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Alan SaundersJune 20, 2024The trailer for EA Sports Madden NFL 25 game was released on Thursday, and it shows something that some Pittsburgh Steelers fans have been clamoring for, right from the start. The trailer starts with the kickoff at Cleveland Browns stadium, and when the camera pans around, it’s Steelers quarterback Justin Fields returning the kickoff for Pittsburgh. In the video, Fields takes the kickoff and makes a reverse handoff to regular kickoff returner Cordarrelle Patterson before the trailer cuts to clips of games between other teams. Nothing hits like Boom Tech in #Madden25 Available 8.16.24.Pre-Order Today: https://t.co/WTlY9pZQX1 pic.twitter.com/odBgvVIrGF — Madden NFL 25 (@EAMaddenNFL) June 20, 2024 Steelers running back Jaylen Warren turned heads earlier this offseason, when he said that special teams coordinator Danny Smith had suggested using Fields as a return man. Fields clarified at OTAs that Smith was simply sending a message that anyone on the team could be asked to play a special teams role, not that the team intends to use Fields as a kickoff returner. “Nah, I’m not here to do that,” Fields said. “It was kind of a joke, to be honest with you. I think everybody kind of interpreted it wrong.” Fields is expected to compete with Russell Wilson for the starting quarterback role in training camp. What happens if Fields loses that battle is up in the air, though. It seems likely that the Steelers will want Fields to have some type of role. RELATED: DB’s Steelers Film Room: Packaged Plays for Justin Fields Of course, players in Madden can have whoever they want returning kicks, and Fields does have elite open-field speed and athleticism. Getting the virtual version of Fields hit more often doesn’t hurt as badly, either. Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt is also featured in the trailer, making a tackle on Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Drake London at Acrisure Stadium.  The game is available for pre-order now and will come out on Aug. 16. [...] Read more...
Russ MaciasJune 20, 2024Anders Lee is the captain of the New York Islanders and truly the heartbeat of the franchise. He made his NHL Debut in 2012-13 and became a regular in 2013-14. Lee is one of the longest-tenured players on the roster. He scored 20 every year since 2016-17, except when he tore his ACL during the 20-21 season. Yet he’s being paid $7 million for two more seasons. His skating has gotten slower. His goal-scoring touch has dropped, scoring his lowest total goals since 2015-16. Lee could no longer keep up on line one or the top power-play unit. His ice time was the lowest in eight years. The Anders Lee question is simple. Are the Islanders about to part ways with Anders Lee? Moving Lee would be the most significant statement Team President and General Manager Lou Lamoriello could make about how he feels about the core and its current state. Lamoriello knows just how much Lee means not only to the team but also to its fans. Lee just won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy. Lee has been a fan favorite since his breakout. Some people still haven’t forgiven Jack Capuano for healthy scratching Anders Lee for games 6 and 7 in 2015 against the Capitals. When John Tavares left for Toronto, everyone in the locker room turned to Anders Lee to become their new leader. The fanbase did, too. Lee was named captain and has undoubtedly been the most successful captain since Pat Flatley in the 1990s. What About Pageau? Yet, suddenly, there seems to be some doubt about his future. Lee’s contract has looked increasingly bloated as time has passed. It’s no secret that the Islanders need to shed money. The popular name in Islanders’ circles to be moved is Jean-Gabriel Pageau. Pageau, with two years left at $5 million, while the Islanders have plenty of center depth even without the versatile Pageau. After yesterday, when Barclay Goodrow, an infinitely worse player in all facets of the game, was claimed for free by the San Jose Sharks, a Pageau move now feels inevitable. Pageau could be moved for free or even gain the Islanders a low draft pick. With respect to the writers who have lumped Pageau in with other buyout candidates, they’re wrong. Buying out Pageau defies logic. There’s a relative dearth of centers available in free agency, so even while his play may have regressed, he would get a big contract if he hit unrestricted free agency in 11 days. Moving on from Lee would change everything. The Islanders would have significantly more cap room to add to the roster. It’s also worth noting that Lee’s full no-trade clause drops to a 15-team no-trade clause on July 1st. His actual salary dips to just over $10 million over the next two years, as opposed to the full $14 million. There are no signing bonuses, either. The ability to move Lee seemed impossible yesterday, but now it seems possible. Teams are looking to make moves, as evidenced by yesterday’s Dubois-Kuemper swap between the Washington Capitals and the LA Kings. Winnipeg would surely want to avoid a complete rebuild. Could Anders Lee waive his NTC to go the other way for Ehlers as part of a package? It’s possible. What About a Buyout? The Islanders could also get bold and buy out Anders Lee. Buying out Lee this season would give the Islanders an additional $4.125 million to work with before the dead cap hit increases to $4.225 for 25-26, which may not work for the Islanders considering the raises that will be due for Noah Dobson, Alexander Romanov, and Brock Nelson. The cap will likely increase another 5%, so there may be space to afford the buyout. The final two years of the dead hit would be $1.725, which is an extremely minimal amount of money toward the cap in those two years. Even so, the Islanders’ preference would undoubtedly be to move the total contract. To do so, it would likely cost the team their first-round pick this year or next year. Lee still has game, but it’s a heavy contract. Maybe Chicago or San Jose would take him on for less than the first, seeing as their modus operandi has gone from a full-on tank to adding real NHL players regardless of salary cost. Benefits of Moving On from Lee The benefits of moving on from Lee could be huge. That $7 million cap hit can go right into free agency, where the Islanders can target players who can play anywhere in the top nine. We’ve already highlighted some targets here, but other great fits could include Viktor Arvidsson, Tyler Bertuzzi, Max Domi, and Jake DeBrusk. Perhaps the Islanders can draw inspiration from what the Boston Celtics did in the NBA last offseason. After another disappointing postseason, the Celtics moved on from longtime fan favorite Marcus Smart and used him to acquire Kristaps Porzingis and then Jrue Holiday. The Celtics just won the NBA Title. Sometimes, the business has to come first. As great as Anders Lee is and still can be, it’s hard for the Islanders to add substantially without moving on from Lee. There are undoubtedly ways to make it work with Lee. But at this point in time, there are more paths to succeed without him. [...] Read more...
Andrew FantucchioJune 20, 2024The Boston Bruins began the offseason with a variety of options in their search to trade goalie Linus Ullmark. But in just one afternoon, those options quickly dissipated as two teams reportedly interested in Ullmark found their solutions in goal elsewhere on Wednesday. As the pressure escalates with time running out to maximize the return they receive for Ullmark, the Bruins may have a lifeline in the Ottawa Senators. Shortly after the goalie market dried up yesterday, Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Citizen reported the Senators are intensifying their efforts to swing a deal with the Bruins for the former Vezina Trophy-winning netminder. “League sources say that Steve Staios, the Senators’ president of hockey operations and general manager, has been making a hard push to try to acquire Ullmark,” wrote Garrioch. “The Senators had already stepped up their efforts to acquire goaltender Linus Ullmark from the Boston Bruins, Ottawa may now be the last serious team in the mix.” Even as perhaps the last team legitimately interested in acquiring Ullmark, the Senators will need to provide Bruins general manager Don Sweeney with a serious offer to get a deal done. What would such a deal look like? Here are some pieces the Bruins will likely ask for and probably demand from Ottawa. Jakob Chychrun: One of the biggest needs for the Bruins this offseason is a left-handed defenseman, and they could add one by acquiring Jakob Chychrun from the Senators. It’s been just a little over a year since the Senators traded away three draft picks to pick up Chychrun, but are now putting him back on the market with one season remaining on his current contract. The former 16th overall pick hasn’t developed into the top-flight defenseman that many projected him to be when he was drafted eight years ago. Still, at 26 and just now entering his prime, he is very much worthy of a top-four role. Effective at both ends of the ice, Chychrun would make for a reliable partner next to either Charlie McAvoy or Brandon Carlo on the Bruins’ blue line while playing minutes on both special teams units. The Bruins would certainly like some sort of guarantee that Chychrun is willing to stay in Boston for the foreseeable future, but an extension will likely be an issue they’d address next summer. However, like Ullmark, Chychrun has a modified no-trade clause attached to his deal. It’s not known whether or not his list includes the Bruins, but that is one detail that needs to be ironed out in this hypothetical transaction. First-Round Pick: There may be room to negotiate over Chychrun, but any scenario in which the Bruins send Ullmark to Ottawa without getting a first-round draft pick back in return is highly unlikely. The Calgary Flames set the goalie market yesterday when they received a first-round selection in next year’s draft from the New Jersey Devils for Jacob Markstrom. However, the Bruins will probably demand a pick in this year’s draft, taking place next week. After trading away its draft stock over the last handful of seasons, Boston enters the 2024 NHL Entry Draft with only three picks of which none fall in the first three rounds. Meanwhile, Ottawa owns seven picks, including two in the first round. Senators senior vice president Dave Poulin is already on the record saying the team has discussed parting with the No. 7 overall pick, but the Bruins may be just as satisfied with the same No. 25 overall selection they traded to Detroit last year for Tyler Bertuzzi. Anton Forsberg: While Chyrchun and a first-round pick will be the main pieces Boston gets in return for Ullmark, they’ll still need a goalie to replace him. Anton Forsberg was supposed to be the backup in Ottawa last year but began to receive more regular starts when Jonas Korpisalo failed to meet expectations. Forsberg struggled with a .890 save percentage and 3.21 goals against average through 30 games in 2023-24. Those results, however, came after he returned midseason following his recovery from surgery to repair a torn MCL and were compounded by a bad Ottawa defense in front of him. In Boston, Forsberg would play a much smaller role as the understudy to Jeremy Swayman behind a much better defense. Even if he doesn’t win the backup job out of training camp, he’d still serve as extra insurance in Providence while playing out the final year of his contract as the final piece in the Bruins’ return for Ullmark. FOLLOW ANDREW FANTUCCHIO ON 𝕏: @A_FANTUCCHIO FOLLOW BOSTON HOCKEY NOW ON 𝕏 AND FACEBOOK [...] Read more...
Dan KingerskiJune 20, 2024The Pittsburgh Penguins are a team trying to keep its competitiveness while letting its GM, Kyle Dubas, build up the farm system in the background. The only problem is that the Penguins don’t have a first-round pick this year, so their first pick has to have some upside and be a player with some first-round skills who could still be selected 44th overall. Having the 46th overall pick means they can go offense and defense if they like, and that’s what I would do. Editor’s note: The story was written by prospects expert Russ Cohen, who can be heard on Sirius/XM radio’s NHL channel and NHLDraftbuzz.com. Follow him on X, @sportsology A definite target in the 2024 NHL Draft should be Dean Letourneau. He’s a talented center with size and skill. At 6-foot-6.5 and 214 pounds, he is a big canvas that the Penguins can mold over time. After getting 61 goals and 66 assists in 56 games at St. Andrews College, 40 minutes north of Toronto, he explained to me what the competition was like. “On our team this year, we only had 2006s and 2007s. The competition we played against was older guys. We played against some junior teams and GOJHL, so it ranges from 16 to 19 or 20,” Letourneau explained. “I think we played 10 or 12 games against them, and we were undefeated. For the rest of the season, we played against one or two Canadian prep schools, but we mostly played against teams in the states like Shattuck-St. Mary and Culver. I like playing against the GOJHL teams; they are a little older and hit harder.” You may know that Shattuck-St. Mary is where Sidney Crosby attended school before joining Rimouski of the QMJHL. The Penguins spoke to the big pivot, and he would be something they lack in their system. Sure, there is some risk here, but this guy could end up being a second-line center. Prospect 1 Scouting Report: Dean Letourneau My scouting report on Letourneau is: “Big, skilled, decent speed via his crossovers. Has some finesse. He will use his body. Dangerous around the net.” He announced at the NHL Combine that he would be attending Boston College a year earlier. So 2024 will be a big year for him in college hockey. He was going to go to the USHL first; he played two games there this year, but things changed when San Jose’s Will Smith left Boston College to turn pro. There will be a great chance for Letourneau to grab a key roster spot. Letourneau was happy with his performance at the Combine as well. “I did pull-ups, think I did pretty well,” Letourneau said as he smiled. “I did five, I have some long arms.” He’s not wrong. It’s hard for a big man like that to do a ton of pull-ups, but it showed he was training hard for the combine. An injury ended his season, but he came back even stronger when all the scouts were watching him. Draft Prospect 2: Harrison Brunicke One defenseman they could get with the 46th pick is Harrison Brunicke, who played for the Kamloops Blazers. He’s a right-shot and has a ton of upside. His 21 points in 49 games might be the tip of the iceberg. Here’s my scouting report on him: “He has size, he’s toolsy, and he has a quick release on his one-timer. He’s a good skater with the patience to see a play develop. He’s good defensively. A top-four defenseman.” Draft Prospect 3: John Mustard A third choice could be John Mustard. Even though the Penguins didn’t interview him at the combine, they may have spoken to him during the season. If he falls to 46, they may find him too appealing to leave on the board. Mustard scored 56 points in 60 games for the Waterloo Blackhawks in the USHL. In the All-American Game this year, he used his speed to score the game-winning goal. He chose Providence College and coach Nate Leaman, who has coached other Penguins prospects, including Kasper Bjorkqvist. Mustard should excel there. “The coaching staff is the first one that had a lot of interest in me,” Mustard revealed. “It’s a spot where I can learn a pro-style game.” Here is my scouting report on him: “He has exceptional speed and a quick release on his shot. Probably a third-line weapon could be a second-liner if things break right.” Any two of these three would be good gets in the Penguins draft class. [...] Read more...
Evan RawalJune 20, 2024It would appear that every other team in the NHL is either tired of waiting for the Stanley Cup Final to end, or they just don’t care anymore, because it was almost like Wednesday was an unofficial trade deadline for a lot of them. Three trades on a Wednesday isn’t unheard of in June, but it is a little strange when you consider the NHL likes to keep the focus on the final. You can only do that for so long when you keep dragging it out and have big events like the draft and free agency approaching. Two goaltenders were dealt, with one of them setting the market for other starters in the league. The other just looked like two teams swapping two contracts they regret handing out. In addition to the trades, you had the Sharks doing the Rangers a favor, taking Barclay Goodrow for free, although it sounds like the player might not be too happy about that one. A chaotic Wednesday in the NHL. Is there more to come on Thursday? Colorado Hockey Now The two of them have never gotten to compete together in a best-on-best situation on the international stage. That’s why Nathan MacKinnon and Sidney Crosby are so excited for the next few years. He helped the Avalanche win a Stanley Cup, but since then, it’s been a rough ride. He’s now back in the Western Conference with another chance at a starters job, so Colorado will probably see a bit more of Darcy Kuemper. News, Trades, And Rumors New Jersey Hockey Now: It’s been rumored for weeks, and it’s finally done. If I’m being honest, the return the Flames got isn’t bad, but it’s a little underwhelming when you consider they held off on dealing him for a few months. The Devils finally got their guy in Jacob Markstrom. The Flames could have accepted a deal at the deadline and probably gotten a 2024 pick. Now, they’re getting a lottery protected 2025 pick that might even become a 2026 pick. That won’t help them until 2028 or 2029. Just feels like they waited a little too long on this one. San Jose Hockey Now: The Sharks wanted a veteran, but they couldn’t trade for him because they were on his no-trade list. That makes things a little complicated with Barclay Goodrow. Not sure what good it does you if you acquire a veteran to help lead some young players when that veteran doesn’t really want to be there. That wasn’t the only move San Jose made, picking up a former first round pick who can play in the NHL in Ty Dellandrea. (+) Boston Hockey Now: So what more is to come? There’s one goaltender that every NHL team may turn their attention to, and that’s Linus Ullmark. Ullmark is a little different in that he has one year left on his deal, but that might make him more appealing to teams that want that flexibility. Are the Avalanche one of them? TSN: So he’s been traded again. At 26, Pierre-Luc Dubois is on his fourth NHL team. That’s got to mean he’s kind of the problem, right? Philly Hockey Now: It’s pretty vague, but there might be another trade on the horizon. This one might not be completed until the NHL Draft, though. Philadelphia and the Senators have the framework of a deal done. Who might be involved? The big fish on the NHL trade market is probably still Martin Necas. He’s young, fast, and skilled. The Hurricanes haven’t quite gotten an offer they love yet, though. Word is the Hurricanes at this point in the process have received concrete trade offers for Martin Necas but nothing yet they would say yes to … should continue to heat up next week at the draft in Las Vegas — Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) June 19, 2024 Florida Hockey Now: Oh yeah, there’s still hockey to be played. The Panthers still have the lead in the series, but make no mistake: It’s the Connor McDavid show now. [...] Read more...
Jonathan BaileyJune 20, 2024A Tuesday report from NHL insider on Darren Dreger virtually made it official that the Philadelphia Flyers were shopping struggling winger Cam Atkinson on the NHL trade block, with the San Jose Sharks reportedly displaying interest in the 35-year-old. Though Atkinson wasn’t interested in San Jose, according to Dreger, there are a few destinations that might suit him better. One such destination could be one that Atkinson and Flyers head coach John Tortorella know intimately, and that’s Columbus. Columbus Blue Jackets Cam Atkinson is, objectively, one of the most decorated players in Columbus Blue Jackets history. A Blue Jackets player of 10 seasons, Atkinson has 213 goals, 189 assists, 402 points, and 627 regular season games to his name . Those figures rank second, fifth, second, and second, respectively, all-time in Blue Jackets history; Rick Nash is the only Blue Jackets player to have been a more prolific goal-scorer and point-getter than Atkinson was in Columbus. At the time of this writing, the Blue Jackets have $23.775 million in cap space, so accommodating some or all of Atkinson’s $5.775 million cap hit will be no problem. The Flyers forward wishes to prove he can still play hockey at a high level, but whether that happens in Philadelphia or somewhere else remains to be seen. As for a fit, the Blue Jackets have been in a constant state of disarray for some time now, dealing with injuries, coaching changes, and a Mike Babcock scandal that also led to a coaching change. Columbus has eight key players on their NHL roster who are 25 or younger, and star winger Patrik Laine is more than likely done there, too. That opens the possibility for Atkinson to return home not only as a needed leader, but as a franchise legend who lived out an inspiring underdog story as a 5-foot-8 winger playing in the NHL for over a decade. Utah Hockey Club Atkinson has a 10-team no-trade clause in his contract, but if he really wants to show he can play, there would be few better opportunities to do so than on a barren Utah Hockey Club. Utah has almost as much cap space available ($43.564 million) as they have used ($44.435 million), and quite honestly, they need to start adding players. It’s highly unlikely Atkinson ever finds the scoring touch he once had when he scored 41 goals in 80 games five seasons ago, but Utah has one forward over the age of 30 in their lineup, and that’s Nick Bjugstad. If Utah is to ever take the next step from being semi-competitive to actually competitive, they need veteran players who can help usher in the next generation. And if Atkinson had a nice outing with Utah, for example, and a player like Josh Doan is ready for a full-time role in the NHL, the veteran Flyers forward could be then granted the chance to play for a Stanley Cup contender for the first time in his NHL career. Colorado Avalanche Speaking of Stanley Cup contenders, let’s get to that now. We have no idea if or when Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog is returning to the ice for game action, and Valeri Nichushkin will be away from the team for an indeterminate period of time as he receives care from the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program. That’s two top-six wingers, who have won and achieved a lot with this organization, off the table. Atkinson was a pretty productive player for the Flyers up until the NHL All-Star Break, after which he was unable to produce one single point. But if the Avalanche and their Marvel-esque cast of superstars, including the likes of Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Cale Makar, can rejuvenate Atkinson offensively, they might strike a good deal. In his first full season with the Flyers before the season-ending neck surgery, Atkinson scored 23 goals, 27 assists, and 50 points in 73 games. Those are pretty good numbers, and the 35-year-old was close to that pace again this season before hitting the proverbial wall at full speed. Plus, it’s doubtful the Avalanche can find a decent middle-six winger in free agency who would come cheaper than Atkinson at or close to 50% salary retained. [...] Read more...
Chris WardJune 20, 2024Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle Cam Heyward is a three-time first-team All-Pro and six-time Pro Bowler. He’s recorded 80.5 career sacks, which is tied for second on the franchise’s all-time list. Having that many sacks as a defensive tackle speaks volumes. He also was named the Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2023. Heyward’s accolades certainly make him Hall of Fame worthy. Some voters probably don’t view him as a slam dunk, but NFL historian John Turney thinks he’s done enough to warrant a Gold Jacket. Turney believes Heyward’s accomplishments match up with other Hall of Fame defensive linemen. “As it is, his three All-Pros are similar to others who played his position — a 3-4 defensive end in a base defense and a defensive tackle in passing downs. Howie Long did that. So did Richard Seymour. Both were All-Pro three times, with Long going to eight Pro Bowls and Seymour seven,” Turney wrote. “Lee Roy Selmon, a pure 3-4 end who didn’t ‘sink’ to defensive tackle, was also a three-time All-Pro. Two guys who played multiple positions — Dan Hampton and Joe Klecko — could also be considered for comparison, with Hampton a four-time All-Pro and Klecko chosen twice.” On the flip side, Cam Heyward could be knocked for his lack of playoff success. He’s only been a part of one playoff win. He also wasn’t voted to the 2010s All-Decade Team. Heyward was kind of a late bloomer. “He wasn’t voted to the 2010s’ all-decade team and won’t make the 2020s’ squad. But there’s a catch: Heyward is someone who would benefit from a mid-all-decade team, if there were such a thing — one that spanned from 2015-2024. He’d almost certainly be chosen to it,” Turney wrote. Turney makes valid points in his argument as to why Heyward is already a Hall of Famer, especially with the four Gold Jacket players he compared him to. “So what does all this mean for his Hall-of-Fame chances? Like others asked to do similar things — namely, play both the pass and the run — Heyward should be seen through the same lens as Hall-of-Famers Howie Long, Richard Seymour, Dan Hampton and Joe Klecko,” Turney wrote. “They were versatile, almost positionless, defensive linemen who didn’t produce a slew of sacks, dominated the middle and were enshrined.” Cam Heyward, 35, wants to play for at least three more years, so he still has the potential to bolster his accolades. It’s not a must, but playoff wins and a Super Bowl title would certainly increase his Hall of Fame odds. He might’ve already accomplished enough to get in, but a Super Bowl title would make him a shoo-in to Canton. Heyward only having one playoff win, no Super Bowls, and not being a part of the 2010s All-Decade Team is his biggest hurdle to not being a Hall of Famer. Long, Seymour and Hampton all won at least one Super Bowl. Seymour won three with New England. All three were also named to an All-Decade Team. Klecko didn’t have much playoff success with the New York Jets and wasn’t named to the 1980s All-Decade Team, but he won NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1981. He led the NFL that season with a whopping 20.5 sacks.   [...] Read more...
Alan SaundersJune 20, 2024Former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Denzel Mims wasn’t on the free agent very long, as the former second-round draft pick has already agreed to a new deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars after being released by the Steelers on Tuesday, according to a report by Adam Schefter of ESPN. Mims was released by the Steelers in a somewhat surprising move just two days ago, in the week following the club’s three-day mandatory minicamp. The Steelers also released strong safety Trenton Thompson on Wednesday and have not made any corresponding moves to back-fill those roster spots. The Steelers signed Mims to their practice squad during the 2023 season, and then brought him back on a future contract for 2024. He never played in a game for the team.  Mims was a second round pick by the New York Jets out of Baylor by the 2020 NFL Draft. He spent three seasons in New York, playing 30 games and making 42 catches for 676 yards.  The Jets moved on from Mims in 2023, trading to him to the Detroit Lions for a conditional sixth-round pick. He was waived/injured by the Lions on Aug. 18, and then eventually caught on with the Steelers on Oct. 3. The Steelers have been searching high and low for a wide receiver to pair with George Pickens this offseason since trading Diontae Johnson to the Carolina Panthers earlier this offseason. Mims was one of a number of potential solutions that the team had at minicamp, but failed to break through with that opportunity. The Jaguars seem to have less of a need at the position. They used a first-round draft pick on Brian Thomas Jr. out of LSU, and signed free agents Gabe Davis and Devin Duvernay to go along with incumbent starter Christian Kirk. RELATED: Talented Steelers WR Denzel Mims Hoping to Make Noise [...] Read more...
Vinnie PariseJune 20, 2024The Chicago Blackhawks have two first-round picks, one at #2 and the other at #18. While it will likely be the pick of Artyom Levshunov or Ivan Demidov at number two, who could they take at that 18th spot or potentially trade up a few more spots to snag? Chicago Hockey Now’s Future Blackhawks Prospect will feature a handful of prospects at that spot until the 2024 NHL Draft. Today we look at Cole Hutson. Cole Hutson At A Glance Defenseman 18 years old (6/28/06) Games: 51 Goals-Assists-Points: 15-36-51 League/Team: USHL/USNTDP The Chicago Blackhawks could think about a defenseman with pick number 18 if they select a forward at pick number two. They probably won’t select two defensemen but there are going to be plenty of good ones to consider. They might consider Cole Hutson with that second first-round pick (18). He is a great young defenseman coming off a big year with the United States National Team Development Program of the USHL. He was a point-per-game blue-liner as he had 15 goals and 36 assists for 51 points in 51 games played. For being an 18-year-old kid on the back end, that is a lot of points. Cole is the younger brother of NHL top prospect Lane Hutson of the Montreal Canadiens. The elder Hutson made his NHL debut at the end of the NCAA season. Like his brother before him, Cole Hutson will play for Boston University. That is a great place where he will have top tier coaches and teammates to help him develop even further. He has a small stature but you’d like to think that teams will avoid making the same mistake they made with Lane who slipped into the second round despite being a top-ten talent. Will Cole Hutson Be There for the Blackhawks? Chances are that Hutson will still be sitting there at this point. He is seen as the fifth or sixth-best defenseman in the draft. Teams are going to pass on him because of his size.  Scouting outlets don’t have him ranked higher than 26th, which means he’s far beyond where the Blackhawks are picking. Could he slide then to the second round, where Chicago holds the 34th overall pick? The Blackhawks, if they wanted to, could be the team that chooses to go for his offensive upside. He may not be exactly like his brother but it is encouraging watching Cole on the same path as Lane.  Now it remains to be seen where he’ll end up going and whether the lower rankings have pegged Hutson too low. Macklin Celebrini | Cole Eiserman | Artyom Levshunov | Michael Hage | Ivan Demidov | Cayden Lindstrom | Berkley Catton | Adam Jiricek |Konsta Helenius| Sacha Boisvert | Trevor Connelly | Liam Greentree |Tij Iginla| Zeev Buium | [...] Read more...
Nick FarabaughJune 20, 2024Have you heard the debate around Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Justin Fields following the end of mandatory minicamp? Reports stating Fields either dazzled or struggled are permeating the interwebs, which has led to much discussion around Fields in general. Fields headed for training with Route God and his quarterbacks’ coach while throwing to multiple NFL wide receivers, including Diontae Johnson. Justin Fields throwing to the Route God! 👀 #Steelers #NFL pic.twitter.com/BOgy6s5Gvx — Blitzburgh (@Blitz_Burgh) June 19, 2024 The clip blew up over the platform and caught the attention of former Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell. Bell raised one huge concern with the video, and it’s not hard to see when you watch it — the ball is coming out late, but there is some missing context to that. that ball gettin there lateeeeeeeee .. I know it’s routes on air, but this is telling you a lot https://t.co/eKm7WJbWrA — Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) June 19, 2024 The missing context? That was clarified later by Route God himself, who stated that Justin Fields and the receivers wanted to work on footwork while going through progressions. As such, this is not balls coming out late, but rather, Fields working on a specific skill with his trainer and other NFL wide receivers. The Balls Ain’t Late ‼️ His QB Trainer Was There And They Was Working Progressions He A Great Q And Everything Was on The Money 🎯 https://t.co/ih61aOLcHP — RouteGod (@RouteGod) June 20, 2024 As for the other side of this, which is how Fields looked throughout the spring, is a mix of what is being thrown around. For one, Fields has excellent speed, and the arm strength is dazzling. I thought he made several throws this spring that were physically impressive because of his tools. But he did spray the ball all over the field at times, especially to the intermediate portions. So, there is merit to some of that criticism. Regardless, Fields is out training with his trainer, and that balls were not coming out late as Bell suggested. [...] Read more...
Russ MaciasJune 20, 2024Has everybody caught their breath? Good. What a day yesterday became, especially within the Metropolitan Division. The New Jersey Devils finally traded for Jacob Markstrom, the Rangers unceremoniously dumped Barclay Goodrow, and the Washington Capitals traded for Pierre-Luc Dubois. Here on the Island, Kyle MacLean signed an extraordinarily cheap three-year deal worth the current league minimum of $775k annually. It’s rare to see that much activity go on in one day while the Stanley Cup Final is ongoing. It’s not exactly a secret that the league prefers its teams to sit patiently and do nothing to turn the focus off of the Final, but with the draft now just eight days away, coupled with free agency being 11 days out, the teams don’t have the time to wait. Maybe the league shouldn’t have stretched out the season as long as possible because it’s exceedingly likely the Final will end on June 24, which means yesterday won’t be the only day business gets done during the Final. New York Islanders: If I was Kyle MacLean, I might fire my agent for signing that low for three full years. It’s entirely likely that it won’t even be the league minimum after just one more season. Nevertheless, the Islanders benefit, and it feels even likelier there’s more news about to come from the club, perhaps the Pageau trade. MacLean, 25, will be on the Island for at least three more years. Back in 2014, the Islanders faced a lot of uncertainty. They were coming off a disappointing season and needed to add more to their roster to compete. Armed with cap space and extra draft picks, including the fifth overall selection, the decisions made in June, July, and even October of 2014 continue to affect today. Here’s why what happened then matters now. NHL Trade Market, News, & National Hockey Now: New Jersey Hockey Now: The New Jersey Devils have (finally) got their goaltender. After months of speculation, Jacob Markstrom was dealt to New Jersey, who hope their new tandem of Jake Allen and Markstrom can be the solution they’ve been looking for. They still have to fix their defensive style of play, as they allowed far too many high-quality chances, but this will help the Devils immensely. Here’s the trade write-up. San Jose Hockey Now: The Sharks were a busy team yesterday, adding multiple real players to their roster. First up, the team, after 24 hours of speculation, did claim Barclay Goodrow off of waivers. It significantly helps the Rangers, something that won’t sit well with Islanders fans. Regardless, the Sharks reunite with a player who they hope can help usher in a new era of Sharks hockey. More SJS Now: The Sharks also acquired Ty Dellandrea, a young pending RFA from the Dallas Stars. He’s another usable NHL player that the Sharks hope can add something to their roster as they appear to be done dwelling in the basement. NY Post: How does Barclay Goodrow feel about all this? Allegedly, he’s not thrilled. It’s tough to blame him. He goes from a team just six wins away from a Stanley Cup to a team that won 19 games the entire season. He likely had the Sharks on his no-trade clause, but the team used waivers to work around it, and be ruthless. Sportsnet: The trade is one-for-one. Pierre-Luc Dubois to the Capitals for Darcy Kuemper. Two players who struggled mightily in 2023-24, who needed a refresh. Dubois is still 25 (for four more days), but he’s somehow onto his fourth NHL club. He hasn’t left on a positive note from any of the teams that have dumped him. It’s a massive gamble by the Capitals that they can get him working even to come close to justifying the whopper of a contract they just took on. Sportsnet: The rumor roundup is back, hitting on Jaccob Slavin’s pending extension, Patrik Laine, Viktor Arvidsson, and Jeff Skinner. Those last three players all could be very intriguing for the Islanders, but first the latter two have got to actually make it to market. [...] Read more...
Nick NataleJune 20, 2024New Jersey Devils General Manager Tom Fitzgerald has already kick started a very important summer. The first big domino fell after the Devils finally acquired goaltender Jacob Markstrom. However, decisions about other potential trades and the draft are on the horizon, as is free agency. The Devils could use help just about everywhere — other than goal — but one thing last season showed us was how important defensive depth is. Injuries, rookies, and regression on the blue line were a big reason why the team struggled to keep the puck out of their net. Fitzgerald has the opportunity to address this when free agency opens on July 1st. We’ve taken a look at how he can fill holes at both the center and winger positions. Now, we’re looking at five defensemen the Devils should target to add depth to a young, exciting defensive core. We used AFPAnalystics contract projections to help give us an idea as to what a contract for all five free agents may look like Brenden Dillon, Winnipeg Jets – Projection: 2 Years x $2.8 Million While Fitzgerald could certainly go big-game hunting for a top-four defenseman, his best bet may be to look for competition for a Kevin Bahl replacement, or an upgrade over Brendan Smith. One of the best bang-for-your-buck free agent defensemen on the market is Brenden Dillon. Dillon has been a very solid 20-point, 18-minute-a-night defenseman for the majority of his career. Dillon has a 6-foot-4 frame that Fitzgerald would love to add on the backend and plays a defensively responsible game. While not lauded for his offense, Dillon did score a career-high eight goals this season. What Dillon also brings to the table is loads of experience. He’s played nearly 900 regular season games to go along with 83 playoff appearances. Fitzgerald will greatly value Dillon’s experience, especially after trading Bahl who had only played 148 games. As a cost-effective third-pairing defenseman, Dillon should be near the top of Devils free agent options. Alec Martinez, Vegas Golden Knights – Projection: 1 Year x $1.25 Million Plenty of Golden Knights have ended up on our free agency targets list, and for good reason. They’ve been a team with immense talent, and their dire cap situation means their pending free agents are all but certain to hit the market. Alec Martinez would be a fantastic addition to the Devils; and not just because of his Stanley Cup clinching goal against the New York Rangers. Martinez will be 37 years old when the season begins in October but would provide a veteran voice and Stanley Cup pedigree Fitzgerald and new head coach Sheldon Keefe would love. There are injury concerns for Martinez, however, if utilized as a seventh defenseman, they wouldn’t need to rely on him to play a full slate of games. The offense isn’t what it once was, and his game has slowed down, but Martinez is still a very capable defenseman who averaged a little over 19 minutes a night in 55 games this season. For one year of depth and veteran leadership, Martinez should be at the top of the list. Jani Hakanpaa, Dallas Stars – Projection: 1 Year x $1.5 Million If the Devils want to add a bruiser to their backend they may not be able to do much better than Jani Hakanpaa. The 6-foot-5 Finnish defenseman has been a physical force of nature for the past three seasons in Dallas. Since earning a full-time role with the Stars in 2021-22, Hakanpaa has accumulated 668 hits to go along with 40 points in 226 games. He appeared in just 64 games last season after missing time with a lower-body injury. However, when he’s on the ice the opposing team knows it. Hakanpaa’s stature is eye-catching and he’s unafraid to use it to make a big hit or separate the puck carrier from the puck. At just $1.5 million, Hakanpaa would bring an element to the Devils that they sorely lack. He can kill penalties, plays tough matchups, and averaged nearly 19 minutes of ice time a night. Fitzgerald is frustrated at watching other players take liberties against his own players, adding Hakanpaa would go a long way in making sure that doesn’t happen. Ilya Lyubushkin, Toronto Maple Leafs – Projection: 2 Years x $1.5 Million New head coach Sheldon Keefe will have his fingerprints on the team building this summer, and adding a familiar face like Ilya Lyubushkin makes a ton of sense. Lyubushkin was acquired at the Trade Deadline twice by the Maple Leafs during Keefe’s tenure, so surely there’s a player in there that he likes. Lyubushkin would bring something similar to Brendan Smith and on a similar contract. There’s not much, if any, offense to his came. However, he’s a solid penalty killer, plays physically, and can adequately defend in the defensive zone. While he won’t be a minutes eater, Lyubushkin averages about 17 minutes of ice time a night – a full minute more than Smith did last season. As a depth defenseman, Lyubushkin provides solid value at just $1.5 million per season. Also, the 30-year-old has played in just 367 career regular season and playoff games, so there is still plenty of tread left on the tire. Oliver Kylington, Calgary Flames – Projection: 1 Year x $1.1 Million Once a promising prospect in the Flames organization, Oliver Kylington’s story about his battle with mental health is inspiring. He took off the entire 2022-23 and most of last season as he dealt with it. After missing a year-and-a-half he came back to play in 33 games this season, recording eight points. Still, at just 27 years old, Kylington would be a great “buy low” option for the Devils. In his last full season in 2021-22, he put up 31 points in 73 games. Kylington is a solid puck-moving defenseman with good mobility. If he’s ready to continue forward with his NHL career and looking for a change of scenery, the Devils should be able to offer him the chance to ease back into the league as their seventh defenseman. For the Devils, a $1.1 million cap hit is very doable for a player who has shown he’s capable of being a solid contributor at the NHL level. They wouldn’t be asking him to carry the load, and that may help get the best out of him. For more Devils news, visit New Jersey Hockey Now and like our Facebook page. Follow us on 𝕏: @NJDHockeyNow, @JamesNicholsNHL, @NickNatale10 And on Threads: @JamesNicholsNHL [...] Read more...
George Richards, FHN PublisherJune 20, 2024FORT LAUDERDALE — When the Florida Panthers made it a 1-goal game against the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night, Amerant Bank was jumping. The Panthers kept pushing throughout the third period, fighting for every inch of ice to tie Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final and give themselves a chance at a prize they have been dreaming of since they were little children. The desperation was fully displayed in the final minute when Zach Hyman flipped a puck the length of the ice toward the empty net. Matthew Tkachuk chased it down, diving and sweeping it off the goal line to keep it out of the net, crashing into the cage. However, the puck ended up on Connor McDavid’s stick, and it would not stay out of the net for long. McDavid got in front of Oliver Ekman-Larsson and fired the puck past a now-upright Tkachuk.  The Oilers had a 5-3 lead with 18.3 seconds left. Ballgame. No One Covers the Florida Panthers Like FHN. Period. Subscribe to Florida Hockey Now Today! Cameras panned to the arena’s suite level, where general manager Bill Zito and some of his front office staff were watching the game. Last year, Zito and his cohorts were shown jumping up and down like kids following close playoff wins. What was captured Tuesday was not that. Zito grabs his phone after the puck goes in; Florida’s chances of winning this game are gone. Three bottles of water were on a table, and Zito, in an understandable fit of frustration, fired one against the wall. In the playoffs, especially right now, the margins are extremely thin. Close is nowhere good enough. Losses hurt. Losses suck. This loss means another 6-hour flight to Edmonton for Game 6. The Panthers still have plenty to feel good about. They are, after all, one win away from winning the Stanley Cup. At that moment, it was not something Zito wanted to hear. And an innocent bottle of water paid the price. It was not alone. Several things got thrown around the Florida dressing room when the loss was complete — and there were probably a few garbage cans kicked in frustration. Wednesday was a new day. Two Angels, North Italian Painter (Verona?), 1330, 📸 by @Dave_Sandford https://t.co/8oVyE4nmfp pic.twitter.com/ctfBfugOBO — ArtButMakeItSports (@ArtButSports) June 19, 2024 The Panthers put things back into perspective and got back to work trying to win the next one. “Yeah, it’s real man. It’s there,’’ coach Paul Maurice said. “You got an adrenaline dump before the game starts, and you’re heavily caffeinated. It’s what pro sports is. “It’s the juice of the job. It’s easily the best part of it. You can’t manufacture it any other way. … That’s awesome, right? Even when you’re growling at 3 in the morning, that’s good. You’re alive. It’s a good thing.” More FHN Coverage of the Florida Panthers: Like our Facebook Page Follow us on Twitter: @GeorgeRichards // @ColbyDGuy // @TheGovMan Subscribe to the FHN YouTube Channel Visit the FHN Team Shop at TeePublic and RedBubble 2024 STANLEY CUP FINAL EDMONTON OILERS VS. FLORIDA PANTHERS  GAME 6 Panthers Lead Best of 7 Series 3-2 When: Friday, 8 p.m. Where: Rogers Place; Edmonton, Alberta National TV: ABC Streaming: ESPN+/Hulu Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app Series Schedule, All Games 8 p.m. on ABC — Game 1: @Florida 3, Edmonton 0;Game 2: @Florida 4, Edmonton 1; Game 3: Florida 4, @Edmonton 3; Game 4: @Edmonton 8, Florida 1; Game 5: Edmonton 5, @Florida 3; Game 6: Florida at Edmonton, Friday; Game 7*:Edmonton at Florida, Monday June 24. (*) – If Necessary How They Got Here — Florida: d. Tampa Bay 4-1, Boston 4-2, New York Rangers 4-2; Edmonton: d. Los Angeles 4-1, Vancouver 4-3, Dallas 4-2. This Season (Florida Won 2-0) — At Florida: Panthers 5, Oilers 3 (Nov. 20). At Edmonton: Panthers 5, Oilers 2 (Dec. 17). Last Season: Edmonton Won 2-0 All-time Regular Season Series: Oilers lead 23-16-0, 3 ties Postseason History: First Meeting [...] Read more...
Nick FarabaughJune 20, 2024PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Steelers rookie Ryan Watts might be the rookie the team drafted with the most tenuous spot on the roster. It’s not hard to figure out why that would be the case, as Watts’ intrigue is a lot about the physical tools that allow him to be a versatile chess piece all over the football field. He started the rookie minicamp at cornerback, but by the end of the mandatory minicamp, the Steelers moved him to safety. It seems that is where he will start his rookie season. Watts is a bit stiff in the hips but has excellent length, and the long speed translates into range and ball skills. But by playing as a primary press-man cornerback in his final years at Texas, his role in Pittsburgh will be more akin to what he did at Ohio State, which was as an overhang strong safety. “I played slot at Ohio State when I was guarding Garrett Wilson in practices so doing it there and learning, I had learning curves then,” Watts said. “I have it in a sense of where I have learned from that and I know what to expect so I don’t have to jump over that curb.” Before the Steelers released Trenton Thompson on Wednesday, I would have said that Watts could easily be on the outside looking in for one of the final roster spots. But now? The lane for him is clear. He must excel at special teams, but his body type is tailor-made for the new role on kickoff returns. And his experience at cornerback and safety would allow him to mesh well in sub-package football, too. “They really just want me to try everywhere and see where they can put me in versatility-wise,” Watts said. “A couple of weeks I might be at safety and another week I might be at corner.” So, it’s hard to find a much bigger winner after Thompson’s release than Watts. He has come along nicely and seems to be picking up the defense quickly. Now, it will be up to him to leap special teams while flashing at safety throughout training camp and the preseason to clinch a spot on the 53-man roster. [...] Read more...
Russell VannozziJune 20, 2024Nashville Predators general manager Barry Trotz has made it clear he prefers to keep Juuse Saros beyond the goaltender’s 4-year, $20 million deal that expires following the 2024-25 season. Trotz said as much during the team’s end-of-year press conference on May 7. “Juice wants to be here, and he’s been a big part of (our success). I’d like him to be here,” Trotz said. “We’re going to work hard at getting something done with him.” More of the doubt may have been removed Wednesday thanks to a pair of trades involving goalies. The Los Angeles Kings acquired Darcy Kuemper from the Washington Capitals and the New Jersey Devils added Jacob Markstrom from the Calgary Flames in separate deals to fill their openings at the position. Both Los Angeles and New Jersey had reportedly expressed interest in Saros at various points over the past year. Other teams – such as the Toronto Maple Leafs – still have goalie question marks, but with two potential suitors off the board, it’s becoming increasingly likely the Predators retain Saros past next season. Saros, 29, is eligible for a contract extension starting July 1. He’s due a significant pay raise after posting a 106-72-15 record, .915 save percentage and 2.73 goals-against average as Nashville’s full-time starter over the last three seasons. One possible complication to the Predators finalizing a deal with Saros is the rise of Yaroslav Askarov, who was named the American Hockey League’s top goalie prospect last week. The 22-year-old appears to be ready for at least a backup role in the NHL after going 30-13-1 with a .911 save percentage and 2.39 GAA for the Milwaukee Admirals this season. Since each side has plenty to consider, a Saros extension may not happen right away. Trotz alluded to that idea last month and NHL insider Elliotte Friedman recently reiterated it during an interview with 102.5 The Game. The latest from Nashville Hockey Now The Predators have multiple openings on their blueline after trading Ryan McDonagh back to Tampa Bay and with Tyson Barrie and Alexandre Carrier set to hit free agency. Chris Rydburg offered three defensemen Nashville could target on the open market. Speaking of pending free agents, notable names like Philip Tomasino, Juuso Parsinnen and Spencer Stastney are due qualifying offers by July 1. Clay Brewer gave his predictions for how much those deals might be worth. Zachary L’Heureux, Fedor Svechkov and Ryan Ufko were among the Predators prospects who performed well in the Calder Cup Playoffs. Here’s what each player did to inch closer to the NHL. Around the NHL with National Hockey Now Boston Hockey Now: All Eyes On Bruins, Ullmark Following Flurry Of Goalie Trades Florida Hockey Now: Florida Panthers Significantly Raise Prices for Game 6 Watch Party Florida Hockey Now: All of a Sudden, It’s the Connor McDavid Show in Stanley Cup Final New Jersey Hockey Now: Devils Trade for Goaltender Jacob Markstrom, Deal Kevin Bahl Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Crosby, MacKinnon Already Plotting Team Canada; Who Plays Wing? San Jose Hockey Now: Sharks Trade for Ty Dellandrea Follow Russell Vannozzi on X/Twitter @RussellV_MSP. Keep up with Nashville Hockey Now on X/Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. [...] Read more...
Dan KingerskiJune 20, 2024The NHL prefers that teams not make news during the Stanley Cup Final, but with the NHL Draft just 10 days away, general managers got impatient and threw caution to the wind. The NHL trade winds, which were a light breeze, quickly became gale-force winds with several big-name deals in the Metro Division, though none involved the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Washington Capitals rolled the dice with a long-term gamble, while the New Jersey Devils finally got their goalie. In some lighter NHL news, Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon are already plotting for Team Canada. This might be the first summer that Penguins fans watch everyone else have all of the fun, and we get a slow trickle of news or movement. In addition to the big trades that happened, rumors are swirling that the Philadelphia Flyers and Ottawa Senators have something in place, too—except that no one has reported any names. Later this morning, we’ve got some heavy-duty NHL Draft prognosticating from a draft expert for the Penguins’ second-round picks. As the network’s editor-in-chief, I’m happy to see my guys having fun covering the Stanley Cup Final and the flurry of trades, but I wouldn’t mind being a part of the fun. This is the first time since 2019 that I’ve not covered hockey into June! Pittsburgh Penguins Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Nathan MacKinnon spilled the beans. Team Canada’s top line for the coming Four Nation Face-Off and 2026 Winter Olympics will be from Nova Scotia, and the boys are already discussing the line and power play. Sidney Crosby is already planning ahead. The Penguins made their choice to lead the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. It was a little bit of a surprise and a name not immediately known to most hockey fans. Here’s the scoop on Kirk MacDonald, the new WBS Penguins coach. The NHL trade rumors didn’t see the big trade coming. The Washington Capitals took a huge gamble. They traded goalie Darcy Kuemper to the LA Kings for 25-year-old perennial unhappy underachiever Pierre-Luc Dubois. The New York Rangers lost Barclay Goodrow on waivers, and the New Jersey Devils finally snagged Jacob Markstrom. It was a wild day. Here’s all of the Metro Division news. PHN Video: Our weekly live chat was chock-full of conversation. We finally got to some draft prospects toward the end, but the conversation was fast and furious. We got into the Penguins trade possibility of Patrik Laine and some buyout candidates to watch for on the free-agent market. We got our money’s worth on the Penguins Live Chat. NHL Trade Market, News, & National Hockey Now New Jersey Hockey Now: The move that kicked off the chaos. New Jersey almost pulled off the deal for Jacob Markstrom at the NHL trade deadline, but someone in the Calgary Flames organization vetoed it. It looked like the deal would never get done, but the Devils got their No. 1 goalie. Here’s the full examination and scoop on the Devils trade. As of 1 a.m., TSN reporters disagreed as to the progress of the Philadelphia-Ottawa trade. Travis Yost said the framework had been agreed to, while Daren Dreger said both sides were denying a deal. We don’t yet have a story to link to, but we’re waiting for the boys to figure it out and some details to emerge. TSN: A crazy deal for the Capitals. They sent fading 34-year-old goalie Darcy Kuemper to LA for Pierre-Luc Dubois, who has seven–yes SEVEN–years remaining on his deal with an $8.5 million AAV. It’s a hugely risky trade, and Brian Hayes on TSN  shredded PLD. I don’t know what the Capitals were thinking on this one. No salary retention either way. They may have just undone the shrewd roster construction that put them in the playoffs. It might work, but the odds are not forever in their favor. San Jose Hockey Now: One day after the Rangers put Barclay Goodrow on waivers, he was claimed by his original NHL team, the San Jose Sharks. San Jose wasn’t done, and their next move was a steal, acquiring Ty Dellandria. He was the 13th overall pick in 2018, but after finally cracking the lineup last season, he was a frequent healthy scratch this season. Now, he’ll get a big opportunity after the Sharks trade. Sportsnet: The NHL rumor roundup. Is Jeff Skinner a buyout candidate? Is Seattle targeting Laine? And the Carolina Hurricanes are getting close to a deal with Jaccob Slavin. It sounds like there’s more to come. Florida Hockey Now: And we’ll wrap up with the Stanley Cup Final. It doesn’t matter what the boys in South Florida say, nor does it matter what coach Paul Marice says. The pressure has swung and is squarely on the Florida Panthers. [...] Read more...
Alan Greenberg, FHN WriterJune 20, 2024FORT LAUDERDALE — Coming into the Stanley Cup Final, if the Edmonton Oilers were to have any success against the Florida Panthers, it would need to get their power play going and stay strong on the penalty kill. Well, doing just that has been their recipe for wins in the past two games. Most coaches, including Paul Maurice, do not believe in momentum. If they did, they would say that momentum has swung big time. Not only have the Oilers scored three goals on the power play, but they have held Florida scoreless on seven power-play chances — not to mention scored two shorthanded goals. In Florida’s three wins? It got a power-play goal from Evan Rodrigues and stopped all 10 of Edmonton’s chances with the man advantage. No One Covers the Florida Panthers Like FHN. Period. Subscribe to Florida Hockey Now Today! Although Florida got away with out doing much on the power play in taking a 3-0 lead on the Oilers, Edmonton got three of the four goals its needed in Game 5 due to its special teams play. Connor McDavid had a hand in both of Edmonton’s power-play goals; a soft pass from Brandon Montour led to the shorthanded goal which gave the Oilers a 1-0 lead. Edmonton became the first time in Cup Final history to score its first goal in successive games while killing off a penalty. “Shorties always hurt you. And starting off? Yeah, that’s clearly not what we’d like to do,’’ said Paul Maurice, whose team has given up five shorthanded goals this postseason. “You get the excitement of a rare power play, and you get out there and you end up digging into out of your net. That hurts you a little bit for sure.” Florida is 1-for-16 on the power play in this series, and, Maurice hinted at some changes to come. Late Tuesday, he put Oliver Ekman-Larsson back atop the first power-play unit. “The power play is its own animal,’’ Maurice said. “We had two kind of line changes that we didn’t make that I think we could have made. I liked our kill. They got it right at the end, the kills are almost over. I was happy with that power play clearly. Small steps; we’ll start with not giving them shorthanded breakaways and then we’ll move on from there.’’ After going down 3-0, Edmonton coach Kris Knoblauch said he thought “there’s a lot of belief,’’ pointing to the team’s slow start this season and the multiple hot streaks to get to the playoffs. The Oilers are on a hot streak now, and the Panthers will be challenged to stop them. Florida’s 5-on-5 play is still strong. They know they need to do something about the special teams. “We were counted out a lot through the playoffs, regular season, whatever,” Knoblauch said, “but it doesn’t phase the group in there. They’ve got a lot of belief and just enjoying every extra day.” More FHN Coverage of the Florida Panthers: Like our Facebook Page Follow us on Twitter: @GeorgeRichards // @ColbyDGuy // @TheGovMan Subscribe to the FHN YouTube Channel Visit the FHN Team Shop at TeePublic and RedBubble 2024 STANLEY CUP FINAL EDMONTON OILERS VS. FLORIDA PANTHERS  GAME 6 Panthers Lead Best of 7 Series 3-2 When: Friday, 8 p.m. Where: Rogers Place; Edmonton, Alberta National TV: ABC Streaming: ESPN+/Hulu Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app Series Schedule, All Games 8 p.m. on ABC — Game 1: @Florida 3, Edmonton 0;Game 2: @Florida 4, Edmonton 1; Game 3: Florida 4, @Edmonton 3; Game 4: @Edmonton 8, Florida 1; Game 5: Edmonton 5, @Florida 3; Game 6: Florida at Edmonton, Friday; Game 7*:Edmonton at Florida, Monday June 24. (*) – If Necessary How They Got Here — Florida: d. Tampa Bay 4-1, Boston 4-2, New York Rangers 4-2; Edmonton: d. Los Angeles 4-1, Vancouver 4-3, Dallas 4-2. This Season (Florida Won 2-0) — At Florida: Panthers 5, Oilers 3 (Nov. 20). At Edmonton: Panthers 5, Oilers 2 (Dec. 17). Last Season: Edmonton Won 2-0 All-time Regular Season Series: Oilers lead 23-16-0, 3 ties Postseason History: First Meeting [...] Read more...
Jonathan BaileyJune 20, 2024In Thursday’s edition of Bailey’s Daily, we’ll be talking the latest Philadelphia Flyers news, NHL news, stories, highlights, and more from the last day. Flyers News According to a report, it looks like the framework to a Philadelphia Flyers trade with the Ottawa Senators has been set into place. Only eight days remain until the 2024 NHL Draft, and fans on social media are scrambling to put the trade pieces together or, otherwise, coming up with their own material. In some Flyers news that has made fans less excited and energetic, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms announced on Wednesday that head coach Ian Laperriere would be remaining with the team for another two years, as the 50-year-old longtime NHLer inked a two-year contract extension. In case you missed it, it was reported that the San Jose Sharks have trade interest in Flyers winger Cam Atkinson, though Atkinson, 35, does not reciprocate that interest at this time. Still though, it looks like the Flyers are testing the market for the veteran winger at the very least. NHL News At long last, the Calgary Flames and the New Jersey Devils have agreed to a trade that brings Jacob Markstrom, New Jersey’s long-awaited starting goaltender, home to Newark. And all things considered, the Devils paid far less than many thought they would. Your move, Flyers. Very shortly after reportedly purchasing CapFriendly, the Washington Capitals went out and traded for Pierre-Luc Dubois, who infamously has one of the worst contracts in the entire NHL right now. Funniest of all is that Darcy Kuemper, the goalie who won the Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche in 2022, is the only piece going the other way to the Los Angeles Kings. Long ago, Finnish star Saku Koivu was the captain of the Montreal Canadiens. Much has been made of where Tij Iginla, son of Calgary Flames legend and Hockey Hall of Famer Jarome Iginla, will land in the 2024 NHL Draft, but Iginla isn’t the only family name in this year’s draft. Aatos Koivu, son of Saku, could be a draft target for the Habs next week. [...] Read more...
Nick FarabaughJune 20, 2024PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Calvin Austin III had an OTAs and mandatory minicamp to remember. It means very little other than starting to experiment with some offseason fixes and elevating your confidence. But Austin was the star of the Spring, dusting cornerbacks at all three levels while maintaining his speed throughout his routes. That last part is the critical difference for Austin. No one had to respect him underneath on curls, stop routes, and other routes that would work off his elite deep speed. But Austin looked more efficient in the spring and easily separated at all levels. He believes he was too much in his head last year about what defensive backs would do in response to him. On top of that, Austin noted that he would use his hands rather than trusting his feet. “I had a mindset on when I would run routes that would have to be stopped on a curl, a stop route, or a comeback. My mindset was that I was too focused on the instead of just trusting my breaks. “I have some of the best stop-starts of anybody so it was me being too focused on the and trying to use my hands instead of trusting my feet and trusting my advantage,” Austin said. In other words, Austin has his swagger back. You can go back to his college tape when guys like Sauce Gardner would praise him for his stop-start ability, and while size will always be an issue to some degree for Austin if he can separate with his speed and quickness, he could become a crucial part of the Arthur Smith offense. He could slot into the Kalif Raymond role in the Smith offense, giving him multiple deep shots per game. Austin could work underneath and in the screen game to exploit his open-field elusiveness. And with all the questions around the wide receiver room, Austin taking a leap would be a massive boon to the offense as a whole after he struggled last year. [...] Read more...
Marc DumontJune 20, 2024Here are the Montreal Canadiens news items, highlights, and stories you may have missed on Wednesday. Montreal Canadiens News With the NHL Draft quickly approaching, it’s time to reveal our Mock Draft of the entire first round. All 32 picks, including write-ups for every selection. [MHN 2024 NHL Mock Draft: First-Round Picks (No.1-No.32)] ICYMI: We need your help! Don’t forget to vote in the latest Habs fan poll to cast your vote as to how satisfied you are with the current state of rebuild, including trades, drafts, coaching, and more.  [Habs Fans Vote – State Of The Canadiens Rebuild & Management] The Habs finally released their pre-season schedule, featuring six games, including back-to-back match-ups with the Ottawa Senators to close things out. Our preseason schedule is here! 🏒 Details ↓ #GoHabsGohttps://t.co/LQkfEteZV9 — Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) June 19, 2024 The NHL Trade Market is officially open, with several trades happening on Wednesday. Former Canadiens trade target Pierre-Luc Dubois was moved to the Washington Capitals in exchange for 34-year-old goaltender Darcy Kuemper. Despite paying a them ransom to acquire Dubois in the first place, the Kings quickly pulled the plug on the experiment just one year into his eight-year contract, which carries a ridiculous $8.5 million annual average value. He’s just 25-years-old, which means he has time to rebound, but the decision to avoid further trade negotiations with the Winnipeg Jets last summer was a wise decision by Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes. [Canadiens Wisely Avoided Upping The Ante In The Dubois Trade Negotiations] National Hockey Now Network When talking about how great of a playoff run Connor McDavid is having, one has to look no further than his assist on the eventual game-winning goal in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final to help the Edmonton Oilers drag the Florida Panthers back to Alberta. [Florida Panthers] The New Jersey Devils found their No.1 goaltender. New Jersey has acquired Calgary Flames goaltender, Jacob Markstrom, multiple sources confirm. The Flames are retaining 31.25% of Markstrom’s salary, a $4.125M cap hit for the new goaltender. [New Jersey Devils] The trade market for goalies is officially set following a pair of deals on Wednesday afternoon, which means all eyes are on Linus Ullmark. [Boston Bruins] [...] Read more...
James NicholsJune 20, 2024You might have had the New Jersey Devils and Calgary Flames connecting on a trade this offseason. However, you might not have had the Washington Capitals and Los Angeles Kings making the deal they made yesterday. Wednesday was full of surprises as the offseason officially got underway despite the Stanley Cup having yet to be awarded. In the links, how the Devils acquired Jacob Markstrom. Plus, the details of the Capitals trade with the Kings. Elsewhere, Barclay Goodrow is not happy with his now former team. Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon are scheming. Plus, Florida is feeling the heat… no pun intended. Let’s do that hockey. Metropolitan Division & Devils News New Jersey Hockey Now: The Devils finally got their man. It’s been in the works for a while, so when the Devils trade for Jacob Markstrom was announced, it didn’t come as a surprise. But, it’s finally done and the Devils can feel pretty good about their goaltending situation, even after dealing Kevin Bahl in the trade. More NJHN: Just mere hours after the Devils made a splash acquiring Markstrom, the Washington Capitals made a splash acquiring Pierre-Luc Dubois in exchange for Darcy Kuemper, sending the veteran goaltender to the Los Angeles Kings. New Jersey Hockey Now + Subscribe to NJHN+ and use code James10 for 10% off (yearly subscriptions) at checkout. 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs Florida Hockey Now: Once up three games to none in the Stanley Cup Final, the Florida Panthers now hold just a 3-2 series lead over the Edmonton Oilers. Panthers head coach Paul Maurice won’t say it, but the pressure is on the Cats. NHL Trade Talk, News, & National Hockey Now NY Post: Former New York Rangers forward Barclay Goodrow has a 15-team no-trade clause, a clause his agent negotiated with GM Chris Drury. It’s believed Goodrow’s former team, the San Jose Sharks, were on that list. However, Drury got around that by placing the veteran forward on waivers and he was scooped up by Sharks GM Mike Grier. It’s believed the transaction was a pre-arranged deal between the Rangers and Sharks which has left Goodrow quite unhappy. Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Sidney Crosby and Nathan Mackinnon will almost certainly be on the Team Canada roster at the 4 Nations Faceoff and 2026 Olympics in Milan. The off-ice BFF’s are already plotting the lines and power play for Team Canada. San Jose Hockey Now: Goodrow wasn’t the only add for the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday. The Sharks acquired Ty Dellandrea from the Dallas Stars in exchange for a draft pick. With Will Smith and Macklin Celebrini (soon) in the fold, the Sharks are seemingly supporting their young talent with NHL players. NYI Hockey Now: The New York Islanders have re-signed pending RFA Kyle MacLean to a three-year contract worth $2.35 million dollars over the life of the deal. The AAV is only $775k per season, an extremely reasonable sum for someone who is expected to play a key role in the future for the Islanders. Calgary Hockey Now: From the Calgary Flames perspective, Kevin Bahl and New Jersey’s 2025 first round pick head north in exchange for Jacob Markstrom. For more Devils news, visit New Jersey Hockey Now and like our Facebook page. Follow us on 𝕏: @NJDHockeyNow, @JamesNicholsNHL, @NickNatale10 And on Threads: @JamesNicholsNHL [...] Read more...
