customer here.

8:00 PM – The Columbus Blue Jackets have traded 16th and 77th to the New York Islanders for 26th, 37th, 62nd and 92nd

7:54 PM – The Los Angeles Kings are actually going to use the pick after all, they select: Brayden Schenn. This is a great pick. Think Mike Richards with this kid. Great selection, playmaker, finisher, gritty, he’ll go to war, he’ll drop the gloves. Big winner right here.

7:45 PM – Atlanta Thrashers selects Evander Kane, that’s a power forward, energy guy, if he doesn’t become a top line player, he’ll work at a lower line. He’s not one of my favorite prospects, I think he got a little too much hype. But he’s very talented, big time goal scorer. This is good news for hockey in Atlanta, Kane can sell the game down there to that fan base.

7:42 PM – Colorado Avalanche selects Matt Duchene, great two-way player, very complete player, very fast. Think Steve Yzerman in his later years.

7:36 PM – Pronger, Ryan Dingle (a non-factor) for Lupul, Sbisa, 21st overall, 1st in 2010 and a conditional 3rd in 2010 or 2011.

7:34 PM – Philadelphia is getting a past his prime Pronger here, he was noticeably slower last year. Sure, he’s still a top d-man this year and next probably, but how much longer after that? Meanwhile you lose two first rounders (2009, 2010) and then your first 2008 in Luca Sbisa who already proved as a mid-first rounder (a d-man no less) and a scoring winger (a first rounder himself) in Lupul.

I feel that’s a big gaffe by Philadelphia. They cut corners in net, but go all out everywhere else.

7:27 PM – Tampa Bay selects Victor Hedman from Modo. First non-mistake by Tampa Bay in years. Hedman will be the best thing to come out of this draft as far as I’m concerned. This guy can go right now, he’s ready to go. I haven’t seen a defensive prospect this good since I saw Jay Bouwmeester in Medicine Hat. This is the real deal. He turned pro in the world’s second best league at 17, dominated at 18…this is the prize right here from my perspective.

7:24 PM – It is true – Chris Pronger to Philadelphia for Joffrey Lupul, Luca Sbisa, 21st overall and a 1st round pick in 2010. Yikes for Philly.

7:23 PM – Sportsnet reports that the return for Pronger was: Sportsnet: Lupul, Sbisa, and 2 1st round picks. Hilarious if true, but Sportsnet isn’t the most reliable source.

7:21 PM – Taking Tavares might calm down this draft night. All of a sudden I believe the #2 pick is off the table – I think Victor Hedman, in my opinion, the best prospect in this draft, should go next. But who knows what Tampa is capable of.

7:17 PM – The Islanders finally let the cat of the bag at the last possible minute, they select – John Tavares. There’s the franchise guy right there. Time to build around him.

Tavares is a great offensive talent, natural goal scorer, he’s like Dany Heatley. He’s going to be a great player for years to come. You hear about the lack of defensive attention to detail, the lack of foot speed, that’s ok, this is a good player right here. This’ll put butts in seats on the Island.

7:16 PM – The Islanders are on the clock. The talk from the floor is that this could be Matt Duchene…could be a clever ploy, but don’t fall out of your chair if it’s kid the talented kid from Brampton.

7:13 PM – Gary Bettman being hissed at…you think this is bad? Wait until Brian Burke and Peter Chiarelli get to the podium.

7:09 PM – Could be James vanRiemsdyk, Joffrey Lupul and 3 draft picks for Chris Pronger – awaiting confirmation.

7:05 PM – Pronger to Philadelphia is just about confirmed. I’ve heard the names Lupul, Gagne, James vanRiemsdyk invovled, but no return has yet been confirmed. The deal looks about done though.

6:55 PM – Pronger to Philadelphia could be very close to happening. It makes some sense though with Niedermayer saying he’s on his way back. I can’t imagine Lupul going back to Anaheim though, updates as they become available…

6:53 PM – Bryan Murray says the Heatley deal is “dead.”

6:36 PM – Flyers and Ducks are in discussions, it’s believed that the subject of this discussions are about Chris Pronger.