Dan KelleyJune 20, 2024The two big injury questions remaining on the New England Patriots roster after the team’s mandatory minicamp were wide receiver Kendrick Bourne and offensive guard Cole Strange. Both players had their 2023 end on injured reserve. Bourne, who tore his right ACL in Week 8, is expected to join the team for training camp despite sitting out the spring sessions. The outlook for Strange and his undisclosed knee injury was far more vague. Jerod Mayo deemed the lineman, “month to month.” This update did not come as a huge shock. Cole Strange was absent from the original 53-man roster projection posted on Patriots Football Now due to his availability for Week 1 being doubtful. Mayo’s update confirmed just how unlikely that is. Now, ESPN’s Mike Reiss has disclosed the knee injury Strange suffered. Reiss wrote on Sunday that Strange is dealing with a torn patellar tendon in his left knee. Mayo dealt with the same injury himself in 2014. Coincidentally, Reiss reported on Mayo’s injury as well. ESPN’s injury analyst and physical therapist, Stephania Bell, gave the following assessment of such an injury at the time: “On average, recovery is usually between eight months to one year. “It could take longer, but rarely would it take less,” Bell said, adding that the football-based seasonal calendar is something to consider.” Cole Strange suffered his injury on Dec. 17, 2023. That leaves it unlikely for him to be ready for opening day, with his entire 2024 season potentially in jeopardy. Here’s hoping for a full recovery for Strange, regardless of how long it takes. He was showing great improvement last season from his rookie campaign in 2022. Getting healthy and building on that progress is crucial for the career of the former first-round pick. Also in today’s Patriots Daily: Daily Patriots Fun Fact Cole Strange has appeared in 27 games across two seasons with the New England Patriots. He has a long way to go to break the NFL or Patriots records for a Chattanooga Mocs alum. Hall of Fame wide receiver Terrell Owens holds the NFL record with 231 games played. The Patriots record belongs to Charley Long. The offensive lineman played 126 games for the Boston Patriots from 1961 to 1969. Post of the Day An excellent video from the 2024 NBA Champion Boston Celtics official X account (put the sound on): New England Patriots Patriots Football Now – New England has made a pair of roster changes over the past 10 days. First they released UDFA linebacker Jay Person to make room for Steele Chambers. Now they have swapped offensive guards. Antother UDFA, Ryan Johnson, was released on Monday. The next day the Patriots signed a former All-XFL selection, most recently in the UFL. Welcome the newest member of the New England Patriots, Liam Fornadel. Patriots Football Now – First-round picks Drew Bledsoe (1993) and Mac Jones (2021) were both Week 1 starters as NFL rookies. How long will it take 2024 first-round pick Drake Maye to earn the starting nod in New England? An NFL analyst broke down when the six quarterbacks selected in Round 1 would get their first start. He thinks Drake Maye will start in Week 11 for the Patriots. Do you agree? Patriots Football Now – New England safety Jabrill Peppers is the latest focus of the Patriots 90-Man Roster Spotlight series. He had an outstanding 2023 season, ranked by Pro Football Focus as the fifth-best safety in the NFL. After watching his running mate Kyle Dugger ink a large contract in the offseason, will Peppers be rewarded as well? He is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent in 2025. NFL News NFL.com – Jacksonville Jaguars’ Trevor Lawrence recently inked a contract that ties him with Joe Burrow for the highest-paid player in the NFL. Each QB is slated to earn $55 million in 2024. The top 16 paid players this season all play QB. A look at the Top 25 Paid Players in the NFL. Spoiler alert: No New England Patriots players are listed. CBS Sports – Liam Fornadel signing with the Patriots was not the only UFL player signing with an NFL team after the season. As of this writing, there have already been 10 such signings since Sunday’s UFL Championship Game. CBS Sports is keeping fans up to date on all of them with their UFL to NFL Tracker. Yahoo! Sports – New England’s Drake Maye is one of the quarterbacks in the 2024 NFL Draft class people will watch throughout the preseason and beyond. The player taken one spot ahead of Maye was  Jayden Daniels. The 2023 Heisman Trophy winner was drafted by the Washington Commanders second overall. Jori Epstein reports that the Commanders aren’t rushing to name Jayden Daniels the starter, but it hasn’t stopped him from working like one. Boston Bruins Boston Hockey Now – The Florida Panthers couldn’t close out the Edmonton Oilers in Games 4 or 5. They now head back to Edmonton for their third shot at closing out the series in Game 6. The Panthers are attempting to win the first Cup in franchise history. The Boston Bruins 2024 run ended in Round 1 against Florida, but the Bruins still have plenty happening. With free agency looming and the 2024 NHL Draft on the horizon, check out BHN for all the latest coverage. PFN+ Subscribe here or on Boston Hockey Now to get a subscription to both sites. Subscribers get bonus coverage such as NFL Draft scouting reports and weekly NFL Power Rankings. It also provides a completely ad-free experience on the sites. Use code KELLEY10 and get $10 off a yearly subscription. New England Patriots and Boston Bruins coverage with no ads and bonus content for less than 8¢ a day! [...] Read more...
Griffin FloydJune 20, 2024Pirates’ minor league affiliates earned three wins on Wednesday, with a former first round pick hitting a homer and a top pitching prospect continuing to mow down opposing batters. Triple-A Indianapolis defeated the Iowa Cubs 2-0. Braxton Ashcraft kicked off the shutout with 4.1 scoreless innings in his second Triple-A start, while Indianapolis scraped across two runs in the eighth inning to claim victory. The Altoona Curve took down the Bowie Baysox 6-4, with the bullpen allowing just one run over 8.1 innings after starter Drake Fellows got dinged for three runs early. The Greensboro Grasshoppers defeated the Hudson Valley Renegades 8-2, with Termarr Johnson and P.J. Hilson each hitting a homer and Wilber Dotel turning in six scoreless innings. Bradenton lost 10-2 to the Lakeland Flying Tigers after the bullpen got shelled for eight runs in 3.2 innings. Here are some of the top performances amongst Pirates’ minor leaguers on Wednesday. Triple-A Indianapolis (31-38) RHP Braxton Ashcraft Game: 4.1 IP, 0 ER, 4 K’s. Season: 64 IP, 3.23 ERA, 71 K’s in 13 appearances (12 starts). SS Liover Peguero Game: 2-for-4 with a double. Season: .276/.338/.408 with 14 doubles, 2 triples and 4 homers in 61 games. Double-A Altoona (25-40) 1B Joe Perez Game: 2-for-5 with a double. Season: .214/.298/.348 with 8 doubles, a triple and 5 homers in 53 games between Altoona and Indianapolis. RF Sammy Siani Game: 3-for-5 with a homer. Season: .276/.345/.464 with 10 doubles, 3 triples and 7 homers in 54 games between Greensboro and Altoona. High-A Greensboro (38-26) RF P.J. Hilson Game: 2-for-3 with a homer. Season: .233/.313/.438 with a double, a triple and 9 homers in 46 games between Bradenton and Greensboro. RHP Wilber Dotel Game: 6 IP, 0 ER, 7 K’s. Season: 52.1 IP, 5.16 ERA, 50 K’s in 13 starts. Single-A Bradenton (28-36) RF Esmerlyn Valdez Game: 2-for-4 with a double. Season: .238/.362/.444 with 10 doubles, a triple and 9 homers in 56 games. 1B Axiel Plaz Game: 1-for-3 with a homer. Season: .217/.306/.446 with 3 doubles and 6 homers in 31 games between rookie ball and Bradenton. [...] Read more...
Chris WardJune 20, 2024Many believe that the Pittsburgh Steelers made the right decision by trading wide receiver Diontae Johnson to the Carolina Panthers this offseason. Johnson was becoming a malcontent in the locker room, often getting into heated arguments with teammates. Johnson’s time with Pittsburgh probably ran its course, but the Steelers haven’t replaced his production. They are still without a No. 2 wide receiver. The team thinks someone will naturally step up and fill the void. Wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni even said labeling receivers in a number system is overrated. Former Buffalo Bills general manager and Steelers executive Doug Whaley thinks the Steelers traded Johnson too soon. He believes the team didn’t have a proper Plan B. “That was one of those where that move backed them in the corner,” Whaley told 93.7 The Fan Wednesday morning. “And it didn’t set them up for the next move.” Mike Tomlin said at the NFL owner’s meetings in late March that a desire to upgrade the team’s cornerback position was the driving force behind the team trading veteran wide receiver Diontae Johnson to the Carolina Panthers, and that Johnson did not specifically request a trade. There were reports that Johnson was unhappy with the team and wanted out. The Steelers got veteran cornerback Dontae Jackson in the Johnson trade package with Carolina, which Tomlin felt was an essential need. “Really, it was simple, man,” he said. “We traded player for player. We had an opportunity to get D-Jack (Donte Jackson). D-Jack is a guy that we’ve evaluated probably several times since he’s been in the league, when he came out of LSU, when he faced free agency. We needed some assistance in depth and quality players at that position, so we made the move. They needed Diontae, we needed D-Jack. It was a good exchange.” Johnson also wasn’t really fond of Kenny Pickett as a quarterback. He publicly declared after the season that he hoped Mason Rudolph was the starter again. With the revamped quarterback room and new offensive coordinator in Arthur Smith, Whaley would’ve liked to see how it played out under the new system. “Bring him into the offseason and see how he adapts and really gels with the new quarterbacks, the new OC. Maybe he turns it around like… ‘Now maybe I’m not gonna be such a malcontent. Maybe I’m gonna be happy, man,'” Whaley said. What is done is done now, though. And Johnson is thrilled to be in Carolina. “I was surprised but blessed at the same time, you know – fresh start somewhere,” Johnson said. “I had been in Pittsburgh for five years. Coming here, it’s different. Just still trying to get acclimated and I’m enjoying the process so far.” Johnson said in March that the Steelers did not want to trade him to an AFC team, and Carolina is where they ended up settling. “I guess they didn’t want to trade me nowhere in the AFC. I’m here now in the NFC. It is what it is. They did what they feel they had to was best on their part. I couldn’t really do nothing about that. So I’m gonna make plays with whatever team I was on or got traded to. I’m here in Carolina, so I’m here to work,” Johnson said. [...] Read more...
Andrew FantucchioJune 20, 2024It finally happened. Following weeks of silence, the NHL trade market came alive on Wednesday with a pair of trades that jolted the hockey world awake. While neither move involved the Boston Bruins, both had a major effect on how the Bruins will proceed between now and the start of the NHL Draft next week. But before we get there, here’s what’s happening around the NHL this morning. Goalies Going Places: What seemed to be just another midweek afternoon in June quickly became anything but in the span of a few short hours. After months of trade talks,  the New Jersey Devils and Calgary Flames struck a deal that sent goalie Jacob Markstrom to New Jersey. Not too long after, the Los Angeles Kings acquired goalie Darcy Keumper from the Washington Capitals, sending begrudged center Pierre-Luc Dubois back the other way. The goalie market has officially been set, and the Metropolitan Division has been shaken up. Ullmark’s Futue Up In The Air: While two other goalies have already found new homes, Linus Ullmark remains a member of the Boston Bruins. The Bruins are still very much trying to shop Ullmark on the trade market. But time is quickly running out with the NHL Draft starting next week. All eyes are now fixed on Boston. All Eyes On Bruins, Ullmark Following Flurry Of Goalie Trades Stanley Cup Final: Sure, the Florida Panthers still hold the advantage in the Stanley Cup Final, but after failing to close out the series in back-to-back games, all the pressure is now on them. If the Panthers are going to knock out the Edmonton Oilers, they’re going to have to do the impossible task of slowing down Connor McDavid. McDavid is the obvious choice to win the Conn Smythe Trophy if Edmonton is able to pull off the comeback in this series. Even if they don’t, he still could win the playoff MVP award and be the first to do so while playing for a team that didn’t win the Stanley Cup in more than two decades. More From National Hockey Now: Chicago: Already with a host of former Bruins on their roster, the Chicago Blackhawks are eyeing another former member of the black and gold this summer in free agency. New York: After a strong performance as a mid-season call-up in 2023-24, Kyle MacLean earned himself a new contract with the New York Islanders at a bargain price. San Jose: Perhaps lost in all the goalie chaos yesterday were the San Jose Sharks, as they claimed Barclay Goodrow off waivers from the New York Rangers and picked up Ty Dellandrea in a deal with the Dallas Stars. Scouts and coaches think Dellandrea is a great fit in San Jose. But there is also a belief that Goodrow isn’t happy about returning to his former team. New England Patriots: NFL Analyst Predicts Drake Maye to Start in Week 11 Patriots 90-Man Roster Spotlight: Jabrill Peppers FOLLOW ANDREW FANTUCCHIO ON 𝕏: @A_FANTUCCHIO FOLLOW BOSTON HOCKEY NOW ON 𝕏 AND FACEBOOK [...] Read more...
Chris WardJune 20, 2024Steelers Daily News & Links: Your daily stop for all of the news and links from the Pittsburgh Steelers, NFL and around the Sports Now Group 🏈 The average price for a Pittsburgh Steelers game is $231, according to TickPick. Only eight teams have higher average ticket prices. The NFL average is $201.31. The average price of a ticket for every #NFL team. (via @TickPick) pic.twitter.com/AmnGzz7Mco — Tyler Webb (@tylermwebb) June 19, 2024 🏈 Russell Wilson vs. Justin Fields was tabbed as one of the eight key training camp battles to watch this summer by PFF. “Wilson will turn 36 during the season and has looked a long way off the player who earned a 90.5 PFF overall grade in 2020,” Gordon McGuinness of PFF wrote. “Fields, the 11th-overall pick in 2021, couldn’t get his feet under him in Chicago, with the team opting to reset by selecting Caleb Williams first overall in the 2024 NFL Draft. “Still, Fields has improved in each of his NFL seasons and is coming off a career-high 74.6 PFF overall grade in 2023. Ideally, Fields will stick as the Steelers’ quarterback of the present and future, but either of these options would be an upgrade over last season.” 🏈 Steelers running back Najee Harris has forced 107 missed tackles since 2022, according to Pro Football Focus. Only Josh Jacobs (118), Travis Etienne Jr. (121) and Derrick Henry (126) have forced more missed tackles in that span. 🏈 Steelers Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis was at the Batch Foundation ⁦ along with the Steelers rookies teaching kids about the importance of STEM. #Steelers Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis at the Batch Foundation ⁦@BestoftheBatch⁩ along with the Steelers rookies teaching kids about the importance of STEM. pic.twitter.com/2a1pKcqU5g — Bob Pompeani (@KDPomp) June 19, 2024 🏈 Actor Ed O’Neil shared on Games with Names with former New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman that he was getting drinks bought for him  at a bar after being cut by Steelers in 1969. Ed O’Neill was getting drinks bought for him after being cut by The Pittsburgh Steelers pic.twitter.com/uW1EDx8ySU — Games with Names (@gameswithnames) June 18, 2024 🏈 Field Yates of ESPN doesn’t think the QB competition has been settled in Pittsburgh. .@FieldYates doesn't think the QB competition has been settled in Pittsburgh 👀 pic.twitter.com/sLmokukidD — NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) June 19, 2024 🏈 NFL historian Kevin Gallagher shared a photo of Willie Mays with young a Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw in the locker room of Three Rivers Stadium during the 1971 National League Championship Series. Mays passed away at the age of 93 on Tuesday. In 1971, 40-year-old professional athletes were a rarity. And of those, few looked "athletic". Here's Willie Mays — still ripped at age 40 — with young Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw in the locker room of Three Rivers Stadium during the 1971 National League Championship… pic.twitter.com/fzlrBCyk5Q — Kevin Gallagher (@KevG163) June 19, 2024 🏈 Steelers quarterback Justin Fields was training with the Route God, also known as James Everett, Diontae Johnson and Jarvis Landry in Florida. Fields got slammed by many on social media, including Le’Veon Bell, for throwing balls late. The Route God said that wasn’t the case. He said Fields’ QB trainer was there and they were working progressions and everything was on the money. Routez With Justin Fields !! Diontae Johnson & Jarvis Landry (Must Watch)https://t.co/7W226TQXAM 🎯Never Late Right On Time Great Job Brudda pic.twitter.com/IvRutzTOeh — RouteGod (@RouteGod) June 20, 2024 NEWS FROM AROUND THE SPORTS NOW NETWORK Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Penguins Live Chat: Draft potentials; Laine, Goodrow, UFA/trade targets. Pittsburgh Baseball Now: Series win against Reds highlights Pirates’ strengths, exposes weaknesses. Pittsburgh Sports Now: Pitt All 105: OL Ryan Carretta provides depth on the interior. West Virginia Sports Now: Ex-Mountaineer Wesley Harris to play For Best Virginia in TBT. Nittany Sports Now: Another One: Penn State gets 3rd DB commit in less than 10 days. Pittsburgh Soccer Now: Hapless hounds winless in seven after loss to Louisville. [...] Read more...
Sheng PengJune 19, 2024Does Barclay Goodrow want to be back with the San Jose Sharks? That’s now a question mark, after a report from Larry Brooks of The New York Post. The Sharks claimed Goodrow off waivers from the New York Rangers this morning. Goodrow, 31, had three years left on his contract at $3.642 million AAV. He has a 15-Team No-Trade List. “There is widespread belief that Barclay Goodrow had included the Sharks on his 15-team, no-trade list,” Brooks wrote. Putting Goodrow on waivers then was a way for GM Chris Drury to circumvent that NTC. Brooks reported that Goodrow is “not happy about how this went down”. Question is, what does GM Mike Grier want with a player who may not want to be with the San Jose Sharks? We’ll see, as Grier and Goodrow haven’t spoken on San Jose’s waiver claim yet. San Jose Hockey Now has also reached out to Goodrow’s representation. Goodrow, if he’s invested, does have a lot to offer his former club. The San Jose Sharks signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2014, and the center-winger turned himself into a top defensive stopper and two-time Stanley Cup winner. He appears to be an excellent mentor for the likes of Macklin Celebrini and Will Smith and William Eklund. But San Jose, in the midst of a rebuild, is a much different situation than Goodrow has gotten accustomed to. From the Sharks in 2019 to the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2020 and 2021 to the Rangers in 2022 and 2024, he’s participated in a Conference Finals in five of the last six seasons. “We’re told that Goodrow’s 15-trade list included teams in less-than-desirable locations and those who are not contenders. San Jose would fit into that last category,” Brooks surmised. We’re a long way from training camp, and for what it’s worth, the Sharks have a lot of familiar faces, like good friend Logan Couture, who can warm Goodrow up to San Jose once again. It’s understandable that Goodrow needs some time to get his sea legs under him too. This is a radical change in his life and competitive situation. But it’s paramount for the San Jose Sharks, if they want Goodrow to be a leader in their rebuild, that he wants to be part of it. At the moment, it doesn’t appear as if Goodrow wants that. Will that change? [...] Read more...
Alan SaundersJune 19, 2024Former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver James Washington is attempting an NFL comeback, according to a report by Jeremy Fowler of ESPN. Washington, 28, hasn’t appeared in the NFL since playing two games for the Dallas Cowboys in the 2022 season. He suffered a foot fracture during training camp in 2022 and then came back for two games late in that season before he was released. In 2023, Washington was releasedspent time with the New York Giants, New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts, but did not appear in a game. He was released by Saints after playing in one preseason game, catching one pass for 42 yards, and then appeared in one more with the Colts, before being released. Washington did not sign with another team and spent all of the 2023 regular season out of football. According to Fowler, Washington has received “multiple inquiries” from teams seeking to try out the veteran receiver. Wide receiver James Washington is attempting an NFL comeback after missing most of the last two seasons due to a jones fracture. A second-round pick of the Steelers, Washington has received multiple inquires from teams and could be trying out for them soon https://t.co/YSCiszxLV1 — Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) June 20, 2024 A 5-foot-11, 216-pound native of Stamford, Texas, the Steelers drafted Washington in out of Oklahoma State in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He spent four seasons in Pittsburgh, racking up 1,629 yards and 11 touchdowns. His best season came in 2019, when he developed a rapport with fellow former Oklahoma State Cowboy, quarterback Mason Rudolph, and caught 80 passes for 735 yards and three touchdowns. RELATED: James Washington Says He Wasn’t Utilized Properly with Steelers Washington left Pittsburgh after his rookie contract in 2022, signing as a free agent with Dallas, but has played just two games since. With a need at the wide receiver position, the Steelers might be one of the teams interested in working out Washington, though they have other veteran options such as Van Jefferson, Scotty Miller and Quez Watkins, who have been more productive more recently than Washington. [...] Read more...
Dan KelleyJune 19, 2024The New England Patriots can have up to 90 players under contract during the offseason. Patriots Football Now will profile all 90 players (though there are currently 91 on the roster) over the upcoming months. Today’s featured player is safety Jabrill Peppers. Jabrill Peppers The Cleveland Browns selected Jabrill Peppers in the first round (No. 25 overall) of the 2017 NFL Draft. Peppers had a solid start to this NFL career in Cleveland. After two seasons with the Browns, he was dealt as part of a package to the New York Giants for Odell Beckham Jr. Peppers played three seasons in New York. He set personal bests in 2020 with 91 tackles, eight tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks. Unfortunately, his 2021 season was cut short. Peppers was placed on IR after six games. He ruptured his right ACL. New England signed Peppers to a one-year deal in 2022. He played in all 17 games for New England, proving he was fully healthy once again. Also Read – Six More Extension Options for New England Last season, Jabrill Peppers shined on an excellent defensive unit in New England. He also became a fan favorite, winning the 2023 Vince Wilfork Award. Not only did Peppers excel on the field, he became a leader in the locker room. He also provided some high-impact, including one that led to a Jahlani Tavi interception against the Raiders. Jabrill Peppers finished fourth on the Patriots in tackles. He tied for the team lead in interceptions. Pro Football Focus viewed Pepper’s performance extremely well in 2023. His final grade for the year was 87.3, the best of his career. He earned the fifth-highest grade of any NFL safety. Contract Status Jabrill Peppers enters the final year of his contract with New England this season. He will count $6.47 million against the salary cap. Peppers is one of many Patriots players set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2025. Safeties Group The New England Patriots have six safeties on their 90-man offseason roster. Jabrill Peppers and Kyle Dugger are returning starters for the unit. Marte Mapu, Jaylinn Hawkins, Joshuah Bledsoe, and Dell Pettus round out the unit. Outlook for Jabrill Peppers Peppers took on a leadership role in New England last season. He is a vocal leader. Peppers played a career-high 955 defensive snaps in 2023. It marked a significant increase from his 2022 total (399), despite Peppers playing two fewer games. Not many players are locked into roster spots or starting roles on the 2024 Patriots. Dugger and Peppers account for two of them. The safety unit was solid last season. Dugger was rewarded with a handsome contract in the offseason, touted as a core player the Patriots hoped to build around. Peppers appeared to have even better production last season. Will New England reward him for his efforts before he hits free agency in 2025? Jabrill Peppers has proven his worth to the New England Patriots over his first two seasons in Foxboro. There are still a few questions remaining for the 28-year-old. Can he repeat his exceptional 2023 campaign? Will he be named a team captain in 2024? And will the Patriots extend him before he hits free agency in 2025? Those answers will be known before long. [...] Read more...
Adam BorstJune 19, 2024All 90 is a Steelers Now series profiling each of the 90 members of the Pittsburgh Steelers 2024 offseason roster. Next up is DT Dean Lowry The Pittsburgh Steelers look to have rounded out their defensive line rotation for the 2024 season when they signed eight-year vet Dean Lowry earlier this offseason. Coming off of a season ending injury, Lowry, an experienced player in this league, had his options when it came to choosing his next team. When it came to decide where he wanted to play, he took a few factors into consideration and Pittsburgh checked the boxes. “There is a lot of good players in this defense and it is a proven system,” Lowry told Alan Saunders of Steelers Now. “It is nice to play for a defensive head coach who really values some of things that we talk about every single day. It’s been, I would say, a smooth transition so far.” Coming from Minnesota, Lowry became familiar with some of the terminology that he will learn with the Steelers due to the connection with Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores. Flores served as a Senior Defensive Assistant with the Steelers in 2022 before accepting the Vikings job offer in 2023. “There is some similar terminology but I would say a little bit more different,” Lowry said. “Their system in Minnesota was definitely more blitz heavy. This one is just not quite as much so. There is always different carryovers between defenses but the big thing is getting the coaching points and the nuances of what they emphasis here and making it a part of your everyday play.” Lowry is a seasoned veteran but as he enters a position room that is stacked with talent, young and old, he will have to fight for snaps. Lowry is aware of this and has embraced the challenge. “I would say it is a deep room, no question about it,” Lowry said. “We come out here and compete every single day. We are all cheering for each other and helping each other and trying to get better. But, it definitely is a deep room and a nice mix of young talent and veterans.” Players with as much experience as Lowry do not sign up for immense competition but Lowry sees an opportunity to contribute and win with the Steelers. “There is a lot of new guys,” Lowry explained. “You can look offensively, look at some of the pieces they added. Defensively, there is a lot of proven guys on this defense and we added we’ve added a few pieces. This team has been close, obviously they have been a playoff team, been consistent winners and we are aiming to keep inching further or just keep adding onto that.” With the defensive line starters essentially solidified, Lowry is looking at a rotational role in 2024. Since the Steelers listed Lowry as a defensive tackle, he is pitted against two guys that received starting snaps a season ago in Montravius Adams and Keeanu Benton. While he is unlikely to leap-frog either of those guys, Lowry can be a nice depth piece for the team. 94 • Dean Lowry, Defensive Tackle, Northwestern 6-foot-6, 296 pounds, 30 years old, 9th Season Acquired: The Steelers signed Lowry as an unrestricted free agent in early April. He agreed on a two-year contract to come to Pittsburgh. Last season: The Minnesota Vikings signed Lowry to a two-year deal last March. He played nine games for Minnesota before suffering a pectoral injury on Nov. 19 that ended his season. He was released by the Vikings on March 12. In his nine games with the team, Lowry started four of them. He recorded 12 combined tackles and defended one pass. Career: Dean Lowry, 29, is entering his ninth NFL season, seven of which were played with the Green Bay Packers, who drafted him in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Lowry became a starter in his second season with the Packers in 2017 and maintained at least a co-starting role through the 2022 season. Lowry has five seasons with at least two sacks but the last time that it had occurred was in 2021 when had his most impactful season. He played in and started all 17 games as he recorded five sacks in addition to 42 tackles and five tackles for loss. He also had four passes defended and a fumble recovery. Over his first eight seasons, Lowry has started 84 of his 120 career games. To this point, he has recorded 244 total tackles, 15.5 sacks, 17 passes defended, one interception and one forced fumble. Year Team GP GS Tackles Sacks PDs FFs PFF Rating 2023 MIN 9 4 12 0 1 0 47.4 2022 GB 15 12 37 0.5 1 0 59.3 2021 GB 17 17 38 5 4 0 67.0 2020 GB 16 16 34 3 2 0 57.3 2019 GB 16 16 46 0 3 0 62.3 2018 GB 16 8 39 3 3 1 72.6 2017 GB 16 11 31 2 2 0 68.7 2016 GB 15 0 7 2 1 0 69.2 College: After arriving to Northwestern in 2012, Dean Lowry was one of four freshman to earn playing time. He played in a rotational defensive end role and appeared in all 13 games. Lowry made an impact as a true freshman, posting three tackles for loss and a sack, which led him to be named to the ESPN All-Big Ten Freshman team. Lowry earned a starting role the following season as he started in nine of his 11 appearances. He finished tied for second on the team with seven tackles for loss and third with 4.5 sacks. Additionally, he snagged two interceptions and forced two fumbles. By the 2014 season, Lowry was a full-time starting defensive end for the Wildcats. He earned All-Big Ten honorable mention honors following the season. Then in 2015, Lowry was a consensus All-Big Ten Second-Team honoree. As a senior, he posted career-high with 13.5 tackles for loss. He helped lead the way for a Wildcats team that finished first in scoring defense. In his collegiate career, Lowry started 34 games but appeared in 49 games overall in just four years. Year GP GS Tackles TFLs Sacks INTs PDs FF FR 2012 13 0 14 3 1 0 1 0 1 2013 11 9 33 7 4.5 2 5 2 1 2014 12 12 41 8 4 0 8 1 0 2015 13 13 52 13.5 3 1 7 0 1 Salary cap and future: The Steelers signed Dean Lowry to a two-year contract in early April. The two-year deal is worth $5 million in total. Lowry will cost $1.875 million against the Steelers’ cap space in 2024. He is entering the season at 30-years-old and if he does not perform well, the Steelers could release him before next season and save $1.875 million. The rest of the 90: [...] Read more...
Bob DuffJune 19, 2024Detroit Red Wings defense prospect Albert Johansson is the latest player to discover that GM Steve Yzerman is a ruthless contract negotiator. Granted, with nary an NHL game under his belt, the argument that Johansson wasn’t sitting down at the table across from Yzerman with a lot of ammunition of his side in this latest contract showdown between player and GM is valid. Yet Yzerman has shown us in the past that even when you do have some weapons at your disposal, he can deflect with the best of them. UPDATE: The Detroit #RedWings today signed defenseman Albert Johansson to a one-year, two-way contract extension. Details: https://t.co/rd0h5HpV3i pic.twitter.com/SD4yfdXfIh — Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) June 19, 2024 Wednesday, the Red Wings were announcing that the 23-year-old Swedish defenseman was agreeing to terms on a one-year contract. A restricted free agent, Johansson’s pact will pay him $775,000 if he’s playing in the NHL. That’s barely above the NHL minimum salary of $750,000. On the other hand, should Johansson be back in the American Hockey League with the Grand Rapids Griffins, his annual paycheck plummets to $90,000. That’s quite the haircut for what would amount to a $660,000 bus ticket to GR. It would be a $20,000 raise over what Johansson was earning with the Griffins last season, though. Johansson Would Need To Clear Waivers Perhaps Johansson is also rolling the dice. As a player out of options, he’d be needing to clear NHL waivers to return to the Griffins. Are the Red Wings willing to take the risk of losing him to send Johansson back down next season before getting a look at him in NHL action? Albert Johansson scores for the Griffins – and watch the play by Berggren as well #LGRW pic.twitter.com/sAVsYBXKMX — IcehockeyGifs (@IcehockeyG) December 6, 2023 The 60th player chosen in the 2019 NHL entry draft, Johansson is getting good progress reports from Grand Rapids coach Dan Watson. “(He’s) another guy who’s prepared, another guy who’s a pro and does things the right way,” Watson said. Yzerman A Hardball Negotiator Johansson isn’t the first player in the organization to find out that there’s little wiggle room when sitting across the negotiating table from Yzerman. Even veteran Red Wings have found him a tough nut to crack. Last season, center Joe Veleno, with 152 NHL games and 18 goals under his belt, could only get a one-year deal worth $825,000 out of the Red Wings GM. That made Veleno the lowest-paid regular player on the team. Even stars find out the Yzerman isn’t going to budge much from his negotiating stance. In 2022-23, following a 30-goal season, forward Tyler Bertuzzi was seeking a huge raise and significant term as an impending UFA. Instead, Yzerman dealt Bertuzzi to the Boston Bruins. Based on Bertuzzi’s output in the two seasons since, it would appear that Yzerman’s hard stance was the correct approach. That same season, captain Dylan Larkin was also on the brink of becoming a UFA. After a long, drawn-out negoitating process, the captain would ultimately agree to an eight-year pact worth $8.7 million. Larkin’s camp had been seeking an AAV in the $9-10 million range. [...] Read more...
Evan RawalJune 19, 2024Darcy Kuemper wasn’t with the Avalanche for a long time, but he sure accomplished a lot with them in less than a year. Acquired from Arizona for a first round pick, a third round pick, and Connor Timmins on July 1, 2021, Kuemper went on to have a fantastic regular season with the Avalanche, finishing as a finalist for the Vezina Trophy. His playoffs were a little uneven, mostly because he could barely see out of his right eye after Ryan Johansen’s stick poked him in the first round, but he did enough to help the team win the ultimate prize, the Stanley Cup. Game Six against the Lightning was the last game Kuemper played for the Avalanche, as he signed a big five-year, $26,250,000 contract with the Washington Capitals when free agency opened. His first year in Washington was okay, but this past season was a bit of a disaster, as he struggled with injuries and ultimately lost his starting job to Charlie Lindgren. He’s about to get another chance at a starting job on the other side of the country. On Wednesday, the Capitals and Los Angeles Kings essentially swapped problem contracts. Kuemper will head to LA, while Pierre-Luc Dubois will get (another) fresh start with the Capitals. The Kings have been desperate to find a goaltender that could help them, at the very least, get out of the first round. Is Kuemper that guy? He has been in the past, but at 34 years old and coming off the worst season of his career, it’s far from a sure thing. Even if he doesn’t find his game again, this trade might be a win for Los Angeles. They gave up some good pieces last summer to acquire Dubois from the Winnipeg Jets, and after giving him an eight-year, $68 million contract, he was a massive disappointment, putting up just 40 points in 82 games, spending most of his time in the bottom six. There were rumors that the Kings were considering buying out his contract once the Stanley Cup Final ends, which would have impacted their salary cap for years, so getting rid of the deal entirely doesn’t look too bad right now. Dubois has seven years left on his contract, while Kuemper has three years remaining on his, so at the very least, they’ve shortened the pain. Last summer, we had discussed the idea of the Avalanche acquiring Pierre-Luc Dubois to fix their second line center problem. That didn’t happen, and that’s probably for the best. At 25 (soon to be 26), he’s now on his fourth NHL team. Is this the team that can finally unlock the extremely talented Dubois and help him finally find some consistency in his game? I doubt it, but from the Capitals point of view, it makes some sense to try. With Alex Ovechkin heading towards the end of his career, they know they’re likely in line for a big rebuild soon. Might as well take a chance on a talented center and see if you can make it work. Next year’s NHL schedule won’t be released for another week or so, but the Avalanche will probably play Kuemper and the Kings at least three times next season. [...] Read more...
James NicholsJune 19, 2024The New Jersey Devils got the party started, but Wednesday was a big day for news in the NHL, specifically in the Metropolitan Division. Despite the Stanley Cup Final still ongoing, the elongated schedule has NHL General Managers eager to make moves leading up to the 2024 NHL Draft which is shortly just before this summers free agency. Just about two hours after a Devils trade with the Calgary Flames saw Jacob Markstrom head to New Jersey, the Washington Capitals trade goaltender Darcy Kuemper to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for center Pierre-Luc Dubois. The trade is one-for-one. Adding Dubois is the second big move the Capitals made this summer, the first being the acquisition of CapFriendly which will go dark shortly after free agency. Dubois signed an eight-year extension in Los Angeles after the Kings acquired the 25-year-old center last summer. LA parted with Gabriel Vilardi, Alex Iafallo, Rasmus Kupari, and a 2024 second-round pick in the trade for Dubois. 12 days before July 1st, Dubois didn’t own any trade protection and his relationship with the Kings began to dissipate due to questionable effort on the ice. Therefore, before his trade protection kicked in, he was ultimately dealt. There’s little question that Dubois has the talent to be a difference making first line center. However, he’s now on his fourth team in his career after failing to stick on a roster. Dubois scored 16 goals and 40 points in 82 games last season. His eight-year deal carries an $8.5 million average annual value. The Kings were competitors with the Devils for a goaltender. After Markstrom came off the board, Los Angeles solved their goaltending issues by acquiring Kuemper in the Capitals trade. Kuemper has has three years remaining on his contract with an average annual value of $5.25 million. For more Devils news, visit New Jersey Hockey Now and like our Facebook page. Follow us on 𝕏: @NJDHockeyNow, @JamesNicholsNHL, @NickNatale10 And on Threads: @JamesNicholsNHL [...] Read more...
Zachary SmithJune 19, 2024Welcome to the Steelers Afternoon Drive, our new daily podcast featuring all the latest Steelers news and analysis. Alan Saunders, Derrick Bell and Zachary discuss all things Pittsburgh Steelers. On today’s episode, we discuss the team moving on from Trenton Thompson and the timing of the move. Thompson stepped in admirably last season when called upon and was expected to compete for a fourth safety spot with the likes of Ryan Watts. We then dive into the state of the defensive line and look at not only the short-term outlook, but also the long-term. Beyond Keenu, what will the defensive trenches look like beyond 2024? Benton is an extremely important player not only now, but certainly going forward. Let’s go for another Steelers Afternoon Drive and discuss! Check out the show on our YouTube page, or find it on Megaphone or wherever you get your podcasts. Got a question for the guys? Leave a comment on YouTube, here on the website, or find them on Twitter at @ASaunders_PGH and @ZacharySmithPGH Hey fans! We want to see your black and gold rides! Show us your car, truck or van that’s painted in Pittsburgh colors, decorated with logos or Terrible Towels, covered in bumper stickers, or uses some other way to show off your dedication to the Black and Gold. [...] Read more...
Dan KelleyJune 19, 2024The 2024 NFL Draft saw six quarterbacks selected in Round 1. Six quarterbacks went in the first 12 selections, including the top three. The draft began with Caleb Williams going to the Chicago Bears. The Washington Commanders followed by picking Jayden Daniels. New England Patriots opted to keep the quarterback trend going, taking Drake Maye third overall. Michael Penix Jr. (No. 8 to Atlanta), J.J. McCarthy (No. 10 to Minnesota), and Bo Nix (No. 12 to Denver) rounded out the Round 1 quarterbacks. The 2024 draft tied 1983 for the most quarterbacks selected in Round 1 of an NFL Draft. That original group featured future Hall of Fame members John Elway, Dan Marino, and Jim Kelly. It’s impossible to project if any of this year’s class is destined for Canton before playing in an NFL game. So when will that take place? One NFL analyst took an educated guess on when each of the six rookies will make their first NFL start. When Will the Rookie Quarterbacks Start? Josh Edwards of CBS Sports predicted when each of the six quarterbacks would make their starting debut. He opined that half would get the nod in Week 1, two would first start mid-season, and one would play apprentice throughout their rookie campaign. Caleb Williams has already been named the starter in Chicago, making it an easy prediction. Michael Penix Jr. is behind Kirk Cousins on Atlanta’s depth chart. Cousins will start all season for the Falcons, barring injury or something unforeseen. But there is a bit more mystery to the other four rookies. Edwards thinks Jayden Daniels and Bo Nix will start Week 1 for the Commanders and Broncos respectively. J.J. McCarthy was predicted to be a Week 11 starter for the Vikings, with Drake Maye joining his fellow rookies in Week 11. Commentary on Drake Maye Edwards wrote, “It would not be a surprise if he (Jacoby Brissett) held off Maye for the entirety of the 2024 regular season.” He even mentions a scenario in which the New England Patriots move Brissett at the NFL Trade Deadline. However, Edwards concludes that Brissett will remain with the Patriots throughout 2024. “Brissett is assumed to stay in this scenario and Maye would make his debut Nov. 17 at home against the Rams,” writed Edwards. “Four of the final seven games are at home with the off week in there to recalibrate and create a plan for the remaining games. It is an opportunity for the rookie to create some positive momentum heading into the offseason. Brissett’s short-term deal suggests that the Patriots want the North Carolina product to be in a position to take ownership of the team in Year 2.” Evaluation of the Timeline New England head coach Jerod Mayo stated his quarterbacks will compete to start. Is this “open competition” sentiment sincere? That remains to be seen. As discussed on Patriots Football Now last week, Mayo needs to be careful about making more statements that prove untrue. If Mayo already decided Brissett will start Week 1, saying so is not a negative. Fans and media alike are more apt to be annoyed by Maye not starting if he appears to win a reportedly open competition. The Patriots are in an interesting situation. They shouldn’t worry about starting the quarterback that gives the team the best chance to win in a given week. That’s what makes predicting when Drake Maye will make his first NFL start so difficult. Drake Maye should make his first NFL start when having him start is best for Maye’s long-term development. Some quarterbacks benefit by sitting for a season, possibly longer. Others take a beating by starting immediately but benefit from it. Troy Aikman and Peyton Manning are two such examples. The last New England quarterback drafted this high was Drew Bledsoe in 1993. He began his rookie season by losing 7-of-8 starts. Bledsoe won his final four starts of the season. He made his first Pro Bowl in 1994. By 1996, he helped lead the Patriots to an AFC Championship. If Jerod Mayo is believed, the New England Patriots have yet to start a timetable for Drake Maye to become the starter. It could happen in Week 1, Week 11, or 2025. The important thing is the franchise realizes this decision should not be predicated on winning any particular Sunday. Maye’s success over the next decade is what each decision in New England should be based on. It’s up to the Patriots organization to get it right. [...] Read more...
Jonathan BaileyJune 19, 2024According to a report from TSN’s Travis Yost, the Philadelphia Flyers and Ottawa Senators have put together the framework for a trade, though the deal might not be finalized up until or during the 2024 NHL Draft. While speculation of a potential trade runs wild on social media, Yost was also first on the Jacob Markstrom trade that saw the veteran Swedish goaltender flip from the Calgary Flames to the New Jersey Devils in what was arguably the most anticipated trade of the summer. Believe the Ottawa Senators and Philadelphia Flyers have the framework of a trade in place as well, though this one may go closer to the Draft. — Travis Yost (@travisyost) June 19, 2024 The Senators have long been interested in veteran Flyers forward Scott Laughton, who made public his desire to remain in Philadelphia for the long haul during his exit interview in April. In addition to Laughton, some other popular NHL trade targets on the Flyers include center Morgan Frost and All-Star winger Travis Konecny, though the latter is expected to sign a long-term contract extension this summer. Additionally, star Senators defenseman Jakob Chychrun was multiple family ties to the Flyers organization, as dad Jeff Chychrun and uncle, Chicago Blackhawks head coach Luke Richardson, both played for the Flyers in the 1990s. Jeff played for the Flyers from 1986-87 to 1990-91 while Richardson joined later, staying in Philadelphia from 1997-98 to 2001-02. Chychrun, 26, also appeared in all 82 regular season games for the first time in his NHL career, which dates back to 2016-17. He could make an excellent defense partner for Jamie Drysdale should both players manage to stay healthy. Something else to monitor ahead of the 2024 NHL Draft is the status of Senators center Shane Pinto, who was linked to the Flyers last offseason to no avail. Pinto, 23, combines his 6-foot-2 size with his scoring ability; through two full NHL seasons, Pinto has 30 goals, 40 assists, and 70 points in 140 games. The Franklin Square, New York native was suspended 41 games in the 2023-24 season for violating the NHL’s policy on sports gambling and is currently a restricted free agent. As a young, big center, Pinto is one of many ideal Flyers trade candidates with the draft looming. The Flyers currently hold the 12th overall selection in the 2024 NHL Draft, while the Senators hold the seventh overall selection. [...] Read more...
Dan KingerskiJune 19, 2024The NHL generally frowns on big news during the Stanley Cup Final, but with the elongated series lasting deep into June, teams are getting on with their off-seasons. And the NHL trade market brought the Washington Capitals together with a surprise dance partner, as the New York Rangers got free salary cap relief. As reported to be a possibility, the San Jose Sharks claimed Barclay Goodrow off waivers from the New York Rangers. San Jose assumed Goodrow’s remaining three years with a $3.64 million cap hit. San Jose finished with the worst record in the NHL and will draft Macklin Celebrini as the first overall pick in next week’s 2024 NHL Draft. Goodrow will add toughness and depth, though he scored just four goals this season. Goodrow does have a pair of Stanley Cup rings earned with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Goodrow, 31, began his career with San Jose in 2014-15, playing 60 games. In 2019-20, he was traded to Tampa Bay. Capitals Trade Last June, the LA Kings acquired out-of-favor center Pierre-Luc Dubois from the Winnipeg Jets and signed him to an eight-year contract with an $8.5 million salary cap hit. LA parted with Gabriel Vilardi, Alex Iafallo, Rasmus Kupari, and a 2024 second-round pick in the trade. The contract was almost immediately panned an overreach, and Dubois did not perform well in LA. He scored just 16 goals with 40 points in 82 games. Just one year later, LA traded Dubois in a bad-salary swap with the Washington Capitals, getting back goaltender Darcy Kuemper. According to reports, neither side held back any salary. Kuemper, 34, slumped this season with an .890 save percentage and eventually lost the Capitals’ starting job to Charlie Lindgren. He has three years remaining on his contract, which has an average annual value of $5.25 million. Kuemper has a Stanley Cup ring after backstopping the Colorado Avalanche to the 2021 Stanley Cup. Devils Trade The New Jersey Devils became a Stanley Cup contender in one quick move. After a few months of attempts and perhaps one trade that was rumored to have been squashed by the top levels of the Calgary Flames management, the Devils got their goalie. Wednesday, Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald gave up young, big defenseman Kevin Bahl and the Devils’ 2025 first-round pick in exchange for 34-year-old goalie Jacob Markstrom. This season, Markstrom posted a .905 save percentage behind the struggling Flames team and had a 23-23-2 record. The 6-foot-6 goalie has finished top five in Vezina Trophy voting twice, including as a finalist in 2021-22. The Devils’ weak spot in 2023-24 was indeed goaltending as a group of goalies, including Vitek Vanecek, Akira Schmid, and Jake Allen, who was acquired from the Montreal Canadiens near the NHL trade deadline, failed to do the job. [...] Read more...
Danny DemilioJune 19, 2024PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Cincinnati Reds 1-0 in the rubber match of a three-game series on Wednesday afternoon at PNC Park. Mitch Keller led the Pirates by throwing seven-plus shutout innings as he continues to roll ever since the start of May. Keller threw a complete game against the Los Angeles Angels on May 6, his first start of the month. It was the first of now eight starts in a row in which Keller has tossed at least six innings. Over that stretch, he has a 1.54 ERA and has allowed more than two runs in a start once. “I think the efficiency. That’s the thing,” manager Derek Shelton said on the key for Keller of late. “He’s been efficient. And today, he had really good stuff. I think the most impressive thing is he’s had a couple starts where he hasn’t had good stuff and he’s still giving us those innings. When you become a pitcher of that caliber, that’s what the expectation is. And he’s really stepped up to that role.” Keller’s start on Wednesday was the third strong outing from Pirates’ starting pitchers during their series against the Reds. On Monday night, rookie Paul Skenes allowed one run in six innings pitched and struck out seven in a 4-1 Pirates’ win. On Tuesday, Bailey Falter surrendered a pair of runs across seven innings but the Pirates fell 2-1. As good as the starting pitching has been for the Pirates, their collective work against Cincinnati this week raised the bar. Take into account seven-scoreless innings from the bullpen and the pitching unit was firing on all cylinders. “I don’t know if we’ve pitched better than we did in this series,” Shelton said following Wednesday’s win. The starting rotation was a question mark heading into the season but has carried the team to a 36-38 record and the thick of a crowded Wild Card mix at the halfway point of the season inches closer. The bullpen looked like it was going to be a key strength of the team at the start of the season. After a sluggish start from the crop of relievers, the bullpen has gotten better as the year has gone on. “I think they’re hitting their groove right now,” Keller said of the bullpen. “Any time you give the ball over to Holderman, I have really good confidence and anybody, really, coming out of the pen. Our relief guys are really nasty.” While the collective pitching carried the Pirates’ to a very important series win, it was the offense that prevented an even sweeter series sweep. To the Pirates’ credit, they did face two very good young pitchers. Left-hander Nick Lodolo, the winning pitcher on Tuesday, is 8-2 with a 2.76 ERA. Hunter Greene, who blanked the Pirates across 6.1 innings on Wednesday, sports a 5-2 record with a 3.35 ERA. But if the Pirates do end up reaching their ultimate goal of the postseason, they are going to face good pitching day in and day out. Even with the efforts of the pitching staff, the offense will need to provide more run support. At the conclusion of play on Wednesday, the Pirates rank 22nd in baseball with 299 runs scored, an average of 4.04 runs per game. The Bucs are 25th in batting average (.230), and 26th in both on-base percentage (.298) and slugging (.360). If the starting pitching can continue to perform at a high level as they have been all season and the bullpen continues to emerge, improved offense could be what separates the Pirates from the rest of the pack in the Wild Card race. “We’ve got to do all three to play good baseball,” said Bryan Reynolds, whose game-winning home run on Wednesday extended his hitting streak to 17 games. “That’s our goal.” [...] Read more...
Sheng PengJune 19, 2024There’s plenty to like about the player that Ty Dellandrea is now — and there’s still some upside. That’s the enthusiastic verdict from five league sources that San Jose Hockey Now reached out to about the San Jose Sharks acquiring Dellandrea from the Dallas Stars for a 2025 fourth-round pick. Two NHL scouts and two coaches, none with the Sharks, and another league source talked up Dellandrea. On the surface, the 23-year-old Dellandrea is your typical reclamation project. The 13th pick of the 2018 Draft, Dellandrea has yet to establish himself as a regular in the Stars’ line-up. This season, the 6-foot-2 center-winger was a frequent healthy scratch, scoring just two goals and seven assists in a fourth-line role in 42 games. Of course, Dallas is as deep a team as there is in the NHL. “Ready to break through, needs a chance to play every night,” Scout #1 said. “13th pick wasn’t given a real chance on a super-strong club…love those odds.” Of course, the Stars could’ve simply qualified the pending RFA, to the tune of just $945,000. But the Cup contenders don’t have space for him, apparently. So let’s not get ahead of ourselves either…Dellandrea isn’t a top player, at least not yet. “Lost his confidence this year,” Coach #1 said. But unlike a lot of reclamation projects, Dellandrea is already a solid player in his own right. In 2022-23, he appeared in all 82 regular games, notching nine goals and 19 assists, and 16 of 19 playoff contests for a still-strong Dallas squad. “He’s an NHL full-time player,” Scout #1 said. “Non-stop workaholic,” a league source said. “Tenacious player. Motor always running. Good penalty killer,” Coach #1 said. Dellandrea sounds like that “hard to play against” type that was too often missing from the San Jose Sharks’ line-up last year. He also projects to be a great fit with young guns Macklin Celebrini and Will Smith and William Eklund, and the winning culture that GM Mike Grier is trying to re-establish in San Jose. “Great character. Great dressing room guy. Great teammate. The kind of guy you want your young skill guys to be around,” Coach #2 said. Coach #1 agreed: “Fantastic kid and will be a great leader if he can establish himself in the NHL.” So Dellandrea appears to be at least a quality fourth-liner in an NHL line-up at the moment, with real hope for more. “Great pick-up,” Scout #1 gushed. “I like him and think this was a good move by San Jose,” Scout #2 said. “Still young and will get a much better opportunity.” [...] Read more...
Chris WardJune 19, 2024Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Patrick Queen has had some disputes on social media with Ravens fans and the Baltimore media since signing with the Steelers in March. But, in regards to his former teammates, it’s just been playful banter. However, Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey recently said that Queen should be careful what he wishes for. “I’m not hating on Pittsburgh or hating on PQ. But I’ve been with the Ravens for awhile. I’ve seen this same story go down with a lot of guys. ‘It’s the best place on Earth, this new place, it’s not like the Ravens.’ Reality sets in eventually. I hope it’s great over there. But you know sometimes, I’m just saying, I’ve seen it once or twice,” Humphrey said on his Punch Line podcast. The same could be said for several Steelers players who left the organization, however. Le’Veon Bell is a prime example. It’s not like Queen signed with the Carolina Panthers, which is probably the worst-run organization in the NFL. Queen is in a great atmosphere and playing for one of the best coaches in the NFL in Mike Tomlin. Tomlin is stoked that Queen is a Steeler, too. “You get an opportunity to get a guy like Queen, man; it doesn’t matter about the other components of the equation,” Tomlin said at minicamp. “He’s just a good, well-rounded football player, and he showed that here in a football-like environment. Can’t wait to get him to Latrobe.” During OTAs, Queen attacked the culinary scene of Baltimore in an interview with Mark Kaboly of The Athletic. Overall, he thinks Pittsburgh is just a better fit for him. “It was a no-brainer,” Queen said. “At the end of the day, money makes you happy, but you also have to win to be happy. I’d rather win and be happy than be miserable with a lot of money. It’s a better atmosphere here for me. Everybody is cool, the people are cool, the players are cool and the food spots are better. I am a big food guy. I love food. I am more of a true food guy rather than a seafood guy. I like meat and stuff like that. It’s just a better atmosphere for me here.” Humphrey joked that Queen went too far with attacking Baltimore’s culinary scene. “I don’t even understand why he had to go in on Baltimore like that,” Humphrey said. “The city’s better, the food’s better, the color’s better. I don’t know what PQ has got going on. I know he’s happy over there. I did check in on my guy.” Queen declared shortly after signing with the Steelers that he’s OK with being the “bad guy” in the Steelers-Ravens rivalry. “It’s going to be weird, but I want to be that villain. I want to be that guy. I’m looking to do some stuff to them,” Queen said. Queen and the Steelers will face the Ravens this season on Nov. 17 in Pittsburgh and Dec. 21 in Baltimore.   [...] Read more...
Jonathan BaileyJune 19, 2024The Lehigh Valley Phantoms, in conjunction with the Philadelphia Flyers, announced on Wednesday afternoon that head coach Ian Laperriere would remain with the Phantoms after signing a two-year contract extension lasting until 2026. Laperriere, 50, has been the Phantoms’ head coach for the last three seasons and guided the AHL club to the second round of the Calder Cup playoffs this season. As a player, Laperriere played 16 seasons in the NHL and spent his final one–the 2009-10 season–as a member of the Flyers. The NHL veteran of 1,083 games has held various roles in the Flyers organization since retiring, which, of course, includes his current position as Phantoms head coach. “In his three years behind the bench, we have seen consistent improvement and valuable experience gained from our prospects playing with the Phantoms, and they have been able to step in seamlessly to the Flyers when called upon,” Flyers general manager Danny Briere said of Laperriere. “In addition, the team has had a steady increase of success which saw the Calder Cup Playoffs return to the great fans in Lehigh Valley. I strongly believe that is a credit to Ian and his staff, and we are happy to have him lead our top development club for the next several years.” Through three seasons at the helm of the Phantoms, Laperriere has a record of 98-92-30 and has coached several Flyers players during that time, including Cam York, Tyson Foerster, Egor Zamula, Olle Lycksell, Bobby Brink, Sam Ersson, and Morgan Frost. Looking ahead towards the future, Laperriere will be tasked with further developing other top Flyers prospects, including the recently re-signed Adam Ginning, Emil Andrae, Alexei Kolosov, Samu Tuomaala, Hunter McDonald, Massimo Rizzo, and potentially other players added in the 2024 NHL Draft. In a few months time, London Knights standouts Denver Barkey and Oliver Bonk, among others, will be joining Laperriere’s crew in Allentown. [...] Read more...
Andrew FantucchioJune 19, 2024The trade market for goalies is officially set following a pair of deals on Wednesday afternoon. First reported by Travis Yost of TSN, the New Jersey Devils acquired netminder Jacob Markstrom in a trade with the Calgary Flames. In exchange, the Flames received 23-year-old defenseman Kevin Bahl and New Jersey’s first-round pick in next year’s draft, which is top-10 protected. Calgary is also retaining 31.25% of the salary remaining on Markstrom’s contract over the next two seasons. A few hours after the Marsktrom deal was announced, Sportnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported the Los Angeles Kings agreed to trade center Pierre Luc-Dubois to the Washington Capitals for goalie Darcy Kuemper. Now that two goalies are off the NHL trade market, all eyes will shift to the Boston Bruins, who are still shopping Linus Ullmark. However, finding a trade partner will be much harder than before for Bruins general manager Don Sweeney now that the Devils and Kings, two of the teams with perhaps the biggest need in goal this summer, are no longer interested. As for the teams still known to be looking for an upgrade in net, the Carolina Hurricanes and Ottawa Senators remain. Carolina is trying to find a new home for Martin Necas, and Ottawa has said it’s willing to give up its first-round pick in this year’s draft, as well as defenseman Jakob Chychrun. Even still, Ullmark’s contract situation makes executing a trade difficult. With just one year remaining on his current deal, Ullmark is set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. It’s doubtful that any potential buyer will be willing to give up high-priced assets without a guarantee that Ullmark is willing to stick with them beyond this upcoming season. But before that can even be discussed, there’s the matter of whether or not Ullmark will agree to be traded in the first place, as he has a 15-team no-movement clause attached to his contract. The Bruins have been trying to strike a trade involving Ullmark for months but are quickly running out of time to get a deal done, with the 2024 NHL Entry Draft in Las Vegas fast approaching. Boston currently owns just three selections this year, none of which come in the first three rounds, and trading away Ullmark before the draft begins next Friday is the most obvious way Sweeney can restock on picks the Bruins desperately need. The countdown to the draft, coupled with Markstrom and Keumper being off the market, should only speed up conversations surrounding Ullmark. Undoubtedly, the inevitable trade of Ullmark was always going to be challenging for the Bruins, and it has been up to this point. But in the span of a few short hours, it just became increasingly more difficult. FOLLOW ANDREW FANTUCCHIO ON 𝕏: @A_FANTUCCHIO FOLLOW BOSTON HOCKEY NOW ON 𝕏 AND FACEBOOK [...] Read more...
Nate BrownJune 19, 2024While the NHL Draft will captivate, and rightly so for the next two weeks, what about free agency? It’ll sneak around the corner as draft grades are submitted. Chicago Hockey Now will look at some potential free agent targets that could benefit the Chicago Blackhawks. Today we look at Tyler Bertuzzi. Bertuzzi is a player I know well covering the Detroit Red Wings, a second-round pick who rose through the ranks as a fan and teammate favorite. The 29-year-old posted a career year in 2022 with 30 goals, but hasn’t been able to replicate that since. With Toronto, he signed a show-me deal worth $5.5M, potting 21 goals and 43 points in 80 games. The good news there is he played a full season as injuries have limited him in previous seasons. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of Tyler Bertuzzi and the Blackhawks. Why Tyler Bertuzzi Works For the Blackhawks Beyond being a favorite in the room, Bertuzzi is just a reckless force on the ice. Need him to block a shot? He’ll do it. Provide a hard check? Bertuzzi again. Score a big goal–he’s had a few. But the “Chicago Blackhawks hockey” mantra or identity pieces that Nick Foligno and Seth Jones spoke of is Tyler Bertuzzi. He’s going to sacrifice his body and do the little things the Blackhawks need. Bertuzzi will play his role, which also includes that of an irritant under the skin of opponents. A last piece – he’s familiar with many in the locker room already in both Nick Foligno and Andreas Athanasiou. The former picked him up from the airport when he was traded to Boston. The latter, once upon a time, was considered a foundational piece for the Detroit Red Wings. Which brings us to the counterpoint. Why Tyler Bertuzzi Doesn’t Make Sense for the Blackhawks The foundational piece never really settled with the Red Wings. In a contract year following that 30-goal season, Bertuzzi was shipped to the Boston Bruins after failing to come even close to his career best a year prior. Though a fan favorite, there were rumblings that management wasn’t as fond of Bertuzzi. While Bertuzzi saw an increase in points with the Maple Leafs, the goals didn’t come until later in the year. Detroit Hockey Now chronicled Bertuzzi’s struggles and 50 games into the season, the gritty winger recorded just six goals. In his final 30? 15. So while he recovered well, another aspect of Bertuzzi is his streakiness. The Blackhawks, no offense to him, have enough of those players on the roster already. Beyond that, the late season surge likely earned a decent enough pay raise that might make him a little rich for the Blackhawks blood. He’ll likely want some term, too, as he turns 30 next February. Between age, cost, term, and streakiness that might prove more maddening than magical for a team trying to escape a hellish two years of rebuilding. Final Verdict There’s no doubt that Bertuzzi could be a great depth piece for the Blackhawks but much of it would be contingent on what he’s looking for with price and term. General manager Kyle Davidson isn’t going to hand out a five-year deal to a winger who has been inconsistent the last few seasons. Perhaps overpaying a bit and keeping term at two years could work–but would Tyler Bertuzzi bite on that? The forward would bring some snarl to a lineup that needs more of it, but an inability to score consistently for what will likely command a contract in the $5.5M to $6M range might just be a little too much. One final piece: Bertuzzi has chased a Cup now with the Bruins and Maple Leafs, with both ending in disappointing first round exits. The Blackhawks are at least two-three seasons away from really challenging for a playoff spot so is he willing to go through a similar route he did with Detroit? There are certainly some fits there for sure, but if the price isn’t right, it’s probably a pass on the Blackhawks end. Find Chicago Hockey Now on Facebook and Twitter Follow Nate on Twitter Follow Vinnie on Twitter [...] Read more...
Alan SaundersJune 19, 2024PITTSBURGH — Keeanu Benton had an extremely impressive rookie season for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2023, but to hear him talk about it right now, Benton’s biggest takeaway was how much better it could have been. The team’s second of two second-round draft picks last April, Benton became a starter at nose tackle midway through his rookie season, filling in for an injured Montravius Adams, and ended up playing 43% of the team’s defensive snaps. He recorded 36 tackles, eight quarterback hits, one sack, one tackle for loss, two pass breakups and two forced fumbles. It was an extremely impressive performance for the rookie. But just getting one sack is something that’s still haunting him. “When we watched the tape, he left seven sacks on the field,” defensive line coach Karl Dunbar said during minicamp last week. “He has to finish. That’s the thing, I think.” Benton said the issue was that while he understood his role as an interior defensive lineman, he wasn’t up to speed enough on what the whole defense was doing to take advantage of situations as they occurred. “I feel like sometimes, I was double teamed and then guys were peeling off because we got a blitzer that in my mind, I’m not thinking about,” Benton said. “He comes off, I’m right here to make a sack, boom, I don’t make it, because I’m not ready. Just knowing the defense in general, when I can take those chances, and get after the quarterback.” Because the Steelers eased him into his role, Benton said that it was the mental challenge of the game that feels like he can improve upon the most, rather than the physical. “Everybody talks about the rookie wall and how hard it is as a rookie,” he said. “I feel that way mentally, but physically I was just so still in the dream that every time I got to play in the NFL, in this jersey and Steelers helmet, it was amazing, no matter what. So I don’t feel like the physical aspect was a problem for me. Just mentally knowing those plays and taking that next step in the second year.” That’s not to say that Benton hasn’t changed physically. He lost a little bit of weight from last year, and Dunbar believes that no matter what the scale says, he’s in better physical position to make an impact in 2024. “You can see his body is changing,” Dunbar said. “He has a professional body. Last year, he did the combine, all the dang old pro days, the banquet circuit. Now, he’s had a whole offseason to train his body and you can tell, just by watching him run around.” During this spring practices, Benton showed off that increased athleticism by being a huge pain in the butt to the Steelers’ quarterbacks, getting way up to bat down some passes and chasing around even the hyper-athletic Justin Fields. “I lost some weight,” Benton said. “I feel good.” “I think the next step is just being consistent,” Dunbar added. “He didn’t start until what, Game 6 or 7 when Montravius got hurt and he’s shown steady progress the whole time. He’s a big guy who is athletic, he’s powerful and he’s smart. That’s the next progression for him, just being consistent.” Benton also thinks that, as the Steelers begin the process of turning over their defensive line from Cam Heyward, Larry Ogunjobi and Adams to a new generation, that he can be a leader of that group. “I feel like I’m staring become one of those guys that younger guys can turn to and ask questions or new guys can turn to and ask questions,” he said. “I take pride in that, I’ve just got to keep it going.” IF “The sky’s the limit for that guy,” Austin said at minicamp on Wednesday. “I think the world of him right now. He’s got a lot of room for growth. He’s going to get a lot of pointers from a guy who is really good in Cam . I just expect him really to take a jump and be a dominant player inside.” [...] Read more...
George Richards, FHN PublisherJune 19, 2024The Florida Panthers will once again open up their arena for a watch party Friday night when the Florida Panthers visit the Edmonton Oilers for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. After drawing large crowds to Sunrise for Games 3 and 4 — and, having a lot of the tickets soaked up by scalpers — the team changed its strategy and significantly raised prices for this one. For the first two watch parties, tickets were $10 each and seating was first come, first served. Wednesday morning, the team opened up sales to its season-ticket holders allowing them to select reserve seating in the lower bowl for $40 per ticket. Upper deck seating is also reserved and cost $10. No One Covers the Florida Panthers Like FHN. Period. Subscribe to Florida Hockey Now Today! The team says “a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Florida Panthers Foundation.’’ Game 6 is Friday at 8 p.m., with doors to the arena opening at 7. Parking is included in the price and concession prices are lowered from usual game day pricing. Tickets can be purchased HERE or by visiting FloridaPanthers.com/PlayoffCentral. More FHN Coverage of the Florida Panthers: Like our Facebook Page Follow us on Twitter: @GeorgeRichards // @ColbyDGuy // @TheGovMan Subscribe to the FHN YouTube Channel Visit the FHN Team Shop at TeePublic and RedBubble 2024 STANLEY CUP FINAL EDMONTON OILERS VS. FLORIDA PANTHERS  GAME 6 Panthers Lead Best of 7 Series 3-2 When: Friday, 8 p.m. Where: Rogers Place; Edmonton, Alberta National TV: ABC Streaming: ESPN+/Hulu Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app Series Schedule, All Games 8 p.m. on ABC — Game 1: @Florida 3, Edmonton 0;Game 2: @Florida 4, Edmonton 1; Game 3: Florida 4, @Edmonton 3; Game 4: @Edmonton 8, Florida 1; Game 5: Edmonton 5, @Florida 3; Game 6: Florida at Edmonton, Friday; Game 7*:Edmonton at Florida, Monday June 24. (*) – If Necessary How They Got Here — Florida: d. Tampa Bay 4-1, Boston 4-2, New York Rangers 4-2; Edmonton: d. Los Angeles 4-1, Vancouver 4-3, Dallas 4-2. This Season (Florida Won 2-0) — At Florida: Panthers 5, Oilers 3 (Nov. 20). At Edmonton: Panthers 5, Oilers 2 (Dec. 17). Last Season: Edmonton Won 2-0 All-time Regular Season Series: Oilers lead 23-16-0, 3 ties Postseason History: First Meeting [...] Read more...
Dan KelleyJune 19, 2024The New England Patriots released offensive guard Ryan Johnson on Monday. A day later, the team added his roster replacement. The Patriots signed Liam Fornadel, filling the lone opening on their 90-man offseason roster. New England continues to have 18 offensive linemen under contract heading into training camp. Let’s take a closer look at the players involved in the moves. Ryan Johnson Johnson was invited to the Patriots’ rookie minicamp after not being selected in the 2024 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-4, 315-pound guard impressed enough to sign as a UDFA. He participated in OTAs in mandatory minicamp. Before entering the NFL, Johnson began his college career at Duquesne. He eventually transferred to Youngstown State. A veteran of 32 college games, Johnson has excellent size for a guard. He was projected to have the versatility to play all along the offensive line. Liam Fornadel Although Fonadel is listed as a guard, he was a versatile offensive lineman in college. In his collegiate career at James Madison, Fornadel began as a guard. He moved to right tackle for two seasons before moving over to left tackle in his final season. He went undrafted in 2022 but was invited to rookie minicamp with the Steelers, though he never signed with Pittsburgh. Since then, Liam Fornadel has been a member of the D.C. Defenders. The Defenders played in the XFL (Fonadel was selected to the 2023 All-UFL Team) before the XFL and USFL merged to form the UFL in 2024, where he continued to play for the franchise. The United Football League season ended Sunday (with Tom Brady in the broadcast booth) and New England wasted no time signing Fornadel once it did. Fonadel’s versatility is clearly attractive to New England. Jerod Mayo stated that if a player can play guard, he expects them to be able to play center. If they play right tackle, they’d be expected to be able to play on the left side. With this logic, Liam Fornadel could lineup at any spot along the offensive line based on his playing experience. How that ability translates to NFL competition remains to be seen. Stay tuned. Also in today’s Patriots Daily: Daily Patriots Fun Fact The James Madison Dukes have produced 25 NFL players. This includes Pro Football Hall of Fame member Charles Haley. However, none of the Dukes have played for the Patriots. Liam Fornadel has an opportunity to become the first. Post of the Day Today’s post is courtesy of Bobby Football, with a look at Liam Fornadel playing with a mean streak that made Logan Mankins so popular with the New England Patriots for a decade: New England Patriots Patriots Football Now – Many former New England Patriots players are still involved in pro football. Some are coaches, others are broadcasters and analysts. A few have gone the executive route, including Ray Agnew with the Detroit Lions and Roman Phifer of the Denver Broncos. Phifer joined this year’s annual Ozzie Newsome GM Forum. Patriots Football Now – The Boston Celtics won the 2024 NBA Championship on Monday night. New England Patriots including captain Ja’Whaun Bentley and rookie quarterback Drake Maye. Boston sports teams have enjoyed a wealth of success over the past 24 years, including Bentley’s Super Bowl win in 2018. When will Boston win another championship? Boston Bruins Boston Hockey Now – The Florida Panthers couldn’t close out the Edmonton Oilers in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final last night. They now head back to Edmonton for Game 6. Meanwhile, where the Panthers can win the first Cup in franchise history. The Boston Bruins 2024 run ended in Round 1 against Florida, but the Bruins still have a lot happening. With free agency looming and the 2024 NHL Draft on the horizon, check out BHN for all the latest coverage. PFN+ Subscribe here or on Boston Hockey Now to get a subscription to both sites. Subscribers get bonus coverage such as NFL Draft scouting reports and weekly NFL Power Rankings. It also provides a completely ad-free experience on the sites. Use code KELLEY10 and get $10 off a yearly subscription. New England Patriots and Boston Bruins coverage with no ads and bonus content for less than 8¢ a day! [...] Read more...
Danny DemilioJune 19, 2024PITTSBURGH — Bryan Reynolds extended his hitting streak to 17 games with a solo home run to break a scoreless tie in the eighth after Mitch Keller delivered another excellent start for the Pittsburgh Pirates in a 1-0 win over the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park on Wednesday. With two outs in the eighth inning, Reynolds belted a solo home run to center field off of Reds relief pitcher Fernando Cruz (3-6). B REY GIVES US THE LEAD! pic.twitter.com/Hp9EqHlN7R — Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) June 19, 2024 The homer was the Pirates’ third hit of the game and Reynolds’ first. His 17-game hitting streak matches his career-high from 2019. Mitch Keller efficiently navigated the Reds’ lineup through seven innings before issuing a leadoff walk to Stuart Fairchild to open the eighth inning. After the free pass, manager Derek Shelton called for Colin Holderman out of the bullpen to relieve Keller. Holderman (3-0) stranded Fairchild by retiring the three batters he faced in order.  In his seven-plus innings, Keller allowed only two hits, walked a pair and struck out seven batters.  It was the 45th-straight time Keller pitched at least five innings and the eighth-straight start he went six-plus innings.  Keller capped off a 1-2-2 first inning with a strikeout of Spencer Steer, giving the Pirates’ right-hander 600 strikeouts in his career.  For the Reds (35-39), Greene shut out the Pirates (36-38) on two hits across 6.1 innings and struck out nine. David Bednar sealed the rubber match victory with a scoreless ninth inning, his 16th save of the season and 15th conversion in a row. Up Next The Pirates have an off day on Thursday before the start of a weekend series with the Rays on Friday night. Neither club has announced a starting pitcher. First pitch: 6:40 ET. News And Notes The Pirates reinstated Alika Williams from the 10-day injured list and optioned him to Triple-A Indianapolis. [...] Read more...
Richard GegickJune 19, 2024The Edmonton Oilers stayed alive in the Stanley Cup Final on Tuesday night with a 5-3 road victory over the Florida Panthers. Ahead of Game 6 at 8 p.m. this Friday at Rogers Place, the Conn Smythe Winner sports betting markets are wide open. What was a sure shot in this market less than a week ago (Florida G Sergei Bobrovsky), isn’t so sure now. Game 5 may have been the marquee game of Oilers’ C Connor McDavid’s career. McDavid netted two goals and added two helpers in a must-win game. McDavid is now the favorite to win the Conn Smythe trophy with -160 odds, but is he the best bet? Sergei Bobrovsky +625 Bobrovsky hasn’t been great these last two games, allowing nine goals while facing 40 shots. Recency bias aside, Bob was almost perfect throughout the 2024 postseason. The Florida goaltender posted a 2.07 goals against average and a .918 save percentage before Game 4. A stellar performance with a Panthers victory in the next two games will likely get him the award. At +600, this is a classic “buy low” bet. New customers at BetMGM Sportsbook receive up to $1,500 in bonus bets should their first bet lose. Matthew Tkachuk +5000 Florida Panthers LW Matthew Tkachuk leads all Florida Panthers with 22 postseason points. C Alexander Barkov’s magnificent two-way play and Bobrovksy’s Ken Dryden impression get all the headline attention, but Tkachuk is a blood-and-guts Canadian power forward. If Florida wins the series, there’s a chance that Bobrovsky, Alexander Barkov, and Connor McDavid will split the Conn Smythe voting, leaving a lane for the 50 to 1 Tkachuk. Some Game 6 and 7 heroics could push him over the top in the minds of Conn Smythe voters. Sign up at FanDuel Sportsbook for $200 in bonus bets should your first $5 bet win. Connor McDavid -160 Players won’t get a better number than this in the Conn Smythe betting market. If you believe Edmonton can defeat the Florida Panthers, you should bet on Connor McDavid now. McDavid leads the postseason in scoring with 42 points. He broke Wayne Gretzky’s playoff assists record, surpassing the Great One’s 31 in 1987. And when his team needed him the most, Connor delivered. With Canada’s Stanley Cup hopes hanging by a thread these past two games, he’s scored three goals and five assists. Connor McDavid to win the Conn Smythe is a lock should the Edmonton Oilers win the Stanley Cup. He may win the award even if the Oilers lose. McDavid is within striking distance of Gretzky’s 1985 total of 47 points. He will likely pass Pittsburgh Penguins legend Mario Lemieux’s 1991 41 points. Sports betting doesn’t get any easier than with DraftKings. Create a DraftKings Sportsbook account today and bet $5 to receive $150 in bonus bets. [...] Read more...
Colby GuyJune 19, 2024SUNRISE — When talking about how great of a playoff run Connor McDavid is having, one has to look no further than his assist on the eventual game-winning goal in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final to help the Edmonton Oilers drag the Florida Panthers back to Alberta. McDavid was boxed in by all four penalty killers in a fashion that almost nobody on earth could wiggle their way out of. But this is Connor friggin’ McDavid we’re talking about here… McDavid found the tiniest of holes between Dmitry Kulikov and Niko Mikkola, performed a windmill deke to perfection with both of them reaching in to try and get the stick off of him, and blew right past them while retaining possession before dishing the puck off to Corey Perry. That’s just what the greatest player of this generation is capable of doing, no matter how good you defend him. No One Covers the Florida Panthers Like FHN. Period. Subscribe to Florida Hockey Now Today! The Panthers have learned that the hard way over the past couple of games. After taking a 3-0 lead behind valiant defensive efforts and excellent goaltending by Sergei Bobrovsky, Florida appeared to have that figured out — but you cannot hold McDavid down forever. In Games 3 and 4, McDavid rattled off a total of eight points — four points in each game — and all of a sudden it’s a 3-2 series heading back to Edmonton. He is a special enough player to single-handedly take over a series, and he has been doing that all series. And perhaps he is doing it better than anyone else has ever been able to in NHL history. Going into Game 6, McDavid eight goals, 34 assists and 42 points in 23 postseason games. His 34 assists are already an NHL record — he broke that one in Game 5, passing Wayne Gretzky’s total of 31 after picking up three of them in Edmonton’s 8-1 onslaught of Florida. He trails Gretzky’s 1985 record of 47 points by five with a chance to move closer on Friday. McDavid’s total of 42 is good for fourth behind two Gretzky seasons and Mario Lemieux’s magical 44-point run in 1990-91. You know someone is good at this whole hockey thing if they share company with those two names, but he fits right in. McDavid is the odds-on favorite to win the Conn Smythe Trophy despite trailing in the Stanley Cup Final for a reason. Even further than that, his performance could very likely go down as the greatest in NHL postseason history. He makes a great case — after all, he doesn’t have Jari Kurri or Jaromir Jagr on his wings. No, he has made the likes of Warren Foegele, Dylan Holloway and Darnell Nurse look like future Hall of Famers. All three of them are not bad by any means — the first two quality middle-six forwards and Nurse a defenseman who has shown the capability of being a quality, top-four two-way guy in spurts — but not anything like Kurri of Jagr. Of course, everyone knows how good the teammates McDavid shares the ice with on the power play — Leon Draisaitl, Zach Hyman and Evan Bouchard chief among them — but when you look at what McDavid is doing on the ice, you see a player with talent that few in NHL history has ever possessed. His speed, his drive, his hands, his eyes-on-the-back-of-his-head playmaking ability are off-the-chart elite. Nobody else in NHL history has ever shown that on this consistent of a level throughout a playoff run. Whether or not the Panthers can figure out a way to contain him for one more game and lift the Stanley Cup remains to be seen, but McDavid deserves his praise. More FHN Coverage of the Florida Panthers: Like our Facebook Page Follow us on Twitter: @GeorgeRichards // @ColbyDGuy // @TheGovMan Subscribe to the FHN YouTube Channel Visit the FHN Team Shop at TeePublic and RedBubble https://youtu.be/5sjtOdwHfR0?si=v901T588ItEfZqQG 2024 STANLEY CUP FINAL EDMONTON OILERS VS. FLORIDA PANTHERS  GAME 6 Panthers Lead Best of 7 Series 3-2 When: Friday, 8 p.m. Where: Rogers Place; Edmonton, Alberta National TV: ABC Streaming: ESPN+/Hulu Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app Series Schedule, All Games 8 p.m. on ABC — Game 1: @Florida 3, Edmonton 0;Game 2: @Florida 4, Edmonton 1; Game 3: Florida 4, @Edmonton 3; Game 4: @Edmonton 8, Florida 1; Game 5: Edmonton 5, @Florida 3; Game 6: Florida at Edmonton, Friday; Game 7*:Edmonton at Florida, Monday June 24. (*) – If Necessary How They Got Here — Florida: d. Tampa Bay 4-1, Boston 4-2, New York Rangers 4-2; Edmonton: d. Los Angeles 4-1, Vancouver 4-3, Dallas 4-2. This Season (Florida Won 2-0) — At Florida: Panthers 5, Oilers 3 (Nov. 20). At Edmonton: Panthers 5, Oilers 2 (Dec. 17). Last Season: Edmonton Won 2-0 All-time Regular Season Series: Oilers lead 23-16-0, 3 ties Postseason History: First Meeting [...] Read more...
Derrick BellJune 19, 2024A year after finishing 28th in scoring, the Pittsburgh Steelers offense will look quite a bit different in 2024, which is a good thing. Can new offensive coordinator Arthur Smith repair his reputation after an unspectacular head coaching stint in Atlanta? Will he be able to get the most of this new-look quarterback room of Russell Wilson and Justin Fields? It’s well-documented that Wilson has the upper hand entering training camp but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Fields will, or should, be a non-participant on game days. After all, we’re talking about one of the best athletes that we’ve ever seen at the quarterback position.  SN analyst Derrick Bell covers multiple topics in this weeks film room episode: Smith’s favorite red zone rushing concept, designing a package of plays tailored for Fields and the necessary wrinkles to incorporate from forward-thinking offenses around the league. With the AFC, and particular the AFC North, slated to be insanely competitive once again, it’s to be crucial for the Steelers offense to find innovative ways to stress defenses and score points. Utilizing the QB run game and all the advantages that fall into that bucket should be a no-brainer decision.  Be sure to subscribe to the channel for more Steelers content. RELATED: How Arthur Smith Involves RBs in the Passing Attack (+) RELATED: DB’s Steelers Mailbag: Justin Fields Package, Calvin Austin Hype, Nick Herbig’s Role (+) Want more from Derrick, Alan Saunders, Nick Farabaugh and the rest of the Sports Now crew? Subscribe to SN+ to get the best coverage anywhere on the internet, plus all the best coverage from Pittsburgh Hockey Now and Pittsburgh Baseball Now with one subscription. Click to check out more from Derrick Bell, Alan Saunders and Nick Farabaugh on our YouTube page. [...] Read more...
Nick FarabaughJune 19, 2024The Pittsburgh Steelers organization ‘would love’ to play a game in Ireland, the team’s director of business development and strategy, Dan Rooney, told BBC Sports. That comes after feasibility studies were being done across the country to see which places could be next for NFL games, including Ireland. “We’re awaiting some of their findings and we have told them we would love to get to the island to play a game someday. It’s an exciting future ahead. It would be special no matter where we played it. Croke Park hosted it in 1997 and that is a special venue, but that’s really in the hands of the NFL,” Rooney said. Team president Art Rooney II stated at the NFL Owner’s Meetings in March that the Steelers would push for a game in Ireland. One of the cities being explored is Dublin. The last time the Steelers played in Ireland was in 1997 for a preseason game against the Chicago Bears, but this game would likely be a regular-season game. The two stadiums the NFL plans to study are Croke Park and Aviva Stadium. Aviva Stadium has hosted numerous college football games, while Croke Park hosted that meeting between the Steelers and Bears. The Steelers want to be that team to play in Ireland, and it could happen as early as next year with Pittsbrugh having nine home games. They have not played internationally since 2013, when they played the Minnesota Vikings in London. “It’s been a goal from the start, being able to pursue an opportunity to play a live game in front of the Irish fans,” Rooney said. “We are working with the NFL on that, and we’re looking forward to seeing what’s coming.” Pittsburgh has international marketing rights in Mexico, Ireland, and Germany. It stands that they will play games in all of those places at some point in the future. However, which one comes first is anyone’s best guess, though Mexico would be the favorite if renovations to Estadio Azteca are wrapped up to play there in 2025. [...] Read more...
Kevin AllenJune 19, 2024If the Detroit Red Wings have any salary cap space left to dip their toes in the free agent pool,  they may be as interested in acquiring grit and guts as they are goals. That will likely bring them Dakota Joshua. Hockey insiders and opponents believe the Red Wings will be among the suitors for Dearborn, Michigan native if he doesn’t re-sign with the Vancouver Canucks. The former Ohio State player checks plenty of boxes for Detroit.  He’s 6-foot-3, 210 pounds and registered 18 goals and 245 hits this past regular-season.  In the postseason, Joshua totaled four goals, eight points and 73 hits in 13 games. Atlantic’s Least Physical Team Joshua had 32 more hits than Moritz Seider in 2023-24. Fellow defenseman Ben Chiarot posted 163 hits last season. Undoubtedly, the Red Wings have thought how different their team would be if they could get more than 600 hits from three players next season. Adding hits is important for the Red Wings are important for this reason:  the NHL’s top three teams in hits last season were Detroit’s Atlantic Division rivals Florida (2,348), Boston (2,301) and Toronto (2,202). The fact Tampa Bay (2,007) is seventh and Ottawa (1,990) 10th adds to the Red Wings’ urgency to grow bigger and become more physical. DAKOTA JOSHUA HOW ARE YA?! pic.twitter.com/yyiqxp9zzL — Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) May 9, 2024 The Red Wings were last in the Atlantic and 24th in the NHL with 1,689 hits last season. The Maple Leafs, by the way, are another team that is mentioned prominently as a team that will try to sign Joshua.  Joshua is expected to be one of the most popular free agents. Could Get 4-Year Deal That’s one of a few reasons why no one should call the Red Wings a favorite to land Joshua.  First, the Canucks still could get him re-signed. They would like to keep him. Second, there will be competitive bidding if he enters the market. That’s going to drive up his price. He made $825,000 the past two seasons. He should be able to land a contract worth more than $3 million per season this summer. AFP Analytics projects Joshua will receive a four-year deal worth roughly $3.2 million per season. It’s difficult to know whether Detroit can get to that amount without knowing what the numbers will be for Seider’s and Lucas Raymond’s new deal. Plus, they may not be able to sign any free agent if they re-sign both Patrick Kane and Shayne Gostisbehere.  But they may not be able to sign either one of those two players. However, if they do have salary cap space available, they clearly would like to add someone who is difficult to play against.   [...] Read more...
Nick FarabaughJune 19, 2024PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers offseason program is over as the team ramps up towards training camp in Latrobe next month. However, three players stood out above most others, which helped their roster standing. Who were they, and how will the team move from here? WR Calvin Austin III I don’t say this lightly, but no one had a better Spring than Calvin Austin III. He won at all three levels of the field with far more efficient route running than in the past. Why? He has eliminated redundant steps that accumulated over his releases and at the top of stems. Routes like curls, comebacks, and others where he was required to stop and pivot were superfluous with his footwork, so much so that teams just played him far off and did not have to worry about anything underneath. This year, though, it’s different. Austin has worked on his footwork and thrown out the mentality that forced him to use redundant movements that did not help his route running. “I had a mindset on when I would run routes that would have to be stopped on a curl, a stop route, a comeback, my mindset was I was too focused on the instead of just trusting my breaks,” “I have some of the best stop-starts of anybody so it was me being too focused on the and trying to use my hands instead of trusting my feet and trusting my advantage,” Austin said. It’s noticeable. Austin wins not only deep, which he did once again, but he won underneath on primary routes. That included in the red zone, where Austin became a menace in short areas because of his quickness. Almost no one could cover him. One caveat is that these days are made for quick, smaller gyms like Austin, so I will keep my eyes out to see if this translates into games and pads. But for now, he is the biggest riser of the offseason. Slot CB Beanie Bishop Relative to where this slot cornerback competition was, and still is, even with the introduction of Cam Sutton, Beanie Bishop did a ton to help himself. Bishop faced many body types, from bigger guys like Marquez Callaway and Van Jefferson to smaller, faster guys like Roman Wilson. And, well, he won most of those battles. It remains to be seen where Bishop rises to the task in run defense since none of this was in pads, but if his college tape holds, that should be a strength, too. Bishop had at least ten pass breakups over the days at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, all of which came over the field, with multiple in the red zone. He had numerous interceptions and even forced several fumbles over the Spring. That is all to say that Bishop’s stock is steadily on the rise, and at this point, I would consider him a genuine contender to make the 53-man roster. DT Keeanu Benton The last player I will include on this list is Keeanu Benton. He looks better, and I thought he had a tremendous rookie season. Benton’s wicked first step looks even better, and based on the looks he has received, the game seems much slower for Benton. It’s hard to know how much he has taken a step in the pass rush and run defense departments without pads since defensive and offensive tackles can only speed rush and use their hands in this type of setting, so I will refrain from making declarations there. But he is processing the game much better and made numerous plays, whether that be batting down footballs. He is slimmed down by a few pounds, and coming in with his rare frame already, Benton has the ceiling to be the best defensive tackle on the team. Last year, he won a lot but did not finish. Being a little lighter allows him to bend enough in tight areas to finish those would-be sacks. The stock should be way up for Benton. [...] Read more...
James NicholsJune 19, 2024The New Jersey Devils found their No.1 goaltender. In a Devils trade with the Calgary Flames, New Jersey has acquired Calgary Flames goaltender, Jacob Markstrom, multiple sources confirm. The Flames are retaining 31.25% of Markstrom’s salary, a $4.125M cap hit for the new Devils goaltender. The Flames are acquiring 23-year-old defenseman Kevin Bahl and a 2025 first round pick in the Devils trade. The first round pick in 2025 is top-10 protected. Bahl’s Devils career ends after skating in 148 games scoring four goals and 25 points. The Devils acquired Bahl from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for Taylor Hall. The now-Devils netminder agreed to waive his no-move clause previous to the 2024 NHL Trade Deadline. However, the deal fell apart at the finish line and he remained in Calgary for the remainder of the 2023-24 season. The Flames did not qualify for the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Markstrom ended the regular season with a 23-23-2 record, registering a 2.78 GAA and .905 SV%. The Swedish netminder’s best season in net came in 2021-22, receiving his first nomination as an NHL All-Star, accruing a 37-15-9 record, .922 SV% and 2.22 GAA while posting a league-leading nine shutouts. Markstrom (34) is a 14-year NHL veteran. The Swedish netminder has tended the net for the Florida Panthers, Vancouver Canucks, and Flames over his 14-year career. In 485 career games, Markstrom has registered a 215-196-57 record, a career .909 SV% and 2.72 GAA. Markstrom is expected to be the Devils’ starting goaltender while working in tandem with Jake Allen who has one-year remaining on his contract. General Manager Tom Fitzgerald acquired Allen at the 2024 NHL Trade Deadline from the Montreal Canadiens, along with Finnish goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen. Kahkonen is expected to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st. The Devils still hold their 2024 first-round pick, 10th overall. The Devils are still in the trade market and the pick is still in play via a Devils trade. For more Devils news, visit New Jersey Hockey Now and like our Facebook page. Follow us on 𝕏: @NJDHockeyNow, @JamesNicholsNHL, @NickNatale10 And on Threads: @JamesNicholsNHL [...] Read more...
Sheng PengJune 19, 2024The San Jose Sharks have traded a 2025 fourth-round pick to the Dallas Stars for Ty Dellandrea. Dellandrea, 23, was the 13th-overall pick of the 2018 Draft and has yet to establish himself in a deep Dallas Stars line-up. After a solid 2022-23 — Dellandrea appeared in all 82 regular season games, notching nine goals and 19 assists in a third-line role, then appeared in 15 of 19 playoff contests — the speedy 6-foot-2 center-winger took a step back this year. A frequent healthy scratch, Dellandrea notched two goals and seven assists in 42 games, then suited up for just six of 19 post-season tilts. Besides acquiring another high-compete forward in Dellandrea — the San Jose Sharks also claimed Barclay Goodrow off waivers today — the Sharks surely hope that more ice-time will unlock more offense from Dellandrea, who was a prolific AHL scorer. Dellandrea is set to become an RFA with a Qualifying Offer of $945,000. The 2025 fourth-round pick that the San Jose Sharks are sending to Dallas is the Winnipeg Jets’, acquired in 2023 for Vladislav Namestnikov. The Sharks originally picked up Namestnikov in a trade for Mikey Eyssimont, then immediately flipped him to the Jets. [...] Read more...
Dan KingerskiJune 19, 2024And away we go. Another Pittsburgh Penguins Live Chat with PHN’s Dan Kingerski. On the docket this week are a couple of potential Penguins draft targets, trade targets, potential buyout candidates and whatever else our hockey-crazy readers bring to the table. We’ll start with two prospects, one of whom is 6-foot-7, the other a slick right-handed defenseman. Of course, the NHL trade rumors are swirling around Patrik Laine, as he and the Columbus Blue Jackets are seeking a trade so the player can get a fresh start after four seasons of below-expectation production. And what to do about Barclay Goodrow? Will the San Jose Sharks claim him, or will he be a buyout candidate? That and all of your questions, comments and the Stanley Cup Final, too. [...] Read more...
Franck BernardJune 19, 2024The 2024 NHL Entry Draft is expected to be a wild weekend filled with unpredictable decisions. With NHL betting odds pegging Macklin Celebrini as the uncontested 1st-overall pick, the draft can seemingly go in any direction as of the 2nd overall pick. Writers Marco D’Amico and Franck Bernard decided to get in on the fun and give their takes on how the 2024 NHL Draft will unfold. 1. San Jose Sharks: Macklin Celebrini, C Without any surprise, the projected consensus first overall centerman Macklin Celebrini goes as soon as the NHL Entry Draft opens. Celebrini is a responsible, two-way forward with high-end scoring skills, who can elevate his game when the going gets tough. He’s a complete player who will expedite the Sharks’ reconstruction. He and other high-profile Shark center prospect Will Smith will be a combo the Pacific Division will have to reckon with for years to come. 2. Chicago Blackhawks: Artyom Levshunov, RD The Blackhawks have a big decision to make at second overall, and ultimately select the most complete defenceman in the draft in Artyom Levshunov. There was some strong consideration for other players like Cayden Lindstrom or Ivan Demidov, but being able to find a successor to Seth Jones as the future top-pair, right-shot D of the future was simply too tantalizing to resist. In Levshunov, the Blackhawks have a future top pairing with Kevin Korchinski on the right side and would be able to focus their next pick of the draft on a forward, as well as future selections in 2025. Think of it as their shot at drafting a new-age Brent Seabrook. 3. Anaheim Ducks: Anton Silayev, LD/RD With a few offensive-minded defencemen in the pipeline in Owen Zellweger, Pavel Mintyukov and Tristan Luneau, the Ducks won’t need the gigantic Russian defender to be a point-getter – which he doesn’t project to be. The 6-foot-7 defender can focus on the shutdown part of his game and contribute modestly to the offense, without feeling much pressure to. While he’s a left-handed shot (and the Ducks could use a right-handed guy), he currently plays on the right side in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) – which offers GM Pat Verbeek some much appreciated flexibility. By drafting him, they gain a unique blend of size, skating-ability, grit and skill that has very few comparables. If Noah Warren also pans out to round out the Anaheim defensive squad, they will have quite the physical defensive corps. 4. Columbus Blue Jackets: Cayden Lindstrom, C/LW The Columbus Blue Jackets are perhaps the most difficult team to predict in this slot, mainly because they are pretty well stacked in every position in their prospect pool. That being said, one thing the Blue Jackets will look to do is get bigger, and there’s no better combination of size, speed and skill in this draft than Cayden Lindstrom. After calming doubts about his back injury at the combine and having been taken out for supper by Columbus to boot, it’s easy to see why the staff like the idea of a one-two puch of Lindstrom with top-prospect, Adam Fantilli. The Blue Jackets would be set down the middle for years to come and could focus on filling out the rest of their lineup. 5. Montreal Canadiens: Ivan Demidov, RW Kent Hughes acknowledged his team could use an influx of high-end skill. By selecting Demidov, they immediately address that need, which is one of the hardest to fill. While it will remain to be seen whether the flashiness and dominance he’s displayed in the MHL will eventually translate to the NHL, the signs are encouraging: Demidov’s edgework, silky mitts and precise, heavy wrister are all NHL-worthy. There are some questions about his north-south skating speed, which could be improved, but it’s definitely something the Habs brass will want him to address before donning the Bleu-Blanc-Rouge. MUST READ: Pre-Draft Nerves Improve Odds Demidov Could Be Available To The Canadiens He’s expected to play next season in Russia, so it’s likely that when he comes over in 2025-26 he will need a full season to adjust to North American hockey. In other words, expectations must be tempered. That being said, he immediately becomes the best prospect in the Montreal Canadiens ranks, all positions included – something to be absolutely thrilled about. 6. Utah “Hockey Club”: Beckett Sennecke, RW The biggest riser in the 2024 NHL Draft, Beckett Sennecke is the surprise pick at this stage of the draft, which isn’t shocking if you follow the way the former Arizona Coyotes have drafted over the years. After selecting the likes of Dimitri Simashev and Danil But, Utah adds another big piece to their core in Sennecke, who is now listed at 6-foot-3 and 182 pounds, to better insulate the smaller core players like Logan Cooley and Mattias Macelli. As he continues to fill out his frame, after a wild growth spurt saw him gain 5 inches in 18 months, Sennecke could become that prolific power forward that teams pay dearly to acquire. 7. Ottawa Senators: Zayne Parekh, RD The defenceman with the highest offensive production in junior makes his way to Ottawa, where they will be looking at him to fill the role of powerplay quarterback and first-pairing partner for Jake Sanderson. Routinely compared to Erik Karlsson due to his offensive creativity from the back end,  it’s only fitting that the young right-handed shooter gets his named called by the Sens. Parekh was elected Defenceman of the Year in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), on top of leading his team to a Memorial Cup victory against a well-oiled London Knights team. Parekh also led the OHL in points for a defenceman with 96, a whopping 23 more than his closest pursuant. 8. Seattle Kraken: Zeev Buium, LD After three years of selecting forwards with their top picks, the Seattle Kraken draft their top-pair general of the future in Zeev Buium. There’s a player in this draft that has had a more successful season than Buium, winning World Junior gold and an NCAA Title, and this at the tender age of 17. As a true freshman, meaning he played int he NCAA a year earlier than usual, Buium not only showed he was a force on the defensive side of the puck, he also led the entire NCAA in scoring for a defenceman; tied with Lane Hutson. As the Kraken look to funnel in some much-needed talent on their back-end, they have a piece they can build around for the next decade in Buium. 9. Calgary Flames: Sam Dickinson, LD While the temptation to select team special advisor and legendary former player Jarome Iginla’s son must be unbearably high, the appeal of Sam Dickinson, touted as the draft’s most well-rounded and projectable defenceman, should prevail. After a strong Memorial Cup showing further cemented him as one of the top defencemen of his class, there is little doubt he will be gone in the top 10, in June. The 6’3 left-hand shot plays with poise, pace, intent and has all the intangibles of a good leader that puts the team on his back, when all chips are down. There will be heartbreak for some of the Flames faithfuls, but he will quickly become a fan-favourite. 10. New Jersey Devils: Tij Iginla, LW/C With Tij Iginla, the Devils add a prolific goal-scorer with a rare combination of skill and fiestiness that will help them get tougher to play against – one of the knock on their current team make up. A pure goal-scorer with an impeccable work ethic, Iginla is a surefire top-six winger in the making that could play in all situations and will come up big in the crucial moments; a perfect piece to finalize their transformation into a top team in the East, for years to come. 11. Buffalo Sabres: Carter Yakemchuk, RD The Sabres drafted a few forwards with their recent first-round selections and have one of the best defensive left side of the league, so it makes sense for them to address the right side with Yakemchuk. The 6-foot-3 right-handed defender loves to take flight and dangle his way accross the ice to set up plays in the opposing zone. He often makes defenders foolish in the process, as he possesses high-end deking abilities. He brings an interesting mix of grit, skill and skating that should complement Owen Power’s play perfectly and he could be a staple atop the second powerplay unit. Yakemchuk is still raw, and will need to polish the defensive side of his game, but should be an effective NHLer before long. 12. Philadelphia Flyers: Berkly Catton, C The Philadelphia Flyers run up to the podium and fill their biggest organizational need by selecting Berkly Catton. A destructive force in the Western Hockey League (WHL) this season, Catton’s skill-level is comparable to many that were picked ahead of him, but his scoring ability is perhaps his most underrated quality. Potting 54 goals in just 68 games for the Spokane Chiefs, Catton was THE guy for his club this season. So much so, that he was routinely played over 25 minutes a night, all while playing the opposition’s best. Some concerns have emerged as to his ability to translate that game at the next level, but given his talent, he’s well worth the risk. 13. Minnesota Wild: Konsta Helenius, C The Minnesotta Wild are in a spot where they simply need to pick the best player available at this rank, and Konsta Helenius becomes the clear target. The two-way centerman is already playing against men in the Finnish Liiga and possesses a very mature game for his young age; meaning he could likely make the jump to the NHL sooner than later. As the Wild are reportedly shopping Marco Rossi for help elsewhere in their lineup, scooping up Helenius would be a great way to fill that potential void. 14. San Jose Sharks (via PIT): Adam Jiricek, RD After getting future star centermen in Macklin Celebrini to play shotgun with 2023 first-rounder, Will Smith, the Sharks use their second first-round selection to bolster a pretty bare blue line with a bit of a gamble. Adam Jiricek – who missed all games in 2024 due to a knee injury – was a highly-touted prospect before the start of the season. While his stock has dropped, San Jose can afford to roll the dice here, as they bank on earlier viewings of his abilities. David Jiricek’s (Columbus sixth overall pick in 2022) younger brother also has family pedigree. Thes mobile, 6-foot-2 defenceman will likely be the first of many building blocks for San Jose’s defensive corps, as there’s a long way to go for GM Mike Grier’s scorched earth rebuild. 15. Detroit Red Wings: Michael Brandsegg-Nygard, RW Perhaps the most effective and hardworking player in this draft, “MBN” burst onto the scene with his never-say-die attitude and his blue-collar style of play. His steady improvement throughout the season, including an impressive conclusion to the year in HockeyAllsvenskan, has helped him keep pace witht he rest of this class and position himself as one of the more interesting packages in the draft. He possesses a rare blend of skill, tenacity and hockey sense that make him the perfect two-way top-six winger moving forward, a type of forward that is currently lacking within the Red Wings’ depth chart. 16. St. Louis Blues: Cole Eiserman, LW The slide finally ends for Cole Eiserman, as the St. Louis Blues pounce on the most dynamic goal-scorer in the 2024 NHL Draft. Once seen as a lock to go second overall, Eiserman took a tumble down the standings to the the lack of development in the other aspects of his game, such as playmaking, defence and newutral-zone decision-making. However, with Eiserman set to join Boston University in the fall, the Blues are banking on the young sniper being able to work on the finer aspects of his game and hit the NHL running in a couple of years. 17. Washington Capitals: Trevor Connelly, C The Washington Capitals are never shy about picking players with some risk in the first round, be it for health reasons (Hendrix Lapierre & Iavn Miroshnichenko) or otherwise, and they do the same again here by picking Trevor Connelly. There may be some concerns in regards to some off-ice issues that have come up in the past, as Connelly posted a swastika to social media when he was 16. He has since apologized and has taken steps to ensure he won’t go down the same road again. The Capitals ultimately pounce on the best pure talent left on the board at this junction.Connelly’s hockey IQ and versatility on both ends of the ice make him a valuable asset for Washington’s future plans. With his blend of size, speed, and skill, Connelly has the tools to make a significant impact in the NHL, fulfilling the Capitals’ expectations as they continue to build for sustained success. 18. Chicago Blackhawks (via NYI): Liam Greentree, RW The Chicago Blackhawks add some much-needed size up front by selecting Liam Greentree. The 6-foot-3, 211-pound winger was an absolute force in the OHL for the abysmal Windsor Spitfires, leading them in scoring with 36 goals and 90 points in just 64 games. Greentree was not only able to lead his team in scoring (by a 24-point margin), but was able to deverisify his offence by tapping into his playmaking abilities with more regularity, helping to prop up his teammates in the process. Although Greentree does have some mobility concerns, the Blackhawks have a plathora of small forwards with speed capable of compensating in that department. 19. Vegas Golden Knights: Stian Solberg, LD The Vegas Golden Knights select rising defenceman Stian Solberg with a high pick in the NHL draft, marking a departure from their usual focus on forwards. Solberg, a highly touted defenseman, brings a blend of size, skill, and defensive acumen that aligns perfectly with Vegas’ aspirations to bolster their blue line. Standing at 6-foot-3 and weighing 205 pounds, Solberg possesses the physical attributes coveted in a modern defenseman, allowing him to excel in both defensive shutdown roles and offensive contributions. Solberg’s development trajectory has been closely monitored, with his performance steadily improving across various junior levels in Norway. Known for his strong skating ability and smooth puck-moving skills, Solberg has garnered attention for his ability to transition the play effectively and contribute offensively when the opportunity arises. His defensive awareness and willingness to engage physically make him a well-rounded defenseman capable of handling the rigors of NHL competition. 20. New York Islanders (via CHI): Ryder Ritchie, RW The New York Islanders make a strategic choice in selecting Ryder Ritchie, a highly skilled winger known for his playmaking abilities and elusive style on the ice. Throughout the season, Ritchie demonstrated resilience and growth, overcoming a mid-season slowdown and injury setback to finish strongly, showcasing his ability to perform under pressure. His late-season resurgence and impactful playoff performance with the Raiders exemplify his determination and adaptability on the ice. Ryder Ritchie’s addition to the New York Islanders’ organization gives them a nice boost of talent, without sacrificing the smaller details of the game. 21. Los Angeles Kings: Michael Hage, C LA’s decision to draft Michael Hage underscores their commitment to adding versatile skill sets to their roster. Hage brings not only speed and agility but also a keen hockey sense that allows him to read plays effectively and capitalize on scoring opportunities. His ability to navigate through traffic and maintain control under pressure highlights his maturity and poise beyond his years. With a knack for creating scoring chances both for himself and his teammates, Hage has the potential to become a key contributor to the King’s offensive strategies in the seasons to come. 22. Nashville Predators: Alfons Freij, LD The Predators take a chance on Alfons Freij, a Swedish 6’1 mobile defenceman that loves to join rushes and support the transition into the offensive zone with his impressive skating ability. Freij is a project with raw offensive skills that will need to improve his defensive habits and consistency. However, he’s one of the smoothest skaters of this draft, and has lots of upside – something GM Barry Trotz likes to prioritize over safer bets, when it comes to prospects. 23. Toronto Maple Leafs: Sacha Boisvert, C Toronto wastes no time jumping on Sacha Boisvert, locking up their future third-line center and injecting some much-needed talent and toughness down the middle in their prospect pool. Boisvert plays a hard-nosed type of hockey that the Leafs currently lack in their prospect pool, while flashing some impressing shooting abilities on the rush with open space. As he heads to the NCAA, Boisvert will be looked to take his offensive contributions up a notch, further tapping into the goal-scoring ability ability that made him one of the best plasyers in the USHL this season. 24. Colorado Avalanche: Igor Chernyshov, LW Igor Chernyshov brings a dynamic presence to the Colorado Avalanche as a forward, showcasing a blend of size, skill, and versatility. Standing at 6-foot-1 and weighing 185 pounds, Chernyshov possesses the physical tools necessary to excel in the NHL. Known for his strong skating ability and puck handling skills, he has the capability to navigate through traffic and create scoring opportunities. Chernyshov has impressed scouts with his offensive instincts and ability to contribute in various situations on the ice. He has shown promising development in his offensive game, demonstrating a knack for both setting up plays and finishing scoring chances. By selecting Chernyshov, the Avalanche aim to bolster their forward depth with a player who brings both scoring touch and some size on the wings, positioning him as a valuable asset for their future campaigns in the NHL. 25. Ottawa Senators (via BOS): Jett Luchanko, C/RW Ottawa’s selection of Jett Luchanko brings an exciting prospect to their roster, particularly noted for his impressive speed, agility, and quick acceleration. His ability to swiftly create separation from opponents in high-pressure situations speaks volumes about his on-ice awareness and skating prowess. What sets Luchanko apart is his composed demeanor under pressure, showing remarkable calmness and poise even in tight spots, which is crucial for maintaining control and making smart decisions on the ice. Luchanko’s deceptive playmaking skills add another dimension to his game. Being able to mislead defenders and effectively distribute the puck can significantly enhance offensive opportunities for his team. This skill set not only demonstrates his technical abilities but also his understanding of the game flow and strategic positioning. For Ottawa, selecting a player like Luchanko who combines speed, agility, calmness under pressure, and adept puck distribution promises to bolster their lineup with versatility and playmaking ability. 26. Montreal Canadiens (via WPG): Emil Hemming, RW After selecting Ivan Demidov, the Habs now add another winger, this time with a more north-south approach to his game, and select Finnish power forward, Emil Hemming. Listed at 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, Hemming plays with good speed, making him a lot to handle during rushes. He also has a knack for finding soft spots on the ice from where to releases a heavy, precise one-timer, particularly potent when given powerplay duties. The Canadiens’ don’t have many skilled, big-bodied prospects who project like NHLer in their ranks, as players like Luke Tuch, Florian Xhekaj and Emil Heineman are seemingly long shots to break into the league at this stage of their career. He’s a welcomed addition. 27. Carolina Hurricanes: Andrew Basha, LW Andrew Basha is a crafty and shifty playmaking winger that has a knack for finding the right angles of pursuit when forechecking the opposition, creating lots of turnovers and havoc in the offensive zone. Basha, who has a somewhat slight build at 5-foot-11, 185 pounds, uses his smarts to avoid and evade pressure and is effective at winning 50/50 puck battles. But the elusive winger can still fill the net, as his 30 goals in 63 games show. Do the Hurricanes – who have a fantastic track record for finding gems outside of the top-15 – unearth another one with this underrated winger? 28. Calgary Flames (via VAN): Cole Beaudoin, C The Flames grabbed defenceman Sam Dickinson earlier in this draft and now elect to add a forward prospect who is cut from a similar cloth: an easily projectable, coach’s pet. Beaudoin is a relentless forechecker that uses his big 6-foot-2, 210-pound frame to win board battles and establish net-front presence. His work ethic is flawless and he projects as a very serviceable third (or fourth) line center that can help zone breakouts and shut down the opposition when games are close. He may never be a prolific goal-scorer, but his contribution can help teams win games in areas that don’t show up on the scoresheet. With an aging Mikael Backlund and the loss of Elias Lindholm, GM Craig Conroy will be glad to inject some center depth in the Flames’ pipeline. 29. Dallas Stars: Marek Vanacker, LW The Dallas Stars make a bold move in the 2024 NHL Draft by selecting Marek Vanacker, a highly touted prospect known for his combination of size, speed and skill. This pick addresses the Stars’ ongoing need to add skill and creativity to their roster, particularly among their forward group. Vanacker, known for his speed and hockey sense, brings a level of excitement and potential that aligns perfectly with Anaheim’s vision for the future. Standing at 6-foot-1 and possessing a strong skating ability, Vanacker is not only quick on his feet but also adept at finding open spaces on the ice. His playmaking skills are a standout feature, with a knack for setting up scoring chances and making quick, accurate passes. These attributes make him a valuable asset in today’s NHL, where speed and skill are increasingly crucial. What makes Vanacker’s selection even more promising for the Stars is his versatility. He can play both center and wing effectively, giving Anaheim flexibility in lineup decisions and depth across different forward positions. 30. New York Rangers: Terik Parascak, RW Parascak’s ability to magically appear at the right moment for a juicy rebound or in a soft spot of the ice left unchallenged for a high-danger scoring chance gives the illusion he has a sixth sense for positioning. It’s no wonder he’s had the continued offensive success he’s enjoyed this season with 105 points (including 43 goals) in the WHL, as a rookie. With a late selection, taking a flyer on high hockey IQ and top notch finishing ability over skating deficiencies is a good bet that could look tremendous down the road. 31. (TBD) Anaheim Ducks (via EDM): E.J. Emery, RD The Anaheim Ducks made a savvy move in the 2024 NHL Draft by selecting EJ Emery, a promising defenseman from the USNDTP. It’s a smart fit for them as they look to bolster their defensive corps on the right side. Standing at 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds, Emery brings the size and strength needed to handle the rigors of NHL play and fit into GM Pat Verbeek’s preferred style of play. His ability to read plays and position himself effectively on the ice makes him a reliable presence in shutting down opposing offenses and supporting his team defensively. The Ducks’ selection of Emery not only addresses their immediate need for defensive depth but also secures a player with the skills and potential to develop into a significant contributor for years to come. 32. (TBD) Philadelphia Flyers (via FLA): Dean Letourneau, C GM Danny Brière adds another brick to build his team’s center line with 6-foot-7 Dean Letourneau, one of the most intriguing prospect of this draft. The appeal of a giant pivot that can play with a mean edge and rip the puck is enticing. While he likely won’t be the next Tage Thompson, his upside is unknown, as the uncoordinated forward will need to put a lot of components of his game together. He could become a very serviceable bottom-six contributor if he stagnates, but could also shock the hockey world and grow into an unstoppable power forward if he is successful. A fun gamble to close the first round of the 2024 NHL Entry Draft.   *For more NHL betting lines and futures, head over to FanDuel [...] Read more...
Evan RawalJune 19, 2024Everyone knows Nathan MacKinnon and Sidney Crosby spend their off-seasons training together and pushing each other. The dream that Avalanche fans have of the two playing together in Colorado is unlikely to happen, but the duo finally suiting up for the same team in a best-on-best international tournament looks like it will finally take place next year in the 4 Nations Face-Off. The two superstars have begun planning for that moment. “Me and Sid were just on a golf trip, talking about the powerplay, the lines,” MacKinnon told TSN1050. “I’d love to play right wing with him. That’d be my little kid in me, I would gladly go to the wing. Can’t win face-offs anyway, so that would work. That would be a dream.” MacKinnon is coming off a Hart Trophy caliber season where he put up 140 points for the Avalanche, while Crosby tried his hardest to drag the Pittsburgh Penguins into the playoffs with 94 points in 82 games. He wasn’t quite able to pull it off, but showed that he’s still an elite player, even at the age of 36. It sounds like MacKinnon was one of the NHL players who played a role in planning the 4 Nations Face-Off that will take place in February of 2025. I’m having a hard time getting too excited about that tournament, simply because a lot of the best players in the world won’t even able to take part in it, and it sounds like MacKinnon was the same way, as he was focused more on the Olympics in 2026. That’s starting to change for him. “When I first started with the 4 Nations, I didn’t think much about it,” MacKinnon told Jeff Marek. “I think the Olympics are so prevalent in my mind, it’s all I want to do for Team Canada, but I’m really excited now.” Okay, so Crosby at center, and MacKinnon at right wing. That’s a pretty good start to a line if you ask me. You’ve got your dominant center who can play at both ends of the ice, and that might free MacKinnon up to go nuts with a little less responsibility. Who is the ideal player to put on the other wing? “It’d be really cool to play with Sid on a line and maybe (Marchand). Just a Nova Scotia line. That’d be pretty special.” MacKinnon told Marek. Marchand would certainly add a unique element to that line, and give it a little bit of everything. Marchand’s production took a slight step back this past season, but I’m sure he’ll make the team. While we won’t know the names of everyone who will play in the 4 Nations Face-off until we get closer to the tournament, the first few players for every roster will be announced on June 28. I’m guessing MacKinnon and Crosby will be among those named on that day, and Mikko Rantanen will probably be named to Team Finland as well. The United States and Sweden are the other two countries that will compete in the tournament. The 4 Nations Face-Off will take place in Montreal and Boston next year from Feb. 12-20. “It’s going to be really fun,” MacKinnon said. “It’s cool that it’s mid-season. I’ve never played mid-season in an event, so I’m looking forward to it.” [...] Read more...
Russ MaciasJune 19, 2024The New York Islanders have re-signed pending RFA Kyle MacLean to a three-year contract worth $2.35 million dollars over the life of the deal. The AAV is only $775k per season, an extremely reasonable sum for someone who is expected to play a key role in the future for the Islanders. The Islanders now have just a hair under $6 million to work with before any other moves are made. MacLean seems set to become the permanent fourth-line center for the Islanders. MacLean, 25, made his NHL debut this past season and carved out a permanent spot in the lineup. He scored four goals and nine points in the regular season. He played all five playoff games while being one of the most noticeable Islanders during that series. MacLean scored his first and only playoff goal in the 3-1 defeat in game one. MacLean’s arrival was one of the bright spots of this season for the Islanders, as he came up through Bridgeport as an undrafted free agent before signing with the Bridgeport club back in 2020-21. MacLean played for the Oshawa Generals in the OHL for five years and served as captain for his final two. Now armed with a brand new three-year deal, MacLean will be in the Islanders’ future, as his arrival has set up for the potential departure of Jean-Gabriel Pageau. Pageau, 31, would be moved almost solely for cap space purposes. Outside of Pageau, the Islanders have four NHL centers on their roster, not including Mat Barzal and Ruslan Iskhakov, who have played center in their careers. Pageau has perhaps become the most expendable player on the roster, solely based on value and players at the position.   [...] Read more...
Richard GegickJune 19, 2024The Edmonton Oilers stayed alive in the Stanley Cup Final on Tuesday night with a 5-3 road victory over the Florida Panthers. Ahead of Game 6 at 8 p.m. this Friday at Rogers Place, the Conn Smythe Winner sports betting markets are wide open. What was a sure shot in this market less than a week ago (Florida G Sergei Bobrovsky), isn’t so sure now. Game 5 may have been the marquee game of Oilers’ C Connor McDavid’s career. McDavid netted two goals and added two helpers in a must-win game. McDavid is now the favorite to win the Conn Smythe trophy with -150 odds, but is he the best bet? Sergei Bobrovski +600 Bobrovsky hasn’t been great these last two games, allowing nine goals while facing 40 shots. Recency bias aside, Bob was almost perfect throughout the 2024 postseason. The Florida goaltender posted a 2.07 goals against average and a .918 save percentage before Game 4. A stellar performance with a Panthers victory in the next two games will likely get him the award. At +600, this is a classic “buy low” bet. New customers at BetMGM Sportsbook receive up to $1,500 in bonus bets should their first bet lose. Matthew Tkachuk +15000 Florida Panthers LW Matthew Tkachuk leads all Florida Panthers with 22 postseason points. C Alexander Barkov’s magnificent two-way play and Bobrovksy’s Ken Dryden impression get all the headline attention, but Tkachuk is a blood-and-guts Canadian power forward. If Florida wins the series, there’s a chance that Bobrovsky, Alexander Barkov, and Connor McDavid will split the Conn Smythe voting, leaving a lane for the 150 to 1 Tkachuk. Some Game 6 and 7 heroics could push him over the top in the minds of Conn Smythe voters. Sign up at FanDuel Sportsbook for $200 in bonus bets should your first $5 bet win. Connor McDavid -150 Bettors won’t get a better number than this. If you believe Edmonton can defeat the Florida Panthers, you should bet on Connor McDavid now. McDavid leads the postseason in scoring with 42 points. He broke Wayne Gretzky’s playoff assists record, surpassing the Great One’s 31 in 1987. And when his team needed him the most, Connor delivered. With Canada’s Stanley Cup hopes hanging by a thread these past two games, he’s scored three goals and five assists. Connor McDavid to win the Conn Smythe is a lock should the Edmonton Oilers win the Stanley Cup. He may win the award even if the Oilers lose. McDavid is within striking distance of Gretzky’s 1985 total of 47 points. He will likely pass Pittsburgh Penguins legend Mario Lemieux’s 1991 41 points. Sports betting doesn’t get any easier than with DraftKings. Create a DraftKings Sportsbook account today and bet $5 to receive $150 in bonus bets. [...] Read more...
Trevor NeufeldJune 19, 2024Veteran netminder and 2023-2024 Flames MVP Jacob Markstrom was traded to the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday morning for defenceman Kevin Bahl and a top-ten protected 2025 first round draft pick. The Calgary Flames will retain 31.25% of Markstrom’s cap hit for the next two seasons. The Devils will go into next season with the 34 year old Galve, Sweden product carrying a $4.125M cap hit. Originally acquired by Jersey in the Taylor Hall exchange, Kevin Bahl, 23, is a big bodied blue liner that will bring some snarl to a Calgary blue line lacking a physical presence. Weighing in at 6-foot-6 and 229 pounds, Bahl played alongside Brendan Smith on the Devils second defensive pairing at the end of last season. With a healthy Dougie Hamilton, the former Ottawa 67 would likely be pushed down to the third pairing. Flames General Manager Craig Conroy and Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald nearly reached a deal for Markstrom prior to last season’s trade deadline, only for the deal to fall through in the final stages. Kevin Bahl has one more year on his contract paying him $1,050,000 per season and will be a restricted free agent next summer. The New Westminster, BC native recorded four goals and 25 assists in 148 games with the Devils over parts of three seasons. The aggressive defensive defenceman put up 127 penalty minutes over that span and showed a willingness to drop the gloves during his time with the Devils with four fights including one post-season bout with Rangers forward Barclay Goodrow. The Calgary Flames now have $23,199,167 in cap space to use prior to unrestricted free agents hitting the market on July 1. Daniel Vladar and Dustin Wolf are both projected to compete for starts come October. More from CHN: For more Flames news, visit Calgary Hockey Now and like our Facebook page.  Follow us on 𝕏:  @CgyHockeyNow and @Trevor_Neufeld     [...] Read more...
Sheng PengJune 19, 2024“The future is teal” has been the San Jose Sharks’ marketing slogan since they won the 2024 Draft Lottery in May. But to guide the future — incoming 2023 fourth-overall pick Will Smith and soon-to-be 2024 No. 1 selection Macklin Celebrini and youngsters like William Eklund — they’ve looked to the past, claiming Barclay Goodrow off waivers from the New York Rangers. Ex-Shark Goodrow, 31, enjoyed a resurgent playoffs during the Rangers’ Eastern Conference Finals run, scoring six goals in 16 games. This was after a tough regular season where he was dropped to the fourth line and only potted four goals in 80 games. Cap-strapped New York, staring at three more years of Goodrow’s contract at $3.642 million AAV, put him on waivers yesterday. The Sharks are now on the hook for the rest of Goodrow’s entire contract. Despite his bloated contract and lack of production during the regular season, the two-time Stanley Cup winner is still considered a defensive stopper and a veteran’s veteran, the type of player that you want around to mentor your kids. The San Jose Sharks signed Goodrow, an undrafted free agent, in 2014. Goodrow fashioned himself into a dynamic defensive forward and clutch post-season performer for both San Jose and the Tampa Bay Lightning, scoring the Game Seven OT winner for the Sharks against the Vegas Golden Knights in 2019 to cap off one of the greatest comebacks in playoff history, then hoisting back-to-back Cups with the Lightning in 2020 and 2021. San Jose Sharks GM Mike Grier is clearly hoping that Goodrow’s can-do attitude and winning ways rub off on the future of the franchise. We’ll see if there’s an accompanying move. [...] Read more...