6:34 PM – The Blackhawks have reportedly re-signed David Bolland to a five year, $18 million deal ($3.6 mil/yr)...I’ll try to confirm this as we go.

Draft is getting very close…exciting stuff.

6:16 PM – NHL Network’s draft preview says “Carl Klungberg” sigh…

Rest of my fourth round mock:

4 (111) Flames – John Ramage – D – USA U18
4 (112) Flyers – Tyler Randell – RW – Kitchener
4 (113) Canucks – Garrett Wilson – LW – Owen Sound
4 (114) Devils – Alex Velischek – D – Delbarton
4 (115) Capitals – Andrej Stastny – C – Trencin Jrs.
4 (116) Wild – Anders Lee – C – Edina High
4 (117) Kings – Brian Dumoulin – D – Monarch Jrs.
4 (118) Blackhawks – Justin Florek – LW – Northern Michigan
4 (119) Kings – Nikita Dvurechensky – LW – Dynamo Moscow 2
4 (120) Penguins – Martin Karlsson – LW – Leksand Jr.

6:05 PM – T-minus one hour to go, the teams are filing in, not all the teams are on the floor yet, but most are. The Penguins are not, perhaps chatting it up a bit? Perhaps trying to lug the Cup through the service elevator? Who knows, there’s no hurry, they probably won’t be picking for three or four hours yet.

Ottawa wants to move Heatley sooner rather than later, his trade value is coming down just a bit now. Chance for LA to jump and grab him. As I said before, picks 2, 4 and 5 are available at this point it seems.

5:50 PM – Tomas Kaberle deal has fallen through, at least for now.

Scott Niedermayer will return for one more season according to a source.

5:23 PM – The tables have turned on the Tomas Kaberle/Phil Kessel deal. It’s now Kaberle for Kessel and a pick – which is a long way from Kaberle and 7th overall for Phil the Thrill.

5:17 PM – The doors have opened up to the Bell Centre, Brian Burke heckling has already begun. He might incur for boo-age than Gary Bettman…maybe.

The Oilers and Thrashers are chatting. The players are the #4 pick, the #10 pick, Andrew Cogliano and maybe Kari Lehtonen. The Oilers covet Evander Kane.

5:14 PM – I don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up, but it’s looking more and more likely that Matt Duchene is going first overall here. That could be just a trial balloon though.

5:10 PM – Kaberle to Boston might be a done deal right here. Update coming. Pronger trade is still a possibility.

4:39 PM – Action is starting to pick up. Blues are interested in taking Landon Ferraro and he should be there at 17, actually, they may trade down to get him. I had him at 24 to Washington.

4:34 PM – Pierre McGuire was asked what will set him off at the draft. He said, “There will be an issue if Ryan Ellis slides past 14” Personally, I dislike Ryan Ellis, I think he’s a great junior player I think he’s a major risk at the NHL level.

If the Leafs do the Kaberle and 7th overall for Kessel, they will trade Kessel for another first. Maybe a three way trade coming?

4:30 PM – For the many Penguin faithful we have here, Pierre McGuire says, “my favorite draft moment is [when I worked in Pittsburgh, we were sitting at the draft table and the guys wanted to pick a player that would go on to never play an NHL game and I told them that if we take him I’m quitting…so they asked, ‘who do you want?’ and I suggested Markus Naslund, we’ll look like morons if we don’t take Naslund…one guy at the table (Craig Patrick?) asked Scotty Bowman, ‘do you really think he’ll quit’ and Bowman responded, ‘yeah, he probably will.’ The Pens selected Naslund.

4:21 PM – The Kings are trying to bring down the price of Heatley to just Frolov and 5th overall – Ottawa isn’t buying that.

Sheldon Souray is something the Oilers are willing to deal if it gets them into the top 5 it seems. The Kings are listening to what Steve Tambellini is selling.

The Leafs are interviewing a handful of projected late first rounders – Dylan Olsen is no exception. Maybe the Leafs are looking at getting a late first somewhere along the line.

3:56 PM – More mock with nothing of substance to report at this moment.