Nate BrownJune 19, 2024Just when you thought the Chicago Blackhawks were likely to go one way in the draft, Ivan Demidov shows up in Florida for interested general managers to catch an up close look. From the looks of it they weren’t disappointed and likely Demidov has added a nice little debate that found its way to the Blackhawks brass. The Athletic’s Scott Powers talked to Demidov as well and it’s a great read. But so goes the latest twist and turn of who the Blackhawks will take at #2. There’s more than enough compelling reasons to choose Artyom Levshunov at that pick. But Demidov purportedly has superstar potential, and I mean, how do you not give that serious consideration? Meanwhile, the Edmonton Oilers keep their comeback alive with a 5-3 win in Florida and suddenly, it’s a series. Short time Blackhawks forward Corey Perry even chipped in with a goal: Just gonna let this video speak for itself… 🤩 #StanleyCup https://t.co/0WMOslGWqO pic.twitter.com/lEyuB7i7kB — NHL (@NHL) June 19, 2024 One other thought about the draft and the Blackhawks offseason: if they want to see what not to do, watch the current debacle with the Cubs. It’s been a half-assed retooling of sorts where one of the richest teams in baseball refuses to spend dollars in the right spots and relies on what looks like a “hope and pray” mentality. I had an up close look at it Monday and talk about maddening. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Especially when it comes to one of the most critical parts of a championship ballclub: the bullpen. Though they were able to put it away yesterday, they should be a much better version of their fourth place showing. There have been some big misses when it comes to player acquisition, and if Davidson and the Hawks are in tune with what’s going on–treat this offseason and the next two with some much calculated risk to put this rebuild away once and for all. Blackhawks In Case You Missed It Tij Iginla and Zeev Buium are the latest prospects we look at for the 2024 NHL Draft. What about Steven Stamkos if he makes it to free agency? Short term, big dollars, and goal scoring with a championship pedigree. It should get a serious look from the Blackhawks Stanley Cup Final Coverage From Florida Hockey Now Paul Maurice may not come out and say it, but yeah, the pressure is really on now for the Florida Panthers Matthew Tkachuk put it all out there before Game 5, giving his guarantee that they’d take the Cup. It didn’t work out as such and he spoke to it after the game Hockey Now Network Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Want some more buyout names to watch for? The Pittsburgh Penguins have a few candidates they’re looking at should they be bought out. New Jersey Hockey Now: The New Jersey Devils need to retool a bit this offseason. But one name in particular they should avoid. Philly Hockey Now: Will the Philadelphia Flyers deal Cam Atkinson to the San Jose Sharks? A look at what could be a boon for both–if it indeed works out [...] Read more...
Shelly AndersonJune 19, 2024There had not been a whole lot of speculation circulating over who would be the new coach of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ AHL affiliate. When the announcement came Wednesday, it was not a familiar name to many. Kirk MacDonald steps in as the 12th AHL coach in Penguins franchise history. The 40-year-old native of Victoria, British Columbia, most recently was head coach of the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the United States Hockey League for two seasons. He guided that team to a 41-13-8 record last season, the best mark in the USHL, and to the Eastern Conference title in the Clark Cup playoffs. MacDonald also spent eight seasons with the Reading Royals of the ECHL with various roles, including assistant coach, head coach and director of hockey operations. He began coaching as an assistant with his alma mater, RPI. As a forward, he played seven pro seasons, mostly at the AHL level. He was not drafted and did not reach the NHL. The WBS job came open when coach J.D. Forrest and assistant Kevin Porter did not have their contracts renewed. WBS made the playoffs but were swept in two games by Lehigh in the first round. The job had been open since late April. [...] Read more...
Dan KingerskiJune 19, 2024There are comparatively few hockey players from Nova Scotia. Still, over the next two years, the province’s best players will come to define Team Canada’s success or failure in the Four Nation Face-Off and, more importantly, in the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan. And if you wondered how important success will be, Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon are already plotting the lines and power play for Team Canada. MacKinnon appeared on TSN’s Overdrive show, and the details spilled out. Crosby, MacKinnon, and Brad Marchand are the trio from near Halifax, Nova Scotia. They work out together in the summer, and they could form the top line for Canada in either or both of the coming international tournaments. There probably isn’t a more talented trio from any province, state, or even country, and MacKinnon also heaped more praise on his buddy Crosby. “I like that mix. Who knows what (Marchand) is going to do up there? Obviously, Sid is the best ever,” MacKinnon told the show. “I’ll just try to get on the forecheck from the right wing and see what I can do.” Like Crosby, MacKinnon has won the Stanley Cup and a gold medal at the World Championships, and MacKinnon is a favorite to win this year’s Hart Trophy. However, MacKinnon has not yet been able to play in the Olympic games. This season, both Crosby and MacKinnon had eye-popping campaigns. Crosby carried the Pittsburgh Penguins through what could have been their worst season in 20 years, and the team nearly made the playoffs with a late rally. Crosby registered the third 40-plus goal season of his career and became one of the highest-scoring players 35 years and older in NHL history. MacKinnon blitzed NHL goalies for 51 goals and 140 points. Despite the torrid pace leading the Colorado lineup, MacKinnon is happy to play second fiddle to Crosby. “(I’ve thought about it) a ton. Me and Sid were on a golf trip, talking about the lines and the power play. I’d love to play right wing with him,” MacKinnon said. “The little kid in me–I’d gladly go to the wing. No problem. I can’t win faceoffs anyway, so that would work. That would be a dream.” So, the Canada “Dream Team” is taking shape. The coach hasn’t yet been announced, though it’s expected to be Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper, the most tenured coach in the NHL. Penguins coach Mike Sullivan will lead the team most capable of disrupting MacKinnon’s and Crosby’s plans. Sullivan will coach Team USA in the Four Nation Face-Off and the Olympics. Canada might have an issue in goal, as the top Canadian goalies aren’t the top goalies in the world. The American and Russian goalie pools are far deeper, but no team since the 1987 Canada Cup, when Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux were in their prime, could match a line with MacKinnon and Crosby. The 1987 Team Canada defeated Russia with a dramatic late goal in the deciding game, as Gretzky set up Lemieux for the winner. And Crosby does have history. “Captain Canada” scored the golden goal that earned Canada a gold medal in the 2010 Olympics held in Vancouver. [...] Read more...
Alan SaundersJune 19, 2024The Pittsburgh Steelers have waived safety Trenton Thompson, the team announced on Wednesday. Thompson, 26, first joined the Steelers last August during training camp, and played well when called upon last season as the club went through an unprecedented stretch of injuries at the safety position. Thompson played in six games for the Steelers last season and started one. He recorded 22 tackles, three passes defended and one interception, before he also suffered an injury, a major neck ailment, causing him to miss the last three games of the regular season and the playoff game. The recovery was lengthy, stretching into the offseason. Thompson told Steelers Now earlier this year that he chose not to have surgery on the injury. “Yeah, I went non-surgical,” Thompson said. “Personally, I wasn’t feeling surgery. Doctors also said it didn’t look like I needed it. I also had conversations with Micah Hyde throughout the offseason, because he was the only person that I could talk to that related to the injury. And he recommended I don’t (get surgery) unless the pain is too severe.” Thompson was a regular participant in the team’s OTAs and minicamp practice sessions this spring. It’s unclear if his release is related to his injury. The Steelers have been using rookie sixth round draft pick Ryan Watts at strong safety, in addition to Thompson, behind starter DeShon Elliott and special teams captain Miles Killebrew. Jalen Elliott can also play both safety spots. In addition to Thompson, the club also announced the release of wide receiver Denzel Mims, which was first reported on Tuesday. No corresponding moves were made. [...] Read more...
Danny DemilioJune 19, 2024The Pittsburgh Pirates dropped a 2-1 pitchers’ duel to the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park on Tuesday night. Bailey Falter delivered seven solid innings but was outshined by Reds’ left-hander Nick Lodolo. Ke’Bryan Hayes was responsible for the lone Pirates’ run with a solo homer off of Lodolo in the seventh. The division rivals will settle their series on Wednesday afternoon with Mitch Keller on the mound for the Pirates (35-38) against Hunter Greene for the Reds (35-38). First pitch is set for 12:35 ET and the game will be aired on SportsNet Pittsburgh. Weather Temperatures will increase from the mid-80’s to the 90’s during the game. Winds S at 6-7 mph. The Pittsburgh Pirates Will Send Out RHP Mitch Keller (8-4, 3.36 ERA) Keller’s streak of winning six-straight starts came to a close in his latest outing against the St. Louis Cardinals last week. It was a subpar for showing for Keller who had been pitching brilliantly over the last month. The right-hander allowed four runs on eight hits including a pair of home runs in six innings pitched. ??? Still, Keller has been one of the best pitchers in baseball since early May. Since May 6, Keller has a 1.77 ERA, which is the fourth-lowest ERA in baseball. Keller has struggled in his career against the Reds. In 14 starts, he has a 2-4 record with a 6.03 ERA. The Cincinnati Reds Will Send Out RHP Hunter Greene (5-2, 3.61 ERA) Greene hasn’t been quite as sharp since the calendar flipped to June. Over his last three starts, the 24-year-old has a 5.60 ERA with 11 runs against him in 17.2 innings pitched. He’s struggled with control and has issued 12 walks to go along with 18 strikeouts. Opponents have had trouble stringing together hits against the hard-throwing Greene, who has held batters to a .205 batting average on the season. ??? Greene leads the league with 37 walks issued and nine hit batters. Greene has fared very well against the Pirates in his career but doesn’t have a win to show for it. He’s 0-2 with a 1.99 ERA. Reds Hitters vs. Keller TJ Friedl: 1 for 17, two RBIs, one walk, two strikeouts Jonathan India: 5 for 12, one double, five walks, one strikeout Tyler Stephenson: 1 for 12, six strikeouts Jake Fraley: 3 for 8, one walk, one strikeout Jeimer Candelario: 1 for 8, one RBI, four strikeouts Spencer Steer: 4 for 7, one double, one home run, one RBI, two walks Will Benson: 0 for 3, one walk, two strikeouts Elly De La Cruz: 0 for 3, three strikeouts Nick Martini: 2 for 2, one RBI Pirates Hitters vs. Greene Rowdy Tellez: 3 for 10, two doubles, one RBI, two strikeouts Ke’Bryan Hayes: 1 for 8, one double, four strikeouts Jack Suwinski: 0 for 8, three walks, six strikeouts Andrew McCutchen: 2 for 6, three walks, one strikeout Bryan Reynolds: 1 for 6, one walk, two strikeouts Oneil Cruz: 2 for 5, one double, one home run, one RBI Jason Delay: 2 for 5 Yasmani Grandal: 2 for 3 Connor Joe: 1 for 3, one strikeout Tidbits Bryan Reynolds went 2 for 4 with his 20th double of the season on Tuesday and extended his hitting streak to 16 games, the longest active streak in baseball. During the month of June, Connor Joe is slashing .143/.236/.265 and has already struck out 16 times. Mitch Keller has gone at least six innings in each of his seven starts since the beginning of May. Links Perrotto: Even With Good Moment, Ke’Bryan Hayes Frustrated Again Pirates Minor League Report: Shalin Polanco Walks it Off Pirates Takeaways: Falter’s Bounce-Back, Former Draft Pick Shines, McCutchen Aggressive Falter Rebounds But Outdueled by Lodolo in Pirates’ Loss to Reds Around the Network: Pittsburgh Hockey Now: 4 Buyout Candidates for Penguins to Watch Steelers Now: ESPN Analyst Thinks Steelers Trading for Brandon Aiyuk Would Be Foolish Pittsburgh Sports Now: CBS Sports Mock Draft has Bub Carrington Going High In NBA Draft [...] Read more...
Chris WardJune 19, 2024As it stands now, the Pittsburgh Steelers don’t have a clear-cut No. 2 option at wide receiver. The Steelers’ brass seems comfortable with their receiver depth, however. Offensive coordinator Arthur Smith said every year players step up and rise to the occasion at wide receiver, while receivers coach Zach Azzanni claimed that the labeling receivers in a number system is overrated. General manager Omar Khan is also encouraged by the trajectory of the wide receiver room. “We just finished minicamp and I was talking to Coach T and a couple of the other guys in my department, and we were just saying how good we felt about that room,” Khan said during an appearance on 93.7 The Fan. “Just the growth from when the offseason program started to where we are now. Even the improvements from the start of OTAs to now has really been awesome to see. “We like the group. We really, really do. And they’re working hard. This was an important OTA and minicamp for us. Got a lot of new faces on offense and just seeing how they jell together, how they worked, and I can just tell you, it’s trending really positively. It was awesome.” Kevin Patra of NFL.com isn’t buying what the Steelers are saying. He thinks the wide receiver depth is a massive concern. He tabbed the Steelers’ No. 2 wide receiver position as the second-biggest remaining roster hole in the NFL. “Whenever I talk to Yinzer friends, the very first comment is about the Steelers’ receiver room. It’s George Pickens and a trove of Riddler-style question marks,” Patra wrote. “Third-round pick Roman Wilson profiles as the most likely candidate to step into a sizable role next to Pickens, but it’s a lot to ask a low-production, mid-round rookie to immediately play a substantial role in the NFL.” Patra makes a valid point that relying on Wilson to break out is a risky proposition. It could happen, but there’s no guarantee that he’s going to have a Puka Nacua-like season. “However, we’ve seen the Steelers strike gold in the draft in the past. Perhaps The Fastest Man in Hawaii can become the latest WR find in Pittsburgh,” Patra wrote. “The rest of the gaggle isn’t as promising. With Van Jefferson entering Year 5, we can stop hoping for a breakout campaign. Calvin Austin III and Quez Watkins profile as gadget options. Denzel Mims, Marquez Callaway and Scotty Miller are fliers. Tight end Pat Freiermuth will play a significant role in the passing game. TEs Darnell Washington and Connor Heyward should also see increased chances to contribute in Arthur Smith’s offense. But it will be a surprise if the Steelers don’t add to the WR room before Week 1.” The Steelers have limited options right now, but perhaps they could strike a trade for San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk. It would require a boatload of draft capital to acquire Aiyuk, however. On top of that, Aiyuk reportedly wants $30 million per year. The 49ers also are not open to trading their star receiver even though he’s unhappy with the team. [...] Read more...
Evan RawalJune 19, 2024Edmonton isn’t quite ready to roll over, so the NHL season isn’t done just yet. Connor McDavid picked up four points for the second straight game to keep his team alive, and at this point, has to be the favorite to win the Conn Smythe Trophy. I think other teams suspected the season might end, because there were hints of player movement on Tuesday, mostly coming from New York. Barclay Goodrow finds himself on waivers, as the New York Rangers look to get rid of his contract, and just up the road, there are rumblings that Jeff Skinner might find himself on the free agent market soon enough. In Vancouver, Filip Hronek got a contract extension that should look familiar to Avalanche fans. The action will pick up leading to the NHL Draft…if this season ever ends. Colorado Hockey Now Some day, his grandchildren will learn just how good a goaltender he was in the NHL. For now, he’s just grandpa, and witness a fun interaction between the kids and Patrick Roy. We’re now less than 10 days away from the draft. There are plenty of options for the Avalanche at 24, but here’s who I like for them at the NHL Draft. It’s been a month since the season ended for the Avalanche, and Nathan MacKinnon still isn’t happy about it. News And Rumors Forever Blueshirts: Desperate for any cap space he can find, Chris Drury is getting to work. On Tuesday, he waived Barclay Goodrow, and if the veteran winger makes it through waivers, he could be bought out. Goodrow had a tough season, posting some of the worst possession numbers in the league, but teams are always looking for playoff performers. San Jose Hockey Now: Of course, they might not have to buy Goodrow out. It sounds like there’s a chance he’ll get picked up on waivers by his former team, the San Jose Sharks. Sportsnet: The Sabres are desperate to make the playoffs, and it sounds like changes are on the horizon. After a bit of a down year, it appears there’s a chance they’ll buy out Jeff Skinner. Could be a good fit for the Avalanche on a cheap deal… ESPN: He faded in a big way as the NHL season went on, but Filip Hronek still got paid, as he’ll make $7.25 million for the next eight years. Who would you rather have for $7.25 million, Hronek or Devon Toews? At this point, it seems pretty clear who is going to win the Conn Smythe Trophy. Connor McDavid is doing things on the ice that no one has done in decades. Just look at this assist… McDavid is so god damn good, my god pic.twitter.com/hzFOWXPrMS — Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) June 19, 2024 Florida Hockey Now: Is there panic in the Panthers locker room yet? Pittsburgh Hockey Now: A rebuild doesn’t seem to be on the table in Pittsburgh. They are looking to win while Sidney Crosby is still as good as he is. If bought out, would Torey Krug make sense for them? Montreal Hockey Now: It’s not quite like Calgary potentially drafting Jarome Iginla’s son, but there could be a reunion of sorts in Montreal – the son of Saku Koivu is eligible to be drafted this year. [...] Read more...
John PerrottoJune 19, 2024PITTSBURGH – It was a microcosm of Ke’Bryan Hayes’ season on Tuesday night. The Pittsburgh Pirates’ third baseman had a good moment in a 2-1 loss to the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park. Then he had a bad moment. That is how it has been for Hayes in 2024. Some good, some bad. More bad than good, to be accurate. Hayes is hitting .241/.307/.325 with three home runs in 50 games. While he certainly isn’t the only reason for the Pirates’ offensive problems, he has significantly contributed to them ranking 22nd in the major leagues in runs scored with an average of 4.12 a game. The Pirates will need to do better if they are to break their nine-year postseason drought this season. Though it’s far too early to be charting pennant races, the Pirates are in contention despite their 35-37 record. They are a one game out of a wild card spot in the jumbled National League standings. The Pirates know they need to improve their offense. However, don’t expect general manager Ben Cherington to make significant upgrades between now and the July 30 trade deadline. Cherington still has a rather limited budget and his prospect capital has been lowered by the graduation of prospects like Paul Skenes and Jared Joners to the big leagues. Cherington has also yet to make a splash transaction during his five-year tenure. The biggest boost to the Pirates’ offense would be more production from within. The list of underachievers this season is long and includes Henry Davis, Rowdy Tellez, Jared Triolo, Michael A. Taylor and Jack Swuinski. Hayes is also on that list. The Pirates identified Hayes as a cornerstone player two years ago by signing him to an eight-year, $70-million contract, a significant outlay for a franchise that often does things on the cheap. They need to get more return on their investment. Hayes has shown he can be an above-average major-league hitter. In the second half of last season, he batted .299/.335/.539 with 10 homers in 49 games. At 27, Hayes also should be entering the prime of his career. Tuesday night showed how tantalizing Hayes can be. He hit a home run off Reds left-hander Nick Lodolo, who otherwise mowed through the Pirates’ lineup. Yet with the Pirates down to their last out, Hayes ended the game in ignominious fashion. He was jammed by a pitch from closer Alexis Diaz and grounded out to the first baseman on a checked swing. Hayes tried to find solace in hitting his first home run since April 27 but was frustrated after going 1 for 4. “It felt good,” Hayes said. “Still not, I mean in my head, I just, I mean I’ll take it, but I’m just not where I want to be at the plate, obviously. I mean, it feels good to hit a home run, but I feel like my game, whenever I’m at my best, I’m hitting line drives and then the home runs come,” Hayes said. “It was good. I will take them whenever I can, but just still not happy with where I am at the plate.” The sooner Hayes can find his form of the second half of 2023, the happier everyone will be in 2024. [...] Read more...
George Richards, FHN PublisherJune 19, 2024SUNRISE — For the second time in a week, Paul Maurice’s postgame press conference was not what many have become accustomed to from the coach of the Florida Panthers. Maurice was not glib, nor did he offer many lengthy answers from the media following a 5-3 loss to the Edmonton Oilers in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. The Panthers had a 3-0 lead in the Cup Final but has now lost the past two. A coronation was ready to be held for Maurice and his Panthers following that Game 3 win in Edmonton — only the Oilers want to keep on playing. Now, the Panthers will have to put their beachfront parade on hold another couple of days — at least — as they will be heading back to Edmonton for Game 6. Paul Maurice, one should note, never said his team should sweep the Oilers. Far from it. No One Covers the Florida Panthers Like FHN. Period. Subscribe to Florida Hockey Now Today! But there is little doubt that the pressure of this series has now shifted to the Panthers as they went from having four games left to win one and claim the Stanley Cup to only having two. The Panthers can close this series out and win the Stanley Cup on Friday night in Game 6 at Rogers Place in Edmonton. “We were pretty good,’’ said Maurice, whose team almost erased a 4-1 second-period deficit but did not come closer than 4-3 in the third. “Momentum is not an issue. We played a hell of a game. We gave up a shorthanded goal. That’s got to stop. That’s two. We got some sticks on some hands there for the first time, and ended up in the penalty box for it. So we’re going to have to be real mindful of that because we know that’s going to lead to a penalty. “After that, the 5-on-5 game was pretty good. … But it’s not about chances. I didn’t mind our game. I thought we were alright. we should be intensely interested in the next one and see how that’s played.” Yes, the Panthers should be intensely interested in Game 6 on Friday night because most of Alberta will be in full throat when they get that game going. Edmonton was left for dead following Florida’s 4-3 win in Game 3 last Thursday night but now, the Oilers certainly have life. A win for the certainly-favored Oilers on Friday would force a Game 7 here on Monday. Of the 28 previous teams to fall behind 3-0 in the Stanley Cup Final, 20 got swept; Florida lost that chance in an 8-1 loss to the Oilers in Game 4 last Saturday night. Florida will now try to be the second team to win in 6 after being up 3-0 — and only one team has ever won a Cup Final down 3-0 and that was the 1942 Maple Leafs. Regardless, the Oilers have life headed home. The Panthers still remain in control. They have two games to win one. Edmonton remains on the verge of having its season end. “I know a lot of guys counted us out,’’ Edmonton coach Kris Knoblauch said. “We’ve been counted out a lot through the playoffs, regular season, whatever. But it doesn’t faze the group in there. They’ve got a lot of belief — a lot of belief and just enjoying every extra day because we were counted out a long time ago and we’re still here playing hockey in June and have the opportunity where we are going back to Edmonton for Game 6. There’s a lot to smile about.” Florida fell behind 1-0 after the first period on the fifth shorthanded goal allowed in this postseason and the second straight one given up to Connor Brown in as many games. By the second, the Panthers were down 3-0 before Matthew Tkachuk snapped a nine-game goal drought and trailed 4-1 before Evan Rodrigues got his fourth of the series. The Panthers cut it to 4-3 early in the third on a nice goal from Oliver Ekman-Larsson off a Tkachuk feed — but that was as close as they got. Edmonton ended it on Connor McDavid’s second goal of the night, this one into an empty net, as the Oilers star has eight points in the past two games. “I’m not pumping tires. I’m not rubbing backs. I don’t think we need that at all,’’ Maurice said. “Everybody feels probably exactly the way I do right now: I’m not feeling deflated. Neither is the hockey team. They’re not feeling deflated. A little grumpy.” Up 3-0, Maurice was still talking about this series going to 7 so, perhaps he was setting us all up for an exciting finish which looked to be a foregone conclusion after 3. “Absolutely nothing has changed for our situation in the last two games except we learned some things,’’ Maurice said. “Some lessons we don’t need to learn, we’ve learned them enough. “But we keep getting taught those lessons, but nothing’s changed for us. Not one thing.” More FHN Coverage of the Florida Panthers: Like our Facebook Page Follow us on Twitter: @GeorgeRichards // @ColbyDGuy // @TheGovMan Subscribe to the FHN YouTube Channel Visit the FHN Team Shop at TeePublic and RedBubble 2024 STANLEY CUP FINAL EDMONTON OILERS VS. FLORIDA PANTHERS  GAME 6 Panthers Lead Best of 7 Series 3-2 When: Friday, 8 p.m. Where: Rogers Place; Edmonton, Alberta National TV: ABC Streaming: ESPN+/Hulu Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app Series Schedule, All Games 8 p.m. on ABC — Game 1: @Florida 3, Edmonton 0;Game 2: @Florida 4, Edmonton 1; Game 3: Florida 4, @Edmonton 3; Game 4: @Edmonton 8, Florida 1; Game 5: Edmonton at Florida, Tuesday; Game 6: Florida at Edmonton, Friday; Game 7*:Edmonton at Florida, Monday June 24. (*) – If Necessary How They Got Here — Florida: d. Tampa Bay 4-1, Boston 4-2, New York Rangers 4-2; Edmonton: d. Los Angeles 4-1, Vancouver 4-3, Dallas 4-2. This Season (Florida Won 2-0) — At Florida: Panthers 5, Oilers 3 (Nov. 20). At Edmonton: Panthers 5, Oilers 2 (Dec. 17). Last Season: Edmonton Won 2-0 All-time Regular Season Series: Oilers lead 23-16-0, 3 ties Postseason History: First Meeting [...] Read more...
Chris WardJune 19, 2024Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt has established himself as a generational player. At his current pace, he’s a shoo-in to join his brother J.J. in the Pro Football Hall of Fame someday. Hall of Fame players have a profound impact on the game, and T.J. Watt certainly is a menace for opposing teams to game plan for. Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay recently revealed on the Green Lights Podcast with former NFL defensive end Chris Long that Watt made the Rams change their entire game plan in Week 7 last year. McVay simply described Watt as a freak. “He is a freak. You know, and I think when you look at it too, like Alex is a legit dude on the other side of him that doesn’t get enough credit, but you’re right on Watt,” McVay told Long. “I mean, we basically altered our whole plan to affect T.J. this last year. “And then the one time he drops into coverage, he picks off an underneath route and takes it back to inside the five. I’m like, ‘You gotta be shitting me.’ He finds ways to affect the game.” Watt’s interception occurred on the first play from scrimmage in the second half. Three plays later, Kenny Pickett rushed for a 1-yard touchdown to give the Steelers a 10-9 lead over Los Angeles. It was the only turnover in the game for both teams, and the Steelers beat the Rams, 24-17. Watt’s interception was basically the difference. It’s not often that you see #Steelers All-Pro T.J. Watt in coverage, but he makes the most of it here on the huge interception. #HereWeGo pic.twitter.com/Ww6NRv3yKT — Rob Gregson (@NFL_Rob) October 22, 2023 Despite having a ton of individual accomplishments, Watt is 0-3 in playoff games with the Steelers. Not having a playoff win is something that troubles the 2021 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He finds it to be flat-out embarrassing. “For me, it is all about no playoff wins,” Watt told Mark Kaboly of The Athletic. “I am trying to do anything I can do. We have so much turnover year to year and so many new guys that it is trying to learn as much as possible coming from guys from other organizations that have done it and won championships since being in the league. “I am going to do whatever is possible to win. It is about not taking any day for granted, and when it comes down to executing and working, putting everything aside and getting it done.” [...] Read more...
Vinnie PariseJune 19, 2024The Chicago Blackhawks have two first-round picks, one at #2 and the other at #18. While it will likely be the pick of Artyom Levshunov or Ivan Demidov at number two, who could they take at that 18th spot or potentially trade up a few more spots to snag? Chicago Hockey Now’s Future Blackhawks Prospect will feature a handful of prospects at that spot until the 2024 NHL Draft. Today we look at Zeev Buium. Zeev Buium At A Glance Defense 18 years old (12/7/05) Games: 42 Goals-Assists-Points: 11-39-50 League/Team: NCAA/Denver One of the best draft prospects in 2024 is Denver defenseman Zeev Buium. He was one of the best at his position all season long. That doesn’t go for just NCAA players either. That goes for all draft-eligible prospects that play the position of defense. Buium and the Pioneers just won the NCAA National Championship with a big win over the big bad Boston College Eagles. To get there, they took down the equally as scary Boston University in what was one of the all-time great college runs. Buium was the best player on the team all year long. They saw him develop as a defender which is very important but he also put up a ton of points. His 39 assists were fourth in the country. He only had fewer assists than Will Smith and Gabe Perreault (two top-ten picks playing for Boston College) who are both forwards with incredible pedigree. His 50 total points also ranked 10th in the nation with the nine ahead of him all being forwards. To say it was a wonderful year would be an understatement. His production didn’t stop in college either. Buium was one of the top defensemen to play in the 2023-24 IIHF World Junior Championships. In the seven games that led Team USA to a Gold Medal, Buium had three goals and two assists for five points. He also took care of the best junior prospects on opposing teams. There aren’t many prospects who saw their draft position rise more than Zeev Buium. He was as great as they come. No matter where he went, he made an impact and that is what teams look for in NHL players to go with their talent. Someone is going to be getting a superstar here. Will Zeev Buium Be There for the Blackhawks? Zeev Buium will absolutely not be there for the Chicago Blackhawks at number 18. He will be gone before the top ten is completely selected and it should surprise nobody if he goes into the top five. It is highly unlikely that Kyle Davidson would be willing to trade the necessary assets to trade 18 high enough either. With that said, there is no reason that they shouldn’t consider Buium with the second overall pick. We know that Macklin Celebrini will go first to the San Jose Sharks but it is a bit of a mystery after that. A lot of people assume that one of Ivan Demidov or Michigan State’s Artyom Levshynov will go in that second spot. Demidov is a forward and Levshynov is a defenseman like Buium. Levshynov hasn’t done anything close to what Buium did offensively in the NCAA but that doesn’t mean that they defend the same way. However, it just feels like there is a chance that Buium has a higher ceiling as a number-one defenseman in the NHL. If the Hawks see it that way, they should not hesitate to take him with the second-overall pick. Some folks might think it is crazy but every team that passes him (except San Jose) could regret it. Macklin Celebrini | Cole Eiserman | Artyom Levshunov | Michael Hage | Ivan Demidov | Cayden Lindstrom | Berkley Catton | Adam Jiricek |Konsta Helenius| Sacha Boisvert | Trevor Connelly | Liam Greentree |Tij Iginla| [...] Read more...
Kevin AllenJune 19, 2024Bob Duff’s story about the Dmitry Buchelnikov Kontinental Hockey League trade makes it clear that he’s not coming to the Detroit Red Wings until at least 2026-27. After SKA St. Petersburg traded him to Vityaz Moscow Region, the Red Wings third-round pick signed a two-season contract extension with Vityaz. If he signs with Detroit after that contract runs out, he will come to his first NHL training camp at 23. Duff writes that there may be a bigger concern here. Originally, the rumor was SKA St. Petersburg would loan Buchelnikov to Vityaz. But they opted to move him permanently. “That SKA, one of the top clubs in the KHL, is opting to completely cut ties with Buchelnikov has to be a bit worrisome in terms of his NHL potential,” Duff wrote. “If he’s not considered talented enough to play for an elite KHL squad, what are the chances that he’ll be developing into an NHL regular?” The Red Wings drafted him with the hope that he would develop into an elite goal scorer. He had 13 goals last season when he was on loan to another KHL team (Admiral). Dmitry Buchelnikov's shot is lethal 💀 pic.twitter.com/zuH4AqZp9s — KHL (@khl_eng) December 3, 2023   Red Wings In Case You Missed It Why the Red Wings won’t be chasing a trade for Columbus forward Patrik Laine. Detroit draftee Larry Keenan‘s decision to play college hockey gives the Red Wings more time to monitor his development. Paywall story: DHN’s Bob Duff ranks Detroit’s forward prospects, starting with Marco Kasper at No. 1 and Nate Danielson at No. 2 . To subscribe, click here.  To receive $10 off a yearly subscription price, use the promo code bob10. Red Wings Offseason By the way, in case you have lost track of where the Red Wings are in terms of the Justin Abdelkader buyout, they still have two more seasons of $1.055 million in dead cap space. They also have one season of $533,000 in dead cap space for Kailer Yamamoto (Klim Kostin trade with Edmonton). Hockey Now Network Philadelphia: TSN’s Darren Dreger is reporting the Flyers are discussing moving Cam Atkinson to the Sharks. Philadelphia Flyers.  Pittsburgh: Dan Kingerski believes the Pens need to keep their eyes on three potential buyout candidates around the NHL. Pittsburgh Penguins. Colorado: A month later, Nathan MacKinnon is still unhappy with how the Avalanche season ended. Colorado Avalanche. San Jose: Reports say GM Mike Grier may claim forward Barclay Goodrow off waivers. San Jose Sharks.   [...] Read more...
Chris WardJune 19, 2024Former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown’s run of 100+ receptions and 1,000+ receiving yards in six straight years (2013-2018) is unprecedented in NFL history. Despite his off-the-field issues, Brown was a generational player and has a case to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Brown showed promise in his rookie season, but it wasn’t until his second year in 2011 that he really started to turn heads. In 2011, Brown recorded 69 receptions for 1,108 yards (16.1 average) and two touchdowns. He was also named to the Pro Bowl that season as a punt returner. In just his third season, the Steelers signed Brown to a five-year, $42.5 million extension that included an $8.5 million signing bonus on July 28, 2012. Mike Wallace was in a contract dispute and holding out from training camp at the time. During a recent appearance on The Pivot Podcast with former teammate Ryan Clark, Brown credited Ben Roethlisberger for giving him a chance, as offensive coordinator Bruce Arians was reluctant to play the young receiver. “Ben Roethlisberger (is) the only reason I even started starting for the Steelers. Literally, he had to go tell Bruce Arians like, ‘Yo, I need AB at the X. Let me have him run these plays,” Brown said. Antonio Brown on Big Ben being the reason he started for the Steelers: "Ben Roethlisberger the only reason I even started starting for the Steelers. Literally he had to go tell Bruce Arians like yo I need AB at the X. Let me have him run these plays."#steelers 🎥@thepivot pic.twitter.com/wAXhrNJHl2 — Matthew Luciow (@matthewluciow92) June 18, 2024 Brown added that Arians was holding him back from reaching his full potential for years. “Ryan Clark knows my relationship with Bruce Arians. How many years, you know, Bruce Arians (was trying) to hold me back? Brown said. Clark admitted that “it was a while.” Ironically, Arians gave Brown a second chance late in his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the two won a Super Bowl together. The tenure didn’t end well, however, as Brown infamously stormed off the field with his shirt off at MetLife Stadium in Week 17 of the 2021 season. Brown was cut shortly after, and the shirtless outburst moment ended up being Brown’s last NFL game. Former Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said during a recent appearance on the All Things Covered podcast that Brown is without a doubt a Hall of Famer. He thinks it’s not even debatable. “I don’t think that can even be debated,” Colbert told former Steelers cornerbacks Bryant McFadden and Patrick Peterson. Brown wasn’t the biggest, strongest or fastest, but his incredible work ethic separated him from the rest of pack. His work ethic was often cited as obsessive. “The thing that separated AB was his work ethic. He might not have been the first in the building, but boy, when he got in there, it was on. On the practice field, every rep he was trying and he was trying to dominate. And for the most part, he would,” Colbert said. “We all get caught up in 40 (yard dash) speeds, and I’m still gonna be the old school. Let’s watch the film. Who’s getting deep, who’s making plays? And AB could do that in every phase of wide receiver play. The thing he developed was that ability to make that contested catch against corners that were bigger than him.” [...] Read more...
Dan KingerskiJune 19, 2024It could have been over on Saturday, or it could have ended Tuesday, but the Edmonton Oilers have solved the Florida Panthers, and suddenly, the Stanley Cup Final is tense and will go back to Edmonton for Game 6. Sportsnet has a list of draft sleepers who could upend the NHL Draft. A couple of new names popped up in the NHL rumor mill as potential buyouts as the New York Rangers tipped their hand with Barclay Goodrow. The NHL trade chatter focused on the San Jose Sharks and Philadelphia Flyers while we laid out a few potential buyouts who could help the Pittsburgh Penguins. Don’t forget–the live chat today at noon. Follow our YouTube channel here. There has been some handwringing about the Stanley Cup Final ratings. There could be a lot of reasons, but a pair of markets that don’t move the needle in American ratings combined with the fact that Game 5 was on June 18 isn’t helpful. The NBA Final is already over, and hockey could last another week. It’s just far too late. Who’s paying attention to hockey when it’s 97 degrees in Pittsburgh? It was a great NHL season, but even I’m ready for the end. Start the season on Oct. 1. Treat the Christmas break as the bye week. Take another few days for the All-Star Game or some mid-season celebration, and wrap up the season by the end of March and the Cup Final by the end of May. This elongated season is brutal. By the way, the “report” regarding the Penguins being interested in Islanders free agent Oliver Wahlstrom was silly. An internet reporter merely listed a few teams that he believed fit. It’s a shame that a “reporter” would so badly mischaracterize that. Pittsburgh Penguins Pittsburgh Hockey Now: There are a few potential NHL buyout lists across a few national outlets. We rolled over them and considered our own. In the end, we’ve got four who–at the right price–could be steals in the Penguins free-agent frenzy. Pittsburgh Baseball Now: Win one, lose one. It’s been going sideways for the Pirates for some time, and the trend continued on Tuesday. The Pittsburg Pirates lost to Cincinnati, Falters’s bounceback, former draft pick shines, and McCutchen gets aggressive–the Pirates takeaways. Steelers Now: Gearing up for training camp. The offense is going to rely on the tight ends, and today, our All 90 series focuses on TE Pat Freiermuth. NHL Rumors, News & National Hockey Now Florida Hockey Now: We could have wrapped the season, and Florida could have lifted their first-ever Stanley Cup. Instead, we’re headed back to Edmonton, and it looks like this series is going seven. Yep, Edmonton dragged the Florida Panthers back to Alberta. Forever Blueshirts: About an hour after I published the four buyout candidates to watch, the New York Rangers waived Barclay Goodrow. Here’s the full scoop from our friends at FB about the surprise Rangers news. New Jersey Hockey Now: While I made a case for the Penguins to sign Goodrow (if he’s bought out), James Nichols writes the New Jersey Devils should absolutely avoid him. San Jose Hockey Now(+): For all subscribers — There’s one team that could pluck Goodrow off the waiver wire before anyone else. That’s the San Jose Sharks. Sheng Peng dialed up some scouts and got their take on Goodrow. The Sharks analysis. Sportsnet: Jason Bukalo dug deep through the draft boards and has the top five players who could upset the best-laid draft table plans. Philadelphia Hockey Now: Instead of buying out Cam Atkinson, the Flyers might be able to ship him off to San Jose. It’s a quickly bubbling Flyers trade possibility. Chicago Hockey Now: Tij Iginla, the offspring. He’s rocketed up the draft boards over the last couple of months, and here’s the profile of the player who could wind up as a Chicago Blackhawks star. TSN Video: And the latest on Mitch Marner. Is he off the NHL trade market? Chris Johnston is leaning toward Marner returning to Toronto. [...] Read more...
James NicholsJune 19, 2024The Edmonton Oilers won’t go down without a fight, and they’ve dragged the Florida Panthers back to Alberta with ’em. The Oilers topped the Panthers in Sunrise last night 5-3 forcing a Game 6 at Rogers Place Arena. As exciting as the Stanley Cup Final has been, it’s elongated schedule is halting the offseason madness that is seemingly about to boil over, and the New Jersey Devils are expected to be in the thick of it. In the links, the New York Rangers waived an intriguing forward yesterday, however, the Devils should avoid putting in claim. Plus, why a 6-foot-2 physical defenseman might be just what the Devils need in the 2024 NHL Draft.  Plus, some Devils MSG Broadcasting news. Elsewhere, Nathan Mackinnon still isn’t over his teams playoff exit, buyout candidates, and potential trades. Let’s do that hockey. Devils News New Jersey Hockey Now: The Devils’ rival, the New York Rangers, waived an intriguing forward Tuesday afternoon. Barclay Goodrow is now on the waiver wire as Rangers General Manager, Chris Drury, attempts to clear cap space to address other needs for New York this summer. The Devils will be looking for a bottom-six forward or two in the offseason, however, they should avoid claiming Goodrow off waivers. More NJHN: Stian Solberg plays with a mean streak that is impossible to ignore. He does a great job at using his sturdy, 6-foot-2, 200-pound frame to separate the opposition from the puck. If the Devils are looking for physicality in the draft, the Norwegian defenseman could be their guy. Even More: Erika Wachter Barnes, one of MSG Network’s on-air hosts for the New Jersey Devils, will not have her contract renewed for next season, ending her six-year run. New Jersey Hockey Now + Subscribe to NJHN+ and use code James10 for 10% off (yearly subscriptions) at checkout. 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs Florida Hockey Now: Edmonton, once left for dead in this Stanley Cup Final, has sprung to life over the past couple of games and have now won the past two after dropping the first three. How it went down in Game 5. NHL Trade Talk, News, & National Hockey Now Sportsnet: The Vancouver Canucks and defenseman Filip Hronek agreed to an eight-year, $58-million contract extension on Tuesday. General Manager Patrik Allvin announces that the #Canucks have agreed to terms with defenceman Filip Hronek on an 8-year contract with a $7.25M AAV. pic.twitter.com/gmRO7O6AOm — Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) June 18, 2024 More Sportsnet: It’s nearly buyout season. 48 hours after the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Final, NHL teams can process buyouts for players they’re considering parting ways with. According to Elliotte Friedman, Jeff Skinner could be one of those players. Pittsburgh Hockey Now: If the Pittsburgh Penguins hope to stretch their salary cap space and add talent without long-term entanglements or big-name trades, Penguins president of hockey operations/GM Kyle Dubas might have a few veteran options at a minimum cost following some potential buyouts. Colorado Hockey Now: One month after the Colorado Avalanche were eliminated from the postseason by the Dallas Stars, Nathan MacKinnon is still upset with how everything finished. Philly Hockey Now: According to a report from NHL insider Darren Dreger, the San Jose Sharks have legitimate interest in trading for Philadelphia Flyers winger Cam Atkinson with salary retention involved. Dreger was careful to note, however, that Atkinson would not be particularly receptive to moving to the Sharks. For more Devils news, visit New Jersey Hockey Now and like our Facebook page. Follow us on 𝕏: @NJDHockeyNow, @JamesNicholsNHL, @NickNatale10 And on Threads: @JamesNicholsNHL [...] Read more...
Jonathan BaileyJune 19, 2024In Wednesday’s edition of Bailey’s Daily, we’ll be talking the latest Philadelphia Flyers news, NHL news, stories, highlights, and more from the last day. Flyers News According to a report from NHL insider Darren Dreger, the San Jose Sharks have legitimate trade interest in embattled veteran Philadelphia Flyers winger Cam Atkinson, who failed to a record a single point following the NHL All-Star Break. Dreger noted that Atkinson wasn’t really interested in San Jose and that remaining on the Flyers is still a possibility for him. Did anybody see that coming? On Friday, Sweden announced that former Flyers defenseman Nicklas Grossmann would be joining Magnus Havelid’s coaching staff as an assistant coach, putting him in the privileged position of being able to coach some of the very best NHL prospects in the world. And speaking of defensemen, in case you missed it, the Flyers signed top defense prospect Adam Ginning, 24, to a two-year contract extension that comes with some NHL flexibility for the 2024-25 season. NHL News So, it seems the New York Rangers are finally preparing to cut ties with veteran center Barclay Goodrow, one of their (few) standout playoff performers from this past postseason. Goodrow was placed on waivers on Wednesday with the intention of seeing if any NHL teams would claim him from the Rangers. New York immediately saves $1.15 million from the move. As for Goodrow, two NHL scouts believe that one of his former teams, the San Jose Sharks, should be interested in reuniting with the 31-year-old. Goodrow played for the Sharks for parts of six NHL seasons. The Flyers aren’t the only team saddled with a bunch of buyout candidates this offseason; here are four buyout candidates, including two surprise goalies, the Pittsburgh Penguins are bound to be keeping an eye on in the coming weeks. [...] Read more...
Colby GuyJune 19, 2024SUNRISE — Matthew Tkachuk formally introduced himself to the 2024 Stanley Cup Final on Tuesday night. The problem? His big game was in vain. Tkachuk scored his first goal in 10 games and assisted another yet his Florida Panthers lost 5-3 to the Edmonton Oilers in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. That swagger Tkachuk brought into Tuesday night’s game will have to be brought back to Edmonton for Game 6. “Oh, he was fantastic,” coach Paul Maurice said. “He scored a huge goal and then that line was on fire. The last thing you want is him with the puck on his stick in the slot.” No One Covers the Florida Panthers Like FHN. Period. Subscribe to Florida Hockey Now Today! With the Panthers down 3-0, Tkachuk injected life into his team by picking up a puck in the slot from Evan Rodrigues and wiring it past Stuart Skinner 6:53 into the second period. He worked his magic again 4:04 into the third, setting up Oliver Ekman-Larsson for his goal which brought the Panthers back within a goal. “He was unbelievable tonight,” Sam Bennett said. “He elevated his game and the boys followed. So we needed that from him for sure.” Tkachuk breathed life into the Panthers every time he was on the ice in the third period. He was near the front of the net creating chances, causing chaos in front of the net, trying to do something to help get the Panthers back in the game. Tkachuk and the Panthers just could not finish the job. “No. I think it’s everybody. Everybody really wanted it,” Tkachuk said, shifting the praise away from himself after Florida’s third-period barrage. “I think we had a good push when it was five-on-five. I thought everybody played a solid five-on-five the second half of the game, but we gave up four goals at the end of the second. It’s tough to win like that. It felt similar to that game against the Rangers except for not ultimately tying it late, but we had a good push.” The Panthers led 10-4 in shots in the third period and largely controlled play from Tkachuk’s goal in the second period, but the hole they dug themselves was just too big. Florida now has to hope for another signature performance from Tkachuk to close the series out in Edmonton. “It’s tough, especially at this stage of where you’re at in the series,” Tkachuk said. “We’ve got another crack at it on Friday. We did a really good job at the beginning of the series of building that lead, so really nothing changes from tonight’s mindset. “We’re up 3-2 going back to Edmonton. Couple days to get ready to go for that and get back healthy and rested and ready to go.” More FHN Coverage of the Florida Panthers: Like our Facebook Page Follow us on Twitter: @GeorgeRichards // @ColbyDGuy // @TheGovMan Subscribe to the FHN YouTube Channel Visit the FHN Team Shop at TeePublic and RedBubble 2024 STANLEY CUP FINAL EDMONTON OILERS VS. FLORIDA PANTHERS  GAME 6 Panthers Lead Best of 7 Series 3-2 When: Friday, 8 p.m. Where: Rogers Place; Edmonton, Alberta National TV: ABC Streaming: ESPN+/Hulu Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app Series Schedule, All Games 8 p.m. on ABC — Game 1: @Florida 3, Edmonton 0;Game 2: @Florida 4, Edmonton 1; Game 3: Florida 4, @Edmonton 3; Game 4: @Edmonton 8, Florida 1; Game 5: Edmonton 5, @Florida 3; Game 6: Florida at Edmonton, Friday; Game 7*:Edmonton at Florida, Monday June 24. (*) – If Necessary How They Got Here — Florida: d. Tampa Bay 4-1, Boston 4-2, New York Rangers 4-2; Edmonton: d. Los Angeles 4-1, Vancouver 4-3, Dallas 4-2. This Season (Florida Won 2-0) — At Florida: Panthers 5, Oilers 3 (Nov. 20). At Edmonton: Panthers 5, Oilers 2 (Dec. 17). Last Season: Edmonton Won 2-0 All-time Regular Season Series: Oilers lead 23-16-0, 3 ties Postseason History: First Meeting [...] Read more...
Griffin FloydJune 19, 2024Pirates’ affiliates picked up three wins on Tuesday, capped by Shalin Polanco’s walk-off grand slam for the Bradenton Marauders. Domingo Germán put together his best performance since joining the Pirates, striking out five batters in a quality start for Triple-A Indianapolis. Matt Gorski homered yet again, Matt Fraizer hit two doubles and Liover Peguero singled four times in Indianapolis’ 4-2 win over the Iowa Cubs. The Altoona Curve lost 3-2 to the Bowie Bay Sox, managing just three hits and unable to pull out a win in complement of Po-Yu Chen’s quality start. The Greensboro Grasshoppers shut out the Hudson Valley Renegades 2-0. Patrick Reilly struck out ten batters in six innings, while Hudson Head’s two-run homer served as the difference maker. The Bradenton Marauders round things out with a 6-5 walk-off win over the Lakeland Flying Tigers. Esmerlyn Valdez homered in the eighth to help send the game to extras, while Polanco’s tenth-inning grand slam secured the win after a near-meltdown in the top of the inning. Here are some of the top performances amongst the Pirates’ farm teams to begin the new week. Triple-A Indianapolis (30-38) LF Matt Fraizer Game: 3-for-4 with 2 doubles. Season: .228/.309/.348 with 8 doubles, a triple and 3 homers in 48 games between Indianapolis and Altoona. INF Liover Peguero Game: 4-for-4 with 4 singles. Season: .272/.336/.402 with 13 doubles, 2 triples and 4 homers in 60 games. Double-A Altoona (24-40) RHP Po-Yu Chen Game: 6 IP, 2 ER and 5 K’s. Season: 64 IP, 4,64 ERA, 42 K’s in 13 appearances (11 starts). LF Tres Gonzalez Game: 1-for-4 with a double. Season: .216/.310/.257 with 4 doubles and a triple in 46 games. High-A Greensboro (37-26) LF Hudson Head Game: 1-for-3 with a homer. Season: .230/.337/.437 with 6 doubles, 3 triples and 8 homers in 51 games. RHP Patrick Reilly Game: 6 IP, 0 ER, 10 K’s. Season: 56.2 IP, 3.81 ERA, 74 K’s in 13 starts. Single-A Bradenton (28-35) CF Shalin Polanco Game: 2-for-4 with a grand slam and a walk. Season: .166/.245/.322 with 11 doubles and 7 homers in 54 games. RHP Antwone Kelly Game: 5.2 IP, 0 ER, 5 K’s. Season: 54.1 IP, 3.81 ERA, 54 K’s in 12 appearances (10 starts). [...] Read more...
Chris WardJune 19, 2024Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Omar Khan completely altered the quarterback room this offseason. The trio of Kenny Pickett, Mitch Trubisky and Mason Rudolph threw a combined 25 touchdown passes over the last two seasons, so it was much-needed. Khan stated at the NFL Combine that he had “full faith” in Kenny Pickett being the team’s starting quarterback. However, a combination of unforeseen happenings unfolded in the next few weeks that resulted in the Steelers landing Russell Wilson on a one-year veteran minimum deal and acquiring Justin Fields from the Chicago Bears via a trade “If you would have told me that we’d be sitting here with Russell Wilson, Justin Fields and Kyle Allen five months ago, I wouldn’t have believed you,” Khan said during an appearance on 93.7 The Fan last week. Wilson is in pole position to be the Steelers’ starter. However, Fields will be given a fair shot in training camp and the preseason. Khan’s first impressions of Fields have been glowing, both on and off the field. “We really liked Justin coming out of college. He had an up-and-down situation in Chicago, and the opportunity was there to get him, and I’m excited,” Khan said. “He’s really looked awesome. He’s a great individual, too. I didn’t know him personally until he got here. What a special person he is.” Even if Wilson ends up being the starter, a special package for Fields could be implemented. Fields is a dynamic runner and could be utilized in the red zone. Since 2022, Fields has the most rushing yards by a quarterback with 1,800 yards, 6.3 yards per carry. Both figures are higher than Lamar Jackson’s. In an interview with Missi Matthews of Steelers.com, offensive coordinator Arthur Smith addressed the idea that Fields could have a package specific to him. “It’s too early… Both of those guys, they’re playing quarterback, and they’re out here competing,” Smith said during OTAs. “We know where we’re at in the part of the year, we’re playing football in shorts. We’re trying to improve and get to know everybody and get themselves, getting the chemistry with everyone else on the offense. It will be a fun time in Latrobe, watching those guys compete.” One thing is for sure, though. At least on paper, the Steelers are in a much better spot at quarterback this season compared to last year. [...] Read more...
Trevor NeufeldJune 19, 2024It’s a strange time to be alive for supporters of the Calgary Flames. The concept of “let Conny cook” is certainly one way to approach it. As the summer carries on and the playoffs draw towards an end, Flames fans have been without for a full two months as of June 18. Like any other offseason, whispers of trade follow the team as they prepare for the NHL Entry Draft in late June. This time around, the buzz around Jacob Markstrom has once again picked up, and it’s hard to blame the media for going after it. On one side of it, surely there is some fire to that smoke. Pierre LeBrun, Frank Seravalli, Elliotte Friedman—all saying that talks have resumed with New Jersey. Ottawa and Toronto have thrown their hats into the ring. LA is perfectly placed to try to run as a dark horse in that race, given that they only have David Rittich for one more season, and Cam Talbot is hitting the UFA market. Two of those four teams have a top-ten pick at the 2024 NHL Entry Draft. Jersey General Manager Tom Fitzgerald has been quoted as saying that the tenth overall pick is in play. That could simply be the 55 year old exec letting the public know that a deal could be made and if Conroy plays ball, that pick might be involved. Or it may be the classic bait and switch. Underwhelming Returns It would be so very in character for the deal to be announced and, lo and behold, no high pick. The consolation prize is a player in the 22-25 age range — as well as a pick that doesn’t exactly excite the fanbase with it’s perceived potential. Don’t shoot the messenger. Nikita Zadorov appears to be getting auctioned off following a trade request? A 2026 third round pick and a 2024 fifth. Zadorov ended up a fan favourite with four goals and four assists for eight points in 13 post season games. Not to mention a highlight reel of big hits and quality chirps. Chris Tanev, a certified game breaker is one of the better rentals of 2023-2024? A 2024 second round pick and a former second round pick in Artem Grushnikov. A solid return, but no first round pick. No blue chip prospect. Tanev went on to help the Dallas Stars reach the Western Conference Final. He even garnered some MVP speculation prior to their elimination. Elias Lindholm may be the only instance of fans seeing the return that they wanted for one of their vaunted pending unrestricted free agents. Once part of the most dominant line in hockey, the 29 year old brought back struggling star winger Andrei Kuzmenko, a late first round pick in 2024, a conditional fourth round pick in 2024, OHL hot shot defenceman Hunter Brzustewicz and big bodied blue line prospect Joni Jurmo. Add the return for all of those departing players together, and you have yourself a haul, but likely not the sum of each piece, given the playoff impact that each ended up providing. So, now the public waits and watches in the hopes that Calgary’s MVP in 2023-2024 will bring back a vaunted top-ten draft selection. The same general expectations that Conroy and the Flames had to manage when 2022-2023 top scorer Tyler Toffoli made it known that he wasn’t entirely on board with sticking around to finish his contract. Conroy turned that situation into somewhat of a win. The centrepiece of the return, Yegor Sharangovich potted 31 goals and 28 assists to beat Toffoli by 14 points on the year. The additional third round pick heading to Calgary in the deal was used to draft power winger Aydar Suniev, who had a strong first season in the NCAA. What can we learn from the four aforementioned trades made by Conroy? Don’t get your hopes up when it comes to landing the publicly perceived golden goose for goaltender Jacob Markstrom. With that said, what are some targets that follow Conroy’s model of “under-appreciated, semi-matured pro asset” if the Postdam, New York product were to find a trade partner in a deal that sends Markstrom to a new team?   Grinding Out a Deal With the Toronto Maple Leafs We’ll start with the most laborious of trade partners. Two factors are no secret to Flames fans when it comes to dealing with the Toronto Maple Leafs. One. Brad Treliving is the former general manager of the Calgary Flames and the man who originally signed Markstrom to a six year, $36,000,000 contract. Two. Treliving is a brutal negotiator to deal with. He will grind” until the blade is microscopically thin when it comes to extended trade talks. At one point last season, Elliotte Friedman claimed that he believed that Treliving was trying to offer a late 2024 first round pick as the centrepiece for both Nikita Zadorov and Chris Tanev. To add to that situation, the Leafs don’t have any high-value futures to exchange beyond Easton Cowan, who may have played his way into being too coveted to be traded following a strong performance at the Memorial Cup. While the organization may value its assets as future game-breakers, the Toronto prospect cupboard has experienced years of attrition following multiple high-expectation trade deadlines and standings finishes. With that pointed out, here are a few mock trades that CHN came up with, given the nature of five NHL general managers.   To Toronto: Jacob Markstrom   To Calgary: Nick Robertson 2024 first round draft pick (23rd overall) 2025 fifth round draft pick   Robertson, 22, has potential to do more on an NHL roster. With 17 goals and 17 assists for 34 points in 87 regular season games, he certainly shown that he has the talent to earn a more significant role on an NHL roster. The former Peterborough Pete has a smaller frame at 5-foot-9, but plays a shifty game that includes plenty of intangibles. A strong forechecker, an active trash talker, and has solid finishing skills; perhaps he shines in a larger role. Getting Treliving to even agree to that cost will make even the worst jobs enviable in the eyes of Craig Conroy, but if we’re talking a comparable return to a top-ten pick, that may be what it takes to get it done.   Pushing the Senators into Contention We head to the other end of the prospect cupboard spectrum for Calgary’s next potential dance partner. The Ottawa Senators have an abundance of former high draft selections to exchange in a potential Jacob Markstrom swap. Their issue is primarily a lack of veterans on the blue line and the fact that Joonas Korpisalo served as a liability in net over 82 games of the 2023-2024 season. For the Senators, it’s gotten to the point where the team simply can’t find the sum of their high-value parts. Their blue line averages the age of 26 if you include Travis Hamonic, 33, who usually plays less than a full season in any given year. Supposing that the seventh overall pick on June 28 isn’t a part of the deal, here is a trade that brings in a player that needs a fuel-injected turning point in exchange for a goaltender that has proven he can steal games for extended stretches.   To Ottawa: Jacob Markstrom   To Calgary: Erik Brannstrom 2024 first round pick (Boston – 25th overall)   Traded out of Vegas at 19 as the centerpiece of the Mark Stone deal, Erik Brannstrom has struggled to find a place in Ottawa. Now 24, the results aren’t there yet —  14, 16, and 17 points in his last three seasons. Factor in that the 5-foot-10, 185-pound offensive defenceman has been stuck on the third pairing and you start to get the picture. In terms of his game, Brannstrom has the tools to be an aggressive puck mover from the back end. When healthy, his skating is a major strength at both ends of the ice. The Eksjo, Sweden product has the quick edges and acceleration to succeed within Ryan Huska’s zone defence system, as well as a quick initiative on the breakout to fit Calgary’s transition offence. Brannstrom needs to get stronger to play a top-four role in the NHL more adequately, but that will come with time. Corner battles and boxing out the front of the net remain a work in progress.   Finally Giving New Jersey Their Goalie Whether Fitzgerald is serious about being willing to move the 10th overall pick is up for debate. You have to wonder why a trade hasn’t already been completed if he is. The Devils badly need a tried and trusted starter to back up their powerhouse speed game and Jacob Markstrom is exactly that. With that said, here is an offer that may be closer to reality.   To New Jersey Jacob Markstrom   To Calgary Alexander Holtz 2024 third-round draft pick (75th overall)   A bit of a fixer-upper, Alex Holtz has experienced a similar lineup situation to Erik Brannstrom. Stuck in a depth role, his opportunities to play alongside elite talent are few and far between. 16 goals in 2023-2024 certainly imply that Holtz might have more to contribute. Much of his chances are off broken plays or jumping on the aftermath of chaotic sequences. As much as Flames fans may begrudge a deal that doesn’t involve a top-ten pick in 2024, Holtz fits Conroy’s model of younger players with big shots. The Stockholm native is a pure sniper with a lethal release. Much like his former teammate, Yegor Sharangovich, it may be that the seventh overall pick in 2020 simply needs an increase in deployment to start putting up serious numbers.   Completing a stacked Los Angeles Kings Roster Of the four teams listed, LA general manager Rob Blake may have the most to gain from bringing in Markstrom, a goalie who can dominate a game on any given night. Cam Talbot (.913) and David Rittich (.921) both posted exceptional save percentages in 2023-2024, playing behind the aggressive, demanding defensive structure that head coach Jim Hiller had the team working towards. Jump forward to the 2024 Stanley Cup playoffs. The team had lost steam down the stretch drive and, needing a netminder to insulate the struggling group, both Talbot (.861) and Rittich (.872) struggled against the star power of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisatl. It’s debatable whether a goalie stealing a game or two in the playoffs would have pushed the Kings over the top against a team that made it past Vancouver and Dallas to reach the Cup Final, but having a reliable presence in net can change the entire dynamic of a group that already knows how to check all the boxes in the D-zone. A reliable starter in October and November leads to an easier December-February, which leads to being more rested in March-April and on into the playoffs. The what-ifs are a challenge from an LA perspective. The Kings lost round one on the penalty kill. Many will argue that your best penalty killer is often in net. The matter could be chicken or the egg in nature, but one certainty is that they need to bring in a goalie this summer. Here is an offer that may make sense for both sides.   To LA Jacob Markstrom   To Calgary Arthur Kaliyev Koehn Ziemmer 2024 first round pick (21st overall)   Another pure shooter, Kaliyev, 22, hasn’t quite found his place in LA. The Tashkent, Uzbekistan native with American citizenship is a triple threat in the slot in that his wrist shot, snap shot and slap shot are all considered among within the upper echelon in the NHL. The draws on his game? Urgency is an issue. Skating is a work in progress. There are questions about his health, given that he posted a career-low 6.9 shooting percentage this year, but there is plenty of runway to get all of that back on track. The 6-foot-2, 209-pound left shot right winger took a step back this season with just seven goals and eight assists for 15 points in 51 games. The season prior, Kaliyev put up 13 goals and 28 points in 56 games at the age of 21. Despite his offensive skills, the results aren’t there yet for the former Hamilton Bulldog powerplay ace. You can cite his age and lack of experience. The average prospect doesn’t have 188 NHL regular season games on their resume by the time they turn 23 – something that Kaliyev will do later in June. Another early career reclamation project, but one with the tools to succeed in a top-six role in the NHL. Kaliyev is a restricted free agent this offseason and will need an $874,125 qualifying offer. Also involved in the would-be transaction is right winger Koehn Ziemmer, who put up 41 goals and 89 points in 68 games with the Prince George Cougars in 2022-2023. To say that Ziemmer plays an aggressive game is an understatement. The 6-foot-1, 203-pound power winger has a sublime sense for catching pursuers unprepared. Reverse hits, cross-checks, and slashes are all commonly brought out along the boards and in transition. Koehn is a player that may one day translate into an impact playoff performer. His abrasive style led to the 19 year old only suiting up for 23 games this season. Ziemmer was a third round pick in 2023.   Adjusting Expectations Around a Markstrom Deal The term “too good to be true” comes to mind when you see an NHL general manager publicly dangle a high value asset like Tom Fitzgerald is currently doing with the 10th overall selection at the 2024 NHL Entry Draft. Is he doing it to garner interest? To put pressure on Craig Conroy (Markstrom) or Nashville GM Barry Trotz (Saros) to find a deal for their available goaltender as their respective fanbases continue to ruminate on such a high potential asset? You would have to be in the room where it happened to truly know the motive, but there is one certainty here. Everything Tom Fitzgerald disclosed to the speculation-starved public was intentional.   More from CHN: For more Flames news, visit Calgary Hockey Now and like our Facebook page. Follow us on 𝕏: @CgyHockeyNow and @Trevor_Neufeld   Additional Reading New Jersey Hockey Now: [...] Read more...