4 (101) Oilers – Bjorn Krupp – D – Belleville
4 (102) Predators – Ben Chariot – D – Guelph
4 (103) Wild – Joni Ortio – G – TPS Jr.
4 (104) Sabres – Gleason Fournier – D – Rimouski
4 (105) Coyotes – Martin Lundberg – C – Skelleftea
4 (106) Ducks – Taylor Beck – LW – Guelph
4 (107) Flames – Garrett Mitchell – RW – Regina
4 (108) Blues – Kevin Lynch – C – USA U18
4 (109) Canadiens – Nick Oliver – LW – Roseau High
4 (110) Predators – Kirill Gotovets – D – Shattuck St. Mary’s

3:36 PM – We did the three round mock, I also did the fourth and fifth rounds personally, I’ll leak out sections of it as we move on today…

4 (92) Islanders – Scott Stajcer – G – Owen Sound
4 (93) Lightning – Michal Hlinka – RW – Chicoutimi
4 (94) Blue Jackets – Brandon Pirri – C – Georgetown
4 (95) Thrashers – Brayden McNabb – D – Kootenay
4 (96) Kings – Anton Burdasov – LW – Chelyabinsk 2
4 (97) Coyotes – Mac Bennett – D – Hotchkiss School
4 (98) Predators – Henrik Eriksson – RW – Djurgarden
4 (99) Wild – Ryan Button – D – Prince Albert
4 (100) Senators – Danny Mattsonn – LW – Holy Angels
More to come as time permits…

3:27 PM – The Lightning pick at #2, the Thrashers pick at #4 and the Kings pick at #5 are in play if the right offer comes along. The Lightning are widely believed to be moving down in the draft if Hedman goes #1. The Thrashers and Kings are both looking to make a big splash with their picks. Of course, the odds are always against the blockbuster, but it’s out there.

3:16 PM – Chris Pronger deal is getting closer. It could go down today. I’ll try my best to find out more.

3:04 PM – Once again Scott Niedermayer has left the Ducks hanging. He said he’d have an answer about his status before the draft – he has four hours.

2:57 PM – St. Louis Blues are reportedly interested in Wild goaltender Josh Harding. Harding is going to be a very good starter in this league, as soon as he gets out from under the shadow of another goalie he’ll emerge as a top tier goalie. Great guy too. Look for Harding to be part of something within the next week or so.

2:55 PM – From a respected Sens source: “Melnyk on the Heatley bonus: ‘There is no way we are paying him his $4 million bonus, I don’t care if he sues us.’” ...interesting if true.

2:48 PM – The Upper Limit is expected to be set at $56.8 million for the 2009-10 season.

2:36 PM – The third round of the mock draft is up: http://www.faceoff-factor.com/nhl-entry-draft/3036/2009-nhl-mock-draft-round-3-of-3 – I did a five round mock, I’ll start unveiling some more of my picks if there’s nothing to report here. Great job by Jesse and Alex on that, I had a blast with it. We’ll have to send it away to NASA to calculate who won though with all these picks, it wasn’t like the first round mock we did last year.

2:24 PM – The whispers out of Ottawa are that if Ottawa has to pay Heatley his $4 million bonus, he won’t be traded. That would be something to see Heater in October with a #15 on his back and a Senator on his chest. How delightfully awkward. San Jose and Ottawa need a fresh start. Just swap Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau for Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza after every first round exit.

2:16 PM – Andy Strickland’s projection for what the offer sheet compensation will be this summer:

$994,433 or below = None

Over $994,433 To $1,506,717 = 3rd Round Pick

Over $1,506,717 to $3,013,433 = 2nd Round Pick

Over $3,013,433 to $4,520,150 = 1st and 3rd

Over $4,520,150 to $6,026,867 = 1st, 2nd, 3rd

Over $6,026,867 to $7,533,584 = (2) 1st’s, 2nd, 3rd

Over $7,533,584 and over = (4) 1st Round Picks

I remember when an offer sheet of $665,000 would warrant a third round pick. The average salary in the NHL is inflated right now it seems, but at least it’s tied to a formula this time around.

2:11 PM – The St. Louis Blues are kicking the tires on a few big deals right now. They’re very quiet about it though. The sticking point may be their unwillingness to unload handsy forward David Perron. Heatley is a guy they’re interested in.