Chris WardJune 19, 2024Steelers Daily News & Links: Your daily stop for all of the news and links from the Pittsburgh Steelers, NFL and around the Sports Now Group 🏈 The Baltimore Ravens revealed new purple helmets that they’ll wear for one game this season. A look at the Ravens’ alternate helmets that they will wear for one game this season: pic.twitter.com/KyRvuUQL1b — Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 18, 2024 🏈 Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports named the Pittsburgh Steelers as one of the top logical landing spots for Brandon Aiyuk. “Repeatedly linked to Aiyuk via both report and rumor, the Steelers jettisoned Diontae Johnson earlier this offseason, and while Roman Wilson arrived in the draft, they could still use a veteran complement to George Pickens as Russell Wilson and Justin Fields square off for quarterback duties. Aiyuk’s downfield dynamism could be a perfect fit for their otherwise rugged offense,” Benjamin wrote. 🏈 Per Sports Info Solutions, Justin Fields was the only quarterback that had a perfect 100% catchable pass percentage of passes 10+ yards downfield while throwing on the move (min. 10 attempts). 🏈 There’s less than one month until players begin reporting for training camp. Below are the training camp dates and locations for all 32 NFL teams. Less than one month until players begin reporting for training camp … pic.twitter.com/ev5PKq6GMC — Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) June 18, 2024 🏈 Mark Kaboly of the Athletic said on 93.7 The Fan that Cam Heyward was just joking about possibly playing for the Cleveland Browns. 🏈 On Tuesday, Steelers rookies attended the annual Urban Impact Youth Football Clinic, where they participated in football drills, encouraged the kids to be active and positive in their school, home and community. On Tuesday, our rookies attended the annual Urban Impact Youth Football Clinic, where they participated in football drills, encouraged the kids to be active and positive in their school, home and community. pic.twitter.com/VR1arHv64T — Steelers Community Relations (@SteelersCR) June 18, 2024 NEWS FROM AROUND THE SPORTS NOW NETWORK Pittsburgh Hockey Now: 4 buyout candidates for Penguins to watch. Pittsburgh Baseball Now: Pirates Takeaways: Falter’s bounce-back, former draft pick shines, McCutchen aggressive. Pittsburgh Sports Now: Paris Ford pleads not guilty to felony charges, case proceeds to trial West Virginia Sports Now: 2025 3-star CB commits to WVU, feels nowhere can top West Virginia. Nittany Sports Now: Penn State all 105: Tyler Holzworth adds depth to RB room. Pittsburgh Soccer Now: Takeaways and Player Grades: Riverhounds give new meaning to being non-clinical. [...] Read more...
Sheng PengJune 19, 2024If the reports are accurate, the San Jose Sharks’ off-season plan is becoming clear. It looks like GM Mike Grier is prioritizing will over skill, perhaps in the forms of Cam Atkinson and Barclay Goodrow. Atkinson is a six-time 20-goal scorer, even surpassing 30 twice, so he’s got plenty of skill. At 5-foot-8 though, it’s just as much his will, his fearlessness around the net that has brought him success. The 35-year-old, who didn’t play all of the 2022-23 season with a herniated disc, slumped to just 13 goals this year, a career-low for a full season. The Philadelphia Flyers appear to be trying to off-load the last year of his contract, $5.875 million AAV. According to Darren Dreger, San Jose has “trade interest, but sources say Atkinson isn’t keen on a move to the Sharks. Philly will eat a good chunk of the final year of his contract. Buyout is also an option, as is keeping him in the mix.” Atkinson has a 10-Team No-Trade List, maybe San Jose is on that. But perhaps Atkinson will change his mind over the summer? The relentless heart-and-soul winger would add some much-needed pushback to the cellar-dwelling San Jose Sharks. San Jose Hockey Now sources agree that he’s the exact type of player that you want around your youngsters, the likes of Macklin Celebrini, Will Smith, and William Eklund. He’s not a bad bet to return to his 20-goal ways with plenty of playing time in San Jose too. While Goodrow doesn’t have Atkinson’s skill, there’s no doubt that he has every bit the will. Goodrow went from an undrafted free agent, signed by the San Jose Sharks in 2014, to a back-to-back Stanley Cup winner with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2020 and 2021. He wasn’t just a passenger on those title runs either — he was entrusted to protect  leads in the last seconds of both championship-clinching games. Goodrow, 31, was just waived by the New York Rangers, with three years left on his contract at $3.642 million AAV. This was after an up-and-down campaign: On one hand, Goodrow scored six goals in 16 playoff games. On the other hand, this followed a regular season where he scored just four goals in 80 contests. But like Atkinson, Goodrow is the exact presence that you want in the locker room to guide your youth. Mollie Walker of the NY Post reported that “there is belief there is a pre-arranged deal for the Sharks to claim Goodrow.” If so, claiming Goodrow and chasing Atkinson would represent a different look than Grier’s work last summer, which seemed to lean more into skill than will with the likes of offense-first wingers like Anthony Duclair, Mike Hoffman, and Filip Zadina. Reportedly, the Sharks also tried to sign UFA Vladimir Tarasenko. Grier did find skill and will in Mikael Granlund, perhaps he can find a couple more two-way forces like that this summer? Goodrow and Atkinson would be a step in the right direction. Should Sharks Acquire Goodrow? 2 NHL Scouts Say Yes (+) [...] Read more...
James NicholsJune 18, 2024Erika Wachter Barnes, one of MSG Network’s on-air hosts for the New Jersey Devils, will not have her contract renewed for next season, ending her six-year run. Wachter took to social media on Tuesday night, explaining that MSG had decided not to renew her contract to move in a different direction. “Next season, I will not be returning as host for the New Jersey Devils on the MSG Networks broadcast. MSG has decided not to renew my contract and instead will be moving in a different direction. So, after six seasons, that is sadly it for me, covering this team that we all love so much. It’s been an absolute joy and a true privilege to be able to be on your screens night in and night out covering this team. I have been able to meet and cover and get to know so many incredible players and different people within the New Jersey Devils organization… “I have learned so much about myself over the six years on this job, I have so much more confidence in myself and what I do for a living, and of course, my love for the sport of hockey has grown…While this news has definitely been disappointing and hard to take, I know that I have to just see the bigger picture and remain optimistic that everything truly does work out.” Wachter was hired by MSG Networks in 2018 after her previous two-year stint as a sports reporter and host for FOX 5 New York. Former Devils Ken Danyko, Bryce Salvador, and play-by-play host Bill Spaulding remain on the MSG broadcast panel. The Devils preseason opens on Sunday, Sept. 22 vs. the New York Islanders. The preseason tilt could mark the first time we receive a glimpse of Wachter’s potential replacement. For more Devils news, visit New Jersey Hockey Now and like our Facebook page. Follow us on 𝕏: @NJDHockeyNow, @JamesNicholsNHL, @NickNatale10 And on Threads: @JamesNicholsNHL [...] Read more...
George Richards, FHN PublisherJune 18, 2024SUNRISE — The Edmonton Oilers are headed home and are, indeed, dragging the Florida Panthers along with them. Edmonton, once left for dead in this Stanley Cup Final, has sprung to life over the past couple of games and have now won the past two after dropping the first three. On Tuesday night, the Panthers were once again denied a chance to lay claim to the Stanley Cup after Edmonton beat Florida 5-3 at Amerant Bank Arena. Florida still leads 3-2 in this best-of-7 series which now heads back to Edmonton. Game 6 will be Friday night. If you believe in momentum, well, you probably believe in the Oilers although after the third period, the Panthers may be taking some of their own north of the border. Florida found itself down 3-0 and 4-1 against the Oilers before mounting a comeback. The Panthers simply could not come all the way back. Edmonton, led by all-world center Connor McDavid, held off a furious comeback by the Panthers which was set off by goals from Evan Rodrigues and Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Down 4-1 after a second power-play goal from the Oilers, Rodrigues knocked in a rebound off a Brandon Montour shot to make it 4-2 going into the third. Ekman-Larsson beat Stuart Skinner with a one-timer off a pass from Matthew Tkachuk — who snapped a nine-game goal drought in the second — to make it 4-3 with 15:56 left to play. Florida got no closer to the Oilers, however, with Skinner ending with 29 saves. GOALS OF GAME 5 Oilers 1, Panthers 0 (5:20, 1st SH): The Panthers give up their fifth shorthanded goal of the playoffs; Connor Brown picked off a blueline pass from Brandon Montour to Sasha Barkov, drove up ice and beat Sergei Bobrovsky backhand. Oilers 2, Panthers 0 (1:58, 2nd PP): Edmonton gets its first 5on-3 power play goal of the series, Zach Hyman deflecting a one-timer from Evan Bouchard. Oilers 3, Panthers 0 (5:00, 2nd): Connor McDavid scored off an odd-angled shot in front of the net and things are not looking good for the Panthers. Oilers 3, Panthers 1 (6:53, 2nd): Evan Rodrigues forces a turnover against the wall in the offensive zone, feeds Matthew Tkachuk who rolls in and goes top shelf. Oilers 4, Panthers 1 (11:54, 2nd PP): McDavid makes a sensational dish to Corey Perry in front of the net. Oilers 4, Panthers 2 (12:08, 2nd): Rodrigues gets another goal, knocking in a rebound of a Brandon Montour shot just moments after Edmonton appeared to drop the hammer on the Panthers. Oilers 4, Panthers 3 (4:04, 3rd): Tkachuk finds Oliver Ekman-Larsson in the right circle and Florida is down 1. Oilers 5, Panthers 3 (19:41, 3rd SH): Tkachuk knocks a puck away from the empty net, but McDavid gets it anyway and that is that. GR’S 3 STARS OF GAME 3 1. Connor McDavid, Edmonton 2. Stuart Skinner, Edmonton 3. Matthew Tkachuk, Florida 2024 STANLEY CUP FINAL EDMONTON OILERS VS. FLORIDA PANTHERS  GAME 6 Panthers Lead Best of 7 Series 3-2 When: Friday, 8 p.m. Where: Rogers Place; Edmonton, Alberta National TV: ABC Streaming: ESPN+/Hulu Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app Series Schedule, All Games 8 p.m. on ABC — Game 1: @Florida 3, Edmonton 0;Game 2: @Florida 4, Edmonton 1; Game 3: Florida 4, @Edmonton 3; Game 4: @Edmonton 8, Florida 1; Game 5: Edmonton at Florida, Tuesday; Game 6: Florida at Edmonton, Friday; Game 7*:Edmonton at Florida, Monday June 24. (*) – If Necessary How They Got Here — Florida: d. Tampa Bay 4-1, Boston 4-2, New York Rangers 4-2; Edmonton: d. Los Angeles 4-1, Vancouver 4-3, Dallas 4-2. This Season (Florida Won 2-0) — At Florida: Panthers 5, Oilers 3 (Nov. 20). At Edmonton: Panthers 5, Oilers 2 (Dec. 17). Last Season: Edmonton Won 2-0 All-time Regular Season Series: Oilers lead 23-16-0, 3 ties Postseason History: First Meeting [...] Read more...
Danny DemilioJune 18, 2024PITTSBURGH — Though the Pittsburgh Pirates fell 2-1 to the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night, Bailey Falter returned to form after a couple shaky outings to start June. Falter has been one of the Pirates’ most surprising storylines to start the season. After somewhat controversially being named the club’s fifth starter out of spring training, he’s been a reliable presence in a starting rotation that features two promising rookies and Mitch Keller, who is vying for his second-straight All-Star nomination. Through the end of May, Falter had a robust 3.22 ERA through 11 starts of the season after pitching six-shutout innings against the Blue Jays on the final day of the month. His first two outings in June, however, were nowhere near what he had shown through the first two months of the season. Falter allowed five runs on eight hits in four-plus innings against the Dodgers at PNC Park on June 6 and was tagged for three runs on eight hits in four innings against the Cardinals last week. Against the Reds on Tuesday, Falter looked like the same pitcher he had been for much of the season. “It was awesome,” Falter said of his outing. “It felt good to go out there and provide for the team, especially after my last two starts. Those guys have been working for me for a really long time so it felt good to go out there and get the job done.” Falter allowed a two-run home run to Reds third baseman Santiago Espinal in the fifth inning but that was the lone blemish against him across seven innings. Falter allowed seven hits, walked a pair and struck out three. He needed just 84 pitches to get through his outing. Pregame, manager Derek Shelton said that Falter’s breaking pitches had not been as effective in his last two starts. The Pirates’ starter got much better results with his curveball and slider against the Reds. “He was sharp,” said Shelton after the game. “Seven innings, 80 pitches. He gave up the two-run homer that was it. The breaking ball was good, he mixed in the fastball to both sides.” Through 14 starts on the season, Falter is 3-5 with a 3.74 ERA. Considering the lowly expectations placed upon him at the onset of the season, the Pirates are certainly thrilled with what their de facto fifth starter has given them. Former Pirates Draft Pick Shoves The Pirates’ 2016 draft class is largely a forgettable one. Of the six selections to reach the big leagues with the Pirates from that year’s draft, five have a negative bWAR. The lone player not in the red is right-handed pitcher Blake Cederlind, who has an even 0.0 bWAR. One player who has had success from that year’s Pirates’ draft class is Nick Lodolo. The Pirates drafted the left-hander out of high school with the 41st pick but Lodolo opted to attend college at TCU. Three years later, the Reds made Lodolo the seventh pick in the 2019 draft and signed him for just south of $5.5 million. Lodolo was opposite Falter in Tuesday’s matchup and held the Pirates to one run — a Ke’Bryan Hayes solo home run — in seven innings and struck out eight batters. The 26-year-old has emerged this season as a quality left-handed pitcher this season and now carries a 2.76 ERA. “This guy’s one of the best left-handers in the game,” Shelton said of the one-time Pirates’ draftee. “The ability to throw the slider back foot to right-handers and then throw the fastball at 94 95, often to the inner lane of the plate, there’s not too many guys in the game that can do that. That slider is elite.” Cutch Doubled Off In the bottom of the eighth inning, Andrew McCutchen was standing on first base after drawing a walk. Bryan Reynolds followed by lining one hard to center, a ball that was caught on the run by Stuart Fairchild. McCutchen was already in between second and third base when the ball was caught and was retired on a relay play back to first base. Shelton addressed what happened after the game. “I think he made an aggressive read thinking that he wasn’t gonna get there and he just got too aggressive on that ball.” [...] Read more...
Adam BorstJune 18, 2024All 90 is a Steelers Now series profiling each of the 90 members of the Pittsburgh Steelers 2024 offseason roster. Next up is C Zach Frazier Zach Frazier was one of three offensive lineman that the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted in the 2024 NFL Draft. After drafting Broderick Jones and Spencer Anderson last season, the Steelers are loaded with young talent on the offensive line. With them all being younger guys, they quickly formed a bond and got to work together. “We’re all just working together,” Frazier told reporters at the team’s minicamp. “We’re all going through it together so just learning everything as quickly as possible. Just working as hard as we can to fix our mistakes.” With the Steelers positioned in a win-now mode, the rookies and especially future starters like Frazier and Troy Fautanu, are expected to learn quickly and on a step learning curve. For Frazier, that is not a problem nor is it a surprise. “I think that’s just what you get going from college to the next level so I think we all expected that,” Frazier said. “We are ready for that.” For those guys to hit the goals that the coaches set, it takes a pretty simple strategy which is good coaching. Offensive line coach Pat Meyers and assistant offensive line coaches Isaac Williams and Mateo Kambui have gone to work early in the process to help the young guys. “All three of our offensive line coaches have helped us and have done a great job teaching us and putting it into a way that we can absorb it and learn it quickly,” Frazier said. While the coaches have put in their time with the first and second year guys, fellow center Nate Herbig stepped up and took Frazier under his wing. With Frazier being a rookie, Herbig will get first dibs at first-team reps but there will be an open competition for the starting job through the end of the preseason. “He’s been great,” Frazier said about Herbig. “He has helped me out a lot. He has really taken me under his wing and kind of helped me out. Someone that played center and can just give me tips and pointers.” Another thing that Frazier noticed when he arrived in Pittsburgh was how much running the ball was going to be emphasized in the offensive game plan. “I just like how puts an emphasis on running the ball,” Frazier said. “I like that as an offensive lineman.” While Frazier is a second-round pick, there is no guarantee that he will win the starting job before Week 1 rolls around. He will face off Herbig for the starting job throughout training camp and the preseason but do not be surprised if the Steelers play the slow game with their young guys similar to how they handled Jones last season. Regardless, Frazier will be the Steelers starting center at some point this season, it is just unclear if it will be in Atlanta or not. 54 • Zach Frazier, Center, West Virginia 6-foot-3, 310 pounds, 22 years old, 1st Season Acquired: The Steelers drafted Frazier with the 51st overall pick in the second round of the 2024 NFL Draft. Frazier is the first Mountaineer to be drafted by the Steelers since the team selected Woodland Hills alum Ryan Mundy in the sixth round of the 2008 NFL Draft. Last Year: In 2023, Frazier played at an extremely high level for the Mountaineers. In 12 starts, Frazier played 806 offensive snaps and did not allow a single sack. In their opening game against Pitt, Frazier was credited with a season-high 14 knockdowns. Following the season, the committees named Frazier to the watchlist of many awards including being a William V. Campbell Trophy Finalist, a Wuerffel Trophy Semifinalist and a Jason Witten Man of the Year Semifinalist. Additionally, he earned All-American honors for the second time of collegiate career. College: Frazier, a West Virginia native, played his collegiate ball for the Mountaineers. He arrived on campus in 2020 which was the COVID-shortened season. Frazier started nine of his 10 appearances at left guard as a true freshman. He was the first true freshman to start on the Mountaineers offensive line since 1980. In the offseason, Frazier switched his position to center and went onto start all 13 games as a sophomore. In 895 offensive snaps, Frazier allowed just one sack. After his breakout season, Frazier earned All-American honors by multiple outlets. Year Position GP GS Snaps Sacks Allowed PFF Rating 2020 LG 10 9 630 0 – 2021 C 13 13 895 1 77.5 2022 C 12 12 883 3 80.8 2023 C 12 12 806 0 77.3 In 2022, Frazier stayed consistent as he started all 12 of the team’s games at center. Allowing just three sacks, Frazier went 10 games without allowing one and ended the season with his highest PFF Grade of his collegiate career. Additionally, Frazier received All-Big 12 nominations for the second consecutive season. Additionally in 2022, Frazier led an offensive line that led Power 5 schools in rushing with 2,976 yards. The Mountaineers also had 32 rushing touchdowns which was tied for eleventh nationally. West Virginia was the only Big 12 school to finish with more than 2,000 rushing yards in conference games in 2022. In total, Frazier started 46 of his 47 appearances for the Mountaineers. In his four years on campus, Frazier played over 3,200 offensive snaps and allowed just four sacks. He was a two-time All-American and three-time team captain. Due to his success, Frazier earned invites to the Reese’s Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine. Salary cap and future: Frazier is a rookie who is entering the first year of his rookie contract. OverTheCap listed Frazier’s contract to be worth $7.54 million in total money. Frazier will cost $1.37 million against the team’s cap space in 2024. He will make $795,000 in base salary and another $576,675 in bonus money. Frazier signed a standard four-year rookie contract with the Steelers after being drafted meaning that he will be with the team through the end of the 2027, at the very least. The rest of the 90: [...] Read more...
Danny DemilioJune 18, 2024PITTSBURGH — Bailey Falter threw seven strong innings after back-to-back rough outings but was outdueled by Cincinnati Reds starter Nick Lodolo in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 2-1 loss at PNC Park on Tuesday night.  In his first two starts of June, Falter (3-5) worked a total of eight innings and allowed eight runs on 16 hits. On Tuesday, however, he efficiently worked through his outing and looked much more like the pitcher he was through the end of May.  Falter dealt with traffic on the bases but was assisted by a 5-4-3 double play in each of the first three innings and a Jason Delay caught stealing of Jake Fraley in the third to keep the game locked in a scoreless tie.  The Reds (35-38) finally took advantage of another chance against Falter in the fifth. Jonathan India doubled to deep center field and Santiago Espinal followed with a two-run home run to left field to give Cincinnati a 2-0 lead.  Those were the only two runs the Reds scored in Falter’s seven innings. The Pirates’ left-hander allowed seven hits, walked two and struck out three batters.  Lodolo (8-2), who was drafted by the Pirates out of high school in 2016 but did not sign, held Pittsburgh to one run across seven innings. The left-hander held the Pirates (35-38) to three hits through the first six innings but Ke’Bryan Hayes connected on a solo home run to left field to cut the Reds’ lead in half. KE'BRYAN HAYES#VotePirates ➡️ https://t.co/F8oWS9eJaw pic.twitter.com/5RvGFtNXOk — Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) June 19, 2024 Bryan Reynolds extended his hitting streak to 16 games with an infield single in the first inning. He doubled in his second at-bat and finished the night 2 for 4. His 16-game hitting streak is the longest active streak in the majors.  Reynolds lined a ball to deep center in the eighth inning with one out and Andrew McCutchen standing on first base. McCutchen broke from first on contact and Reds center fielder Stuart Fairchild raced back to make the catch and doubled up McCutchen off first base. Up Next It’ll be a battle of tough right-handers in the series finale on Wednesday afternoon as Mitch Keller (8-4, 3.36 ERA) duels with Hunter Greene (5-2, 3.61 ERA). First pitch: 12:35 ET. [...] Read more...
Chris WardJune 18, 2024On Monday, San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk stated in a video call with Washington Commanders quarterback Jayden Daniels that the 49ers “said they don’t want me back.” This revelation sparked continued speculation that the Pittsburgh Steelers could be a potential trade candidate. The Aiyuk saga has been going on for months, but the 49ers are hell-bent on not trading their star wide receiver. Aiyuk would significantly improve the Steelers’ wide receiver corps if a trade came to fruition, but it would come at a deep price. Aiyuk reportedly wants $30 million a year, and it would require a ton of draft capital to even acquire him. That’s why Seth Walder of ESPN thinks a Steelers trade for Aiyuk would be foolish. He doesn’t think they’re a player away from competing for a Super Bowl. If that was the case, he might think differently. “If you’re going to bring him in like in a vacuum, I endorse it,” Walder said during an appearance on the Chipped Ham & Football Podcast with Brian Batko of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Now to trade draft capital for the right to pay someone, I think is usually a mistake. And so, if you said to me, would you if you were the Steelers right now and you were to give a future (first-round pick) for the right to pay Aiyuk a market-value deal, I would not do that. You’re still not a Super Bowl contender with Brandon Aiyuk in 2024. I don’t think it makes sense for Pittsburgh in this spot.” Pairing Aiyuk with George Pickens would be intriguing, but I don’t know if general manager Omar Khan would be willing to make that move given Aiyuk’s pay requests. Khan has made un-Steeler-like moves recently, however. Khan said last week that he’s encouraged by the trajectory of the wide receiver room. “We just finished minicamp and I was talking to Coach T and a couple of the other guys in my department, and we were just saying how good we felt about that room,” Khan said during an appearance on 93.7 The Fan. “Just the growth from when the offseason program started to where we are now. Even the improvements from the start of OTAs to now has really been awesome to see. “We like the group. We really, really do. And they’re working hard. This was an important OTA and minicamp for us. Got a lot of new faces on offense and just seeing how they jell together, how they worked, and I can just tell you, it’s trending really positively. It was awesome.”   [...] Read more...
Dan KingerskiJune 18, 2024The Stanley Cup will be in the building again as the Florida Panthers attempt to end the series on home ice and win the franchise’s first championship. Florida has been to the Cup Final twice before in its history, losing both times. The Edmonton Oilers have five Stanley Cup banners in the rafters of the Rogers Arena but haven’t lifted the chalice since Mark Messier led the team to the 1990 championship. Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final will face off beginning at 8 p.m. at Amerant Bank Arena. Edmonton is fresh from their resounding Game 4 win, beating Florida 8-1. Canadian media immediately asked the question if the lopsided win created doubt in Florida. Stanley Cup Final Game 5 Odds Click on the link to claim the promo for new betters. DraftKings: Bet $5 and get a $150 instant bonus. Florida -1.5 Puckline (+164), Moneyline (-162) Get the DraftKings Promo here. FanDuel: Bet $5 get $200 bonus bets if you win Florida -1.5 Puckline (+168), Moneyline (-154) Get the FanDuel Promo here. The Fanatics Sportsbook promo is the biggest payout if you’d like to place more than one bet. Fanatics Sportsbook: Get up to $1000 in bonuses. You can bet $100 for 10 days, and Fanatics will match your wagers with an equal bonus of up to $1000. Florida -1.5 Puckline (+165), Moneyline (-160) Click here for the Fanatics Sportsbook promo. Anytime Goalscorer Bets Connor McDavid: +130 Sam Reinhart: +135 Leon Draisaitl: +155 Carter Verhaeghe: +160 Matthew Tkachuk: +195 Aleksander Barkov: +220 And for Pittsburgh Penguins fans rooting for the underdog, Evan Rodrigues is +290. Conn Smythe Trophy Odds The odds are Sergei Bobrovsky, Barkov, and everybody else. Bobrovsky: +100 Barkov: +100 Connor McDavid: +700 [...] Read more...
Evan RawalJune 18, 2024One of the things that sets Nathan MacKinnon apart from a lot of other athletes is his competitive drive. He wants to win, and he will do everything it takes to get there. If you want to win, you can’t accept losing. One month after the Colorado Avalanche were eliminated from the postseason by the Dallas Stars, MacKinnon is still upset with how everything finished. The 28 year old superstar, who will likely win the Hart Trophy next week, made the rounds on the radio Tuesday, in part to promote Cwench Hydration, created by his long-time trainer Andy O’Brien. While on TSN1050, MacKinnon was asked about his infamous post-game press conference after the Avalanche lost to the Vegas Golden Knights back in 2021. You may remember this quote… If you don’t happen to remember, the Avalanche star said, “I’m going into my ninth year next year and I haven’t won shit,” when asked about the future of the organization. He’s not someone who thinks about the future. He knows when a team has a chance to win the Stanley Cup, they need to take advantage of it. That’s something he feels like this year’s Avalanche team let slip through their fingers. “It feels like 10 years ago we actually did win now. I might say that quote again soon,” MacKinnon said. “I just think when you feel like you have teams to win and you don’t, it just feels like a waste of a season. It feels like that again this year for us. I felt like we were good enough to win, and we didn’t. It just leaves a really bitter taste in your mouth.” MacKinnon is one to take ownership of his play, and on the Jeff Marek Show, took some of the blame. “I really want to improve my game and come back better and produce more,” he told Marek. “I didn’t produce the way I needed to in that series. Just wasn’t good enough. Just couldn’t get the puck in the net, that was a tough team, good goalie, but yeah, got to be better.” Dallas did slow down Colorado’s big guns, which is a big reason why they were able to win the series in six games. MacKinnon was “held” to five points in six games, and was held without a point in three of the six games. He discussed what changes he’s going to make this summer to come back even stronger next season. “I just think there’s always things I can do to get better,” MacKinnon said. “This summer, I’m planning on skating a little bit more, just trying to fine tune my game. I don’t have a specific area I guess, but I just think the next year of work before the playoffs, or 10 months, of just fine-tuning my game, working every day, can add up. Hopefully that just creates a better outcome and better results for the team.” I guess we’ll see if MacKinnon walks away with the Hart Trophy next week, but I’m pretty confident he will. I’ll be there live in Las Vegas at the NHL Awards Show with all the coverage. [...] Read more...
Sheng PengJune 18, 2024The San Jose Sharks have a chance to bring back a playoff hero…but that’s not why they should, according to two NHL scouts. The New York Rangers put Barclay Goodrow on waivers today. For Sharks fans, Goodrow is best known for scoring the Game Seven overtime winner to complete San Jose’s comeback from 3-1 series and 3-0 game deficits against the Vegas Golden Knights in the first round of the 2019 playoffs. Goodrow wasn’t just a playoff hero for the San Jose Sharks either, winning back-to-back Stanley Cups with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2020 and 2021. This led to the Rangers signing him a six-year, $21.85 million contract in the summer of 2021. After two solid seasons in a middle-six role in New York, averaging 12 goals and 20 assists in each year, Goodrow was dropped to the fourth line this past season, notching just four goals and eight helpers. The 31-year-old did reassert himself in the playoffs, scoring six goals and two assists in the Rangers’ Eastern Conference Finals run. But the cap-strapped Rangers, regardless, are hoping to pass Goodrow’s $3.642 AAV in each of the next three years onto another team. UPDATE: Mollie Walker of the NY Post reported that “there is belief there is a pre-arranged deal for the Sharks to claim Goodrow.” REPORTS: ‘Belief’ Sharks Will Claim Goodrow, ‘Trade Interest’ in Atkinson? So why should the San Jose Sharks roll the dice on Goodrow? Two NHL scouts, neither with the Sharks nor Rangers organizations, shared their thoughts. First, neither scout was necessarily advocating that San Jose claim Goodrow off waivers. You can see if he passes through waivers — we’ll know tomorrow at 11 AM PT if anybody has claimed him — then force New York to attach an asset to him in a trade. Goodrow still has value as a player, so maybe don’t expect a premium asset attached with him though. Goodrow does have a 15-team No-Trade List in his contract, which the Sharks could supersede by claiming him off waivers. San Jose could also hope that New York buys out Goodrow, then sign him as a free agent. But at that point, at a much, much lower price tag, Goodrow will probably have his pick of teams that he can sign with. Going to a rebuilding cellar-dweller might not be that attractive. Second, Goodrow isn’t worth $3.642 AAV, otherwise the Rangers would keep him. No one is arguing that. But he’s still got a lot of value to the San Jose Sharks. Here’s why. The Player The Sharks, 47 points last year, simply need better players. Goodrow was a fourth-liner on a Stanley Cup contender, but on San Jose, he should be able to play up. “I still think he’s a good player,” Scout #1 said. “I think he’s a bottom line , maybe third line on a weak team.” “He’s more of a fourth liner for me,” Scout #2 said, “who could be the third piece of a shutdown third line.” That may not sound that appetizing, but keep in mind, there are plenty of fourth-liners who have zero business playing up — the Sharks featured more than a few of those last season. Goodrow would be a step up, a solid two-way forward who was a little buried on a deep team. Of course, there is the chance that Goodrow continues to decline. The Leader The San Jose Sharks, with Logan Couture injured and Tomas Hertl traded, were lacking in leadership at times last year. It’s certainly something that they need more of, not less of. Goodrow, most importantly, would be a winning influence to surround the likes of Macklin Celebrini and Will Smith. He’s no ordinary leader either — remember, Goodrow closed Cup-winning games for the Lightning in back-to-back years. He’s not a guy, he’s the guy that you want out there with a lead and one minute to go. That’s somebody that you want around your youngsters. “He plays the right way,” Scout #1 said. “ Sturm is the same.” Scout #2 added: “Contract is rich and has slowed down, but still value the identity and intangibles he brings in a bottom-six role.” The Space “He’s worth the claim for a team like San Jose, in my opinion, if you have the space,” Scout #2 said. That, the San Jose Sharks have. The Sharks are flush with over $30 million of cap space now, and they’ll have plenty of space in the foreseeable future too, in theory, until Celebrini and Smith’s ELC’s expire. That’s in three years, when Goodrow’s deal, not so coincidentally, expires. So for San Jose, overpaying a player for three years, in large part because of his intangibles, is reasonable. “He’d be a great option for the Sharks,” Scout #1 said.   [...] Read more...
Jonathan BaileyJune 18, 2024On Friday, Tre Kronor–Sweden’s national team–announced that former Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Nicklas Grossmann would be representing his nation as an assistant coach for Sweden’s junior national teams as a member of Magnus Havelid’s coaching staff. Grossmann, 39, played parts of four of his 11 seasons in the NHL with the Flyers, scoring seven goals, 31 assists, and 38 points while blocking 397 shots in 198 games. “Honored is the first word that comes to mind when I think of the assignment with the Junior Crowns. The national team was always a big thing for me as a player and I feel the same way now as a manager. I feel a sense of pride in being able to represent Sweden and try to win new medals. I’m looking forward to being part of developing our best junior players,” Grossmann said after being appointed. In his new role for Sweden, the former Flyers rearguard will now be entrusted with coaching and developing some of the very best NHL prospects as a key part of Havelid’s staff. Some of the top NHL prospects Grossman will have the pleasure of coaching include Filip Bystedt, David Edstrom, Jonathan Lekkerimäki, Otto Stenberg, Felix Unger Sorum, Anton Wahlberg, Liam Ohgren, Noah Ostlund, Tom Willander, Elias Pettersson, Elias Salomonsson, Axel Sandin-Pellikka, Calle Odelius, Theo Lindstein, Melker Thelin, and more. “Nicklas has extensive NHL experience, which will be important before the JVM on a small rink in Canada,” Havelid said of Grossmann. “He is a good leader with sound values. His skills in defense and penalty killing will be important assets for us.” In addition to his new responsibility as assistant coach for Sweden, Grossmann will continue to serve as an assistant coach for HockeyAllsvenskan club Sodertalje SK. The 39-year-old has been Sodertalje’s conditioning coach since 2020 and officially became an assistant coach for the Swedish club on Nov. 6, 2023. [...] Read more...
Alan Greenberg, FHN WriterJune 18, 2024It’s the biggest game in Florida Panthers history. In prepping their teams, coaches often play mind games in addition to the on-ice drills. With such a heavy media presence, coaches and players are cautious in what they say. The last thing they would want on a day like today is to have their quotes posted on the opposition’s bulletin board. The closest to braggadocio was Connor McDavid’s “drag them back to Alberta” comment. Edmonton coach Kris Knoblauch told his troops before Game 4 and possible elimination that he’s looking forward to spending the next ten days together. Those words were meant to motivate his team and not intimidate the opposition.  It worked, at least for one night. No One Covers the Florida Panthers Like FHN. Period. Subscribe to Florida Hockey Now Today! Paul Maurice did not fan any flames by saying there is no such thing as being comfortable with a lead. “You’re never in a comfortable position in the playoffs,” Maurice said. “You’ve earned your wins. You’ve earned your losses. Every playoff loss feels the same. Maybe other people get comfortable. I haven’t had that for 30 years. Which is good, right? You’ve just got to harness it.” Knoblauch addressed the media this morning.  He chose his words carefully when discussing tonight’s strategy, again complimenting the Panthers. “Just play with composure,” Knoblauch said. “There’s going to be a lot of excitement in the building. They’ll obviouslywant to come out with a big statement, period. Right from the start, just because of the way Game 4 went and them obviously playing back to their identity. We have to be ready for that pressure…We have to be smart with our puck decisions.” At yesterday’s Edmonton practice, Darnell Nurse indicated in no uncertain terms that Saturday’s one-sided victory was an anomaly and did not expect the scoring to continue at the same pace. “With the playoffs, I think we’ve seen it time and time again that every time the puck drops in the next game it seems to reset everything,” he said. “You know it’s going to a big push here by the Panthers on home ice. For us, we’ve got to come out and have that same energy.” Nurse seemed to go out of his way to praise Sergei Bobrovsky and his well-known ability to come back after a poor outing. “He’s an elite goaltender,” Nurse said. “Obviously the first three games he was a really big difference maker. You expect that again tomorrow night. He’s going to come out and play hard and be someone on ice that we’re going to have to solve.” This morning, Aaron Ekblad summed up the emotions of Game 5 succinctly and as good as anyone. “Two good teams are playing hockey, and anything can happen on any given night,” Ekblad said. “At the end of the day, we’re sure to keep battling and try to find a way to win a game tonight. Not put too much pressure on ourselves.” The Stanley Cup is in the house. The Panthers do not want to be ‘dragged back to Alberta.’ More FHN Coverage of the Florida Panthers: Like our Facebook Page Follow us on Twitter: @GeorgeRichards // @ColbyDGuy // @TheGovMan Subscribe to the FHN YouTube Channel Visit the FHN Team Shop at TeePublic and RedBubble 2024 STANLEY CUP FINAL EDMONTON OILERS VS. FLORIDA PANTHERS  GAME 5 Panthers Lead Best of 7 Series 3-1 When: Tuesday, 8 p.m. Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise National TV: ABC Streaming: ESPN+/Hulu Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app Local Betting Odds — Panthers Favored: Money Line (-145); Puck line (-1.5, +170); Over/Under 5.5 (-110/-120). Series Panthers -1100 Series Schedule, All Games 8 p.m. on ABC — Game 1: @Florida 3, Edmonton 0;Game 2: @Florida 4, Edmonton 1; Game 3: Florida 4, @Edmonton 3; Game 4: @Edmonton 8, Florida 1; Game 5: Edmonton at Florida, Tuesday; Game 6*: Florida at Edmonton, Friday; Game 7*:Edmonton at Florida, Monday June 24. (*) – If Necessary How They Got Here — Florida: d. Tampa Bay 4-1, Boston 4-2, New York Rangers 4-2; Edmonton: d. Los Angeles 4-1, Vancouver 4-3, Dallas 4-2. This Season (Florida Won 2-0) — At Florida: Panthers 5, Oilers 3 (Nov. 20). At Edmonton: Panthers 5, Oilers 2 (Dec. 17). Last Season: Edmonton Won 2-0 All-time Regular Season Series: Oilers lead 23-16-0, 3 ties Postseason History: First Meeting [...] Read more...
Zachary SmithJune 18, 2024Welcome to the Steelers Afternoon Drive, our new daily podcast featuring all the latest Steelers news and analysis. Alan Saunders, Nick Farabaugh and Zachary discuss all things Pittsburgh Steelers. On today’s episode, we discuss the team moving on from WR Denzel Mims and why they might be making this move in the middle of June. What do they intend to do with the roster spot? The UFL season recently wrapped up, so perhaps they are pursuing a player from that league. Maybe this is the spot for a bigger fish at the WR spot. This could also be a case of just moving on from Mims now, to give him more time to find a landing spot if they knew he wasn’t going to make their team. What holes are still on the roster besides WR? Let’s go for another Steelers Afternoon Drive and discuss! Check out the show on our YouTube page, or find it on Megaphone or wherever you get your podcasts. Got a question for the guys? Leave a comment on YouTube, here on the website, or find them on Twitter at @ASaunders_PGH and @ZacharySmithPGH Hey fans! We want to see your black and gold rides! Show us your car, truck or van that’s painted in Pittsburgh colors, decorated with logos or Terrible Towels, covered in bumper stickers, or uses some other way to show off your dedication to the Black and Gold. [...] Read more...
Adam BorstJune 18, 2024All 90 is a Steelers Now series profiling each of the 90 members of the Pittsburgh Steelers 2024 offseason roster. Next up is TE Pat Freiermuth. Pat Freiermuth is entering the final year of his rookie contract and is likely to get a huge pay raise next offseason. While he still has to perform at a high level this season for the Steelers, the fourth-year tight end is aiming for something far greater than his future cash. Freiermuth wants to break the team’s playoff skid and win a playoff game as a member of the Steelers. “We as players know that we have to win playoff games,” Freiermuth told reporters at the team’s minicamp in June. “That is what we are paid to do and that is what we want to do in Pittsburgh… I am 0-2 in the playoffs and other guys have certain records and stuff so obviously we all want to get a win under our belt in the playoffs.” The Steelers snuck into the playoffs last season behind the magical three-week run by Mason Rudolph just to lose by two touchdowns to the Bills in the AFC Wild Card matchup. They knew they needed to make a change in the offense and hired Arthur Smith as the new offensive coordinator. This move excited many of the team’s offensive player but it excited one position group the most, the tight ends. Smith loves his tight ends so much that he asks them to be the leaders of his offense and Freiermuth is excited about that challenge. “We are in charge of a lot,” Freiermuth said. “A lot of the offense falls on us. Just formations calls, plays, assignments, all that kind of stuff so we are excited for that.” The Steelers offensive game plans under Matt Canada’s leadership were lackluster, at best, but with Smith now in charge, Freiermuth is already seeing a huge difference in the playbook and how it is ran. “There is a lot of shifts, variations and motions,” Freiermuth said. “A lot to be asked from by not only myself but the whole tight end room so it’s been great.” While Freiermuth is in line for an extension, his head coach, Mike Tomlin, already received his from the team. Freiermuth went onto talk about how happy he was for Tomlin. “I am very happy for him,” Freiermuth said. “He his the best coach that I have ever played for and I think a lot of the guys in the locker room will say the same thing. We wouldn’t be able to win the games that we’ve won without him. He is a great leader of men and I can’t say enough good things about him.” With a new offensive coordinator and quarterback in town, Freiermuth could be in-line for a huge season. If he can execute his goal of at least one playoff win this season and play at a high level while doing it, the Steelers may be backing up the Brinks trucks for the fan favorite tight end next offseason. 88 • Pat Freiermuth, Tight End, Penn State 6-foot-5, 258 pounds, 25 years old, 4th Season Acquired: The Steelers drafted Pat Freiermuth with the 55th overall pick in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Last Season: Year three of Pat Freiermuth’s career did not go how he planned. He missed five games due to an injury and his production dipped. In his 12 appearances, Freiermuth caught 32 of his 44 targets for 308 yards and two touchdowns. His best game of the season came in Week 12 against the Cincinnati Bengals which also happened to be the team’s first game after firing Matt Canada. In the game, Freiermuth hauled in a game-high nine passes for 120 yards. His next best game came in the Wild Card loss to the Buffalo Bills when he led the team in receiving with 76 yards on five receptions. Career: In 2021, Freiermuth assumed the starting tight end position following the retirement of Vance McDonald. In Week 1, he started his first game against the Buffalo Bills and recorded his first professional reception for 24 yards on his only target of the game. In Week 3, Freiermuth caught his first NFL touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals and then recorded his first multi-touchdown game in Week 9 against the Chicago Bears. Later in his rookie season, Freiermuth suffered two concussions, one in Week 12 and the other in Week 15. Freiermuth finished his lone season with Ben Roethlisberger as his quarterback with 60 receptions on 77 targets for 497 yards and seven touchdowns. He followed up his impressive rookie season with a healthier and equally as productive second year. Freiermuth was the second most targeted player on the offense with 96 targets, only behind Diontae Johnson’s 141 targets. In Week 1, Freiermuth was targeted nine times as he hauled in five catches for 75 yards. This was one of four games that Freiermuth went over the 70-yard mark in 2022. His season-high for receiving yards came in Week 4 against the New York Jets as he finished with seven catches and 85 yards. A year after hauling in seven scores, Freiermuth caught only two touchdowns in 16 appearances in 2022. The reason for the dip in touchdown production is that the Steelers quarterbacks only threw 12 passing touchdowns all season. In total, Freiermuth has played in 44 career games with 26 starts. Over his first three seasons, he has racked up 155 catches for 1,537 yards and 11 touchdowns. Additionally, Freiermuth became the 10th tight end in NFL history to reach 100 career receptions in 25 games or less. Year GP Targets Receptions Yards AVG TDs PFF Rating 2021 16 77 60 497 8.3 7 72.3 2022 16 96 63 732 11.6 2 75.5 2023 12 44 32 308 9.6 2 65.3 College: After an illustrious high school career at the Brooks School, Freiermuth committed to play football at Penn State. As a true freshman in 2018, Freiermuth played in 13 games and started nine of them. He hauled in 26 receptions for 368 yards and eight touchdowns. His eight touchdowns were the most by a Penn State freshman since 2005. After the season, earned an honorable mention All-Big Ten from the coaches. Freiermuth started all 13 games and was named as a team captain for the Nittany Lions in 2019. He finished his sophomore season with 43 catches for 507 yards and seven touchdowns. His 43 receptions and 507 yards ranked second on the team. He was named to the All-Big Ten second team by the coaches and media. After just four games as a junior, Freiermuth’s season came to an end due to an injury. Despite his injury, he finished first among all Big Ten tight ends with 310 receiving yards. In his four starts, Freiermuth hauled in 23 receptions and one touchdown. After the season, Freiermuth was named the Kwalick-Clark Big Ten Tight End of the Year. In his Penn State career, Freiermuth appeared in 30 games while making 26 starts and set the school’s record for touchdown receptions by a tight end with 16. Year GP Receptions Yards AVG TDs 2018 12 26 368 14.2 8 2019 13 43 507 11.8 7 2020 4 23 310 13.5 1 Salary cap and future: Pat Freiermuth is entering the last year of his four-year rookie contract with the Steelers. In 2024, Freiermuth will cost $1.92 million against the team’s cap space. The Steelers owe him a base salary of $1.48 million and a roster bonus of $436,033. Freiermuth will become an unrestricted free agent following the 2024 season. The rest of the 90: [...] Read more...
Dan KelleyJune 18, 2024Scott Pioli helped create the greatest dynasty in the history of the National Football League. He spent nine years in the New England Patriots front office from 2000 to 2008. Pioli held several job titles, including the Vice President of Player Personnel for his final seven seasons in Foxboro. He left before the 2009 season to become general manager of the Kansas City Chiefs. Pioli earned three Super Bowl rings during his time in New England. He reached Super Bowl 51 as an assistant GM with the Atlanta Falcons. Pioli recalled being on the opposing side during the Patriots’ famous comeback victory during Episode 8 of “The Dynasty” series. He retold the story while those around him prematurely celebrated a Falcons championship. “You f’n people don’t get it,” Pioli reprimanded them. “That guy number 12 across the field (Tom Brady) is Freddie f’n Krueger.” Also Read – Eliot Wolf in Enviable Position With the Patriots Scott Pioli knows what it takes to be a successful NFL executive. So, one should pay attention when Pioli talks about executives the football world could become familiar with. One such person singled out by Pioli is a former New England Patriots Player. Ozzie Newsome General Manager Forum The fourth annual Ozzie Newsome General Manager Forum takes place on June 17-18 in Inglewood, California. There is an accompanying quarterback coaching clinic as well. The GM forum is named after Newsome, who became a successful NFL executive with the Baltimore Ravens following his Hall of Fame playing career. Troy Vincent, the NFL Executive VP of Football Operations, spoke about the importance of the event.“ The Quarterback Coaching Summit and Ozzie Newsome General Managers Forum are part of our ongoing efforts to break mobility barriers, establish a cultural norm of opportunity for all, and develop a diverse and inclusive workforce,” said Vincent. “We are dedicated to identifying and strengthening the coaching and personnel development pipeline for experienced coaches of color and providing each participant with the tools to hone their craft and achieve success.” Although the New England Patriots do not have any staff members participating in the 2024 event, they do have a former player who will be. Roman Phifer Phifer enjoyed 15 seasons as a player in the NFL. He was a member of the Rams, Jets, Patriots, and Giants from 1991 to 2005. Despite playing in New England for only four seasons, he is best remembered by most as a Patriot. This is due to the immense success he enjoyed with the Patriots. Roman Phifer played for the Patriots from 2001 to 2004. This made him a member of the first three Super Bowl championship teams in franchise history. In those four seasons, the Patriots won three Super Bowls. Phifer appeared in 68 games, including postseason, starting 53 of them. He played more games with the Rams (120) but never played in the playoffs during his 12 NFL seasons outside New England. Following his playing career, Phifer got into coaching, joining the Denver Broncos staff in 2010. Phifer joined the college ranks in 2016. He became the director of player development for UCLA. Phifer returned to the NFL in 2018, joining the Detroit Lions as an area scout. In 2021 he returned to Denver, becoming a senior personnel director with the Broncos. Scott Pioli’s Comments on Roman Phifer Pioli wrote an article about the first-time attendees of the Ozzie Newsome GM summit for NFL.com. This is what he wrote about Roman Phifer: “Phifer has more than two decades of NFL experience as a coach/scout/executive and a three-time Super Bowl-champion linebacker. I spent five seasons with Phifer when he was a player — one season with the New York Jets (1999) and four seasons in New England (2000-04), where he helped us change the culture and win three titles. He was a quiet leader, respected by the locker room because of the consistent way he went about his business. Phifer has held the role of senior personnel executive for the Broncos since 2021 and is heavily involved in both pro and college scouting. Throughout the years, he has held multiple positions, including area scout for the Detroit Lions (2018-2020), director of player development at UCLA (2016-17) and assistant linebackers coach for the Broncos (2009-2010).” After being a championship NFL player, Roman Phifer now looks to continue to make an impact on the league as an executive. The Denver Broncos have some work to do to get back into championship contention, but the task is no more difficult than what Roman Phifer faced when he joined the New England Patriots in 2001. Three Lombardi Trophies later, there is no questioning how well that went. [...] Read more...
Bob DuffJune 18, 2024Expectations were that Detroit Red Wings draftee Dmitri Buchelnikov would be on the move this summer. What wasn’t expected was that it would be a permanent switch. There were rumors coming out of Russia that Buchelnikov was going to be sent on loan by SKA St. Petersburg to fellow KHL club Vityaz. Tuesday, Buchelnikov was in fact moving to Vityaz, but the exchange would prove to be a trade. SKA dealt Buchelnikov to Vityaz for the KHL rights to a former Red Wings player, Dmytro Timashov. As a consequence of a trade, forward Dmitry Buchelnikov is joining Vityaz Moscow Region. We thank Dmitry for his efforts with SKA, wishing him further success in the future! Details: https://t.co/b5963Qm51v #hcSKA pic.twitter.com/sbKvphtvar — SKA Ice Hockey Club (@hcSKA_News) June 18, 2024 Timashov played five games for the Red Wings during the 2019-20 season, failing to collect a point. Ukrainian born, he spent last season with Ajoie HC of the Swiss League. Red Wings Maintain NHL Rights To Buchelnikov The Red Wings made Buchelnikov the 52nd overall selection of the 2022 NHL entry draft. He spent last season on loan from SKA to Admiral of the KHL. In 55 games Buchelnikov wound up scoring 13 goals and adding 16 assists. While the Red Wings retain the NHL rights to Buchelnikov, 20, he did agree to terms on a two-year contract with Vityaz. That will keep him with the KHL club through the 2025-26 season. His move to Vityaz was speculated for about a month in Russian hockey circles. However, it was assumed it would be via another loan scenario. That SKA, one of the top clubs in the KHL, is opting to completely cut ties with Buchelnikov has to be a bit worrisome in terms of his NHL potential. If he’s not considered talented enough to play for an elite KHL squad, what are the chances that he’ll be developing into an NHL regular? IT'S OFFICIAL ⚡️#LGRW prospect Dmitri Buchelnikov signs two-year contract with Vityaz #KHL pic.twitter.com/HobnW8ujKH — Hockey News Hub (@HockeyNewsHub) June 18, 2024 One advantage from Buchelnikov’s point of view is that Vityaz plays in the Moscow region. Admiral is located in Vladivostok, some 4,000 miles east of St. Petersburg. “From the point of view of everyday life, Vladivostok is not exactly exotic,” Buchelnikov acknowledged in an interview with Russian website Sport-Express. “Yes, at some points it’s a little hard.” [...] Read more...
James NicholsJune 18, 2024The New Jersey Devils’ rival, the New York Rangers, waived an intriguing forward Tuesday afternoon. Barclay Goodrow is now on the waiver wire as Rangers General Manager, Chris Drury, attempts to clear cap space to address other needs for New York this summer. The Devils will be looking for a bottom-six forward or two in the offseason, however, they should avoid claiming Goodrow off waivers. There are a handful of reasons to look at Goodrow and think he would be an intriguing add to help any young team aspiring to return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. For starters, Goodrow was a big part of the Tampa Bay Lightning squad who claimed back-to-back Stanley Cups in 2020 and 2021. When the Lightning won for the first time in 2020, Goodrow was a force to be reckoned with physically, throwing 103 hits and blocking 31 shots in 25 Stanley Cup Playoff games, while adding a goal and six points to the stat sheet. In his encore performance with Tampa Bay, he was less effective physically, totaling 68 hits and 13 blocked shots, however, matched his point total from the postseason prior, scoring two goals and six points. Goodrow was quite effective in the 2024 postseason for the Rangers, too. The 31-year-old forward scored six goals and eight points — a career high in both categories — in 16 playoff games. In the regular season, Goodrow has always been good for 100-plus hits a year, and for the most part lived in the 20 points or more range as a bottom-six forward. That’s pretty decent for playing at the bottom of a lineup. In fact, Goodrow eclipsed the 30-point mark with the Rangers in back-to-back seasons on Broadway, collecting 13 goals and 33 points in 2021-22 and 11 goals and 31 points in 2022-23. Therefore, Goodrow’s familiarity with former teammate and current Devils forward Ondrej Palat during the cup runs, his postseason effectiveness, Stanley Cup pedigree, and regular season grit should make him an intriguing add, right? Wrong. Drury signed Goodrow to a six-year contract in the summer of 2021 which carries a $3,641,667 average annual value. Goodrow’s agent was also able to negotiate a 15-team no trade list for the entirety of the contract. In the three years remaining on the deal, Goodrow is owed — in real dollars — $5 million in 2024-25, $3.75 million in 2-25-26, and $2.5 million in the final year of his contract. The Devils don’t have any significant salary to pay any of their pending free agents this summer other than Dawson Mercer depending on the term of his next contract. However, GM Tom Fitzgerald is seemingly in the market for every position, including a bottom-six forward in which Goodrow would fit. However, he has contracts beyond this year to keep in mind — such as Luke Hughes and Kevin Bahl — while managing his cap. Fitzgerald can find other options elsewhere who are more affordable than Goodrow. The two-time Stanley Cup Champion is the quintessential bottom six forward. However, not at his price tag, nor through his age-33 season. If the Rangers end up buying out Goodrow, then the Devils could, and should, at least approach the veteran forward. For more Devils news, visit New Jersey Hockey Now and like our Facebook page. Follow us on 𝕏: @NJDHockeyNow, @JamesNicholsNHL, @NickNatale10 And on Threads: @JamesNicholsNHL [...] Read more...
George Richards, FHN PublisherJune 18, 2024SUNRISE — Connor McDavid said following the Edmonton Oilers win over the Florida Panthers in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday that his team’s goal, now, was to “drag them back to Alberta.’’ That quote has become a rallying cry for the Oilers as they go into tonight’s game at Amerant Bank Arena down 3-1 in the best-of-7 series. Edmonton, which said it had nothing to lose going into Game 4 down 3-0, appears to have that same mindset going into tonight. A win by Florida tonight means the Stanley Cup stays here with the Panthers. If Edmonton pulls off a second straight win, Game 6 of this series will be played in Alberta on Friday night. The Oilers have a 6-hour flight ahead of them regardless. They would like to keep this thing going. No One Covers the Florida Panthers Like FHN. Period. Subscribe to Florida Hockey Now Today! “It’s exciting, fun to be part of. There’s nothing we’d rather be doing than being right here playing hockey,’’ McDavid said in Sunrise on Tuesday morning. “We don’t want that to end. We’re excited about the opportunity to go in and win a game tonight.” As for ‘dragging’ the Panthers back with them? “It’s what we’ve got to do,’’ McDavid continued. “You (media) guys have been doing the flight. It’s a long flight. You guys know what it’s like. It’s not it’s not the most enjoyable flight, so just make them go on one more plane ride, one more flight. That’s what we’ve got to do.” Said Connor Brown: “Every time you’re back in Edmonton it seems to get louder and louder when you didn’t expect it could get any louder. That’s the goal. We’re going to try to drag them back to Alberta. We love playing on home ice, this is going to be a difficult game and that being said, we feel confident in the type of game it’s going to be, with that anticipation of getting back to Alberta.” Zach Hyman, the former Florida prospect who never signed with the Panthers, says the Oilers are prepared for a different team than they faced on Saturday night. The Oilers were more desperate than the Panthers in Game 4 — but that may change back in Sunrise tonight. “I imagine they will come out flying,’’ Hyman said. “It’s an opportunity for them to win the Cup on home ice so we’re well aware of that. Our job is to come out flying as well. There’s an excitement in our group after winning that game. There’s confidence in our group. So there’s no reason not to come out excited and be up to the task.” With the pressure seemingly have been taken off the Oilers based on their 0-3 hole, coach Kris Knoblauch has not had to offer much in the way of inspiration to his team. They understand what is at stake. “We’ve been really good frame of mind,’’ Knoblauch said. “Our guys feel confident. I said yesterday about my role, I don’t think it’s been very much because the players are in a really good position where they’re loose, their confident, they know their backs are up against the wall. “They know it’s going to be a difficult task to do this but I don’t think there’s any lack of confidence on being able to do this. we’ve been in very difficult positions before, not in the Stanley Cup Final of course, but yeah, they’re just enjoying it as much as they can.” More FHN Coverage of the Florida Panthers: Like our Facebook Page Follow us on Twitter: @GeorgeRichards // @ColbyDGuy // @TheGovMan Subscribe to the FHN YouTube Channel Visit the FHN Team Shop at TeePublic and RedBubble 2024 STANLEY CUP FINAL EDMONTON OILERS VS. FLORIDA PANTHERS  GAME 5 Panthers Lead Best of 7 Series 3-1 When: Tuesday, 8 p.m. Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise National TV: ABC Streaming: ESPN+/Hulu Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app Local Betting Odds — Panthers Favored: Money Line (-145); Puck line (-1.5, +170); Over/Under 5.5 (-110/-120). Series Panthers -1100 Series Schedule, All Games 8 p.m. on ABC — Game 1: @Florida 3, Edmonton 0;Game 2: @Florida 4, Edmonton 1; Game 3: Florida 4, @Edmonton 3; Game 4: @Edmonton 8, Florida 1; Game 5: Edmonton at Florida, Tuesday; Game 6*: Florida at Edmonton, Friday; Game 7*:Edmonton at Florida, Monday June 24. (*) – If Necessary How They Got Here — Florida: d. Tampa Bay 4-1, Boston 4-2, New York Rangers 4-2; Edmonton: d. Los Angeles 4-1, Vancouver 4-3, Dallas 4-2. This Season (Florida Won 2-0) — At Florida: Panthers 5, Oilers 3 (Nov. 20). At Edmonton: Panthers 5, Oilers 2 (Dec. 17). Last Season: Edmonton Won 2-0 All-time Regular Season Series: Oilers lead 23-16-0, 3 ties Postseason History: First Meeting [...] Read more...
Chris WardJune 18, 2024PITTSBURGH — Going up against Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt every day in practice is no easy task, but in the long run, it’s only going to make rookie Troy Fautanu better. Iron sharpening iron as Mike Tomlin likes to say. Fautanu hasn’t faced Watt with the pads on yet. That time will come in training camp, but he’s already got a glimpse of what makes Watt one of the league’s best edge rushers during OTAs and minicamp. “To be ready for anything,” Fautanu said last week at minicamp. “A guy like that can do power, speed, finesse. He’s got it all, so just making sure that I’m ready to go every single play. You can watch film and see what his tendencies are but guys like that are super elite, you have to make sure you are ready for whatever they throw at you.” Troy Fautanu reiterated that the speed of the NFL has been the biggest surprise. He had a welcome to the NFL moment on the first day of OTAs, but he has adjusted to the speed since. “Going back to the first couple of days, just the speed,” Fautanu said when asked what has surprised him at the pro level. “The speed of the game and how fast people are moving. And how fast everything else is moving around you. But I’ve started to acclimate a little bit more and more as the weeks went on.” Offensive line coach Pat Meyer has already seen growth from Fautanu. “Troy’s learned a lot of the different techniques very quickly,” offensive line coach Pat Meyer said. “The first couple days his timing was off because the speed of the game is different — now we don’t have any pads on yet, so nothing’s going to be determined until we get into camp — but his timing’s much better in terms of his get-off and run game and his sets and throwing his hands and being aggressive with his hands and whatnot. He’s improved tremendously from rookie minicamp to now.” Fautanu expects to start at right tackle during training camp. General manager Omar Khan confirmed that, as well. “I would say that’s true,” Khan said about Fautanu playing right tackle on 93.7 the Fan. Fautanu primarily played left tackle at Washington, but what side he plays on really doesn’t matter. “I don’t think it’s been as hard for him to change and do that as it would be for other guys,” Meyer said. “To be honest with you, when I talked to the kid in the draft room, he said he felt better on the right than the left. Playing on the left was more of a college thing for him at Washington. But it was not an issue for him at all.” Nick Farabaugh contributed reporting from Pittsburgh.   [...] Read more...
Dan KelleyJune 18, 2024The Boston Celtics won the 2024 NBA Championship last night at TD Garden. Among those in attendance were New England Patriots captain Ja’Whaun Bentley and rookie quarterback Drake Maye. The win gives the Celtics 18 NBA Championships, the most of any franchise. It also further spoiled a New England sports fan base who have enjoyed their teams’ success since 2001. As the 2001 NFL season got underway, the four major Boston sports teams (Bruins, Celtics, Patriots, and Red Sox) had combined to win zero championships since 1986. The 15-year title drought was the longest for the region since the Boston Patriots began play in 1960, though the football franchise had yet to win their first title. The Boston Bruins had not raised a Stanley Cup since 1972, and no World Series title for the Boston Red Sox since 1918. Since then the Patriots have won six Super Bowls, the Red Sox won four World Series, the Celtics have won two NBA Championships, and the Bruins raised a Stanley Cup. The. four teams have combined to reach the finals in their respective sports an additional seven times. Twenty championship appearances in 24 years. Not too shabby. As great as things have been, the 1986-to-2001 championship drought felt like an eternity for those who lived through it. There is never a guarantee when the next championship will arrive. But it was nice for Drake Maye to get a taste of what winning a title would be like last night. He’s the great hope to help bring the New England Patriots a record seventh Super Bowl title. Over the last 24 years winning has been contagious in New England. Patriots fans are hoping their rookie quarterback got infected last night. Drake Maye has been busy since being selected No. 3 overall in the 2024 NFL Draft. He’s made a positive impression during Patriots football activities, attended Tom Brady’s Patriots Hall of Fame ceremony, and watched the Boston Celtics win an NBA Championship. What’s next? Stay tuned. Also in today’s Patriots Daily: Daily Patriots Fun Fact Only two athletes have played in both the NFL and NBA/NBL. Both are members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame: Otto Graham and Bud Grant. Post of the Day A look back at the first meeting between the young stars of the Boston Celtics (Jayson Tatum) and New England Patriots (Drake Maye): New England Patriots Patriots Football Now – Tom Brady won six Super Bowls as the quarterback of the New England Patriots. His career spanned so long that he played against players born in 1954 and 2001. But Brady and Bill Belichick did not bring those Lombardi Trophies to New England without help. PFN picked the All-Patriots Team of the Tom Brady Era in New England. Patriots Football Now – Jerod Mayo stated that he’s his own man. He hopes to emulate Bill Belichick’s success in New England while doing things his way. He’s already backtracked some comments, attributing them to a “rookie mistake.” There are other comments that Mayo has had to change after the fact. The Patriots want a friendlier environment with the media under their new regime, but Jerod Mayo might be better off saying less. Boston Bruins Boston Hockey Now – The Florida Panthers and Edmonton Oilers play Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final tonight. The Panthers have a chance to win the first title in franchise history. The Boston Bruins 2024 run ended in Round 1 against Florida, so there are no game updates for the local NHL entry. But the Bruins still have a lot happening, with free agency looming and the 2024 NHL Draft on the horizon. Check out BHN for all the latest coverage. PFN+ Subscribe here or on Boston Hockey Now to get a subscription to both sites. Subscribers get bonus coverage such as NFL Draft scouting reports and weekly NFL Power Rankings. It also provides a completely ad-free experience on the sites. Use code KELLEY10 and get $10 off a yearly subscription. New England Patriots and Boston Bruins coverage with no ads and bonus content for less than 8¢ a day! [...] Read more...
Nate BrownJune 18, 2024What Stanley Cup Final? Despite the potential for the Florida Panthers to clinch its first Stanley Cup in franchise history tonight, there was another buzz radiating in the state that concerned teams with picks two through five. Ivan Demidov would be that reason. Perusing through social media picks was aflutter with anything Demidov releated–from how tall he is in person to English being far more fluent than expected. But then Elite Prospects’ Cam Robinson brought up the point that Blackhawks fans–and likely front office executives–have been asking since Chicago was slotted to pick second overall. Will it be Ivan Demidov or Artyom Levshunov at #2? NHL Executive on Ivan Demidov this morning: “I’m glad I don’t have to decide to pick him 2nd, but he’s that good. You drop him into the OHL and he’s destroying that league. Not his fault he was stuck in (Russian) juniors. He’ll be signed and in the NHL by next spring.” https://t.co/MbjnK2hAW3 — Cam Robinson (@Hockey_Robinson) June 18, 2024 Ivan Demidov or Artyom Levushunov? Depends on Who You Ask It’s a fair question but ultimately boils down to how one goes about roster construction. Myself personally? It’s always best player available, regardless of position. The job of any front office executive is to build based on what is best for the team in both the short and long term picture. But there’s something to be said for paying attention to how championships are won–and a glance at the Stanley Cup Final shows that defense still indeed captures Cups.  Advantage Levshunov. But then there’s the can’t miss offensive dynamo who can score goals and do things on the ice that goes viral for not only days, but weeks and months later. The Pittsburgh Penguins were built on that with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Demidov fits into that space. Furthermore, if what Robinson tweeted out is true, then you’re dealing with Connor Bedard territory of being a man among boys at the junior level. Demidov will get a full shot in the KHL next year, removing the fog of war from what his true level is right now. It sure seems like a toss up. But it’s a calculated one based on who general manager Kyle Davidson and his front office feel best fit the plan. With a week left to go, it sure could go either way. Blackhawks Will Do Their Due Diligence With the Second Pick Look, the Blackhawks have done their due diligence and though they’re picking second, can maximize value by taking the guy they think fits their scheme. That scheme favors high IQ, skillset, and speed. But at the same time, Kyle Davidson’s first choice in an NHL Draft was Kevin Korchinski, who they view as a cornerstone defenseman. Ignore the rookie year–pair him Seth Jones or another steady defenseman. This means that Korchinski can follow his natural instincts of pushing play–instead of worrying about leaving his offensively–and defensively challenged team high and dry if he takes a chance. Davidson started with the blue line. Why wouldn’t he bookend what will likely be his last top seven pick in Levshunov? Demidov, according to reports, plans on finishing out his contract and then heading to the NHL next season. The Blackhawks aren’t likely making the playoffs this season and have a year to wait it out. Timelines don’t matter in that sense. Sean Shapiro joined the guys at CHGO and had some insights as well. As Shapiro tells it, the momentum seems to have swung a bit back to Demidov camp–especially if he plans on following through with being in the NHL a year from now. So Ivan Demidov adds some cognitive dissonance with his time in Florida today. Maybe the Blackhawks have already settled on things. Perhaps they’re going to discuss further after today. Regardless, don’t be fooled into thinking the second overall pick is a tough spot to be in. If anything, it’s a good problem to have for the Blackhawks future. [...] Read more...
Colby GuyJune 18, 2024FORT LAUDERDALE — Amid a scoring slump, Matthew Tkachuk exudes confidence as the Florida Panthers look to win the Stanley Cup on home ice. Tkachuk has not scored a goal in his past 10 games and has one assist in four games so far in the Stanley Cup Final. Still, the Florida superstar’s spirits did not seem to be dampened when he stepped up to the podium with his team up 3-1 over the Edmonton Oilers. “I’m looking forward to playing my best game of the series tonight,”Tkachuk said. “I thought, last game, I was nowhere near good enough. I could have been way better than that. Maybe the last four periods, going back to the third period of Game 3, I could’ve been a lot better. The good part about us is that it’s not about one guy. It’s not about individuals here. “We’ve got the chance to capture the biggest goal of our lives tonight, so we’re gonna do that.” No One Covers the Florida Panthers Like FHN. Period. Subscribe to Florida Hockey Now Today! That is the closest you’re going to get from a Mark Messier-style guarantee from an NHL player these days. It comes with the confidence and leadership Tkachuk brings to the Panthers locker room. In terms of his play, and that swagger, his teammates and coaches have not been disappointed by what he’s been bringing. After all, he only trails Sasha Barkov (21) by one point for the team lead with 20 points and his 15 assists lead the team. “He’s been good,” coach Paul Maurice said. “You become desensitized, possibly by Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, but we’ve got stars too. But it’s not going to be flashy every shift. The inside play he makes to Sam Bennett on the goal was an incredible play, right? I don’t expect that every time he touches the puck. “All teams have really good players, both teams’ power plays have been quiet and that’s why both teams’ star players numbers are what they are. He’s fairly close to leading our team in scoring. We just need solid out of each guy.” — The Panthers will have Ryan Lomberg back in the lineup tonight after he has been out since Game 4 of the Eastern Conference final against the New York Rangers. — Jayson Tatum, Tkachuk’s old high school chum from their days in St. Louis, won his first NBA championship on Monday night. He said it’s time for Tkachuk to get his championship tonight. “Tkachuk: Go get it done tomorrow.” Jayson Tatum sending a shoutout to his longtime friend 🫡 (via @NBA) pic.twitter.com/vYhnTwJ9sD — B/R Open Ice (@BR_OpenIce) June 18, 2024 More FHN Coverage of the Florida Panthers: Like our Facebook Page Follow us on Twitter: @GeorgeRichards // @ColbyDGuy // @TheGovMan Subscribe to the FHN YouTube Channel Visit the FHN Team Shop at TeePublic and RedBubble 2024 STANLEY CUP FINAL EDMONTON OILERS VS. FLORIDA PANTHERS  GAME 5 Panthers Lead Best of 7 Series 3-1 When: Tuesday, 8 p.m. Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise National TV: ABC Streaming: ESPN+/Hulu Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app Local Betting Odds — Panthers Favored: Money Line (-145); Puck line (-1.5, +170); Over/Under 5.5 (-110/-120). Series Panthers -1100 Series Schedule, All Games 8 p.m. on ABC — Game 1: @Florida 3, Edmonton 0;Game 2: @Florida 4, Edmonton 1; Game 3: Florida 4, @Edmonton 3; Game 4: @Edmonton 8, Florida 1; Game 5: Edmonton at Florida, Tuesday; Game 6*: Florida at Edmonton, Friday; Game 7*:Edmonton at Florida, Monday June 24. (*) – If Necessary How They Got Here — Florida: d. Tampa Bay 4-1, Boston 4-2, New York Rangers 4-2; Edmonton: d. Los Angeles 4-1, Vancouver 4-3, Dallas 4-2. This Season (Florida Won 2-0) — At Florida: Panthers 5, Oilers 3 (Nov. 20). At Edmonton: Panthers 5, Oilers 2 (Dec. 17). Last Season: Edmonton Won 2-0 All-time Regular Season Series: Oilers lead 23-16-0, 3 ties Postseason History: First Meeting PROJECTED FLORIDA PANTHERS (3-1) LINES 17 Evan Rodrigues // 16 Sasha Barkov // 13 Sam Reinhart 23 Carter Verhaeghe // 9 Sam Bennett // 19 Matthew Tkachuk 23 Eetu Luostarinen // 15 Anton Lundell // 10 Vladimir Tarasenko 94 Ryan Lomberg // 82 Kevin Stenlund // 8 Kyle Okposo 42 Gus Forsling // 5 Aaron Ekblad 77 Niko Mikkola //  62 Brandon Montour 91 Oliver Ekman-Larsson // 7 Dmitry Kulikov 72 Sergei Bobrovsky 41 Anthony Stolarz Scratched: Nick Cousins, Steven Lorentz, Tobias Bjornfot, Uvis Balinskis, Josh Mahura, Jonah Gadjovich, Spencer Knight, Rasmus Asplund, Mike Benning, Magnus Hellberg, Matt Kiersted, Will Lockwood, Mackie Samoskevich, Justin Sourdif, Patrick Giles PROJECTED EDMONTON OILERS (1-3) LINES 93 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins // 97 Connor McDavid // 18 Zach Hyman 71 Ryan McLeod // 29 Leon Draisaitl // 55 Dylan Holloway 13 Mattias Janmark // 19 Adam Henrique // 28 Connor Brown 37 Warren Foegele // 90 Corey Perry 14 Mattias Ekholm // 2 Evan Bouchard 25 Darnell Nurse // 73 Vincent Desharnais 86 Philip Broberg // 27 Brett Kulak 5 Codi Ceci G 74 Stuart Skinner G 30 Calvin Pickard Scratched: Derek Ryan, Sam Gagner, Sam Carrick Injured: Evander Kane (sports hernia), Troy Stecher (ankle) Edmonton Oilers Lines Courtesy NHL.Com [...] Read more...
Russ MaciasJune 18, 2024The NHL Draft is just 10 days away, and free agency is 13 days away. The New York Islanders are expected to be at least moderately active, considering the team seems to be at a crossroads. It’s not the first time in recent memory the team has been here, either. Back in 2014, the Islanders were also staring at a crossroads, and the 2024 offseason could have as many ramifications as the 2014 offseason. The 2013-14 Season and Thomas Vanek The extensive rebuild under General Manager Garth Snow began to bear some fruit. John Tavares was as good as anyone could’ve hoped, and Kyle Okposo put together his best statistical season as an Islander. The season itself, however, was a massive disappointment. Snow made the biggest deal of his tenure, dealing Matt Moulson, a protected 2014 first-round pick, and a 2015 second-round pick for Thomas Vanek. Like Moulson, Vanek was a pending UFA at the season’s end. Vanek was good as an Islander, scoring 44 points in 47 games. It didn’t matter. He wouldn’t re-sign. While playing at the Olympics in Sochi, Tavares sustained a season-ending knee injury. At the trade deadline, Snow retreated, dumping Vanek and a fifth-round pick for a second-round pick in 2014 and Sebastian Collberg. There was a lot of egg on Garth Snow’s face after giving up a first-round pick, a second-round pick, and a fifth-round pick, essentially for Collberg and a second-round pick. The first-rounder from the trade slid to 2015, as the Islanders finished in the lottery. The 2014 NHL Draft, Fifth Overall Pick After acquiring and signing Jaroslav Halak prior to the draft, the Islanders held the fifth overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. The Islanders watched the top four go: Aaron Ekblad, Sam Reinhart (brother of then-current Islander Griffin), Leon Draisaitl, and Sam Bennett. The Islanders were on the clock. Everybody knew the Islanders would draft a forward here, especially because the team needed a big-time scoring winger who could ideally make the team within two or so seasons. The top players available included Michael Dal Colle, Jake Virtanen, Nikolaj Ehlers, and William Nylander. The consensus at the time was that Dal Colle was the best of the bunch, so Snow went with the chalk and selected him over the other options. In hindsight, Dal Colle is a painful pick for the Islanders, especially with Nylander and Ehlers going soon after. Kevin Fiala went 11th overall, but he was never in the discussion. Ehlers is currently a top trade target for the New York Islanders. In a wild twist of fate, one wrong of the 2014 offseason may be remedied a decade later. Trading up for Josh Ho-Sang Late in the first round, the Tampa Bay Lightning and the New York Islanders struck a deal. The Islanders acquired the 28th overall selection in exchange for picks 35 and 57, both of the Islanders’ second-rounders. The Islanders selected Joshua Ho-Sang. Ho-Sang fell down the draft boards despite some purported immense talent due to what was reported by the Toronto Sun as a disconnect between the player and NHL Franchises, who questioned his skill and demeanor, and reportedly, plenty of teams balked at him. The Islanders rolled the dice, betting on his electric skill taking over and silencing doubters. One pick later, the Kings selected Adrian Kempe. Ouch. Ho-Sang, despite his eye-popping talent, never caught on. He had flashes, but nothing consistent. Kempe has scored 104 goals in the last three seasons. Round Three The Islanders’ next pick was number 65 overall in the third round. Snow traded the pick, acquiring the Panthers’ 2015 third-round pick. That moved the Islanders to pick 78, which they acquired from Philadelphia at the deadline in exchange for Andrew MacDonald. The Islanders selected Ilya Sorokin, a total knockout pick. But it is worth noting that the next pick was Brayden Point, who headed to the Lightning. What a pair of third-round picks. The Islanders still had two fourth-round picks despite trading one away to Washington. They were picks 95 and 108. Remaining Draft Choices in 2014 Pick 95 was used on Linus Soderstrom, another goaltender. Soderstrom’s stock rose after his selection, and there was a small window when it seemed he could be a legit player. However, injuries wrecked his development, and he left the organization to return to Sweden, where he still plays now. It hurts solely because Igor Shesterkin was picked later in that very same round. Devon Toews was pick 108, another home run hit by Snow and the scouts. It started a run of actual NHL players going almost every other pick, with some names including Viktor Arvidsson, Danton Heinen, Michael Bunting, and Gustav Forsling, who went early in the fifth round. The Islanders only had a sixth-round pick left and used it on Kyle Schempp. Schempp played some games for Bridgeport but left the organization in 2017-18 and seemingly stopped playing professionally after the COVID-19 pandemic. Final Post Draft Moves The Islanders 2014 draft class is perhaps the most frustrating of any. Imagine a world where the Islanders selected Nylander and Kempe instead of Dal Colle and Ho-Sang. Or even just one of those being different. Maybe it’s Ehlers for Dal Colle or Kempe instead of Ho-Sang. It’s a hard look back for the Islanders, where those misses could genuinely be the difference between having a Stanley Cup and not. The off-season continued to be one of change, with the Islanders making a splash on July 1st after years of bargain-bin diving, spending more significant money, and signing Nikolay Kulemin and Mikhail Grabovski. Then, on the eve of the season, the Islanders swooped in like thieves in the night and acquired Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk from the Chicago Blackhawks and the Boston Bruins, as those teams desperately needed to shed salary. From 2014 to Today The effects of the 2014 off-season, in particular, continue to affect the Islanders directly. The Islanders turned Leddy into Aatu Raty, a crucial part of the Bo Horvat trade. Ehlers is available for trade, and the Islanders are likely interested. The top four picks of the 2014 NHL Draft will play in Game Five of the Stanley Cup Final tonight, while Michael Dal Colle plays in Germany. Adrian Kempe is one of the best players and scorers for the LA Kings, while Josh Ho-Sang just won the ECHL Title with the Florida Everglades. Ilya Sorokin is the Islanders’ present and future. The team ultimately goes as far as he can take them. He is signed for eight more years. Devon Toews was traded to the Colorado Avalanche for two second-round picks in 2020 after the salary cap froze, and the Islanders could not afford to extend him. He’s since won a Stanley Cup with the Avs while becoming the perfect partner for Cale Makar. The Islanders used one of the two picks to draft Calle Odelius, while the other pick was sent to Arizona to purge the Islanders of Andrew Ladd’s contract. Mikhail Grabovski couldn’t stay healthy with the Islanders, so the team gave the brand-new Vegas Golden Knights a first-round pick in 2017 to take on his contract. That pick became Erik Brannstrom, whom Vegas traded as the main piece of the 2019 Mark Stone trade. The Islanders were heavily rumored to be the runner-up for Stone. Brannstrom became the piece that helped push Vegas over the line, along with the rich contract extension they handed to Stone. Final Thoughts Entering that 2014 offseason, everyone knew moves were imminent. The team had just failed, and it was time to make some changes and build upon the healthy parts of an emerging core. One decade later, the Islanders face another crossroads. Long-tenured players like Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Anders Lee could move on. The Islanders need to add scoring on July 1st or before then via trade. The team has draft picks to decide whether or not to keep. Perhaps in another decade, Islanders fans will look back at the 2024 offseason that kick-started the next Islanders wave of contention, just as the 2014 one had. Or, they will view it as one in which the team didn’t do enough and sowed the seeds for a descent into a long and painful rebuild, missing the opportunity to build around Sorokin, Mat Barzal, Noah Dobson, and Bo Horvat.     [...] Read more...
Nick FarabaughJune 18, 2024The Pittsburgh Steelers have cut wide receiver Denzel Mims from the 90-man roster, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network. Mims joined the team last season on their practice squad after the Detroit Lions cut him following training camp in 2023. Pittsburgh added him in part due to his affiliation with former wide receives coach Frisman Jackson, who coached Mims while he was an All-American at Baylor. However, with multiple additions to the team like Quez Watkins, Scotty Miller, and others, Mims seemed on the outside looking in after a quiet Spring. On top of that, he has limited special teams, which will help guys like Dez Fitzpatrick and Marquez Callaway. Mims was a second round pick out of Baylor by the New York Jets. Pittsburgh passed on him in the 2020 NFL Draft in favor of Chase Claypool. But the Jets moved off Mims last season, trading him to the Lions. Mims did not get many snaps in New York, instead being usurped by Garrett Wilson, Elijah Moore, and others in his tenure. Pittsburgh scooped him up after Detroit waived him off their injured reserve following an ankle injury he suffered in training camp. A bigger-bodied wide receiver, Mims did fill a void for the Steelers that now needs replaced. There could be plenty of options from the UFL to add into the room, including UFL Offensive Player of the Year Hakeem Butler, who spent last year with the Steelers in training camp. For Mims, he is now looking for this fourth NFL home after fizzling out in Pittsburgh. The Steelers, meanwhile, are still searching for another wide receiver to put next to George Pickens. Standout performances from guys like Calvin Austin III should give them some leeway, but the rumors around players like Brandon Aiyuk should continue for the Steelers throughout the offseason. [...] Read more...
Andrew FantucchioJune 18, 2024It was inevitable that the Boston Bruins were going to move on with more than a few of their free agents this offseason, and have now started the process by cutting ties with forward Oskar Steen. Per Ty Anderson of 98.5 The Sports Hub, the Bruins informed Steen they won’t be retaining him and that he is free to negotiate with other teams, according to Steen’s agent, Joakim Persson, who told Swedish news outlet Värmlands Folkblad. Steen played in a career-high 34 games for the Bruins in 2023-24 but accounted for only a single point. After being placed on waivers in February, Steen went unclaimed and was demoted to AHL Providence, where he finished the rest of the year. Steen, 26, is considered a Group 6 UFA, having played in only 60 NHL games across four seasons. Drafted in the sixth round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, Steen debuted for the Bruins in 2021. He was used sparingly as a depth forward throughout his time in Boston, totaling eight points with four goals. Given his production and the lack of interest he received while on the waiver wire, it’s doubtful Steen will have many NHL clubs courting him as a free agent. Rather, signing an AHL contract or one overseas seems much more realistic for the forward. Like Steen, defense prospect Reilly Walsh and goalie prospect Kyle Keiser are also Group 6 UFAs for the Bruins. According to Puckpedia, the Bruins are projected to have $23.86 million in cap space entering the offseason, with NHL free agency beginning on July 1. FOLLOW ANDREW FANTUCCHIO ON 𝕏: @A_FANTUCCHIO FOLLOW BOSTON HOCKEY NOW ON 𝕏 AND FACEBOOK [...] Read more...
George Richards, FHN PublisherJune 18, 2024SUNRISE — The Florida Panthers and Edmonton Oilers are off the ice in preparation for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. The arena, as you can see above, is all dressed up and ready to welcome the Stanley Cup into the building. If the Panthers win, the Cup sticks around for a while. Hopefully it likes stifling heat. On Tuesday, the Panthers worked out in Fort Lauderdale with Ryan Lomberg returning to the lineup after being out since Game 4 of the Rangers series. No One Covers the Florida Panthers Like FHN. Period. Subscribe to Florida Hockey Now Today! As for pregame action, there will be no pregame concert nor watch party outside the arena. The spot where it has been held the past two postseasons is cleared out and ready to welcome cars at $75 a pop. No explanation given for the decision not to hold an outdoor pregame/watch party other than these are put on by the NHL and, well, there is not one tonight. The bass drum will be out before the game and after Mike McDaniel and Alonzo Mourning got the honor in Games 1 and 2, the Panthers are turning to a golf legend who happens to live around here: Jack Nicklaus, who has a home in Palm Beach County, will be on drums tonight. We have pregame video from both sides of the aisle today as Paul Maurice, Matthew Tkachuk, and Aaron Ekblad all spoke in Fort Lauderdale. We also have Connor McDavid, Kris Knoblauch, Zach Hyman, and Connor Brown for the Oilers. All the videos are up on the FHN YouTube Channel so feel free to check them out at your leisure. They make great pregame watching — especially since Shania Twain isn’t doing anything in Sunrise. More FHN Coverage of the Florida Panthers: Like our Facebook Page Follow us on Twitter: @GeorgeRichards // @ColbyDGuy // @TheGovMan Subscribe to the FHN YouTube Channel Visit the FHN Team Shop at TeePublic and RedBubble 2024 STANLEY CUP FINAL EDMONTON OILERS VS. FLORIDA PANTHERS  GAME 5 Panthers Lead Best of 7 Series 3-1 When: Tuesday, 8 p.m. Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise National TV: ABC Streaming: ESPN+/Hulu Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app Series Schedule, All Games 8 p.m. on ABC — Game 1: @Florida 3, Edmonton 0;Game 2: @Florida 4, Edmonton 1; Game 3: Florida 4, @Edmonton 3; Game 4: @Edmonton 8, Florida 1; Game 5: Edmonton at Florida, Tuesday; Game 6*: Florida at Edmonton, Friday; Game 7*:Edmonton at Florida, Monday June 24. (*) – If Necessary How They Got Here — Florida: d. Tampa Bay 4-1, Boston 4-2, New York Rangers 4-2; Edmonton: d. Los Angeles 4-1, Vancouver 4-3, Dallas 4-2. This Season (Florida Won 2-0) — At Florida: Panthers 5, Oilers 3 (Nov. 20). At Edmonton: Panthers 5, Oilers 2 (Dec. 17). Last Season: Edmonton Won 2-0 All-time Regular Season Series: Oilers lead 23-16-0, 3 ties Postseason History: First Meeting [...] Read more...
Dan KingerskiJune 18, 2024Bargains and gambles. If the Pittsburgh Penguins hope to stretch their salary cap space and add talent without long-term entanglements or big-name trades, Penguins president of hockey operations/GM Kyle Dubas might have a few veteran options at a minimum cost. The NHL buyout projections are making the rounds, and there are a few players whose careers, or at least the NHL portion, are over. Goalies Cal Petersen and Jack Campbell have seen their NHL careers slide to the AHL despite more than generous salaries. Philadelphia could pocket a few million with the Petersen buyout, and Edmonton might have to swallow hard and pay off Cambell over the next six years. Despite a few well-meaning fan-inspired trade proposals, including Campbell to the Penguins in disappointment-fueled trade proposals for Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry, barring a flip of the magnetic poles, such a move seems wildly implausible. Other big names in Penguins’ positions of need include Ryan Suter, who could be a buyout casualty in Dallas; at 39 years old, he’s looked painfully a step slow in each of the last two playoff runs. Cam Atkinson is also a Philadelphia buyout candidate but would not be a candidate to fill the Penguins’ scoring needs. There are a few buyout candidates lists on the interwebs today. The Athletic’s was a bit surprising with Philip Grubauer and Jacob Trouba. Those names seem a little unlikely, but the intersection of general consensus and a few lists include a few names who might fortify the Penguins’ lineup. The buyout window begins either on June 15 or 48 hours after the Stanley Cup is awarded, and since the NHL keeps pushing the Cup Final later and later every year, we’ll just stick with after the Cup. Last June, Matt Duchene was a buyout casualty 3 Buyout Candidates for Penguins Torey Krug Last summer, Krug blocked a trade from the St. Loius Blues to Philadelphia. This summer, Krug is a buyout candidate as St. Louis tries to avoid a full-scale rebuild and instead retool on the fly. Krug has three years remaining on his contract with a $6.5 million cap hit, so he’s not a probable buyout, but if he hits the market, it could be the right fit for the Penguins. Krug, 33, is a third-pairing defenseman with good puck skills and power-play acumen. With Jack St. Ivany on the right side and Ryan Graves struggling, there is an opening for a more offensive defenseman on the left. Krug had 39 points this season and can move well enough. If his price drops after a possible buyout, he could be the right short-term answer on the Penguins left and offer a little power play help. Barclay Goodrow The grinding forward, who is an annual playoff hero, could add some heft to the Penguins’ bottom six. The 6-foot-2, 204-pound forward can disappear for a bit in the regular season and scored just four goals in 80 games this season. However, he had six tallies in 16 playoff games. The New York Rangers will need cap space, and Goodrow is an expensive bottom liner. He’s got one year remaining on his contract with a $3.64 million annual value, and the numbers work out for a buyout. Some jam, some responsibility, more penalty-killing prowess, and offense when it matters. If Goodrow becomes available, Dubas could fortify the bottom lines and make a veteran or two expendable to acquire the draft picks he craves. And Goodrow could become trade fodder at the deadline for even more picks if the Penguins fail to assert themselves in the playoff race. Elvis Merzlikins/Spencer Knight Trade? Or buyout? The Columbus Blue Jackets would prefer to trade Merzlikins, but he makes $5.4 million for the next three years, and there are no takers, even on the goalie-desperate market. Florida will (probably) have a Cup-winning roster and not enough salary cap space. If they buy out the formerly promising Knight’s current $4.5 million salary for two more years, it will drop to only $750,000 over four years. It’s as close as an NHL team can get to walking away scott-free. Both could be a reclamation project, just like Alex Nedeljkovic was this season. Both had a starter’s pedigree. For Merzlikins, things went sideways after the death of popular teammate Matiss Kivlenieks, who was killed protecting teammates and their families from a wayward firework at a team party. The last two seasons for Merzlikins have admittedly been a struggle, beginning with the tragedy and being compounded by the chaos of the team. Knight has gone through the NHL/NHLPA Players’s Assistance Program and is only 23 years old. His salary will be difficult to trade despite his potential. The Penguins probably need a second goalie, and one with the potential to increase their own value while becoming a 1A goalie could be the right deal. Perhaps a one-year deal for the goalie to prove themselves and cash in next summer would work for all parties while Penguins top prospect Joel Blomqvist readies himself for his NHL journey. [...] Read more...
Colby GuyJune 18, 2024FORT LAUDERDALE — With the Stanley Cup in the building, Ryan Lomberg is back in the lineup for the Florida Panthers. “I got a full gas tank,” the Lomberghini said, “so I’ll be excited to let some of it go.’’ It will be Lomberg’s fifth game of the postseason and his first since Game 2 of the Eastern Conference final against the New York Rangers. “I am tremendously excited,” Lomberg said. “It’s a great opportunity for myself and the team here. It’s going to be tough to mix in a pre-game nap, but come game time, I’ll be ready to go.” Over the past three of years, it has been unusual for Lomberg to see long spells out of the lineup for long stretches of time as he has during the playoffs. The speedy, feisty 5-foot-9 winger has become a mainstay both on and ice for the Panthers. His tenacity and grit on the forecheck — with the occasional post-fight hair flip — have carved a role for him on the ice while his infectious smile and outgoing personality have made him a favorite both among his teammates and the fans. No One Covers the Florida Panthers Like FHN. Period. Subscribe to Florida Hockey Now Today! “He is very important,” Sasha Barkov said. “He is a vocal guy and when he’s on the ice, he’s electric. He’s fast, he’s physical, he brings that fun energy in the locker room and on the ice. In the games, he’s never quiet and that’s a good thing. He brings a lot of that to the team and we’re happy to have him.” But a long spell with an illness combined with the play of Kyle Okposo and Steven Lorentz has made it hard for him to get back in the lineup. Even after that, that smile never left his face. “It’s kind of something I’ve learned throughout my career,” Lomberg said. “Being in and out, it doesn’t help anybody being down and being sour. That’s not what got me here and that’s not what’s going to help me when I get back in the lineup, so for me, it’s about staying true to myself. First and foremost, be a good teammate, work hard, so when the opportunity comes like it is tonight, I’m ready to go.” When he was out of the lineup, he was just as enthusiastic as he was when he was in. In practice, he was still throwing around his signature chirps and pumping everyone up when he could. He brought that same energy in the locker room (and the press box) before, during, and after games too. That’s just who he is. “It’s great energy that he brings to our room, but to give him credit, he also brings it when he wasn’t in the lineup,” coach Paul Maurice said. “The last change was made after a couple of overtime losses when we shifted players in and out and then we ripped off sided in a row and I’m not looking for a change at that point. But God, he had a great week at that time and he understood it. “You have to work at that. You’re just not a happy guy every day or you’re not playing in the NHL. Life’s not like that. He was really good in practices and warm-ups, but I think that meant for me, that when he comes into the lineup, if he was sullen and disappointed, he doesn’t have to change his personality to come back in the lineup. His personality didn’t change when he was out, so when he comes into the room, he is the exact same guy he was five days ago when he wasn’t in the lineup.” He’s been a part of this run whether he has been in or out of the lineup, and he is excited to get the chance to finish it with the chance to close the series out on home ice right in front of him. “It’s been great,” Lomberg said. “I’m obviously tremendously proud of the group to be in this position we’re at. It’s the toughest one in front of us right now, so we’ve got to be ready for that, but it’s been a lot easier watching when we’re winning as opposed to losing, so the guys are doing a great job.” For More FHN Coverage of the Florida Panthers: Like our Facebook Page Follow us on Twitter: @GeorgeRichards // @ColbyDGuy // @TheGovMan Subscribe to the FHN YouTube Channel Visit the FHN Team Shop at TeePublic and RedBubble 2024 STANLEY CUP FINAL EDMONTON OILERS VS. FLORIDA PANTHERS  GAME 5 Panthers Lead Best of 7 Series 3-1 When: Tuesday, 8 p.m. Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise National TV: ABC Streaming: ESPN+/Hulu Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app Series Schedule, All Games 8 p.m. on ABC — Game 1: @Florida 3, Edmonton 0;Game 2: @Florida 4, Edmonton 1; Game 3: Florida 4, @Edmonton 3; Game 4: @Edmonton 8, Florida 1; Game 5: Edmonton at Florida, Tuesday; Game 6*: Florida at Edmonton, Friday; Game 7*:Edmonton at Florida, Monday June 24. (*) – If Necessary How They Got Here — Florida: d. Tampa Bay 4-1, Boston 4-2, New York Rangers 4-2; Edmonton: d. Los Angeles 4-1, Vancouver 4-3, Dallas 4-2. This Season (Florida Won 2-0) — At Florida: Panthers 5, Oilers 3 (Nov. 20). At Edmonton: Panthers 5, Oilers 2 (Dec. 17). Last Season: Edmonton Won 2-0 All-time Regular Season Series: Oilers lead 23-16-0, 3 ties Postseason History: First Meeting [...] Read more...
Jonathan BaileyJune 18, 2024According to a report from NHL insider Darren Dreger, the San Jose Sharks have legitimate interest in trading for Philadelphia Flyers winger Cam Atkinson with salary retention involved. Dreger was careful to note, however, that Atkinson would not be particularly receptive to moving to the Sharks. Atkinson, 35, scored 13 goals, 15 assists, and 28 points in 70 games with the Flyers this season, but often found himself benched by John Tortorella for his ineffective play and failed to record a single point after the NHL All-Star Break. “The Flyers continue to explore options around veteran Cam Atkinson. SJ has trade interest, but sources say Atkinson isn’t keen on a move to the Sharks,” Dreger posted to his X account on Tuesday morning. “Philly will eat a good chunk of the final year of his contract. Buyout is also an option, as is keeping him in the mix.” The Flyers continue to explore options around veteran Cam Atkinson. SJ has trade interest, but sources say Atkinson isn’t keen on a move to the Sharks. Philly will eat a good chunk of the final year of his contract. Buyout is also an option, as is keeping him in the mix. — Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) June 18, 2024 Given his age and struggles, Atkinson figured to become a popular buyout candidate, which remains an option as Dreger noted above. Atkinson has only one year remaining on his seven-year, $41.13 million contract, albeit at a $5.875 million cap hit. Rather than pay assets in a trade or stretch the money on a buyout, the Flyers could be better off sucking it up for one more year and finishing Atkinson’s contract at no additional cost. It is also important to note that Atkinson has a modified no-trade clause in his contract, allowing him to submit a 10-team no-trade list every season until his contract is up. If the Sharks are on that list, a potential deal here is probably scratched. Should the former 40 goal-scorer remain with the Flyers for another season, Atkinson would almost assuredly resume his late-season role as a rotational piece next to youngster Bobby Brink, who is a pending RFA currently without a contract for next season. It’s unclear what the Sharks are willing to offer in a Flyers trade, if anything at all, but the fact that there is trade talk goes to show that the Flyers are exploring all possible avenues in order to appease Atkinson without compromising the immediate and near future of the team. If the Flyers choose to buy Atkinson out, they will save $3.516 million this season and lose $1.758 million next season. [...] Read more...
Evan RawalJune 18, 2024We’re now just 10 days away from the NHL Draft, which takes place in Las Vegas, Nevada this year, and Colorado Hockey Now will be there for all of it. Every year, every NHL team puts together their draft board, ranking who they would take and in what order. I thought to myself…why don’t I give it a shot? Now, I’m not going to rank every player available in the draft. I don’t have the time for that, and after the 24th pick, the Colorado Avalanche don’t even pick again until the fourth round. To prepare, I watched a lot of the players that could be available around the 24th pick. Some I liked, some I really liked, and some…not as much. This list is composed almost entirely of guys that I think could realistically be available for the Avalanche to draft at 24, and doesn’t really include anyone that I expect to go higher, other than maybe two or three players. Someone falling that I didn’t expect to be there at 24 could change the rankings, but I made my list based on guys I think actually have a real chance of being there. This is not a prediction of who is going where, but more a personal ranking of the players based on my viewings, so keep that in mind. 1. C/W Jett Luchanko DOB: August 21, 2006 (17) 5’11”, 187 pounds 74 Points in 68 OHL games If there’s one player that fits the way the Avalanche like to play, it’s this guy. He’s a great skater, thinks the game at a high level, and has the motor to go with it. If he was an inch or two bigger, I think he’d be a surefire top 15 pick in this draft. Heck, he still might go that high. If he is there at 24, Colorado should run to the podium to make the selection. Doesn’t turn 18 until this August, so is actually one of the younger players in the league. Growth from year one to year two in the OHL was tremendous, and I think he’s only going to keep getting better. Does have a little bit of Yanni Gourde in him. 2. W Andrew Basha DOB: November 8, 2005 (18) 5’11”, 187 pounds 85 points in 63 WHL games Skill and hockey IQ are the two things that stand out with him. He’s not a great skater, but he’s also not a bad skater by any means. His stride just seems a little…awkward. It’s a little stiff, if that makes sense. When he gets the puck along the boards, he’s not afraid to attack the middle of the ice and is actually very good when he does so. Played a little bit of center this past year in the WHL, but odds are that he’s a winger at the NHL level. I see second line upside but with the way he works and thinks the game, he could easily play on the third line. 3. W Michael Brandsegg-Nygard DOB: October 8, 2005 (18) 6’1″, 207 pounds 18 points in 41 games in HockeyAllsvenskanin Sweden I’ve got him below Luchanko and Basha on my board, but he’s the first player on my board that I’m pretty sure is not going to be there when the Avalanche pick at 24. Some team before Colorado is likely to take him and be pretty happy, although it may take the people covering that team a little while to learn how to spell his name. The Norwegian winger has spent the last two seasons in Sweden and could spend time in the Swedish Hockey League next season. A big guy who competes and uses his size to his advantage. He’s got a really good shot and can get it off in tight spaces. At 18, he’s also extremely reliable defensively, so there’s some safety drafting a guy like this that he can carve out a role at the NHL level. I don’t see him being a big-time producer at the NHL level, but he also seems like the type of guy who can play a complimentary role in the top six because of his work ethic, physicality, and smarts. 4. C/W Yegor Surin DOB: August 1, 2006 (17) 6’1″, 192 pounds 52 points in 42 MHL games Probably the first surprise player on my list, but I just love his game, and it’s my list, okay?!? He’s a competitive guy who has skill and a nasty side to his game. One thing I look for in evaluating these guys is their trajectory, and Surin took off as the year went on. Like Luchanko, he’s really young for this draft class, but as the season went on, Surin got better and better. After a relatively slow start, he put up 39 points in his final 27 games, then capped it off with 23 points in 19 games, leading his team to the MHL final. Ivan Demidov could go as high as 2 in this draft, and Surin wasn’t far behind him in production during the playoffs. You’re definitely projecting with Surin, but that’s what you’re doing every year at the NHL draft. He tore up the MHL, but still hasn’t gotten much action at the KHL level (3 games), playing in a Lokomotiv system that is really patient with young players. I understand the questions around his IQ and just how much pure skill he has, but I just love his competitive nature. You may have to rein him in a little bit, but I think he’s someone who could pay off in a big way down the line. 5. D Alfons Freij DOB: Feb. 12, 2006 (18) 6’1″, 197 pounds 33 points in 40 games at the J20 level in Sweden Finally, a defenseman! This draft is top heavy when it comes to defensemen, as most of the top 10 might end up being blueliners. After that, there’s a pretty big drop-off (in my opinion) and when you get past those top guys, a lot of those defensemen are bigger guys that lack the ability to move the puck. Freij isn’t small, but he sure can move and move the puck. Colorado went with a smaller puck-moving defenseman last year at 31, but Freij is slightly different. While I don’t think he’s as good a skater as Mikhail Gulyayev, it’s close. He’s extremely agile and makes everything look effortless when he is moving. He’s got puck skills and played well at the U-18’s, but I wouldn’t say he’s a future #1 PP QB. Freij has the size and ability to become a top four defenseman in the NHL, and should be moving up a league next year over in Sweden. 6. D Adam Jiricek DOB: June 28, 2006 (17) 6’2″, 168 pounds 1 point in 19 Czech league games Barring a surprise, Jiricek will likely hear his name called by an NHL team on his birthday. That has to be a pretty cool experience. Where he gets selected is really up in the air. Very highly thought of coming into the season, but struggled in the Czech league against men and then hurt his knee at the World Juniors. The injury came at a tough time because he didn’t get to show what he can do against players his age, but the talent is there. Teams will always have time for big, talented right-shot defensemen. I’ve heard from some scouts about potential attitude issues, but nothing like some other guys in the draft. If he falls to 24, it would be tough to say no to this skillset. Last year, Colorado took Calum Ritchie in the first, who was highly thought of coming into his draft year but injuries and an inconsistent year saw him drop on draft day. That seemed to work out well last year, so I could see them doing it again. 7. LW/RW Igor Chernyshov DOB: Nov. 30, 2005 (18) 6’2″, 196 pounds 28 points in 22 MHL games, 4 points in 34 KHL games Truth be told, I had Chernyshov higher about a week ago than I currently do. I still like him, as he’s got the size, skill, and defensive acumen to be a solid middle six forward. I’m not sure he has one skill that really stands out, but he’s pretty well rounded. The fact that he got decent minutes in the KHL as a teenager shows that. After watching him a little more, I moved him down a few spots and it really came down to preference with me. While he does use his size well, especially when it comes to protecting the puck down low, he doesn’t have the natural aggression of a guy like Brandsegg-Nygard or Surin. At times, that leaves you wanting a bit more. I’m not sure that’s something that will just show up at some point either. The floor seems pretty high with Chernyshov, but I don’t know if the ceiling is that much higher. A pretty safe pick overall. Like Brandsegg-Nygard, I’d be surprised if he actually is available at the 24th pick. 8. LW Nikita Artamonov DOB: Nov. 17, 2005 (18) 5’11”, 187 pounds 23 points in 54 KHL games Colorado should have a good idea on what type of player Artamonov is, as he played on a line with Nikolai Kovalenko a fair bit this past season. That also means I saw a lot of him. Artamonov got off to a red hot start and cooled as the season went on, but that was the case for pretty much the entire Torpedo team. Still, 23 points in 54 KHL games as an 18 year old is impressive production. There are questions as to how much natural skill he has, and I think those questions are fair. His skill doesn’t really jump out at you. However, he is a fantastic passer from the wing, especially to the middle of the ice, and a very smart player. Not a big guy at all, but he’s pretty fearless. You watch him and Artturi Lehkonen immediately comes to mind. The Avalanche have a good relationship with Torpedo, so they probably have all the intel on Artamonov they would need. Could be a top six player in a pinch down the line, but I see him as a good energy winger on the third line. 9. C Michael Hage DOB: April 14, 2006 (18) 6’1″, 190 pounds 75 points in 54 USHL games Hage barely played in 2022-23, so it took him a while to get going this season. When he did, he really took off. Might have been the best player in the USHL during the second half of the season. A fantastic player in transition and can really shoot the puck. I think he’s a really smart player. He’s not a massive guy, but he looks like he has a long reach that makes him difficult to defend. Seems more likely to be a wing in the NHL than a center, but there’s a lot of talent there. Heading to Michigan next season and they know how to develop talent. 10. C Cole Beaudoin DOB: April 24, 2006 (18) 6’2″, 201 pounds 62 points in 67 OHL games If you want to talk about safe, I’m not sure it gets much safer than Beaudoin. Uses his size to his advantage and isn’t likely to be outworked. His skating could definitely use some work to get to the next level. Any team would love to have this guy in their bottom six moving forward. Big centers who can be trusted all over the ice are a hot commodity at the NHL level, so I think Beaudoin is going in the first round. The question with him is whether or not there’s enough ability for him to become anything more than a bottom six player. I’m not sure that there is, but I feel pretty confident that Beaudoin has an NHL future ahead of him. Right about here is where I see a drop off from guys I’d feel comfortable taking at 24 to guys that I’d feel better about if the Avalanche traded down and acquired another asset. 11. C Teddy Stiga DOB: April 5, 2006 (18) 5’10”, 178 pounds 79 points in 61 games A really strong U-18’s (11 points in 7 games) moved this guy up a lot of lists, and I’ve heard Colorado is one of those teams that really likes him. At 24, I personally think he’s a little bit of a reach, but if they moved down and picked up another asset, he’d be a fine pick. He’s not big at all, but really smart and a fantastic skater. Headed to Boston College next year with his linemate from the USNDTP, so there will be some familiarity there. That team will, once again, be stacked. 12. C Sacha Boisvert March 17, 2006 (18) 6’2″, 183 pounds 68 points in 61 games He’s not that different than Beaudoin, but he seems a lot less refined. Skating needs a fair bit of work. I do think his offensive upside is maybe a little higher than Beaudoin’s, but I’m less convinced of his ability to get there. If he does get there, it might take a while, as he’s pretty raw right now. Headed to North Dakota next year. 13. W Matvei Gridin DOB: March 1, 2005 (18) 6’1″, 185 pounds 83 points in 60 USHL games If the Avalanche had two first round picks this year like they did last year, this is a guy I’d absolutely say they should swing for the fences on. Supremely talented and a good frame on top of that. You watch him and it sure doesn’t look like he has much interest working unless he’s got the puck or is right next to it, but when he gets that puck, he can make magic happen. There was one shift that stuck in my head where a defenseman was rushing up the ice and Griffin just kind of stood still, not even attempting to slow the defender down. That sort of stuff sticks out. I’m not sure I’d feel comfortable taking that at 24, but in a trade down scenario where they acquire more assets, I’d go for it. 14. D Dominik Badinka DOB: Nov. 27, 2005 (18) 6’3″, 190 pounds 4 points in 33 Swedish Hockey League games We’ve talked about how impressive it was for Gulyayev to earn a full-time spot in the KHL as a teenager, but Badinka did the same in the Swedish Hockey League, playing around 15 minutes a night for his team. He’s very solid in his own end against players much older than him, has good anticipation, and is a strong skater for someone his size. Flashed offense at lower levels, but mostly played it safe playing in the top league. Even then, I’m not sure there’s going to be a ton of offense from him in the NHL. 15. D E.J. Emery DOB: March 30, 2006 (18) 6’3″, 183 pounds 16 points in 61 games There are many that are much higher on him than I am, but the reason why I have him lower is pretty simple – I have concerns about how well he can move the puck at the next level, and that could really limit his potential. For a big guy, he’s a tremendous skater and is fantastic defending off the rush. There’s a strong base to work with, but if he can’t do much offensively at lower levels, I don’t see him providing much, if any, at the NHL level. He’ll head to North Dakota next season with Boisvert. [...] Read more...
Danny DemilioJune 18, 2024The Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Cincinnati Reds 4-1 at PNC Park on Monday night in the first matchup between the division rivals this season. Paul Skenes continued to shine for the Pirates (35-37) by tossing six innings of one-run ball and improved to 4-0 on the season. The Pirates will look for their third series win in their last four attempts on Tuesday night against the Reds (34-38). First pitch is set for 6:40 ET and the game will be aired on SportsNet Pittsburgh. Weather Another hot one with a heat advisory in effect until 8 p.m. Clear skies with winds ENE at 7 mph. The Pittsburgh Pirates Will Send Out LHP Bailey Falter (3-4, 3.86 ERA) Though Falter has pitched extremely well for much of the season, he has struggled in each of his last two outings. The Pirates left-hander hasn’t recorded an out in the fifth inning in either start and has allowed eight runs on 16 hits in eight innings pitched. Prior to those two starts to being June, Falter had a 3.22 ERA through the end of May. Falter hasn’t had much success in five previous matchups with the Reds. He’s 0-1 with a 7.79 ERA. The Cincinnati Reds Will Send Out LHP Nick Lodolo (7-2, 2.93 ERA) Lodolo was drafted 41st overall by the Pirates in the 2016 draft out of high school but opted to play collegiately at TCU. The Reds took him at No. 7 three years later and the 26-year-old is off to a hot start this season, his third year pitching in the big leagues. Opponents are hitting .216 with a .614 OPS against him. Lodolo has struck out 62 batters and walked just 15 batters in 58.1 innings. He’s split a pair of decisions against the Pirates in his career and has a 3.97 ERA in two starts. Reds Hitters vs. Falter Jonathan India: 1 for 9, one double, one RBI, one walk Tyler Stephenson: 5 for 8, double, home run, four RBIs, one strikeout Spencer Steer: 4 for 6, one home run, two RBIs, one walk, one strikeout Stuart Fairchild: 2 for 6 TJ Friedl: 1 for 4, one home run, one RBI, one strikeout Jeimer Candelario: 1 for 2, one home run, two RBIs Pirates Hitters vs. Lodolo Andrew McCutchen: 1 for 9, one home run, one RBI, three walks, four strikeouts Oneil Cruz: 2 for 6, one RBI, four strikeouts Ke’Bryan Hayes: 2 for 6, one double, two strikeouts Bryan Reynolds: 2 for 6, one strikeout Tidbits Paul Skenes has thrown 65 pitches of at least 100 mph this season. Among starting pitchers, the Angels’ José Soriano with 36. Since making his debut on May 11, Skenes is fourth in the National League with a 2.29 ERA. Teammate Mitch Keller is second with a 1.96 ERA. With two more doubles on Monday night, Rowdy Tellez is slashing .429/.474/.629 in 11 games to start the month of June. Links Perrotto: Rivalry Just Beginning for Oneil Cruz, Elly De La Cruz Pirates Minor League Updates: Ashcraft Shines in Triple-A Debut, Burrows Makes Return Paul Skenes Displays Complete Arsenal, Growing Potential In Pirates’ Win Over Reds Another Strong Start From Paul Skenes Leads Pirates to 4-1 Win Over Reds Around the Network: Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Penguins Free Agency: What About Marcus? Crosby Not Only Possible UFA Steelers Now: Brandon Aiyuk Tabbed as Perfect Match for Steelers if Traded Pittsburgh Sports Now: Massive 2025 3-Star Texas OL Includes Pitt in Top Five [...] Read more...
Alan SaundersJune 18, 2024The Miami Dolphins have waived former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Mathew Sexton to make way for their signing of veteran defensive tackle Calais Campbell, the team announced on Tuesday. Sexton, 26, joined the Steelers in 2021 as an undrafted free agent. He had gone unsigned as a UDFA out of Michigan State during 2020 and played in The Spring League. Sexton caught the Steelers’ eye at a pro day the following spring and joined the team. He made a push for a roster spot as a return man, and led the team in the preseason with five punt returns for 86 yards, but he was released shortly after a fumbled punt. He caught two passes for 10 yards over three preseason games. Since his release by the Steelers, Sexton has spent time with the Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots and Dolphins, but has not appeared in an NFL regular season game. He was with the Vegas Vipers of the XFL last spring, and caught 23 passes for 364 and returned 13 punts for 1010 yards and three kickoffs for 49 yards. The Clinton, Michigan native racked up over 1,300 receiving yards while playing the MAC at Eastern Michigan and has earned those NFL opportunities due to his versatility as both a receiver and a returner. The 5-foot-10, 186-pound wideout ran a 4.44-second 40-yard dash, showcasing great long speed as part of a 5.58 out of 10 overall Relative Athletic Score. Campbell, 38, will be the oldest defensive player in the NFL in 2024. The value of his one-year deal with the Dolphins has not been reported. He spent one season with the Atlanta Falcons in 2023 after his release by the Baltimore Ravens, where he spent the 2020-22 seasons. [...] Read more...
Evan RawalJune 18, 2024I believe the last time Patrick Roy put on goalie pads might have been the Alumni Game back in 2016 prior to the Stadium Series. Coaching the Avalanche at the time, he had to train for a few weeks to get back into the rhythm of playing net, even if it was a pretty meaningless game. On Father’s Day, he put the pads on again, although they looked slightly different. In a video posted on social media, Patrick Roy is seen putting on goalie pads for street hockey to play with some younger kids, who start questioning him about a few things. Mon video préféré de la fête des pères. Imagine que tu as 6 ans et le gars que tu envoie dans les goals pour ta game de street hockey c’est PATRICK ROY!!! #habs #patrickroy pic.twitter.com/P93y1lKiJz — JT (@Jean_JT_Trudel) June 16, 2024 The original video was posted on Instagram by Jana Roy, so these are Roy’s grandchildren. You have to love that the kids ask Roy if he’s better than Kelly Hrudey, and the former Avalanche netminder doesn’t even hesitate to say that yes, he absolutely is. Then Roy has to ask them, “who told you I was good?” Don’t worry, they’ll find out soon enough just how good he was. Roy became the head coach of the New York Islanders earlier this year and helped get them back into the playoffs, although it wasn’t exactly pretty getting there. Unlike his time with the Avalanche, Roy is focused only on coaching while he’s on Long Island, and has no interest in the management side of things. Lou Lamoriello runs the show there, although it might be time for him to call it quits here real soon. At least we now know that Roy is allowed to grow a beard in the off-season, even if he can’t have one while the NHL season is going on. [...] Read more...
Nick NataleJune 18, 2024During his end-of-season press conference, Devils General Manager Tom Fitzgerald had a mandate to get bigger, physical, and tougher to play against. Odds are Fitzgerald will scour the free agent market on July 1st to do so. But before any of that, he’ll have his chance to inject the Devils prospect pool with fresh blood at the NHL Draft. The Devils hold the 10th pick in the first round and have the opportunity to add an elite prospect to an already young and exciting core. There will be plenty of flash and skill available with the 10th pick, but if Fitzgerald stays a man of his word and opts for some big, physical, and tough to play against, look no further than Norwegian defenseman Stian Solberg. The Devils have been linked with a few players recently, including Solberg’s countryman and potential first rounder, Michael Brandsegg-Nygård. However, it’s Solberg who’s gone under the radar for most of the draft process. What’s caught the eye of a lot of people’s eyes when it comes to his game is his physicality. Stian Solberg plays with a mean streak that is impossible to ignore. He does a great job at using his sturdy, 6-foot-2, 200-pound frame to separate the opposition from the puck. Solberg has great gap control and is one of the more defensively responsible players in the draft. Two minutes of Stian Solberg, EP's 20th-ranked prospect in the #2024NHLDraft, showcasing his biggest selling point: his elite physical game. Crushing open-ice hits, stepping up at the right time against the rush, reverse hits before retrievals, etc. pic.twitter.com/WpjP7Ivej1 — Lassi Alanen (@lassialanen) June 4, 2024 However, Solberg has two things working against him; his lack of offense and lack of high-end competition. This past season he put up 15 points in 42 games with Valerenga in EliteHockey Ligaen (the top league in Norway). Solberg hasn’t spent much time playing against top-tier competition outside of seven World Championship games this spring. He has, however, played in the top league in Norway for parts of the past three seasons. Solberg’s competition will be taking a step up next season when he goes to play for Farjestad in the SHL. Solberg has been a riser in the second half of the season and after a strong showing at the World Championships, but is still projected outside of the top 10. NHL Central Scouting has him as the 20th European skater. Scott Wheeler of The Athletic has him at 21, while his co-draft analyst Corey Pronman has him at 12. In Bob McKenzie’s mid-season rankings, he was all the way down at 45, but I suspect he’ll be up significantly in his final rankings. Selecting Solberg at 10 would be a risky move for Fitzgerald, but one that shouldn’t come as a surprise. Solberg’s defensive game and physical play are already near NHL-ready, and with another year or two of refining to go along with some offensive development, there’s a quick path to a top-four defenseman. For more Devils news, visit New Jersey Hockey Now and like our Facebook page. Follow us on 𝕏: @NJDHockeyNow, @JamesNicholsNHL, @NickNatale10 And on Threads: @JamesNicholsNHL [...] Read more...
Alan SaundersJune 18, 2024The 2024 UFL season ended on Sunday, with the Birmingham Stallions winning their third championship in as many seasons. With the close of the spring football season, many players that have been suiting up in the UFL will soon be invading NFL 90-man rosters, and the Pittsburgh Steelers have been a team that has been active in adding players from spring pro leagues in recent seasons. Last offseason, the Steelers added wide receiver Hakeem Butler, running back John Lovett and cornerback Luq Barcoo from the XFL and cornerback Nevelle Clarke from the USFL, among others. Will they search for another diamond in the rough coming out of this UFL season? If Omar Khan is so inclined, here’s five former UFL players that could make sense for the Steelers to take a look at: EDGE Breeland Speaks, Michigan Panthers A former second-round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs, Breeland Speaks is finally living up to his potential. The 6-foot-3, 285-pound edge rusher had his NFL career waylaid by injuries and a suspension. He seems to have found a home with the Michigan Panthers in the UFL, though.

Speaks had nine sacks in 10 games last spring, when Michigan was in the USFL. This year, he put up 9.5 sacks to lead the newly formed UFL in sacks. He was also tops in tackles for loss with 13 and had a forced fumble and two pass breakups. Speaks got an NFL shot last summer, but only a short one. He was added mid-training camp by the San Francisco 49ers and was released 16 days later, without catching on with another team. He played in three preseason games and recorded four tackles. The Steelers don’t have a lot of experienced depth at outside linebacker behind T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith, with a pair of second-year players in Nick Herbig and Jeremiah Moon currently holding down the third and fourth spots. Speaks could be a quality option to add to that competition. DT Carlos Davis, Birmingham Stallions Carlos Davis is certainly no stranger to the Steelers. Their seventh-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Davis spent three seasons in Pittsburgh to start his career. Davis had one career sack over 12 career games with the Steelers, and was always seen as more of a run-stuffer, but he seems to have developed some pass-rush prowess. Davis had six sacks for the Stallions this season on their way to a UFL title, the most he’s ever had in a season in his professional or college career. The Steelers have a number of options on the borderline of their roster along the defensive line, but relatively few of them have solid pass rush chops. If Davis could provide that at the NFL level, he’d be worth taking a look at again. WR/KR Chris Rowland, DC Defenders An undersized wide receiver at 5-foot-8, 170 pounds, Chris Rowland was the USFL’s best kickoff returner in 2024, and even though the spring league didn’t use the new NFL kickoff rule, depth at returner could be awfully important this season. The Steelers have a former All-Pro in place in Cordarrelle Patterson to be their kickoff returner, but Patterson is 33 and hasn’t played a fully healthy season since 2020. The Steelers don’t have a lot of kickoff return experience on their roster, so someone like Rowland to be a backup during training camp and the preseason, and potentially a practice squad player, could make a lot of sense. Rowland was also on the Atlanta Falcons when Arthur Smith took over as head coach there in 2021, so he should be at least somewhat familiar with the offensive scheme. WR Tyler Vaughns, Arlington Renegades Another familiar face to the Steelers, Tyler Vaughns has been playing for the Arlington Renegades since he was released by the Steelers in 2022. He had a solid spring in 2023, playing in nine games and catching 31 passes for 302 yards. This spring, he was even better, catching 45 balls for 503 yards and three touchdowns. Unlike a lot of the receivers at the UFL level, Vaughns has NFL size at 6-foot-2, 184 pounds, and Vaughns was a strong preseason performer the last time he was in Pittsburgh. He’s worthy of another shot in the league somewhere, and the Steelers could use a spark at wide receiver. OT Matt Kaskey, Birmingham Stallions Matt Kaskey is a 6-foot-7, 325-pound offensive tackle that was the best run-blocking tackle in the UFL this year, according to PFF. He also has played some guard over the years, but where the Steelers could use an upgrade is to the end of their tackle rotation, in case the team decides that Dan Moore Jr. is worth trading. 