2:00 PM – The Montreal Canadiens could be big players today. They have the cap space, they have the desire, they have the draw. Gainey says that he’s 95% sure that he’s holding onto the 18th overall pick (which plainly means it’s available). Rumors are that there is a deal that is close that sees them acquiring Vincent Lecavalier – but it’s practically in the CBA that a Lecavalier to Montreal rumor has to appear at least once a month during the offseason. The silver medal here (and much cheaper in terms of assets) option could be Edmonton’s overpriced center Shawn Horcoff. The Habs want that strong center presence and they want it now.

1:53 PM – This “Nashville will try to move up to #2 to get Tavares if Hedman goes 1st” thing might have legs after all…more to follow.

1:44 PM – Apparently Martin St. Louis isn’t willing to waive his no-trade clause after all? Who knows what Tampa could do today, let’s just hope, out of mercy, that it doesn’t set them back any further.

1:12 PM – Ryane Clowe is on the table. Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Toronto and Minnesota are interested. Sharks trying to re-sign him. Could be a good day to blow up the Sharks. You can’t win with Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau on your team. It pains me to say it, but maybe it’s Evgeni Nabokov’s time to move on as well.

1:04 PM – Is Matt Duchene really the guy for the Islanders? I don’t think so, I think that’s just a mind game by Brian Burke. I still think it’s a two-horse race for #1, with all due respect to Duchene. The Isles, who already have most of the picks in this draft, could pick up even more by sliding down to three where Duchene will almost surely be.

12:40 PM – Roberto Luongo and the Vancouver Canucks are working on a long-term extension. There are varying reports about how close they are to agreeing to this extension. In either case, it can’t be announced til July 1st anyway. If negotiations were a baseball game, the first pitch was 5 years, $40 million.

You have to expect a Jay Bouwmeester trade any minute now. The acquiring team will only have his rights for 107 hours at this point (if my math is accurate), how much is that really worth? As much as Lupul? As little as a 4th round pick?

12:36 PM – The Red Wings and Marian Hossa are still talking about an extension. The Red Wings can offer $4 million per season for life, but Hossa is looking for at least $6 million. Hossa is instantly the most interesting free agent, you can bet that the GM that signs him is not a believer in superstition.

12:30 PM – If there’s a deal between Los Angeles and Ottawa for Dany Heatley – it will cost the Kings the #5 pick and “a player or two” – it could be easily construed that the “player or two” is code for Jack Johnson and Alexander Frolov – both good fits for Ottawa.

12:26 PM – The Canadiens have offered UFA-to-be Mike Komisarek a long-term contract. It’s believed to be worth between $4 and $6 million per year.

Darren Dreger (representing the Toronto Maple Leafs) says that he would trade Tomas Kaberle straight up for Milan Lucic, but not Phil Kessel. Then went on to say that he would trade Luke Schenn straight up for Milan Lucic! Has Milan Lucic become that overrated? Sure, he’s a good player, but for Luke Schenn straight up? Not if I’m the Leafs GM.

12:24 PM – The Thrashers pick at 4th overall is on the table. They’re in the Kaberle mix. I’m not sure what they are dangling this particular carrot for, but I can assure it’s not Dany Heatley. Atlanta might be looking for a blockbuster that makes Ilya Kovalchuk think twice about packing his bags. It wouldn’t be a stretch to think Kari Lehtonen is involved. Up to this point, Lehtonen has only been qualified as a restricted free agent.

Daybreak (12:00 PM) – The big story right now includes Tomas Kaberle. The deal is apparently Tomas Kaberle and 7th overall to the Bruins for Phil Kessel. That’s not going to get Brian Burke reeled in I don’t believe. That’s just too much for the Leafs to give up. The Bruins are unwilling to move Kessel for Kaberle straight up though.

The Capitals have reported offered top prospect John Carlson, 24th overall and another asset for Kaberle.

The Leafs have rejected an offer from Minnesota that included Marek Zidlicky and Josh Harding.

Stay tuned here, I’ll be liveblogging all day for all the latest.