It’d be a big step up for Dylan Cook to be the swing tackle, and some competition for Devery Hamilton to be the fourth tackle in that scenario would be a good thing. Kaskey spent three seasons with the Carolina Panthers from 2019-21, but played in just one game, and was with the Los Angeles Chargers for a month last summer. [...] Read more...
Marc DumontJune 18, 2024Much ink has been spilled when it comes to Montreal Canadiens picks in the first round, with draft targets for the fifth overall and 26th overall picks already lined up. The Canadiens will have a relatively long break after they make the 26th overall pick, seeing as the Utah TBDs own their second round pick due to the desperation trade involving Christian Dvorak made by former general manager Marc Bergevin. They do, however, own the 57h overall pick, acquired in the deal that saw Artturi Lehkonen join the Colorado Avalanche at the 2022 trade deadline.  The talent level will have dwindled significantly by the time the Habs take to the podium in the second round, which means they have very little margin for error in the first round. There is one player in particular that has garnered some attention as a potential second-round draft target, and not just because he’s the son of one of the most respect Montreal Canadiens players in recent team history. Aatos Koivu Pre-Draft Rankings Aatos Koivu’s family name may carry some weight when it comes to recognition, but as we all know, lineage doesn’t necessarily equate greatness when it comes to NHL players. While his father, Saku, was originally chosen 21st overall by the Habs in 1993, a choice that received much more criticism than was warranted at the time, Aatos is not slated to be a first-round pick. There’s a significant discrepancy in the public lists, with some outlets suggesting he should be a late second-round target, while others have him closer to the fourth round. To make matters even more difficult to interpret, some outlets have flat-out ignored Koivu, failing to list him among the top prospects available in 2024. But most importantly, Bob McKenzie’s consolidated rankings have him 60th, which is enough for us to propose that the Canadiens should look into whether he’s the right target for their only second-round pick. We also have to remember pre-draft rankings rarely, if ever, correlate to specific team rankings. For example, only two outlets had Florian Xhekaj ranked prior to last year’s draft, and both had him as one of the last players on their list. The Canadiens, on the other hand, identified that he could bring a style of play to the table that would improve the team down the road, and gave him a much higher ranking prior to the draft. Many scoffed at the idea that he was worth a fourth round pick, but the Canadiens stuck to their guns once the fourth round started, and they saw the younger Xhekaj was still available. MUST READ: Florian Xhekaj Defied The Odds To Earn His Entry-Level Contract Given Xhekaj’s impressive growth this season, you could argue it was the right call. Time will tell, but the point is that pre-draft lists are great to get an overall sense of where players will end up going, but there are always a multitude of factors in play. Aatos Koivu Scouting Profile A comparison of their U18 seasons shows that Aatos never quite reached the offensive level his father did. Saku scored 20 goals and 28 assists in 24 games as a 17-year-old, while Aatos scored 16 goals and 15 assists in 28 games. It’s very difficult to compare U18 seasons, especially when there’s a 30-year gap between them. Liiga has increased its overall quality of competition in recent years, owing to the exodus of talent from the KHL due to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine. With that in mind, we can suggest that Aatos certainly possesses an offensive streak, though perhaps not at the level of Saku prior to his arrival in Canada. We also have to remember Saku Koivu was one of the most exciting prospects in franchise history at the time. He was highly skilled in the offensive zone, and his defensive acumen was through the roof. He was also among the leading scorers in the NHL before an unfortunate knee derailed his season 96-97 season, not to mention his offensive potential. The most impressive aspect of Aatos’ season is that he started the year playing with TPS’ U18 club before eventually being promoted to their U20 team, quite the accomplishment for a 17-year-old. He also earned a call-up to the Liiga, playing four games with TPS as one of the youngest players in the league. In other words, he’s shown considerable growth in the past two seasons, enough to entice a team like the Canadiens that is looking for a hidden game in the second round. Koivu already shows excellent maturity away from the puck, which is quite rare for young players who usually spend the majority of their time with the puck on their stick in Junior ranks. He possesses a strong wrist shot, though he’s also adept at using a one-timer when the situation arises, or something a little more fancy which involves multiple dekes. For the record, he has said his style of play is similar to Sebastian Aho’s, a rather interesting comparison to say the least. Two minutes of Aatos Koivu showcasing his most notable offensive attribute: his shooting skill. One of the better – especially more accurate – one-timers among draft-eligible Europeans. Also very capable of shooting from his inside leg. #2024NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/TA85jDz7t8 — Lassi Alanen (@lassialanen) May 16, 2024 Montreal Canadiens Brass Tacks At 6’0 (1.83 m), he’s certainly tall enough to pique Kent Hughes’ interest, but at 170 lb (ca. 77 kg), he will have to add muscle mass to his frame if he’s to excel in the NHL. His handful of games in Liiga confirmed as much. Fortunately, muscle mass can be added at a later date, but talent cannot. The question becomes, is he the type of player that could eventually make an impact with the Montreal Canadiens on a nightly basis? The Habs are already overstocked with prospects who have a strong defensive acumen, while the list of elite prospect forwards is rather short. We also have to consider what type of player you end up drafting late in the second round. Lane Hutson was the exception to the rule, as the vast majority of prospects with legitimate NHL aspirations are off the board once the first 50 names have been called. If you can identify a player who has healthy odds of eventually making the NHL in the fourth round, consider yourself lucky, as it’s much easier said than done. Seeing as the Canadiens have already touched base with Aatos during the season, not to mention their meeting during the 2024 Scouting Combine, it’s safe to say that they’ve already shown enough interest to suggest he may become their ideal draft target in the second round. Two minutes of Aatos Koivu showcasing his most notable offensive attribute: his shooting skill. One of the better – especially more accurate – one-timers among draft-eligible Europeans. Also very capable of shooting from his inside leg. #2024NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/TA85jDz7t8 — Lassi Alanen (@lassialanen) May 16, 2024 [...] Read more...
George Richards, FHN PublisherJune 18, 2024FORT LAUDERDALE — When the Florida Panthers traded Dmitry Kulikov to Buffalo in 2016, the defenseman said he was “excited to change the scenery a little bit … after being here so many years.’’ As time went on, Kulikov wanted to come back to the team which drafted him in the first round back in 2009, but nothing ever worked out. Last summer, general manager Bill Zito called with an offer. Kulikov was finally coming back. And now, for the first time in his career, he is getting the opportunity to play for the Stanley Cup. If you would have told him 10 years ago his first shot at the Cup would be with the Panthers, he would not have believed you. He believes it now. “This has been great,’’ Kulikov said. “The whole playoff experience, the whole season with this team has been fantastic. It has been great to be around this group every day. We encourage each other and that has been great. Going through all the rounds, we certainly learned some things like how to approach a game after a loss, how to treat it after a win. It has been good.’’ For The Best Coverage of the Florida Panthers, Anywhere Subscribe to Florida Hockey Now Today! Kulikov never really left South Florida following the trade — although he spent a lot of time away from here over the years. After playing through some back injuries in Buffalo and Winnipeg, his career went from one city to another. By the time he came back to the Panthers, he had played for seven different teams — including the Edmonton Oilers after being a trade deadline acquisition from New Jersey in 2021. With the Panthers needed help on the blueline with Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour hurt to start the season, Zito targeted a number of veteran defensemen who could slot right in and help Florida weather the storm. It was not known how Kulikov would fit in once those two came back, but Paul Maurice — who had Kulikov in Winnipeg — loved his style of play not only on the third pairing with Oliver Ekman-Larsson, but on the penalty kill as well. Kulikov ended up playing 76 games with the Panthers. He can be a free agent in a couple of weeks, but he might just be back. “To be honest, I never wanted to leave in the first place,” Kulikov told Florida Hockey Now before the season started. “I always wanted to come back here, it just did not work out. When the opportunity opened up this summer, I did not want to go anywhere else. I am happy. I am really happy.” For More FHN Coverage of the Florida Panthers: Like our Facebook Page Follow us on Twitter: @GeorgeRichards // @ColbyDGuy // @TheGovMan Subscribe to the FHN YouTube Channel Visit the FHN Team Shop at TeePublic and RedBubble 2024 STANLEY CUP FINAL EDMONTON OILERS VS. FLORIDA PANTHERS  GAME 5 Panthers Lead Best of 7 Series 3-1 When: Tuesday, 8 p.m. Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise National TV: ABC Streaming: ESPN+/Hulu Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app Series Schedule, All Games 8 p.m. on ABC — Game 1: @Florida 3, Edmonton 0; Game 2: @Florida 4, Edmonton 1; Game 3: Florida 4, @Edmonton 3; Game 4: @Edmonton 8, Florida 1; Game 5: Edmonton at Florida, Tuesday; Game 6*: Florida at Edmonton, Friday; Game 7*:Edmonton at Florida, Monday June 24. (*) – If Necessary How They Got Here — Florida: d. Tampa Bay 4-1, Boston 4-2, New York Rangers 4-2; Edmonton: d. Los Angeles 4-1, Vancouver 4-3, Dallas 4-2. This Season (Florida Won 2-0) — At Florida: Panthers 5, Oilers 3 (Nov. 20). At Edmonton: Panthers 5, Oilers 2 (Dec. 17). Last Season: Edmonton Won 2-0 All-time Regular Season Series: Oilers lead 23-16-0, 3 ties Postseason History: First Meeting [...] Read more...
John PerrottoJune 18, 2024PITTSBURGH — It isn’t always fair to compare players. Yet it’s what every sports fan likes to do. As do sports writers. And even the players themselves. So, it was only natural to want to compare the two shortstops in Monday night’s game at PNC Park. Beyond the Pittsburgh Pirates playing against the Cincinnati Reds, it was Oneil Cruz versus Elly De La Cruz. There are easy parallels to draw between the two. Both are exceptionally tall shortstops with dreadlocks — Cruz is 6-foot-7 and De La Cruz is 6-5 — who have great raw baseball skills and athleticism and are Dominican Republic natives. And, as the kids might say, they are the type of players who break Statcast because of their high exit velocities and sprint speeds among other measurables. Though Cruz made his major-league debut late in the 2021 season and De La Cruz got called up to the big leagues last season, the two had never faced each other until Monday night. Cruz sustained a broken left ankle in his ninth game of last season, nearly two months before De La Cruz made his debut. Monday also marked the first time the Pirates and Reds met this season despite being National League Central rivals. The night’s biggest star was Pirates rookie pitcher Paul Skenes. The first overall pick in last year’s amateur draft held the Reds to one run over six innings to raise his record to 4-0 through seven starts while lowering his ERA to 2.29. The 22-year-old continues to match the lofty expectations surrounding his arrival to the major leagues on May 11. However, Cruz vs. De La Cruz was an interesting subplot. It will seemingly play out many more times throughout the decade as Cruz isn’t eligible for free agency until after the 2028 season and De La Cruz won’t be able to reach the open market until a year after that. Both managers were asked about the budding rivalry before the Pirates beat the Reds 4-1 in the opener of a three-game series. Both said they looked forward to two ultra-talented players going head-to-head for years. It might not be MLB’s version of Bird vs. Magic, but it should be entertaining. “I think we’re so focused on all of our players and the team games but it’s nice when you have individual players who stand out at a young age,” Reds manager David Bell said. “They are both fun to watch.” Said Pirates manager Derek Shelton, “You’re talking about two dynamic athletic players who can win games with all facets of their skill sets. It’s great for the game. We’re talking about young dynamic players that provide a ton of energy and I think it’s fun for the fans.” It was hard to declare a winner of Monday’s Round 1. De La Cruz went 3 for 4 with a double but did not score or drive in a run. He stole his MLB-leading 37th base but was picked off first by Skenes. Cruz was 1 for 4 but his hit was a two-run single in the first inning that opened the scoring. That turned out to be the game-winning RBI. There will be many more battles between the 25-year-old Cruz and the 22-year-old De La Cruz. Time will tell who gets the better of the matchups. They might want to protect Statcast with some plexiglass. [...] Read more...
Vinnie PariseJune 18, 2024The Chicago Blackhawks have two first-round picks, one at #2 and the other at #18. While it will likely be the pick of Artyom Levshunov or Ivan Demidov at number two, who could they take at that 18th spot or potentially trade up a few more spots to snag? Chicago Hockey Now’s Future Blackhawks Prospect will feature a handful of prospects at that spot until the 2024 NHL Draft. Today, we look at Tij Iginla. Tij Iginla At A Glance Forward 17 years old (7/1/06) Games: 64 Goals-Assists-Points: 47-37-84 League/Team: WHL/Kelowna Rockets Tij Iginla is a member of the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL. He is also the son of legendary NHL forward Jarome Iginla. The elder Iginla is in the Hall of Fame as he was one of the greatest power forwards in the history of the sport.  Like his father, Iginla is a player who doesn’t mind contact on the ice. He brings a lot of physicality with his offensive game which includes both sniping and playmaking.  Yes, Tij has a family legacy that he’d like to live up to but he earned this draft status. People don’t only want him because of his father’s accomplishments. He is a top prospect because he is one of the best young players in the world and has been rising into what looks like a top-ten pick. The pedigree to be great is in his blood. His skills match the necessary level to make it big in the NHL.  Will Tij Iginla Be There for the Blackhawks? Not a lot of people foresee the Chicago Blackhawks taking Tij Iginla with the second overall pick although there have been scouting reports that suggest it could be a good idea.  We’ll know in a few years if it was a good idea to pass up on him that early or not. With the 18th overall pick, there is a good chance that he won’t be there at that time. The Hawks would need to probably trade up again if they wanted to grab a player like this. If he falls to them somehow without a trade, they have to run up to the podium to select him. Chicago has the assets to trade up and get Tij Iginla if they don’t want to leave Vegas without him. He is a great offensive player with talent that can develop into a star. Thinking about him on a line with Connor Bedard could be enough to pull off a big draft day trade and that is probably what it will take to select this player. Macklin Celebrini | Cole Eiserman | Artyom Levshunov | Michael Hage | Ivan Demidov | Cayden Lindstrom | Berkley Catton | Adam Jiricek |Konsta Helenius| Sacha Boisvert | Trevor Connelly | Liam Greentree | [...] Read more...
Bob DuffJune 18, 2024There’s been public speculation of late connecting the Detroit Red Wings to some big names in the NHL trade market. On the surface, certainly there’s some merit to these suggestions. Trade talk between NHL GMs happens all the time. It’s the consummation of this talk into actual deals that is the rarity. With high-end talent like Mitch Marner of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Martin Necas of the Carolina Hurricanes and Patrik Laine of the Columbus Blue Jackets all being talked about in NHL trade rumors. It would be irresponsible of Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman not to at least enquire about the cost required to acquire each player. Certainly he’s done that. Does anyone actually think that Yzerman is the kind of GM who leaves stones unturned? That being the case, what he’s heard is probably souring the Detroit GM on the thought of adding any of this trio to his lineup. The cost would be prohibitive and not a price he’s likely to be willing to pay. Necas Cost Too High For Red Wings Necas is the one player most commonly linked to Detroit. However, based on what the Hurricanes are seeking to get in return for the two-time 20-goal scorer, it’s going to be price too high for the Red Wings. Martin Necas gonna be TOP6 forward for many years. Underrated player. He has scored against the Red Wings tonight! Tie game. pic.twitter.com/4zErlFnbF2 — Rono (@RonoAnalyst) March 5, 2021 Carolina considers Necas to be a budding NHL star. In return, their demand is that they get a budding NHL star in return. Preferably, that budding star would be a goal scorer. In Detroit, there’s one name who checks off that box, and it’s Lucas Raymond. He’s coming off a career-high 31-goal season. Yes, Raymond is a restricted free agent and is going to get paid this summer. Regardless, the Red Wings aren’t going to trade him. Laine Wants Out Laine has told the Columbus Blue Jackets his preference would be to get a fresh start elsewhere. The 6-foot-5 winger is an intriguing player who once scored 44 goals for the Winnipeg Jets. However, Laine hasn’t scored 30 in a season in six years. He’s gone from 28 goals to 22 down to six over the past three seasons. He’s also currently in the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program and we know that Yzerman didn’t exactly welcome Jakub Vrana back with open arms following his stint in that program. Of the three players on this list, Laine would probably cost the lowest price. But considering Laine’s struggles, would it be a price worth paying? Leafs Seeking To Extend Marner According to the most recent reports, Leafs GM Brad Treliving is more interested in getting Marner’s name inked to a contract extension rather than sending him elsewhere. Marner is one season away from becoming a UFA. It would be difficult to get full value for him if the Leafs were to try and trade him once the season gets underway. "I think Treliving would rather extend than trade" @DarrenDreger joined us this morning on #FirstUp and dropped a bombshell on the future of Mitch Marner! 👀 Listen to Dreger's full interview HERE: https://t.co/v8njLGMaNf pic.twitter.com/C97X1Ofwwt — First Up (@FirstUp1050) June 17, 2024 If Toronto were to opt to move him, Marner does have a full no-movement clause. He’s in control of where he goes. Is that list of destinations going to include Detroit? Unlikely. [...] Read more...
George Richards, FHN PublisherJune 18, 2024FORT LAUDERDALE — One of the topics of conversations around the Florida Panthers on Monday morning was the mindset of goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. Were they worried after he was pulled from Game 4 after giving up five goals to the Edmonton Oilers? Would he be able to bounce back after having a stellar, to day, postseason for Florida? The answer, from all corners of the dressing room, could not have been more emphatic. “Come on,’’ Evan Rodrigues said with a tilted grin. “Just the way he competes, day in and day out, you know he is going to bring it. It’s not even a thought. No one has any doubt, whatsoever, in his preparation and everything he does behind the scenes is why we are at the place we are today. We’ll turn the page on Game 4. He will be ready for Game 5.’’ Where do you get the confidence he’ll be ready tonight? “Because he’s Bob,’’ Dmitry Kulikov said a little incredulously. “He is just great.’’ For The Best Coverage of the Florida Panthers, Anywhere Subscribe to Florida Hockey Now Today! A lot has been made of coach Paul Maurice pulling Bobrovsky about 5 minutes into the second period of what turned out to be an 8-1 loss in Game 4. Maurice did not pull Bobrovsky as a punishment, but to give the guy a break. Edmonton was screaming around the ice, and, as Maurice explained it, there was no reason to keep him out there after playing all 20 playoff games to date. The Panthers were not coming back regardless of what Bobrovsky did from that point forward, so, give the fellow a little rest. Sergei Bobrovsky was not the reason the Panthers lost on Saturday night. “There’s no bounce back,’’ Maurice said. “It’s not like we were lights out and he had a tough night. I got him out of there because he wasn’t going to have anything to do with anything positive that might happen. Fortunately he got 25 minutes of hockey instead of 40. We got him out of there early. So he comes to play like everybody else.” Bobrovsky said Monday that both he and the Panthers are putting that loss in the rearview. Short memories, in moments like these, are a blessing. “I try to just stay with the moment,’’ Bobrovsky said. “Whether it’s good or bad, it doesn’t matter. You just move to the next one. … It’s hockey. They have a good team. They have offense. It’s part of the journey. We get ready for the next shift. We’ll compete and fight.” Added Rodrigues: “That wasn’t even his fault. We gave up Grade-A chances all night long. Even with Stoli, everything they shot went in. One of those nights.” For More FHN Coverage of the Florida Panthers: Like our Facebook Page Follow us on Twitter: @GeorgeRichards // @ColbyDGuy // @TheGovMan Subscribe to the FHN YouTube Channel Visit the FHN Team Shop at TeePublic and RedBubble 2024 STANLEY CUP FINAL EDMONTON OILERS VS. FLORIDA PANTHERS  GAME 5 Panthers Lead Best of 7 Series 3-1 When: Tuesday, 8 p.m. Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise National TV: ABC Streaming: ESPN+/Hulu Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app Series Schedule, All Games 8 p.m. on ABC — Game 1: @Florida 3, Edmonton 0; Game 2: @Florida 4, Edmonton 1; Game 3: Florida 4, @Edmonton 3; Game 4: @Edmonton 8, Florida 1; Game 5: Edmonton at Florida, Tuesday; Game 6*: Florida at Edmonton, Friday; Game 7*:Edmonton at Florida, Monday June 24. (*) – If Necessary How They Got Here — Florida: d. Tampa Bay 4-1, Boston 4-2, New York Rangers 4-2; Edmonton: d. Los Angeles 4-1, Vancouver 4-3, Dallas 4-2. This Season (Florida Won 2-0) — At Florida: Panthers 5, Oilers 3 (Nov. 20). At Edmonton: Panthers 5, Oilers 2 (Dec. 17). Last Season: Edmonton Won 2-0 All-time Regular Season Series: Oilers lead 23-16-0, 3 ties Postseason History: First Meeting [...] Read more...
Dan KingerskiJune 18, 2024The Edmonton Oilers are hoping to make history by overcoming a 3-0 deficit in the Stanley Cup Final. Their words and tone are getting more assertive after their big Game 4 blowout win, and Leon Draisaitl has engaged in contract talks. The San Jose Sharks introduced their new head coach and mercilessly shot down the recent NHL trade rumors involving Logan Couture. The Columbus Blue Jackets fired their head coach after one season, and we did some digging into potential Pittsburgh Penguins’ free agency. I rode through the northern PA mountains on Monday. It was cool and shady, and I had a great time. I went further than I expected on Sunday, so I snagged my favorite historic hotel in Wellsboro (where Groucho Marx and Bing Crosby stayed) and rode home yesterday. I wish I could tell you about some great mountain eats, but most places are closed on Mondays, so I had a Cobb salad on Sunday night and Arby’s on Monday. But if you’re into some mountainscapes and amazing scenery for a road trip, Rt. 287 and 414 in Potter, Lycoming, and Clinton County are pretty epic. And then I caught the storm cells that rolled across Butler County and a bit north. Coming south on Rt. 28, I saw an opening between two cells. I was getting a little bit of rain from the cell that just passed, but not enough to stop. Realizing that for once I was going to make it without getting hammered by a torrential downpour, I summoned up by best Lt. Dan and yelled, “Haha, is that all you’ve got?!” Before I finished my taunt of God and Mother Nature, a long and jagged bolt of lightning ripped horizontally across the sky right in front of me. I immediately apologized and kept my head down. Pittsburgh Penguins Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Sidney Crosby is eligible to sign a new contract on July 1. So, too, is steady Eddie defenseman Marcus Pettersson, whose five-year deal is wrapping up after next season. Based on contemporaries and trajectories, here’s what Pettersson is worth on the market and to the Penguins. Pittsburgh Baseball Now: Paul Skenes is just fun to watch. He didn’t have his best stuff early, but he showed that he was quickly learning how to be a major league pitcher and mowed down the Cincy Reds. More on the complete win for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Steelers Now+: It’s Derrick Bell’s Steelers Mailbag for all subscribers. What about the Justin Fields red-zone package, Calvin Austin hype, and Nick Herbig’s role? Check it out–some real Steelers analysis. NHL Trade Talk, News, & National Hockey Now Sportsnet: Nope. No way. Not happening. A young San Jose reporter stirred the pot with a recent report that Logan Couture wanted out of San Jose. Despite Couture shooting down those ponderances in March, a new report gained attention, but at new head coach David Warsofky’s introductory presser, GM Mike Grier doubled back to squash those rumors. Let’s skip the locker room bravado. Of course, Edmonton is going to throw everything they’ve got at the Florida Panthers in Game 5, and of course, they’re telling themselves they have a chance. However, here’s a good sign for Edmonton but bad for the deafening trade rumors that were to follow. The team and Draisaitl are engaged in contract talks. You might think it obvious that Edmonton would re-sign him. Still, there were several reports that Draisaitl was entertaining an exit, believing Edmonton just couldn’t get over the hump … and the Boston Bruins were waiting with open arms. The Cannon: Pascal Vincent lasted just one season in Columbus. The coach who was thrust into the job after the Mike Babcock fiasco received praise from the organization and his walking papers. Don’t be surprised if Penguins assistant Mike Vellucci, who has a good history with Don Wadell, is a candidate for the job. New Jersey Hockey Now: The New York Rangers were poking around the New Jersey Devils and Tyler Toffoli at the NHL Trade Deadline. A deal didn’t happen, but now New York might splash the cash on Toffoli at the free agent frenzy. Check the latest in the Devils news. Chicago Hockey Now: Former No. 1 pick meet new No. 1 pick. As Steve Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning grind towards a new contract that may or may not happen, a great landing spot for Stamkos would be the Chicago Blackhawks. [...] Read more...
Christopher RydburgJune 18, 2024As the Nashville Predators prepare for the upcoming season, most fans will focus on the forward group, but the situation with their defense is a major point of uncertainty.  Following the departure of Ryan McDonagh to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Alexandre Carrier’s future as an unrestricted free agent still hanging in the balance and Tyson Barrie’s imminent departure, the team is left with a lot of question marks going into the 2024-25 NHL season. At the time of publication, the Predators only have four defensemen under contract for the upcoming season, not including Spencer Stastney and Marc Del Gaizo, both of whom are vying for full-time roster spots.  Jeremy Lauzon, Dante Fabbro, Roman Josi and Luke Schenn remain the only players currently under contract, none of whom are listed at 6-foot-3 or above. It’s evident that the Predators will need to make moves to reinforce their blueline, be it through a trade or signing free agents. During its playoff series against the Vancouver Canucks, Nashville struggled to clear the crease at crucial times, leading to back-breaking goals that ended up costing it the series. As general manager Barry Trotz enters his second year at the helm, it’s no secret he will need to retool the blueline in order for the Predators to compete for a playoff spot. Here are three players the team should consider signing in free agency: Brett Pesce At age 29, Brett Pesce aligns well with Trotz’s vision of maintaining a competitive team while collecting young talent to extend the team’s championship window. Pesce has been a rock for the Carolina Hurricanes and is one of the NHL’s elite shutdown defenders. Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour has trusted Pesce with some of the toughest assignments in the league, easily logging over 20 minutes a night and playing a crucial role in the Canes’ top-ranked penalty kill unit (86.4% during the regular season). Pesce would also be a perfect fit for the Predators on the right side along with Josi, a perennial Norris Trophy nominee. Josi is a top-three defenseman in the league and could benefit from a responsible partner like Pesce so he can jump into the rush. While Pesce doesn’t have the booming slapshot of Shea Weber, fans of the Predators would easily be able to see some similarities in their style of play. Pesce has never scored more than 30 points in a season, but he posted a 58.40 Corsi For Percentage (CF%), eighth-best in the NHL for defensemen. Carolina will be keen to keep the stalwart defenseman, but it may struggle to solidify its cap situation with more than six NHL full-timers needing new deals heading into next year. Pesce could prove pivotal in fortifying the Preds’ defensive lineup effectively and giving Josi an elite partner on the right side for years to come. Pesce also is 6-foot-3 and would provide a physicality boost to the blueline the Preds have needed. He also brings a lot of playoff experience from a Hurricanes team that has advanced past the first round for the past four seasons. Pesce probably will command a deal somewhere between $6.5 and 7 million per season on a five-to-seven-year contract. Nikita Zadorov Another option for the Predators could be Nikita Zadorov, a physically imposing defenseman with a two-way playing style who caused Nashville headaches in its first-round exit this year. Zadorov’s aggressive approach and sound defensive skills could align well with the Predators’ two-way game, making him a possible candidate to replace Barrie or Carrier in the lineup. Elliotte Friedman implied last week on his 32 Thoughts The Podcast that the Canucks want to keep the physical defenseman, but he may be on the move this offseason due to cap constraints. Zadorov, 29, posted a 51.02 CF% during the regular season (56th in the NHL for defensemen) but has become a folk hero based on his playoff performance (eight points in 11 games played), including two huge goals in the series against the Predators in which offense was at an absolute premium. The Predators saw first-hand what a player like Zadorov could provide on the blueline as he was a physical force against Nashville’s forecheck during the playoffs, winning board battle after board battle with ease. The 6-foot-5 D-man provides size on the backend while providing positive energy the team’s leadership group could use. Zadorov would help solidify the left side of the Predators blueline and would be a valuable contributor to a playoff push in 2024-25. He would also provide the size the Predators have needed on the backend since the departure of Weber and Mattias Ekholm. Because of his playoff performance, Zadorov could command anywhere from $5.5M to $7M in free agency on a seven-year deal. Dylan DeMelo Dylan DeMelo, an often-overlooked defenseman, is poised to enter the free agent market this summer. Despite not being a marquee name in the NHL, he has consistently delivered solid performances in a top-four role, showcasing dependable defensive skills and the ability to log substantial ice time during his stint in Winnipeg.  These attributes could make him a sought-after asset in the upcoming offseason, especially for a team like Nashville. DeMelo, 31, is a right-handed defenseman who is responsible in his own end and can break out of the defensive zone, posting 31 points last season in Winnipeg while playing a pivotal role on the penalty kill. He played over 200 minutes short-handed between the regular season and playoffs. DeMelo is a steady veteran who could provide leadership and poise on the Predators blueline, especially if they go into next year with Stastney and Del Gazio on the left side.  DeMelo’s excellent play will most likely command $3.5 to 5M in salary. He could get four to seven years based on his age. Others to watch These are only three names the Predators could explore, but it remains to be seen what Trotz and company have up their sleeves. A few other names to add to the watch list include Chicago’s Nikita Zaitsev, Detroit’s Shayne Gostisbehere and Tampa Bay’s Matt Dumba.  Free agency may be the easiest way for the Predators to improve their defense corps. Nashville sits around the top of the league in terms of projected cap space at approximately $26 million, half of should be dedicated to improving their blueline. Doing so will be key to the Predators continuing their strong defensive history and setting themselves up to contend with the Western Conference’s top offensive teams. 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Kevin AllenJune 18, 2024The Pittsburgh Penguins are fully committed to trying to contend with veterans Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Erik Karlsson. Dan Kingerski wrote an interesting story about whether that’s even realistic. Kingerski concedes contention is possible, but not likely. He offers a more realistic take about Penguins expectations moving forward It’s a good read. Click here for his full take. “Florida retooled on the fly with a bevy of trades and bargain-free agents,” Kingerski writes. “The process took only a couple or few years. That’s the goal, and that’s the standard by which it makes sense to judge Dubas, but it doesn’t yet make sense to judge the Penguins, Crosby or even Dubas by the Stanley Cup standard any longer.” Red Wings In Case You Missed It Detroit prospect Larry Keenan is ready to join UMass to play collegiate hockey in 2024-25. He is the grandson of the former NHL player with the same name. The Gordie Howe bridge connecting the United States to Canada is just the latest place to bear Mr. Hockey’s name. Paywall story: Bob Duff ranks Detroit’s forward prospects, starting with Marco Kasper at No. 1. To subscribe, click here.  To receive $10 off a yearly subscription price, use the promo code bob10. Red Wings Offseason To appreciate the ground the Red Wings need to make up to qualify for the playoffs in 2024-25, consider that Detroit was fifth in the Atlantic Division last season in goal-differential. The Florida Panthers were first in the NHL with a plus-67 number. The Boston Bruins (plus-42), Toronto Maple Leafs (plus-37) and Tampa Bay Lightning (plus-21) all finished in the top 10. The Red Wings (plus-2) were 13th and the Buffalo Sabres (plus-1) were 14th. The Red Wings scored enough last season, but are below average in defensive numbers, goaltending statistics and physical play. Hockey Now Network Buffalo: Jason Moser turns back the clock to look at the best and worst Sabres trades of the 1970s. Buffalo Sabres. Chicago: Nate Brown says Steven Stamkos could certainly help the Blackhawks and Connor Bedard take a big step in their development. But is he really going to leave Tampa Bay? Would he even consider signing with the Blackhawks? Those questions would suggest the chances are slim. Chicago Blackhawks. Colorado: A change in Josh Manson’s no-trade status makes him easier trade. Evan Rawal looks at whether they would even consider such a valuable player.  Colorado Avalanche.  Montreal:  Marco D’Amico writes the Habs may try to trade up at the 2024 NHL draft. Montreal Canadiens. New Jersey: Former Devils forward could end up with the rival New York Rangers. New Jersey Devils.     [...] Read more...
Marc DumontJune 18, 2024Here are the Montreal Canadiens news items, highlights, and stories you may have missed on Monday. Montreal Canadiens News Most assume the Habs will draft either Cayden Lindstrom or Ivan Demidov should either be available, but if neither is on the board by the time the Canadiens are scheduled to draft, a trade may be in order. [Canadiens Could Look To Trade Up At The 2024 NHL Draft] Calling all Habs fans! The latest Habs fan poll centres on the team’s overall rebuild strategy, asking Canadiens faithful how satisfied they are with the current state of affaires, including trades, drafts, coaching, and more.  [Habs Fans Vote – State Of The Canadiens Rebuild & Management] The Canadiens haven’t released their pre-season schedule yet, but we do know of at least two games thanks to other NHL teams. Some #NHL teams have begun announcing their 2024 preseason game schedules – so far the two #Habs home dates I’ve seen are Monday, September 23rd (vs. PHI) and Tuesday, September 24th (vs. NJ) — Priyanta Emrith (@HabsInHighHeels) June 17, 2024 Some of the Canadiens are enjoying their summer by heading to Ireland to take part in Jake Evans’ wedding. Looks like Nick Suzuki & Brendan Gallagher are both in Dublin, Ireland 🇮🇪 for Jake Evans’ wedding. pic.twitter.com/5fMRubWbFZ — /r/Habs (@HabsOnReddit) June 17, 2024 National Hockey Now Network The Florida Panthers and Oilers flew back to town on Sunday after the Stanley Cup Final was extended to Game 5 following Edmonton’s 8-1 win the night before. Florida coach Paul Maurice remained in an upbeat mood despite the loss, saying Sunday that even though the Panthers came to win on Saturday, they simply got beat. [Florida Panthers] It seems a foregone conclusion that Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby will re-up with the team soon after he is eligible at the stroke of noon on July 1. NHL players whose contracts expire after the 2024-25 season may re-sign with their team beginning on July 1, but waiting to sign or jumping at the chance is a game of chicken that may produce some unexpected winners and losers. [Pittsburgh Penguins] When the Avalanche signed Josh Manson to his four year, $18 million contract after winning the Stanley Cup in 2022, a no-trade clause was included. That’s typically the price you pay when you sign someone who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent. For the first two years of the deal, Manson’s contract included a full no-trade clause. [Colorado Avalanche] [...] Read more...
Jonathan BaileyJune 18, 2024In Tuesday’s edition of Bailey’s Daily, we’ll be talking the latest Philadelphia Flyers news, NHL news, stories, highlights, and more from the last day. Flyers News The Philadelphia Flyers announced that they will be hosting a Flyers Pride Party at Frankford Hall from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday night, with a portion of proceeds being donated to the Mazzoni Center, a nonprofit, LGBTQ-centric health and wellness operating out of Philadelphia. On the ice, we finally have the 2024 Flyers preseason schedule, featuring home matchups with New Jersey, Boston, and the Islanders, and away matchups with Boston, the Islanders, Washington, and Montreal. The Flyers announced on Monday that they had re-signed top defense prospect Adam Ginning to a two-year, two-way contract worth $1.575 million. The first year of the contract is two-way and the second year is one-way, effectively meaning that Ginning has this upcoming season to prove himself. NHL News The Pittsburgh Penguins will almost assuredly extend superstar captain Sidney Crosby as soon as they are able to on July 1, but what about their most underrated defenseman, Marcus Pettersson? One of the best two-way defensemen in hockey, Pettersson will also be eligible to extend his contract on July 1. But will he? According to a report, the New York Rangers checked in with the New Jersey Devils regarding Tyler Toffoli at the NHL trade deadline, aiming to execute a rare deal between two hated rivals. Could the Blueshirts revisit this one in the summer when Toffoli becomes a free agent? Veteran Colorado Avalanche defenseman Josh Manson lost his no-trade clause after completing the first two years of his contract, and he’s now left with only a 12-team no-trade list, meaning that the Avalanche can facilitate a trade if they deem necessary. Keep in mind that Manson, a physical defenseman, will turn 33 in a few months and soon enter the twilight years of his NHL career. [...] Read more...
James NicholsJune 18, 2024Perhaps we could see the Stanley Cup hoisted tonight. The Florida Panthers host the Edmonton Oilers on home ice in Game 5 holding a 3-1 series lead. If so, this simmering pot of boiling water could finally boil over, and a flurry of trades could happen before free agency opens on July 1st. The New Jersey Devils are expected to be in the trade market. We’ll see how it pans out. In the links, a former Devil could head to their rival, the 2024-25 preseason schedule was revealed, and an intriguing prospect to potentially draft 10th overall. Elsewhere, the Anaheim Ducks dropped a Mighty clue, hinting that the rumored rebrand isn’t just smoke. 👀 pic.twitter.com/7WScOrzJY0 — Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) June 17, 2024 Plus, Martin Necas, Steven Stamkos, and Josh Manson offseason rumors. Let’s do that hockey. Devils News New Jersey Hockey Now: Rarely, if ever, do the New Jersey Devils do business with their division rival, the New York Rangers. Yet, the Rangers were poking around the idea of approaching the Devils for a trade at the 2024 NHL Trade Deadline, however, ultimately didn’t pull the trigger. Now, the Rangers very well may target Tyler Toffoli in free agency. More NJHN: The 2024-25 season will be here before you know it. It feels a bit closer now that the Devils preseason schedule has been released. Even More: The New Jersey Devils have one of the best collections of young players in the NHL. If the Devils keep the 10th overall selection, Michael Brandsegg-Nygård makes for an intriguing pick. New Jersey Hockey Now + Subscribe to NJHN+ and use code James10 for 10% off (yearly subscriptions) at checkout. 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs Florida Hockey Now: At no point in the Stanley Cup Final has Florida Panthers head coach Paul Maurice seemed to be panicked. Even after their 8-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers in Game 4, that remains true. However, there will be a slight lineup tweak heading into Game 5 tonight. NHL Trade Talk, News, & National Hockey Now Sportsnet: Despite the Oilers being in the midst of the Stanley Cup Final at the moment, extension talks with superstar forward Leon Draisaitl have begun. Here’s why it’s a good sign for the Oilers. Pittsburgh Hockey Now: The Pittsburgh Penguins’ pending free agents this summer are few, and none that will be too costly. However, on July 1st, there are Penguins players such as Sidney Crosby who will be eligible to sign an extension with one year remaining on their current deal. Crosby’s next contract with the Pens seems like a foregone conclusion, but what about Marcus Pettersson? Boston Hockey Now: The Boston Bruins have been searching for a first line center ever since Patrice Bergeron retired. Although he’s played the wing in his time with the Carolina Hurricanes, Martin Necas was drafted as a center. According to reports, the Bruins are one of the teams in the mix for the Czech forward. Colorado Hockey Now: The Colorado Avalanche have a decent amount of contracts to work out this summer. Evan Rawal of CHN isn’t suggesting that the Avs will trade Josh Manson, however, he is pointing out that a clause change in his contract gives GM Chris MacFarland the flexibility to move some money around if necessary. Chicago Hockey Now: It’s not like he doesn’t have playmakers to work with in Tampa Bay, but could you imagine how many goals Steven Stamkos would score next to Connor Bedard? If the Lightning captain makes it to July 1st, the Hawks could come knocking. For more Devils news, visit New Jersey Hockey Now and like our Facebook page. Follow us on 𝕏: @NJDHockeyNow, @JamesNicholsNHL, @NickNatale10 And on Threads: @JamesNicholsNHL [...] Read more...
Colby GuyJune 18, 2024FORT LAUDERDALE — After a blowout loss in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, the Florida Panthers have another chance to get off the mat and take home the world’s most famous trophy in Game 5 on Tuesday night. But in their minds, the only thing on their mind is the sole goal of winning a game against the Edmonton Oilers. That is what they say, anyway. Certainly easier said than done when the ultimate goal of lifting the Stanley Cup is sitting right there for the Panthers in their building. “It’s different,” coach Paul Maurice said of the feeling going into a potential Cup-clinching game. “There is the feeling of the goal now sits in front of the game that is played. So in Game 3, the goal is behind the game, you can’t win it tonight and the game is much better. But when you can, it sits in front of the game and you got to break through or figure out a way to get it behind the game again as far as what’s foremost in your head coming into the rink. “There’s just not a lot of places to experience it until you get in there. Sometimes it’s one or two games a year for one or two teams, it’s hard to grab that through experience. So we went through it, we were fortunate to get a 3-game lead, so we’re going to have the opportunity to feel that four times, so we’re going to have an opportunity to learn.” For The Best Coverage of the Florida Panthers, Anywhere Subscribe to Florida Hockey Now Today! In Game 4, it was clear the Panthers put the cart before the horse. They looked for the kill shot quickly, got burned on the other end on a quick rush chance, and continued to play loose for the entire game as the star-studded Oilers picked them apart. Lesson learned. Emphatically. “I think we needed to go through that experience,” Maurice said. “We would’ve traded the experience for a win to be honest, but then you have to kind of embrace that learning and this is true of sports: there are things you learn but you don’t necessarily get to keep them. “They have to be constantly tested, constantly relearned. Or the extreme ideas, one team would win the Super Bowl and they learned how, nobody else gets to win a Super Bowl then, forever. It’s the same team for the next 25 years. You have to constantly relearn and that’s what today was.” Edmonton is going to come out looking to exploit that again, but Florida got a kick to the rear on Saturday night. Both teams will bring their best. “We just want to build off our first three games when I feel like we played with a tighter gap,” Gus Forsling said. “We let them off the hook in the fourth game, didn’t play as tight as we wanted as a team and it starts with me and all the defensemen.” The thought of winning the Cup right then and there got in the way of what has worked for the Panthers all season: A tight gap defensively with a heavy, relentless forecheck that was squeezed the life out of many a opponent. They want to go back to what works in Game 5. “I think you learn from it. I think the nerves are a little bit less right now and I think you just go in trying to play the same way,” Carter Verhaeghe said. “We can’t change what got us here. We’ve been playing this way all year, we’ve gone through a lot of adversity, ups and downs, and that’s what happens in the playoffs. “Yeah, it’s a little different with the Cup in the building, but I think we’re not really focused on that. We’re just trying to focus on playing as well as we can and giving ourselves he best chance.” For More FHN Coverage of the Florida Panthers: Like our Facebook Page Follow us on Twitter: @GeorgeRichards // @ColbyDGuy // @TheGovMan Subscribe to the FHN YouTube Channel Visit the FHN Team Shop at TeePublic and RedBubble 2024 STANLEY CUP FINAL EDMONTON OILERS VS. FLORIDA PANTHERS  GAME 5 Panthers Lead Best of 7 Series 3-1 When: Tuesday, 8 p.m. Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise National TV: ABC Streaming: ESPN+/Hulu Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app Series Schedule, All Games 8 p.m. on ABC — Game 1: @Florida 3, Edmonton 0; Game 2: @Florida 4, Edmonton 1; Game 3: Florida 4, @Edmonton 3; Game 4: @Edmonton 8, Florida 1; Game 5: Edmonton at Florida, Tuesday; Game 6*: Florida at Edmonton, Friday; Game 7*:Edmonton at Florida, Monday June 24. (*) – If Necessary How They Got Here — Florida: d. Tampa Bay 4-1, Boston 4-2, New York Rangers 4-2; Edmonton: d. Los Angeles 4-1, Vancouver 4-3, Dallas 4-2. This Season (Florida Won 2-0) — At Florida: Panthers 5, Oilers 3 (Nov. 20). At Edmonton: Panthers 5, Oilers 2 (Dec. 17). Last Season: Edmonton Won 2-0 All-time Regular Season Series: Oilers lead 23-16-0, 3 ties Postseason History: First Meeting [...] Read more...
Danny DemilioJune 18, 2024This is one in a weekly update on the Pittsburgh Pirates’ top 10 prospects. In the major leagues, Paul Skenes continued to live up to his potential with two excellent starts for the Pirates. Down on the farm, Braxton Ashcraft had a solid Triple-A debut and Mike Burrows pitched for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery last season. Full updates on the top 10: 1. RHP Paul Skenes (Pittsburgh Pirates) Weekly stats: 1-0, 0.73 ERA, 12.1 innings, one run, 11 hits, one walk, 15 strikeouts, two appearances, two starts 2024 stats (MLB): 4-0, 2.29 ERA, 39.1 innings, 10 runs, 32 hits, seven walks, 53 strikeouts, seven appearances/seven starts Simply put, Skenes continued to shove in his two starts. The rookie tossed a career-high 6.1 innings and shutout the St. Louis Cardinals during the Pirates’ road trip. He then kept his record spotless with six-strong innings against the Reds at PNC Park on Monday. 2. INF Termarr Johnson (High-A Greensboro) Weekly stats: .261/.419/.304, 6 for 23, one double, two RBIs, three steals, six games 2024 stats: .219/.389/.383, 44 for 201, 10 doubles, one triple, five home runs, 24 RBIs, 10 steals, 60 games Johnson continued to excel at getting on base last week in Greensboro and also showed off some speed by swiping three bases. He continues to break out of his slump to start the season. 3. RHP Bubba Chandler (Double-A Altoona) Weekly stats: 0-0, 12.26 ERA, 3.2 hits, five runs, six hits, one walk, seven strikeouts, one start/one appearance 2024 stats: 2-5, 5.13 ERA, 40.1 innings, 26 runs (23 earned), 35 hits, 20 walks, 47 strikeouts, 12 appearances/10 starts Chandler was roughed up in his lone outing of the week for the Curve on Saturday. He did, however, record seven strikeouts against one walk. His performance has been up and down this season. 4. LHP Anthony Solometo (Double-A Altoona) Weekly stats: 0-0, 9.00 ERA, three innings, three runs, three hits, one walk, three strikeouts, one appearance/one start 2024 stats: 0-4, 6.27 ERA, 33 innings, 23 runs, 32 hits, 21 walks, 24 strikeouts, 13 appearances/10 starts The 2024 season continues to be a struggle for the Pirates’ No. 4 prospect. In addition to his shaky line in his latest start, Solometo also hit a pair of batters. 5. RHP Thomas Harrington (Double-A Altoona) Weekly stats: 0-1, 0.90 ERA, 10 innings, six runs (one eared), 11 hits, one walk, 10 strikeouts, two appearances/two starts 2024 stats: 0-1, 2.86 ERA, 34.2 innings, 18 runs (11 earned), 32 hits, three walks, 36 strikeouts, eight appearances/seven starts Harrington had an interesting week as he allowed six runs and a pair of home runs in his first start, though only one run was earned. He rebounded nicely in his second start and tossed five shutout innings of one-hit ball. 6. RHP Braxton Ashcraft (Triple-A Indianapolis) Weekly stats: 1-0, 1.50 ERA, six innings, one run, three hits, no walks, four strikeouts, one appearances/one start 2024 stats: 3-2, 3.47 ERA, 59.2 innings, 25 runs (23 earned), 54 hits, eight walks, 67 strikeouts, 12 appearances/11 starts Ashcraft was promoted to Indianapolis after a great showing with Double-A Altoona and pitched very well in his Triple-A debut. The right-hander is already on the Pirates’ 40-man roster and is inching closer to the big leagues. 7. INF Mitch Jebb (High-A Greensboro) Weekly stats: .211/.348/.368, 4 for 19, one double, one triple, two steals, five games 2024 stats: .200/.270/.298, 41 for 205, four doubles, two triples, four home runs, 29 RBIs, 11 steals, 52 games Jebb continues to try and break out of his prolonged slump and showed at least some level of encouragement by recording hits in four of his five games played last week. 8. INF Tsung-Che Cheng (Double-A Altoona) Weekly stats: .125/.333/.125, 2 for 16, two RBIs, two steals, six games 2024 stats: .221/.342/.363, 42 for 174, six doubles, seven home runs, 28 RBIs, 12 steals, 56 games Cheng was on fire in the last update but cooled considerably in his latest action in Altoona. As has been the case with most of the Pirates’ top hitting prospects, Cheng has been inconsistent this year. 9. INF Jack Brannigan (High-A Greensboro) Weekly stats: DID NOT PLAY — STILL ON 7-DAY INJURED LIST 2024 stats: .217/.357/.394, 38 for 175, eight doubles, one triple, seven home runs, 21 RBIs, nine steals, 48 games Brannigan remains on the seven-day injured list with Greensboro. 10. RHP Mike Burrows (FCL Pirates*) Weekly stats: 1.2 innings, three runs, one hit, two walks, no strikeouts, one appearance/one start 2024 stats: 0-1, 20.25 ERA, 1.2 innings, three runs, one hit, two walks, no strikeouts, one appearance/one start For the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery, Burrows took the mound to start a rehab assignment with the FCL Pirates. [...] Read more...
Bob DuffJune 18, 2024Following a solid season in the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) with the Penticton Vees, Detroit Red Wings draftee Larry Keenan is ready to go to college. On Monday, the UMass Minutemen made official what had already been speculated. They were announcing the addition of Keenan to their 2024 recruiting class. The next addition to our incoming class is a @DetroitRedWings 2023 draft pick Please join us in welcoming defenseman Larry Keenan from @PentictonVees 👏 🔗: https://t.co/0j1AiisZRe#NewMass X #Flagship🚩 pic.twitter.com/fdxXgzycye — UMass Hockey (@UMassHockey) June 17, 2024 “Larry is a tall, smooth-skating defenseman that should be an immediate difference maker when he steps foot on campus,” UMass coach Greg Carvel said. “His offensive game has continued to grow over the last few years, while he has always maintained the ability to defend with his feet and his frame.” Keenan owns an NHL pedigree. He’s the grandson of former NHLer Larry Keenan, who was the scorer of the first goal in St. Louis Blues franchise history. The elder Keenan was also an original with the Buffalo Sabres when that franchise joined the NHL in 1970. Keenan A 2023 Red Wings Draftee The Red Wings made Keenan the 117th overall selection of the 2023 NHL entry draft. He was already verbally committed to UMass when the Red Wings chose Keenan on draft day. “I’m a big, solid defenseman,” Keenan said. Just 19, he already stands 6-foot-3 and weighs in at 185 pounds. “I have a good two-way game,” Keenan said. “Still developing physically but I think Detroit will enjoy my hockey IQ, my good playmaking and good work ethic.” Congratulations to defenceman Larry Keenan on being named team's Playoff MVP. Story>> https://t.co/LcmQ1pSnCV 📸 Cherie Morgan pic.twitter.com/KgKrKd6bPa — Penticton Vees (@PentictonVees) May 29, 2024 He was a BCHL All-Rookie Team selection this past season with Penticton. In 53 games, Keenan would account for 6-24-30 totals. He’d add 2-7-9 numbers through 22 playoff games. Keenan was named playoff MVP for the Vees. “Larry elevated his game throughout the entire two-month playoff run,” Vees coach Fred Harbinson said. “His play with and without the puck was a major contributor to our 14 playoff wins.” Prior to that, Keenan, who’s from Midhurst, Ontario, would spend two seasons playing US prep school hockey at Culver Military Academy. In 91 games there he would accumulate 21-44-65 digits. “Yeah it’s like a military leadership school,” Keenan said of the Culver experience. “You’re like a new cadet when you first get into Culver and then you graduate from the new cadet and then you’re like a leader on campus. “I really enjoyed the whole aspect of leadership at Culver. We had a really tight group of guys. We all enjoyed each other in the locker room, on the ice. It made it really fun to go to the rink each day. That was something we enjoyed. “I’m a strong student, so I figured I could use hockey as a way to get schooling done through the college route. And then Culver was just kind of the next step towards that goal for my process towards reaching that.” [...] Read more...
Sheng PengJune 17, 2024It’s a new era for the San Jose Sharks…they hope. Ryan Warsofsky was introduced today as head coach, the 11th head coach in franchise history. His predecessor, David Quinn — Warsofsky was an assistant coach under Quinn — lasted just two seasons, helming arguably the worst NHL team in three decades last year. Bob Boughner, Quinn’s predecessor, lasted two-and-a-half seasons. Pete DeBoer, Boughner’s predecessor, was the last head coach to lead the San Jose Sharks to the playoffs, all the way back in 2018-19. So what’s going to be different under Warsofsky? Obviously, having the first-overall pick of the 2024 Draft, and last year’s fourth-overall pick Will Smith in the organization should mean that brighter days, finally, are ahead for the San Jose Sharks. What else? Warsofsky, GM Mike Grier, and president Jonathan Becher spoke to that, other head coach candidates, and Logan Couture’s place in the organization today. Read the Full Article at NBC Sports Bay Area [...] Read more...
Danny DemilioJune 17, 2024PITTSBURGH — With all the hype that has surrounded Paul Skenes since he was selected with the first pick in last year’s draft, perhaps the most buzz has been in regards to his powerful fastball. In each of his first seven starts to begin his major-league career, the radar gun will commonly read triple digits throughout the duration of his time spent on the mound. Skenes has already thrown over 60 pitches of at least 100 mph this season, by far the most of any starting pitcher across the league. Time and time again, he’s blown his fastball by opposing hitters and has made some of the game’s biggest stars look completely out of sorts. The star rookie threw five pitches that registered triple digits on the radar gun in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 4-1 win over the division-rival Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park on Monday night, but the pitch wasn’t the main reason Skenes was again able to deliver a dazzling performance. Skenes used his fastball less than usual and threw 10 changeups, the most he’s had in a game to date. He also relied more on his curveball for the second-straight start more than he had through his first five appearances. Even with the atypical pitch usage, Skenes delivered for the Pirates to improve his record to 4-0. As a team, the Pirates are 6-1 in games their prized rookie has started. Skenes allowed a first-inning run when Jeimer Candelario singled with two outs and Spencer Steer doubled to deep center. The right-hander put a shaky first inning behind him and gave the Pirates six-strong inning in another quality start. He held the Reds to the one run on seven hits with one walk and seven more strikeouts. He’s up to 53 punch outs in 39.1 innings on the season. “I think as he continues to grow, we see the ability to use weapons,” said manager Derek Shelton on Skenes’ performance. “He told us in spring training that he thought his changeup was good and that he was going to use it more … The continued pitch development is really important.” Combining the fact that the Pirates expedited Skenes through the minor leagues along with his strong work ethic, there is every reason to believe he’s not yet a finished product. Considering he owns a 2.29 ERA through the first five-plus weeks of his career, Skenes’ potential feels like it’s limitless. With an improving and evolving arsenal, as was on display on Monday in Pittsburgh, Skenes has shown he’s much more than just a highlight-reel fastball. “Today it was one of those days where I kind of had to use all five pitches to get through it,” he said of his outing. “It was kind of cool to execute my way through six innings, kind of out of necessity. I felt good today. I was happy with the execution of all the pitches.” Check Off Another First Though it usually would not be as flashy as a first-career strikeout or first win, Skenes checked off another first in his career, but even this one was noteworthy. Skenes executed a perfect pick-off of the lightning-fast Elly De La Cruz at first base in the sixth inning. The Reds’ shortstop was originally ruled safe but the Pirates challenged and the call was overturned. De La Cruz wound up stealing a base later in the game, giving him a league-high 37 stolen bases through 72 games played this season. But Skenes was able to prevent a dangerous baserunner from doing any damage in his final inning of work by hooking up with first baseman Rowdy Tellez for the out. “He made a great throw,” said Tellez. “I think as a first baseman, my job is to let the ball travel as far as it can and make the tag. I can’t do that unless he makes a good throw.” [...] Read more...
Jonathan BaileyJune 17, 2024The Philadelphia Flyers, in conjunction with Flyers Charities & Community, have announced that they will be holding a Flyers pride party at Frankford Hall in Philadelphia on Tuesday, June 18, 2024, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Those attending the Flyers pride party will be able to purchase a specialty “Orange Crush” cocktail, made with Union Forge vodka (21 years old and up, obviously). An image of that cocktail can be seen in the bottom right of the thumbnail image, located above. Per the Flyers and Flyers Charities & Communities, a portion of the proceeds on Tuesday night will benefit the Mazzoni Center, a prominent 501 nonprofit health care profit in Philadelphia that provides LGBTQ-centric health and wellness services. From the Mazzoni Center’s history and heritage section of their website, “Mazzoni Center today has 130 staff and serves over 15,000 clients each year. We are the largest health and wellness center serving the Philadelphia LGBTQ community (and Philadelphia’s largest LGBTQ nonprofit of any kind). Services today include primary medical care, HIV and STI testing and prevention, gender-affirming care, behavioral health services, legal support, housing support, youth support in schools, LGBTQ+ competency training for businesses, and a food bank for those who are in need in our community. “For many, Mazzoni Center is the only place they feel safe coming for care. Many of these individuals would have gone unserved if Mazzoni Center had not existed. We believe all people deserve access to high-quality, affirming health care in an environment where they feel respected and their needs are understood with a staff representing many in the LGBTQ+ community.” Flyers mascot Gritty will be in attendance for the Pride Party as well. A Flyers spokesperson does not believe any players will make surprise appearances at the Pride Party, though the possibility was not completely ruled out. [...] Read more...
Danny DemilioJune 17, 2024PITTSBURGH — Paul Skenes’ excellent start to his big-league career continued on Monday night for the Pittsburgh Pirates in their 4-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park.  Spencer Steer got the Reds (34-38) on the board in the top of the first inning with an RBI double but the Pirates (35-37) quickly responded in the home half of the frame to give Skenes more than enough breathing room.  After the first, Skenes (4-0) settled in and prevented the Reds from scoring over the next five innings. It marked the fifth time in his last six outings Skenes has pitched at least six innings. The imposing rookie held the Reds to one run on six hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. He threw 96 pitches across his six innings, 69 of which were for strikes.  Through the first seven starts of his big-league career, Skenes’ ERA sits at a robust 2.29. The Pirates are 6-1 in Skenes’ seven starts this season.  Andrew McCutchen drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the first and moved up to third on a Bryan Reynolds double. Oneil Cruz plated both runners by sneaking a base hit past Reds shortstop Elly De La Cruz.  Oneil le da la delantera a los Bucs!#VotaPiratas ➡️ https://t.co/OOCKfNkYTV pic.twitter.com/C5bH47GSeR — Los Piratas (@piratasbeisbol) June 17, 2024 Cruz moved up to third on a Rowdy Tellez double and scored on a Ke’Bryan Hayes groundout to third base.  The Pirates went ahead 4-1 in the second when McCutchen and Reynolds hit back-to-back doubles with two outs. Reynolds extended his hitting streak to 15 games, the longest active streak in baseball. All four Pirates’ runs came against Reds starter Carson Spiers (0-1). The right-hander went six innings, allowed seven hits, walked one and struck out five.  David Bednar closed out the win by converting his 14th-consecutive save and his 15th of the season. Up Next Bailey Falter (3-4, 3.86 ERA) will try for better results on Tuesday night after back-to-back subpar starts. Former Pirates draft pick Nick Lodolo (7-2, 2.93 ERA) will toe the rubber for the Reds. First pitch: 6:40 ET. Noteworthy The start of the game was delayed by a half hour due to rain.  Reds manager David Bell was ejected from the game prior to the start of the bottom of the eighth inning. The Pirates recalled right-hander Daulton Jefferies from Triple-A Indianapolis and optioned lefty Justin Bruihl. [...] Read more...
Jason MoserJune 17, 2024As we near the 2024 NHL draft, the Buffalo Sabres will be participating in the annual event for the 55th time. This week, we’ll run through the picks that shaped the organization for better or worse. The 1970s saw the Sabres start their inaugural year with a spin of a wheel, select an imaginary center from Japan, and pass on one of the best goal scorers in NHL history. The legendary Punch Imlach was the first general manager in Buffalo Sabres history, as he ran the hockey department from 1970 to 1978. John Anderson took over in the interim until June 11th, 1979 – two days before the 1979 NHL draft. The Sabres then hired another legend as coach and GM, Scotty Bowman, who ran the final draft of the decade. In this series, the best and worst draft picks of each decade will be highlighted. Today, let’s start with the best. Must Read: Sabres Draft Marner, Not Eichel in 2015 Redraft Best Sabres Draft Picks Gilbert Perreault Draft Year: 1970 Round: 1 Overall: 1 It took a spin of the wheel for the privilege of selecting first overall in 1970, as the Sabres and Vancouver Canucks were the latest additions to the league’s expansion. The lucky spin turned out to be one of the biggest blessings for the organization, as Gilbert Perreault was as good as advertised and more. The alternative was Dale Tallon, a two-time NHL All-Star defenceman who played 10 seasons. While a good player in his own right, Perreault went on to have a long, Hall-of-Fame career and is widely regarded as a top-two player in franchise history. Rick Martin Draft Year: 1971 Round: 1 Overall: 5 The 1971 NHL Amateur Draft was stacked at the top, with Guy Lafleur, Marcel Dionne, and eventual Buffalo defender Jocelyn Guevremont going first, second, and third respectively. The first round tailed off after that, but the Sabres and Imlach selected Rick Martin with their fifth overall pick. Martin, of course, joined Perreault to form two-thirds of the legendary “French Connection” line. Considering the next four selections had unimpressive careers, he was a steal. Danny Gare Draft Year: 1974 Round: 2 Overall: 29 Any time a player drafted outside of the first round has his number hanging in the rafters, it’s a bargain of a pick. In this case, Danny Gare’s number 18 was retired in 2005 to join the “French Connection” and the late Tim Horton. Gare is fourth in franchise history in goals with 503. He only trails Perreault, Martin, and Dave Andreychuk. Considering he only played seven and a half seasons in Buffalo, that’s an impressive number for the two-time 50-goal scorer. Worst Sabres Draft Picks Ric Seiling Draft Year: 1977 Round: 1 Overall: 14 Labeling Ric Seiling as one of the worst draft picks in franchise history is less an indictment on him, and more on what could’ve been. The New York Islanders chose legendary goal scorer Mike Bossy with the next selection after the Sabres passed due to concerns about his defensive responsibility. The Islanders went on to win four consecutive Stanley Cups from 1980 to 1983, thanks in large part to Bossy. Meanwhile, the Sabres fell victim to the Islanders in the 1980 Conference Finals despite being the higher seed. They were never able to recover and found themselves starting anew by the middle of the decade. Seiling had 387 points in 738 games for Buffalo. Morris Titanic Draft Year: 1973 Round: 1 Overall: 12 There’s some irony in sharing a last name with a sinking ship and that Morris Titanic didn’t register a single point for the Sabres. The forward only appeared in 19 games without finding the scoresheet. The three picks after him all went on to be NHL All-Stars – Darcy Rota, Rick Middleton, and Ian Turnbull. Middleton was the best of the bunch, with 988 points in 1,005 NHL games. Taro Tsujimoto Draft Year: 1974 Round: 11 Overall: 183 When Imlach decided to make up a player to draft because the event was dragging on it was essentially a forfeited selection. Although the tale of Taro Tsujimoto, the center for the Tokyo Katanas, is one of the most entertaining in league history, the pick was wasted. Its contribution to the NHL, however, has some value. The league now holds a seven-round draft, instead of the 25 in the 70s. If you look in NHL records today, Tsujimoto’s name has been replaced by the term “invalid claim”. That’s likely a sentiment shared by many for including this in the “worst” draft picks in franchise history, due to its novelty and popularity. [...] Read more...
Danny DemilioJune 17, 2024After a heavy workload in their three-game series against the Rockies at Coors Field, the Pittsburgh Pirates added a fresh arm to their bullpen on Monday. Prior to their game against the Cincinnati Reds, the Pirates recalled right-handed pitcher Daulton Jefferies from Triple-A Indianapolis and optioned left-hander Justin Bruihl. Jefferies was acquired by the Pirates from the San Francisco Giants in May in exchange for minor-league outfielder Rodolfo Nolasco. Jefferies had been designated for assignment by the Giants a few days prior to the Pirates landing him. The 28-year-old Jefferies has totaled five starts with Indianapolis since joining the organization. He owns a 1-1 record with a 6.10 ERA. Jefferies was previously up with the Pirates as the 27th man during a doubleheader in Detroit on May 29 but didn’t appear in either game. Jefferies has spent parts of four seasons in the big leagues with the Giants and Oakland A’s. For his career, the right-hander is 2-10 with a 6.64 ERA across 16 appearances, 11 of which have been starts. Bruihl made six appearances with the Pirates after they signed him as a free agent on June 6. He totaled 5.1 innings, allowed four runs on seven hits, walked one and struck out four batters. He last pitched in the Pirates’ win over the Rockies on Sunday when he allowed one run in one inning of relief. [...] Read more...
James NicholsJune 17, 2024The 2023-24 season has yet to wrap itself up as the Florida Panthers and Edmonton Oilers continue to battle for the Stanley Cup in the final round of the postseason. Yet, the 2024-25 preseason schedule for the New Jersey Devils — among other teams — has been revealed. The Devils are closing the door on their disappointing 2023-24 season in which they did not qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Now, they’re looking ahead to 2024-25 with the hopes of rebounding with some forthcoming reinforcements by General Manager Tom Fitzgerald. Before the Devils kick off their regular season, they’ll put their offseason training, rookies, prospects, newcomers, and even new coaches in Sheldon Keefe and Jeremy Colliton to the test in the preseason. The Devils’ preseason schedule is as follows: Sun. Sept. 22 vs. NY Islanders, Prudential Center, 7:00 P.M. Tues. Sept. 24 at Montreal Canadiens, Bell Centre, 7:00 P.M. Wed. Sept. 25 vs. Washington Capitals, Prudential Center, 7:00 P.M. Fri. Sept. 27 at NY Islanders, UBS Arena, 7:00 P.M. Mon. Sept. 30 vs. NY Rangers, Prudential Center, 7:00 P.M. Tues. Oct. 1 vs. NY Rangers, Madison Square Garden, 7:00 P.M. Thurs. Oct. 3 at Philadelphia Flyers, Wells Fargo Center, 7:00 P.M. The Devils are due to begin the preseason in Czechia as part of the Global Series against the Buffalo Sabres. The series in Czechia will open on Oct. 4th, the day after the Devils’ final preseason game in Philadelphia against the Flyers at Wells Fargo Center. It’s anticipated that the team going to play the Flyers in the final contest of the regular season will be part of a split squad. The final roster is anticipated to be in Czechia to begin the regular season. The 2024-25 regular season schedule has yet to be released, but we at least know the Devils and Sabres on Oct. 4th and 5th. For more Devils news, visit New Jersey Hockey Now and like our Facebook page. Follow us on 𝕏: @NJDHockeyNow, @JamesNicholsNHL, @NickNatale10 And on Threads: @JamesNicholsNHL [...] Read more...
Nate BrownJune 17, 2024You don’t really expect him hit free agency, do you? After all, Steven Stamkos has been signed at the 11th hour before, when he re-signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning back in 2016. It was ever so close as suitors lined up–and yet he never got there. So what about this year–could it be any different? What if Stamkos does hit free agency. Should–and would–the Blackhawks be interested? They should be–he would solve a number of issues on the roster. But could it actually work out? Blackhawks Get an Immediate Upgrade with Steven Stamkos For a team starved for goal scoring, Stamkos would help in that department immediately. Stamkos buried 40 goals last season, and produced just over a point-per-game in 79 games (40-41) to give him 81 for the season. His numbers have dipped since his 104 point season back in 2021-22, but that’s to be expected as he’s approaching 35 years of age. But what he would bring to Chicago in terms of leadership, scoring, and a Stanley Cup pedigree–talk about an immediate upgrade. The next step of it of course: would Steven Stamkos actually leave Tampa Bay? The Blackhawks need to take a big jump and Stamkos would help there. But it would be another playoff-less season unless general manager Kyle Davidson goes on a wild shopping spree–which is unlikely. Stamkos has played in four Stanley Cup Finals–coming away with multiple Cups–and the Lightning will at least want to take another hard run at it next season. Do those plans include their captain? One would think so. Other Teams Would Be Lining Up, Too But there are other teams–think his hometown of Toronto or even the Detroit Red Wings–that are trying to make their own Cup runs. The former would likely get a discount while the latter has the general manager who inked that 11th hour deal with him–Steve Yzerman. What the Blackhawks could do is pay more than the those teams–all the while building their roster up in the process. But the issue remains that the Blackhawks at best–if it all goes well–are still at least two-three seasons from legitimately pounding on the playoff door. Their biggest bargaining chip of course would be Connor Bedard–but a young core is being built. That young score could move even faster if the likes of a Stamkos is in the locker room–and on the ice with them. Things can certainly change and if indeed Stamkos hits free agency, the Blackhawks should have their checkbook ready. But if Steven Stamkos wants another Stanley Cup, it’s likely he won’t be coming to Chicago unless Davidson can make one hell of a pitch. That reload has to start somewhere. Stamkos could be one heck of a start if everything lines up correctly. Find Chicago Hockey Now on Facebook and Twitter Follow Nate on Twitter Follow Vinnie on Twitter [...] Read more...
Dan KelleyJune 17, 2024The Boston Celtics have an opportunity to win their eighteenth NBA Championship tonight in Game 5 against the Dallas Mavericks. With an opportunity to win a title, there are likely to be many members of the extended Boston sports family in attendance. New England Patriots’ legendary head coach for one has already taken in multiple playoff games at TD Garden this season. For anyone wondering, I will be watching from my living room couch, barring a last-minute offer to attend for free. New England’s timetable to return to playing in a Super Bowl was previously analyzed on Patriots Football Now. If Drake Maye becomes a quality NFL quarterback and the Patriots do well in the draft and free agency, 2028 feels optimistic and realistic at the same time. The most consecutive seasons a team with Tom Brady failed to reach the Super Bowl was three (2008-2010). No pressure! Speaking of Tom Brady… Broadcast Debut Tom Brady made his broadcast debut for Fox Sports yesterday. He appeared in the broadcast booth, alongside Kurt Manafee and Joel Klatt, for a portion of the United Football League Championship Game. Nothing noteworthy came out of his comments, though he implored the offenses to try and move the ball vertically down the field. The score was 0-0 in the second quarter at the time. “Make them defend every blade of grass,” implored Brady. The five-time Super MVP was also on the field to hand out the UFL Championship Game MVP Award after the game. The Birmingham Stallions defeated the San Antonio Brahmas 25-0. Birmingham quarterback Adrian Martinez, who played collegiately for Nebraska and Kansas State, earned Most Valuable Player honors. This was the first season for the UFL. It was formed through a merger of the USFL and XFL. The Stallions won the last two USFL titles before claiming the inaugural championship in their new league. AirKraft In Use The New England Patriots have work to do before playing for another championship. But the team’s private jet, AirKraft, assisted another franchise’s hopes of bringing home some hardware. The Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL) are in the Calder Cup Finals against the Coachella Valley Firebirds. The series is currently tied 1-1. On Sunday the Bears won Game 2 by a final score of 5-2. Hershey then hit the road for Game 3 and found AirKraft waiting to escort them to Southern California for Game 3. It is unclear if the Patriots charter will bring them back to Pennsylvania after Game 5, but if Hershey can sweep the next three games in Coachella Valley, they’d be returning with the Calder Cup aboard. Also in Monday’s Patriots Daily: Daily Patriots Fun Fact There are currently seven former Birmingham Stallions players on NFL rosters. This group includes New England Patriots tight end La’Michael Pettway. Post of the Day A look back at La’Pettway Pettway scoring the game-winning touchdown (one of two on the day) in the 2023 USFL Championship: New England Patriots Patriots Football Now – The Patriots 90-man roster spotlight takes a look at the wide receiver with the most NFL experience on the Patriots roster. There are 12 players in the wide receiver room at the moment. How many of them will make New England’s 53-man roster? What are JuJu Smith-Schuster’s chances of making the team and making an impact in his second season with the Patriots? Patriots Football Now – Which two current New England Patriots players had fathers who played in the NFL? Who are the 12 former Patriots who had sons make the NFL as well? Want to see Tom Brady and Bill Belichick showing love and appreciation for their dads? Check out a special Father’s Day edition of Patriots Sunday. NFL News NFL.com – After the NFL expanded to a 17-game schedule, the regular season NFL records should be easier to break, in theory. However, many key records have remained unchanged since the additional game was added in 2021. This includes Calvin Johnson’s record for receiving yards (1,964). Will the NFL have its first 2,000-yard receiver in 2024? Bucky Brooks looks at the Top 5 candidates to break Calvin Johnson’s record. Pro Football Network – There are already former USFL and XFL players in the NFL. Now that the league has merged, there are certain to be UFL players heading to camp with National Football League teams. Tony Catalina looks at five UFL players who could help the Dallas Cowboys (and others). Boston Bruins Boston Hockey Now – The Boston Bruins 2024 Stanley Cup run ended in Round 1 against the Florida Panthers, who are now just won win away from winning it all. But the Bruins still have plenty on their plate, with free agency and the 2024 NHL Draft on the horizon. Check out BHN for all the latest coverage. PFN+ Subscribe here or on Boston Hockey Now to get a subscription to both sites. Subscribers get bonus coverage such as NFL Draft scouting reports and weekly NFL Power Rankings. It also provides a completely ad-free experience on the sites. Use code KELLEY10 and get $10 off a yearly subscription. New England Patriots and Boston Bruins coverage with no ads and bonus content for less than 8¢ a day! [...] Read more...
Jonathan BaileyJune 17, 2024Philadelphia Flyers hockey will be back on Sept. 22! The Flyers announced Monday that their 2024 preseason schedule has been finalized and is ready for the public, with four away games and three home games. The Flyers’ 2024 preseason schedule is as follows: Sunday, Sept. 22 against the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena at 3 p.m.; Monday, Sept. 23 against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre at 7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 26 against the New York Islanders at Wells Fargo Center at 7 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 28 against the Boston Bruins at Wells Fargo Center at 7 p.m., Monday, Sept. 30, against the New York Islanders at UBS Arena at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 1 against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden at 7 p.m., and Thursday, Oct. 3 against the New Jersey Devils at Wells Fargo Center at 7 p.m. All times listed above are in Eastern Standard Time (EST) and are subject to change. Broadcast information, including TV and radio coverage, will be announced by the Flyers at a later date. 2024-25 Inside Edge season ticket memberships are available for purchase; you can explore that, if you wish, here. Here’s some matchup information, which has been acquired at the time of this writing: The Flyers are 4-5-1 in their last 10 games against the Capitals, 4-3-3 in their last 10 games against the Canadiens, 3-5-2 in their last 10 games against the Islanders, 3-7-0 in their last 10 games against the Bruins, and 5-4-1 in their last 10 games against the Devils. Also, it is worth noting that the Devils will be starting their regular season on Oct. 4 against the Buffalo Sabres in Czechia – one day after their meeting with the Flyers. It’s entirely likely that New Jersey’s roster on Oct. 3 will comprise exclusively of AHL players and prospects who will not make the opening night roster. [...] Read more...
Andrew FantucchioJune 17, 2024The Boston Bruins announced on Monday afternoon their upcoming schedule for the 2024-25 preseason. The schedule features a total of seven exhibition games, including three at home, three on the road and one at a neutral site, where the Bruins will help bring NHL hockey back to a city where it once thrived. #NHLBruins announce their preseason schedule: Sun, 9/22 – v. NYR Tue, 9/24 – v. WSHThu, 9/28 – @ NYRSat, 9/30 – @ PHITue, 10/1 – v. PHIThu, 10/3 – @ LA (in Quebec City)Sat, 10/5 @ WSH — Andrew Fantucchio (@A_Fantucchio) June 17, 2024 The preseason kicks off at home as the New York Rangers will pay a visit to TD Garden on Sunday, Sep. 22, followed by the Washington Capitals two days later on Tuesday, Sep. 24. From there, the Bruins will travel to New York for another date with the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Thursday, Sep. 26, before heading to Philadelphia to face the Flyers on Saturday, Sep. 30. After a short, two-day break, the Bruins and Flyers will meet once again in Boston on Tuesday, Oct. 1. The highlight of the preseason comes on Thursday, Oct. 3, when the Bruins face the Los Angeles Kings in their previously announced matchup at Quebec City’s Videotron Centre, home of the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts. The Bruins are very familiar with Quebec City, given their old rivalry with the now-defunct Quebec City Nordiques, and last visited when they played the Montreal Canadiens at Videotron Centre during the 2017 preseason. Finally, the Bruins will play the Capitals once more, this time on Saturday, Oct. 5, at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., to round out their exhibition schedule. Although it’s only the preseason, it is by no means an easy slate of games for the Bruins, as four of their five opponents made the playoffs this past year. The Bruins will also be playing nearly every other day, which will help them prepare for what will be a grueling schedule come the regular season. Boston’s regular season schedule is yet to be announced. FOLLOW ANDREW FANTUCCHIO ON 𝕏: @A_FANTUCCHIO FOLLOW BOSTON HOCKEY NOW ON 𝕏 AND FACEBOOK [...] Read more...
James NicholsJune 17, 2024Rarely, if ever, do the New Jersey Devils do business with their division rival, the New York Rangers. The last, and only time, the rivals have ever connected on a trade was in 2018 when the New Jersey acquired forward Michael Grabner from the Rangers in exchange for the Devils’ second round pick in 2018 and prospect defenseman, Yegor Rykov. According to a recent report, the Rangers were poking around the idea of approaching the Devils for a trade at the 2024 NHL Trade Deadline, however, ultimately didn’t pull the trigger. Now, the Rangers very well may target a former Devils forward in free agency. According to a report by Peter Baugh via The Athletic, the Rangers had interest in former Devils forward Tyler Toffoli at the 2024 NHL Trade deadline. According to Baugh, the Rangers are seeking a top-six winger, and Toffoli appears on the shortlist. “My sense is the Rangers looked at Tyler Toffoli around the trade deadline, and now he’ll be a free agent after finishing last season with the Winnipeg Jets,”Baugh writes. “At 32, Toffoli is likely looking at his last chance to get a larger deal, and he could fetch a contract around four years at more than $5 million annually. The Rangers could find a way to make that work, but they’d probably need to clear some cap space via trades. We’ll see how willing general manager Chris Drury is to make that happen. Toffoli had 30-plus goals each of the past two seasons.” It’s already been confirmed that Toffoli will head to free agency on July 1st, therefore, it’s unlikely he’ll be returning to the Winnipeg Jets who General Manager Tom Fitzgerald traded him to at the trade deadline. Upon dealing Toffoli, Fitzgerald admitted he’s interested in brining the 32-year-old sniper back via the free agency after conversations with him and his agent fizzled out. The two sides couldn’t come to an agreement on an extension before the trade. The Devils are going to be in the market for another top-six forward this summer, so you could see a situation where the Devils and Rangers auction for Toffoli’s services. Between now and the start of free agency, there’s the 2024 NHL Draft, qualifying offers are due, and we could see a flurry of trades go down as soon as the Florida Panthers or Edmonton Oilers lift the Stanley Cup. Then, we’ll see how things go down on July 1st at the start of free agency. For more Devils news, visit New Jersey Hockey Now and like our Facebook page. Follow us on 𝕏: @NJDHockeyNow, @JamesNicholsNHL, @NickNatale10 And on Threads: @JamesNicholsNHL [...] Read more...
George Richards, FHN PublisherJune 17, 2024The Florida Panthers had a cozy relationship with their ECHL affiliate just a 90 minute drive away from their arena in Sunrise. The Panthers would have preferred if that team was closer to their AHL team, however. Now is will be. Last week, the Florida Everblades — who are based in Estero on Florida’s southwestern gulf coach — announced that they were no longer going to be an affiliate of the Panthers. Prior to this, the Savannah Ghost Pirates scheduled a pep rally of sorts at their arena to announce a new affiliate. Their hashtag was similar to the Panthers’ on purpose: #TimeToHaunt For The Best Coverage of the Florida Panthers, Anywhere Subscribe to Florida Hockey Now Today! On Monday afternoon, the Ghost Pirates announced their official affiliation with the Panthers a move which makes a lot of sense when you think about its proximity to the AHL Charlotte Checkers and not the Panthers. While it was fun having an ECHL affiliate so close by, the only time the Panthers ever needed a player from Estero was when a goalie drove over if one of Florida’s top guys were sick or injured. There is much more roster movement between the AHL and ECHL teams, so having one in Savannah, Ga., and the other in Charlotte is good for both teams. The drive between Charlotte and Savannah is about 4 hours. “It is understandable and makes sense for our program in Charlotte and everyone understands that,” said Florida coach Paul Maurice, whose son Jake works as the Everblades’ director of communications and calls games on radio. “That culture (the Everblades) have there, the team, Craig Brush … it has been like that since I was in Hartford. They have their own program and that doesn’t change due to affiliation.” The Everblades, as Maurice mentioned, have been one of the most dominant organizations in the ECHL over the past couple of decades. Since its founding in 1998, Florida has missed the playoffs just once. Earlier this month, the Everblades became the first team to win the ECHL Kelly Cup in three straight years. Savannah, meanwhile, joined the league two years ago and has yet to make the playoffs. For More FHN Coverage of the Florida Panthers: Like our Facebook Page Follow us on Twitter: @GeorgeRichards // @ColbyDGuy // @TheGovMan Subscribe to the FHN YouTube Channel Visit the FHN Team Shop at TeePublic and RedBubble 2024 STANLEY CUP FINAL EDMONTON OILERS VS. FLORIDA PANTHERS  GAME 5 Panthers Lead Best of 7 Series 3-1 When: Tuesday, 8 p.m. Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise National TV: ABC Streaming: ESPN+/Hulu Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app Series Schedule, All Games 8 p.m. on ABC — Game 1: @Florida 3, Edmonton 0; Game 2: @Florida 4, Edmonton 1; Game 3: Florida 4, @Edmonton 3; Game 4: @Edmonton 8, Florida 1; Game 5: Edmonton at Florida, Tuesday; Game 6*: Florida at Edmonton, Friday; Game 7*:Edmonton at Florida, Monday June 24. (*) – If Necessary How They Got Here — Florida: d. Tampa Bay 4-1, Boston 4-2, New York Rangers 4-2; Edmonton: d. Los Angeles 4-1, Vancouver 4-3, Dallas 4-2. This Season (Florida Won 2-0) — At Florida: Panthers 5, Oilers 3 (Nov. 20). At Edmonton: Panthers 5, Oilers 2 (Dec. 17). Last Season: Edmonton Won 2-0 All-time Regular Season Series: Oilers lead 23-16-0, 3 ties Postseason History: First Meeting [...] Read more...
Russ MaciasJune 17, 2024Is it October yet? The New York Islanders have announced their 2024-25 preseason schedule. The games and times are: 9/22 @ NJD, 7 p.m 9/24 @ NYR, 7 p.m 9/26 @ PHI, 7 p.m 9/27 vs NJD, 7 p.m 9/30 vs PHI, 7 p.m 10/04 vs NYR, 7 p.m The Islanders will begin with all their games on the road before sticking at home for the back half of the preseason. The advantage of that could be significant, with more time devoted to the main group sticking around for the season. It will be the first full season under Patrick Roy’s hand as coach, and it begins with an opportunity to get even more time for practices at home without having to travel even short distances to Philadelphia or New Jersey after September 26th. This schedule likely means training camp will start about a week before the first game. Around September 15th, the Islanders will kick off training camp. That would be 90 days until training camp.  The NHL Draft was held on June 28th, 2023, last year, and it’s on the exact same day this year. The NHL released the entire regular-season schedule on June 27th last year, so you should also keep an eye on that. It wouldn’t be shocking to see the NHL try and drum up attention ahead of the draft, like last season. The preseason itself should be exciting in that the Islanders get a look at Sheldon Keefe as the New Jersey Devils’ new coach while also returning to the building where they clinched a playoff berth last season. They’ll also take on the Philadelphia Flyers, who, much like Icarus, flew too close to the sun, or in this case, the playoffs, and rapidly descended to their demise last season. Finally, the Islanders will also take on the New York Rangers, the team they had spirited battles with at the end of last season, which raised everybody’s hopes for a potential playoff matchup that never happened.  It’ll be a good sextet of games for the Islanders, who will boast new addition Maxim Tsyplakov for at least a couple of those games, one would assume.  The news is starting and will only pick up steam from here. Once again, is it October yet?   [...] Read more...
Evan RawalJune 17, 2024I’m not saying the Colorado Avalanche will trade Josh Manson this summer, but recent a change to one of the clauses in his contract now gives them some options. When the Avalanche signed Manson to his four year, $18 million contract after winning the Stanley Cup in 2022, a no-trade clause was included. That’s typically the price you pay when you sign someone who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent. For the first two years of the deal, Manson’s contract included a full no-trade clause. That is no longer the case. On June 15, 2024, that no-trade clause went from applying to every team in the league to now just applying to 12 other NHL teams, according to CapFriendly (you will be missed). That means that Manson has to submit a list of 12 teams he would deny a trade to. That doesn’t mean the Avalanche couldn’t trade him to any of those teams, but they would have to go to Manson to get permission to make that move. If he says no, which he would have the right to do, the deal doesn’t happen. They wouldn’t have to do that for the other 19 teams not included on his no-trade list. Manson, who will turn 33 right after training camp ends this October, is coming off his most productive NHL season since 2017-18, having scored a career high eight goals and picking up 25 points. A big reason he was able to do that is because he was able to stay on the ice. Availability had been an issue for Manson over the previous four seasons. Between 2019 and 2023, he had only managed to dress in 167 of a possible 302 games. During the 2022-23 campaign with the Avalanche, his first full season after signing the big contract, he was limited to just 27 games due to an abdominal injury. Manson had surgery to repair that issue last summer, and after missing most of training camp, dressed in 76 games this past season, as well as all 11 in the playoffs. That’s a big improvement, but given his injury history, style of play, and age, can you expect that to happen again? Manson is a solid defenseman who has a lot more skill than you might expect, but he is also is a bit unpredictable at times. He’ll make ill-advised pinches at the offensive blueline and in the neutral zone that leave his defensive partner hanging, and is prone to the ugly giveaway from time-to-time. On the flip side, he brings an element that no other defenseman on the roster can provide, and that’s a nasty side. If you trade him, a relatively small defensive core suddenly gets a little smaller. If the Avalanche are trading Manson, they would look to replace him with someone who would cost less. At $4.5 million, you could argue Manson is a little overpaid for what he provides. There are some bigger defensemen that will be available on the free agent market this summer, including Dmitry Kulikov, Brenden Dillon, and Jani Hakanpää, just to name a few. With the salary cap going up, GM’s might go a little crazy this off-season, but none of those guys should get the $4.5 million that Manson currently is making. I’m sure there’s one GM out there that wants to prove me wrong, though. Trading Manson is far from a guarantee, but with this recent change in his contract, the Avalanche now have a bit of flexibility. [...] Read more...
Marc DumontJune 17, 2024Now that the Montreal Canadiens have finished their second full rebuild season, it’s time to take the pulse of Habs fans to determine whether they’re satisfied with the current direction of the team. To do so, we’ll ask for some help from Canadiens fans across the globe, who are tasked with filling out the short form at the end of this article. This week will cast votes on recent draft hauls, trades, ticket value, core players, and future playoff aspirations. The questions are scored from 1 to ten, with ten being the best result. If the question allows for answers depicted in percentages, each score represents the equivalent percentage (5 = 50%). Very Satisfied/Extremely Good = 10 Satisfied/Very Good = 8 Neutral/Acceptable = 5 Dissatisfied/Bad = 3 Very Dissatisfied/Extremely Poor = 1 Montreal Canadiens State Of The Rebuild – Fan Vote If you’d like a refresher on all the events that have taken place since Jeff Gorton and Kent Hughes took over in 2022, we invite you to take a look at our State Of The Rebuild series, which covers essentially every event that has taken place over the course of the last two years. We also ask that the thousands of fans that will fill out the form approach the subject honestly, as it will also give us a better idea of how to formulate our coverage going forward. MUST READ: Canadiens State Of The Rebuild – Final Scores – Management We would also like to pre-emptively thank every Canadiens fan that has already answered a previous poll, as well as those who will fill this form out. Our polls are quickly gaining in popularity, with significant increases in participation every time we publish a new one. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as Habs fan are never shy when it comes to sharing their opinion, but it’s always encouraging to see thousands of fans take part. Canadiens State Of The Rebuild Voting Form – (If the form is not displaying correctly on your device, you can access it directly by clicking on this link.) Loading…   Previous Habs Fan Poll Results Most Underrated Players – Jake Evans leads the charge Ideal Draft Targets – Demidov – Lindstrom – Iginla [...] Read more...
Griffin FloydJune 17, 2024The Pirates played to another week of .500 baseball, dropping a series against their NL Central rival St. Louis Cardinals—who currently sit 1.5 games ahead of them for the second Wild Card spot—before taking two of three from the miserable Colorado Rockies. The NL Wild Card race remains wide open, a dog fight or laughingstock depending on how one wants to spin it, so the Pirates only dropped half a game in their bid for the last playoff spot. Losing a series to a divisional rival hurts, though, especially one where the margin of victory ended up as just two runs across three games. As such, the Buccos took a hit in most power rankings for their inability to assert themselves. Here’s a look at how they fared. MLB.com dropped the Pirates two spots to No. 23, but praised elder statesman Andrew McCutchen for his torrid stretch. CBS Sports demoted the Pirates to No. 22, hyping up the brewing rookie of the year race between Paul Skenes and Cubs’ ace Shōta Imanaga. Bleacher Report gave Skenes All-Star Game hype, but that didn’t stop them from bumping the Pirates from No. 17 to No. 21. Pittsburgh remained steady at No. 23 in USA Today’s assessment, which poked fun at Rowdy Tellez for his miserable OPS despite recent improvements at the plate. Fox Sports, which only ranks the top ten teams, unsurprisingly held the Pirates out of the mix. [...] Read more...
Colby GuyJune 17, 2024FORT LAUDERDALE — With the Stanley Cup in the house, the Lomberghini might be coming out of the garage for the Florida Panthers. In Monday’s practice ahead of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final, Ryan Lomberg was skating in Steven Lorentz’s usual spot on the fourth line alongside Kevin Stenlund and Kyle Okposo. Lorentz, meanwhile, was filling in for the absent Matthew Tkachuk on the second line; Sam Bennett with replaced by Nick Cousins in practice. Carter Verhaeghe was the only regular from the second line to practice on Monday. Lomberg and Cousins have been out of the lineup since Game 4 against the Rangers; Florida won six straight playoff games running the same lineup before Saturday’s loss in Edmonton. When pressed on the issue, coach Paul Maurice did not offer up much. “Yeah, I’ll consider it,” Maurice said. For The Best Coverage of the Florida Panthers, Anywhere Subscribe to Florida Hockey Now Today! The heavy-hitting, speedy 5-foot-9 forward holds a special place among his teammates, and they would be fired up with him in the lineup with the Cup on the line. “He’s great. He’s awesome,” Sergei Bobrovsky said of Lomberg a few months ago. “He is the soul of the locker room.” Lomberg has played sparingly throughout the playoffs — missing most of Round 1 with an illness and battling for a spot with Okposo, Stenlund and Cousins ever since — but he has kept a positive attitude about it. “I would rather be fighting to play on this team than being in Cancun watching the playoffs on TV,” Lomberg told FHN last month. Maurice has not confirmed whether that decision has been made or if he has talked to anyone about it, but he did say it would be a tough conversation to have when it happens. “That would be the toughest thing,” Maurice said. “But a lot of the guys stand for the good of the team. Whether you like the coach or not, you handle it the best you can and you stay a part of the group.” — Tkachuk, Bennett and Aaron Ekblad all missed practice on Monday. Maurice said all three of them are fine and will be good to go for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. For More FHN Coverage of the Florida Panthers: Like our Facebook Page Follow us on Twitter: @GeorgeRichards // @ColbyDGuy // @TheGovMan Subscribe to the FHN YouTube Channel Visit the FHN Team Shop at TeePublic and RedBubble 2024 STANLEY CUP FINAL EDMONTON OILERS VS. FLORIDA PANTHERS  GAME 5 Panthers Lead Best of 7 Series 3-1 When: Tuesday, 8 p.m. Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise National TV: ABC Streaming: ESPN+/Hulu Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app Series Schedule, All Games 8 p.m. on ABC — Game 1: @Florida 3, Edmonton 0; Game 2: @Florida 4, Edmonton 1; Game 3: Florida 4, @Edmonton 3; Game 4: @Edmonton 8, Florida 1; Game 5: Edmonton at Florida, Tuesday; Game 6*: Florida at Edmonton, Friday; Game 7*:Edmonton at Florida, Monday June 24. (*) – If Necessary How They Got Here — Florida: d. Tampa Bay 4-1, Boston 4-2, New York Rangers 4-2; Edmonton: d. Los Angeles 4-1, Vancouver 4-3, Dallas 4-2. This Season (Florida Won 2-0) — At Florida: Panthers 5, Oilers 3 (Nov. 20). At Edmonton: Panthers 5, Oilers 2 (Dec. 17). Last Season: Edmonton Won 2-0 All-time Regular Season Series: Oilers lead 23-16-0, 3 ties Postseason History: First Meeting [...] Read more...
Jonathan BaileyJune 17, 2024The Philadelphia Flyers announced Monday morning that they had signed top defense prospect Adam Ginning to a two-year, two-way contract extension worth $1.575 million. The first year of Ginning’s contract, 2024-25, will be a two-way year. The following year, 2025-26, will be a one-way year. Ginning, who turned 24 in January, was drafted 50th overall by the Flyers in the second round of the 2018 NHL Draft. The Swedish defenseman made his NHL debut in the 2022-23 season before getting an extended look in the wake of injuries this past season, appearing in nine games and scoring his first NHL goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets on April 6–his last appearance of the season for the Flyers. As a 6-foot-4 rearguard who primarily takes care of his own end, Ginning doesn’t produce much offense. In 58 AHL regular season games with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, Ginning scored only two goals, 13 assists, and 15 points, and racked up 82 penalty minutes. Notably, Ginning did not take a single penalty during his brief nine-game cameo with the Flyers this season. In my (very) limited live viewings of the player, I didn’t feel that Ginning was playing conservatively or neglecting to use his physical gifts to his advantage. It’s also worth considering that Ginning probably played a lot less on average at the NHL level than he did in the AHL with Lehigh Valley, so that helps. This is not to say that Ginning hasn’t become a more disciplined player, but there is a reason for the stark contrast in penalty minutes between leagues. In addition, Ginning is still waivers-exempt, for now, for the 2024-25 season, meaning he can pass down to the AHL without potentially being claimed by another NHL team. That means that if Ginning is the odd man out at training camp, it’s no sweat. If that’s the case in 2025-26, then the Flyers might be considering a fresh start. It’s also worth noting that Ginning only just finished his second full season playing in North America, having played exclusively in Sweden with clubs like Linkoping HC and Farjestad BK up until 2022. [...] Read more...
Danny DemilioJune 17, 2024The Pittsburgh Pirates were 8-2 victors over the Colorado Rockies in the rubber game at Coors Field on Sunday afternoon. Rowdy Tellez had three hits and was one of six Pirates with a multi-hit performance and Jason Delay drove in three with a double to break the game open in the sixth. The Pirates (34-37) return home to PNC Park to play the Cincinnati Reds (34-37) for the first time this season on Monday night. First pitch is set for 6:40 ET and the game will be aired on SportsNet Pittsburgh. Weather Hot, hot, hot. Sunny skies with temperatures in the 90’s and winds S-SW at 6-7 mph. The Pittsburgh Pirates Will Send Out RHP Paul Skenes (3-0, 2.43 ERA) Skenes again impressed in his last start against the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday. At Busch Stadium, the rookie right-hander scattered five hits against the Cardinals across 6.1 scoreless innings. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out eight. Since throwing four innings in his debut, Skenes has gone at least five innings in each of his five starts and has completed six innings four times. He’s never faced the Cardinals. The Cincinnati Reds Will Send Out RHP Carson Spiers (0-0, 2.33 ERA) Skenes will duel a fellow rookie in Spiers, who will be making his first start of the season and the third of his career. The Reds have used Spiers as a bulk reliver this season Over his last four appearances, the right-hander has a 1.17 ERA and has held opponents to a .550 OPS. He was recalled from Triple-A Louisville on June 9. With Louisville this season, Spiers is 3-1 with a 2.51 ERA in nine appearances/eight starts. Though he’s already faced the three other teams in the division, this will be his first time facing Pittsburgh. Reds Hitters vs. Skenes N/A Pirates Hitters vs. Spiers N/A Tidbits Since making his MLB debut on May 11, Skenes’ 35.4% strikeout rate is the third-highest rate in baseball. Bryan Reynolds’ 14-game hitting streak is the longest active streak in the majors. Astros third baseman Alex Bregman went 0 for 4 on Sunday, snapping his 16-game hitting streak. The Reds are one of three National League teams the Pirates have yet to face this season along with the Padres and Diamondbacks. Links Pirates Minor League Report: Five Scoreless for Thomas Harrington Jason Delay’s Three-Run Triple Leads Pirates to 8-2 Rebound Win Over Rockies The Other Side: Tyler Glasnow’s Time With Pirates Now Faint Memory Pirates Minor League Report: Khristian Curtis Mows Through Blue Jays Around the Network: Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Dan’s Daily: Buyout Candidates; Trade Talks Pick Up; Penguins Future Steelers Now: Three Steelers Who Need Bounce Back 2024 Campaigns Pittsburgh Sports Now: Ludwig: The Weekend Commits in the Class of ’25 Are Intriguing [...] Read more...
Evan RawalJune 17, 2024Everything is subject to change in the NHL, but a depth chart in June is really subject to change. As of right now, the Colorado Avalanche have just 28 players under contract for next season. By the time the middle of July rolls around, the Avalanche should be around the 40 player mark, as they add depth to both their NHL and AHL lineups. Players will be signed, and trades will (likely) be made. For now, this is where Colorado stands. There’s a pretty steep drop off up front and on defense, but that’s to be expected with so much of the roster having to be rebuilt. Unrestricted free agents will not be included on the depth chart, but restricted free agents will be. The Avalanche really have just one restricted free agent of note, so it doesn’t change much. (+ means they’re a restricted free agent) Forwards On paper…not bad, right? Well, that would be the case if all of those players were available to the team when the season starts. As it looks right now, that will not be the case. The asterisks indicate someone is either recovering from a major surgery or is currently suspended. That suspended guy, Valeri Nichushkin, might never play for the franchise again. He is under contract, so I felt like I had to include him, but if you skip over him, I wouldn’t blame you. Then you have Lehkonen, O’Connor, and Gabriel Landeskog. The former two are expected to be ready for training camp (O’Connor has already started skating), while there are still major question marks around when Landeskog will be ready. That means there are some holes on the wing. Jonathan Drouin would fill a big hole there, but he is currently unsigned. If there’s one area you have to feel pretty good, it’s down the middle. Nathan MacKinnon, Casey Mittelstadt, and Ross Colton is a solid 1-2-3 punch, even if they might be lacking a little bit defensively. That’s one area the Avalanche don’t need to worry about, although they will need to find a solid fourth line center. I don’t believe Calum Ritchie will be in the NHL either way next season, but the reason he’s not listed is because he still hasn’t been given an entry-level contract. Defense The top four from the postseason are all under contract for 2024-25, but will they all be there? That’s something we’ll discuss in the coming days. Nearly $26 million tied up into your top four isn’t all that bad, but I think it’s that $9.5 million second pair that sticks out a little bit. Is that somewhere the team could look to save some space? The one thing that would scare you away from moving one of the top four guys is the depth behind them. Jack Johnson, Sean Walker, and Caleb Jones are all set to hit free agency, and while Sam Malinski looked good in his time up with the Avalanche, he’s still a relative unknown. The Avalanche are in need of depth on defense, and if they move a top four defenseman to save cap space, they’d immediately have to replace them. Goaltending Depth chart is pretty cut and dry here. Barring the team going out and making a big change this summer, Alexandar Georgiev is the starter, while Justus Annunen will back him up. There is a definite need for a third goaltender, as you don’t really want to see Trent Miner get thrust into NHL action. Whether that third goaltender is signed this summer or picked up off waivers at the start of the season is the real question. [...] Read more...
Nate BrownJune 17, 2024The Stanley Cup Final sees an extension while NHL trade rumors swirl until something finally budges. I wrote about Valeri Nichuskin and how Pierre LeBrun doused that one. But whether it’s Mitch Marner, Martin Necas, or Jake Guentzel, how much more needs to be done in order? What about mining buyout candidates who could fill out the depth chart as well. The buyout window doesn’t open until 48 hours after the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Final. But sometimes the value there is just as good as those in trades for a variety of issues. But trades certainly open the door most to find those players needed to take things to the next level. A look back to when the Panthers dealt for Matthew Tkachuk almost two summers ago shows that it’s not always as clear cut as expected. Go ahead–read the responses. For as smart as we’d all like to think we are, sometimes the value doesn’t always reveal itself until later. A massive trade in the @NHL! 🤯 Thoughts? 🤔 #NHLFreeAgency pic.twitter.com/MS4GUqDx89 — Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) July 23, 2022 But trades compose only some of the equations as buyout candidates can help build around and even provide relief. The Athletic included 12 of their top buyout candidates. Some of those names, including Jacob Trouba and Pierre-Luc Dubois. Have them on cheaper deals, especially the former, and there’s some value that also allows for wise–and more spending elsewhere. There is no “right way” to build and canvassing the landscape shows that. But why not take a flier on guys who could help and do so in a much cheaper fashion without the added pressure they faced making the big bucks. Blackhawks In Case You Missed It Liam Greentree is someone that the Chicago Blackhawks could consider drafting with the 18th overall pick in the draft. Trade Rumors look at a variety of names–some who the Blackhawks are going to avoid after doing due diligence Stanley Cup Final Coverage From Florida Hockey Now Connor McDavid said that the pressure is evidently off after the Oilers 8-1 blowout Saturday night. No offense to the generational star, but I still think the pressure doesn’t go until they roar back to tie the series. The Florida Panthers will need to show the resiliency they’ve shown all season long to close out the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Now Network Detroit Hockey Now: Everything here at Chicago Hockey Now has been looking at who the Blackhawks should acquire. DHN’s Kevin Allen writes about three free agents the Detroit Red Wings should avoid this offseason–especially since they have a few rough contracts on the books. Colorado Hockey Now: Chicago Hockey Now has looked at the players the Blackhawks should consider at #18. Evan Rawal analyzes the players that the Colorado Avalanche should be avoiding at #24. Montreal Hockey Now: I’ve advocated that the Blackhawks shouldn’t sit at #18 unless a can’t miss arrives there. In Montreal, they’re arguing that the Montreal Canadiens need to trade up to snag a once “surefire” top-five pick. [...] Read more...
Dan KingerskiJune 17, 2024It seems a foregone conclusion that Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby will re-up with the team soon after he is eligible at the stroke of noon on July 1. NHL players whose contracts expire after the 2024-25 season may re-sign with their team beginning on July 1, but waiting to sign or jumping at the chance is a game of chicken that may produce some unexpected winners and losers. What about Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettersson? Like Crosby, his contract is up after next season, but very much unlike Crosby, Pettersson is not a generational talent who is immediately and forever irreplaceable. Instead, Pettersson is a quiet and steady workhorse, capable of playing on any pairing with any defenseman. He kills penalties, plays big minutes, and every so often, coaches will put him on the second power-play unit just to remind the current point person to do a better job. On a blue line of all-star talent and question marks, Pettersson is the forgotten middle child. Ever capable. Always dependable. But what is that worth? Pettersson, 28, signed a five-year deal in 2020 with a cap hit of $4.03 million, one season after former GM Jim Rutherford had to eat a healthy plate of crow. Rutherford openly spoke of signing Pettersson long-term but put himself in a salary cap bind after the 2018-19 season; the Penguins didn’t have cap space to sign Pettersson to anything more than his qualifying offer of just under $900,000. Oops. Pettersson was an RFA without negotiating rights, so it was essentially a take-it-or-leave-it proposition, which Pettersson took. As soon as Pettersson was eligible to sign a new contract (January of the 2019-20 campaign), Rutherford splashed the five-year deal, which was an overpay at the time but a make-good for swallowing the paltry one-year deal. But now Pettersson is again eligible to sign a new deal, and it seems to be a game of chicken. Should Pettersson wait to see what contemporaries like Brenden Dillon sign for on July 1, or should he pounce on a chance to sign with the Penguins as soon as he is able? Penguins president of hockey operations/GM Kyle Dubas has the same choice. This season, Pettersson set a career-high with four goals and 30 points. What is Marcus Pettersson Worth? A check around the league for comparable defensemen isn’t easy. How many simply do their job quietly and effectively? Pettersson isn’t overly physical and doesn’t provide much offense, but his breakouts and defensive positioning facilitate the best for the stars around him. On the top end of the scale, the Vegas Golden Knights have a pair of defensemen with similar characteristics: Brayden McNabb and Alex Martinez. The former makes only $2.85 million, while Martinez’s expiring deal carried a $5.25 million cap hit. St. Louis Blues d-man Nick Leddy has similar stats to Pettersson, and he carries a $4 million cap hit. In Colorado, Josh Manson is worth $4.5 million. Dillon is looking for a new deal as his four-year contract with a $3.9 million hit expires. Matt Grzelcyck had a cap hit close to $3.7 million. Joel Edmundson was $3.5 million, and Derek Forbort’s deal at $3 million is also expiring. So, what’s Pettersson worth? It seems to be between $3.5 and $5 million. As the salary cap goes up to $88 million for next season, reliable defensemen will see a pay raise with everyone else. Pettersson has every expectation to ask for a bit more money. In the grand scheme, the Penguins have every reason to hold their ground because Pettersson could be replaced within the same salary range. He’ll be 29 next summer, and that puts him in the danger zone like Jake Guentzel. If the Penguins’ trajectory shifts toward rebuilding, a reliable defenseman with a premium salary is a necessity for winners but only a luxury for others. It seems Rutherford was a bit generous with his tender, and the value is just coming to level par. Another few years at about the same $4 million price would be fair, but is either side in a hurry to get there? [...] Read more...
Marco D'AmicoJune 17, 2024The Montreal Canadiens have the assets to make some moves this summer, but what if the big move wasn’t for a roster player, but to move up at the 2024 NHL Draft? Since the very beginning of the offseason, the perceived plan for the Canadiens was to use the 26th overall pick, acquired by the Winnipeg Jets for Sean Monahan, as bait to acquire a top-six forward. However, with the price of forwards like Martin Necas, Trevor Zegras and Nikolaj Ehlers reportedly sky-high, the Canadiens may have to pivot their strategy. A glimpse of that potential was hinted at during the NHL combine when the club took both Sam Dickinson and Cole Eiserman out for supper. Taking Dickinson out raised some eyebrows, given the Montreal Canadiens’ long list of left-shot defencemen, but, with the New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres openly making their 1st-round picks available, due diligence was needed. And then there’s Cole Eiserman. A source close to the situation have said that the Canadiens have liked Eiserman for a while now, and that he had done well during prior interviews with the club before the combine. With Eiserman sliding down the rankings; going from a surefire top-5 pick to a player possibly available in the late teens, the Canadiens could see this as an opportunity to make a move to acquire game-breaking scoring ability through the draft instead. It wouldn’t make for an immediate solution for the club, which likely will look for another trade like that of Kirby Dach or Alex Newhook in the meantime, but there are a few things to consider. Why The Montreal Canadiens Could Move For Eiserman? As of this junction, NHL betting odds have the Canadiens taking one of Cayden Lindstrom or Ivan Demidov at the 2024 NHL Draft, but what happens if both are off the board? There are a few options at forward in Tij Iginla and Beckett Sennecke, who have both risen quite a big deal this season. The prevailing theory is that the Canadiens will be looking at one of the many top-end defencemen that will likely still be on the board, like Anton Silayev, Zeev Buium, Zayne Parekh and possibly even Dickinson. But it would be extremely surprising if general manager Kent Hughes, who has mentioned the organization’s desire for scoring talent, would pick a defenceman and stop there. In that event, trading up for a falling Eiserman, who, albeit more of a risk to hit his top potential, is viewed as the best pure goalscorer in this class. The Canadiens would likely need to make a move to nab a pick between the 10th and 17th overall picks, as the Chicago Blackhawks, who traded up to 18th overall a few weeks ago, would certainly take that risk. So it’s easy to see why, given the unpredictability of this draft, the Canadiens wanted to do even more homework on Eiserman, to brush through all the negative talk and get down to brass tacks, What Could The Canadiens Offer? If the Montreal Canadiens draft a defenceman with their top pick, it could spell the end for one of the club’s existing roster players like Jayden Struble or Arber Xhekaj, but one shouldn’t rule out Logan Mailloux being made available, especially if Zayne Parekh or Zeev Buium end up being selected. Combined with the 26th overall pick, the Canadiens have the grounds to build a package that would help them climb 10–12 spots in order to nab a falling Eiserman. In 2022, the former Arizona Coyotes traded the 27th, 34th and 45th pick in the 2022 to the San Jose Sharks, in exchange for the 11th overall selection; which shows that this type of move, albeit rare, is very possible. However, the Montreal Canadiens don’t have their 2nd-round pick in this upcoming draft, as it was included in a package for Christian Dvorak back in the summer of 2021. In order to mitigate that value, the Canadiens would likely need to add a roster player to their 26th overall selection, along with Colorado’s 2024 2nd-round pick, to start getting the attention of certain GMs. There are a few teams in the 12-to-17 range that would make for good trade partners, as they have a need for defencemen at the moment. Most notably, the St. Louis Blues, the San Jose Sharks, the Washington Capitals and the Minnesota Wild. There certainly won’t be a lack of options at the Canadiens’ disposal, having one of the deepest prospect pools in the NHL; the only issue will be finding a willing partner. You can bet on the Canadiens looking to walk out of this draft with a top-end forward, it just might not be the way that everyone planned if things don’t go as planned.   *For more NHL betting lines and futures, head over to FanDuel [...] Read more...
Jason MoserJune 17, 2024The Buffalo Sabres continue to have the shadow of 2015’s draft lottery loss looming over them, as Connor McDavid set the NHL record for assists in a playoff run. It’s never taken lightly when someone passes Wayne Gretzky, and that’s just what McDavid did as he recorded his 32nd assist in Game Four of the Stanley Cup Final. Once deemed a generational talent, he has cemented himself in hockey history in Edmonton’s run for the Cup. Cut to Tim Murray’s face at the 2015 NHL draft lottery, which showed a combination of disgust and pain. Sure, Jack Eichel was a great consolation prize, but we all know how that turned out in Buffalo. The gap between McDavid and him wasn’t supposed to be enormous, but McDavid’s running away with the best talent the league has seen since Mario Lemieux. Imagine a world where Connor McDavid and Aaron Ekblad were the cornerstones of the Sabres organization as opposed to Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart. Or, if you’d prefer, McDavid and Reinhart. An alternate universe would be very interesting for Buffalo for the different dynamics alone. The Latest at Buffalo Hockey Now Revisiting the 2015 NHL draft is something we did recently at BHN, as Mitch Marner ended up ranking ahead of Jack Eichel in a redraft. The Sabres promoted Jerry Forton to assistant general manager, as he will speak to the media along with general manager Kevyn Adams on Thursday about the upcoming draft. Across National Hockey Now Florida Hockey Now: Sergei Bobrovsky went from perhaps the best Stanley Cup Final goalie performance ever to getting pulled on Saturday. Philadelphia Hockey Now: Patrik Laine is looking for greener pastures. Could he be a fit in Philadelphia? San Jose Hockey Now: The NHL salary cap is increasing but some teams will still search for cap space. These players could be cap casualties. Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Can the Penguins return to Stanley Cup contenders? Here are some realistic goals for the aging team. [...] Read more...
National Hockey NowJune 17, 2024Guest Written Article by Russ Cohen The New Jersey Devils have one of the best collections of young players in the NHL. And while there is talk out there that they may trade the 10th overall pick in the 2024 NHL Draft, if they don’t, they have to be ready. I get access to the draft floor because of what I do on the NHL Draft show for NHL Network Radio. As a result, I could see how the Devils hashed it out when picking Simon Nemec in 2022. I think this pick could create similar banter but that’s what good scouting departments do. At the NHL Combine, I got to view Michael Brandsegg-Nygård’s toughness and competitiveness. I noticed him punching his thighs before the shuttle run and afterward, I asked him about it. “I got cramps after a jump, “Nygård laughed. Mats Zuccarello played with Nygård — a potential Devils prospect — in the recent World Championships. The youngster had three goals and two assists against men and was third on the team in scoring. Since Zuccarello played in the Metro area, he can school the young Norwegian to help him feel more at ease. “I just tried to go out there and do my best. I tried to get as much info from Zuccarello. He has been my idol since I was a little kid,” Nygård said. “Hopefully me and Solberg can give motivation to kids back in our country.” Here are my scouting notes: “He’s a two-way player with a good hockey I.Q. I like his play along the wall. Good acceleration. Gets to loose pucks first. He has a very hard wrist shot. The release is good, it’s accurate and a weapon on the power play. He is a second-line talent who might be more in the future.” Playing against older players can advance a player’s development. In the J20, against players closer to his age, the right wing scored 12 points in seven games. “Maybe to be more mature, knowing where to take risks on the ice and be better with puck management,” Nygård stated. “I think I handled it well. And developed as the season went on and got better and better.” At just under 6’1” and 207 pounds, he’s close to being an NHL player on the ice. Next year in the SHL is a great proving ground for him and then the organization can see where his development is at. It still might take a few years until he hits New Jersey but he may be ready for the AHL next season, that’s a possibility. Some will say it’s too early to take him. I say, if a team identifies a need in their organization, and they can fulfill that, you take that player. For more Devils news, visit New Jersey Hockey Now and like our Facebook page. Follow us on 𝕏: @NJDHockeyNow, @JamesNicholsNHL And on Threads: @JamesNicholsNHL [...] Read more...
Bob DuffJune 17, 2024In the past couple of NHL seasons, Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman has opted to patchwork his forward depth by signing veteran unrestricted free agents. The design for going this route is to give the club’s young forward prospects more time and opportunity to develop prior to making the jump to the NHL. It’s meant that even first-round picks like Marco Kasper haven’t been rushed into the spotlight of the NHL. Instead, Kasper’s been given a season in the SHL and another in the AHL – a similar path to what was followed by current Red Wings forward Joe Veleno. He was also a first-round draftee. Berggren Will Be Moving To Red Wings Jonatan Berggren, out of waiver options, will become a full-time Red Wings forward next season. However, who’s next in the pipeline to be making that final step up the ladder? Let’s look at the top forward prospects who are currently part of the Detroit organization. Marco Kasper Could Kasper make the leap to Detroit next season? Certainly, he’ll be given every chance to do so. The skinny on Kasper is that he’ll definitely be an NHLer and a stout 200-foot center. How much will he score? That’s the question no one seems to be certain about. Some NHL scouts are projecting him as a 35-40-point player. However, there are those within the Red Wings hockey braintrust who believe he contains more of an offensive upside. Did not want this to go unnoticed in that period. Marco Kasper tries to settle the puck out of the air, and then uses his hands in close to generate a goal. This kid is all about momentum and gaining it back. #LGRW #GoGRG pic.twitter.com/B6tFLveDkJ — Hockeytown West Podcast (@HockeytownWpod) May 21, 2024 During his first full season in North American hockey, Detroit’s 2022 first-round pick was focusing on being harder to play against. “The battles, the competitiveness,” Kasper explained. “Just going out there and trying to win every puck. It’s impossible to win every puck but just got to be of the mindset to go out there and win every battle, win every faceoff.” Nate Danielson Coupling a dynamic first NHL training camp last fall with a sensational WHL playoff run this spring has some in the game speculating that Danielson might be fast-tracked to the show. Certainly, the center the Red Wings chose ninth overall in 2023 is already in possession of the requisite 200-foot game. Yzerman is liking what he’s seeing from both Danielson and Kasper. “We think they’re good, young prospects,” Yzerman said. “We’re really happy with how they’re coming. They’re not ready to play yet. “I’m not ruling anything out for next year but I think in time we’re going to be really solid down the middle.” Carter Mazur Mazur is reminscent of former Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi in that he’s an average-sized player who performs as if he’s built to beastly specifications. His first full pro season saw his score 17 goals in 60 games for the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins. CARTER MAZUR 🤩👏 #GoGRG pic.twitter.com/JyFQAxODxu — x – Grand Rapids Griffins (@griffinshockey) April 7, 2024 “He battles hard in the corners and around the net and that’s where he’s getting rewarded by getting to the net,” Grand Rapids coach Dan Watson said. “He’s gonna get rewarded if he’s willing to go to those areas, which he is.” Elmer Soderblom Sometimes it feels as though Elmer Soderblom is the forgotten man in the Red Wings forward pipeline. The hulking 6-foot-8, 246-pound left-winger was a five-goal scorer in 21 games for the Red Wings in 2022-23. Soderblom has been in Grand Rapids ever since. He would scored 13 AHL goals last season. If Soderblom can play to his massive frame, he could become a huge asset in Detroit. “I think a lot of it’s just learning find a game that fits for you and bringing something special and different to the team,” Soderblom said. “So I feel like I’m getting better, better and closer to that.” Amadeus Lombardi The opposite of Soderblom, at 5-foot-10 and 165 pounds Lombardi has to scrap and fight for every inch of ice to prove his lack of size isn’t a detriment in his progress as a player. Certainly, a lack of passion is never going to be an issue for him. “You know exactly what you’re going to get from him,” Watson said. “He’s not gonna get beat with his feet, he’s not gonna get beat back to his end. Just that tenacity that he plays with, it’s fun to watch. And it’s fun to coach.” Dmitri Buchelnikov Were he playing in North America, it’s likely that Buchelnikov would be placing higher up on this list. However, the political situation in Russia is making it harder to get a grasp on his progress. It’s turning the young Russian into an international man of mystery. Certainly, his numbers were solid during Buchelnikov’s first full KHL campaign. He accounted for 13 goals and 29 points in 55 games for Vladivostok. He was on loan there from SKA St. Petersburg. Expectations are the Buchelnikov will going on loan to Vityaz for next season and he’s fine with that. “Everyone wants to play in the KHL,” Buchelnikov told KHL.ru. “When there is a chance, how can you not take advantage of it?” Cross Hanas Coming back from season-ending shoulder surgery, the 2023-24 AHL season was a tough go for Hanas. The left-winger accounted for 8-8-16 totals in 58 games for Grand Rapids. Hanas was a healthy scratch throughout the Calder Cup playoffs. “It’s getting back to the fundamentals for him, gaining that confidence,” Watson said of what’s ahead for Hanas. “That way he can take that next step and get back to the way he was early on last year.” Dylan James Entering his junior season at North Dakota, this could be a make or break campaign for the player Detroit chose 40th overall in the 2020 NHL entry draft. Through two seasons of NCAA hockey, the focus for James has been as a bottom-six checker. Can he bring the offense to make him more of an all-around performer and a better NHL prospect? “The guy can fly like the wind,” teammate Louis Jamernik V told the Grand Forks Herald. “He’s got National (Hockey) League speed already. He’s just going to continue to grow and develop into an even better player.” [...] Read more...
George Richards, FHN PublisherJune 17, 2024The Florida Panthers and Oilers flew back to town on Sunday after the Stanley Cup Final was extended to Game 5 following Edmonton’s 8-1 win the night before. Florida coach Paul Maurice remained in an upbeat mood despite the loss, saying Sunday that even though the Panthers came to win on Saturday, they simply got beat. Moving on, just like they did when they failed on their first attempt to beat Tampa Bay in the opening round, then against Boston in the second. “In each of those situations, including (Saturday), you come to the rink to clinch,’’ Maurice said. “That’s first and foremost. Then you get a little reality check and get back to hockey. That will be our goal over the next two days.’’ The Panthers are still in an enviable position: They only need one win with three games to go and they win the Stanley Cup. Edmonton is trying to be the second team in NHL history (1942 Maple Leafs) to rally from a 3-0 series deficit and would have to win four straight to do so. Right now, the Oilers have won one. “They were good, they were fast,” Maurice said, “and we need to be better.’’ For The Best Coverage of the Florida Panthers, Anywhere Subscribe to Florida Hockey Now Today! Florida gave up eight goals on Saturday night, the most this season — and more since surrendering nine in last year’s Game 5 of the Final to the Vegas Golden Knights. The Panthers have been terrific defensively throughout the season and through the playoffs. Florida has to hope Saturday night was just a one-off and not indicative of anything leaking from their game. Until Saturday, the Panthers had held Edmonton’s high-flying offensive stars in check. Connor McDavid not only had a goal but assisted on three others; Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also got his first goal of the series. Leon Draisaitl and Zach Hyman still have not scored, but got two assists on Saturday and were very noticeable throughout. Edmonton is banking that getting its top players going is key to a potential comeback. Maurice said he is not worried about that. “They will have no part of my day tomorrow,’’ Maurice said following the game. “I’m not counting the 5-on-3 (Nugent-Hopkins from Hyman). Yeah, good players and they scored and they will get confidence from that. They’ll feel good. “And then the puck’s going to drop. I’m not saying they’re not going to feel good the next game, but the puck drops and everything changes then. So, we’re going to rally, we’ll recoup, recover, move forward, get ready. Take 3-1 going home. I’ll come up with better answers, it’ll be good.” For More FHN Coverage of the Florida Panthers: Like our Facebook Page Follow us on Twitter: @GeorgeRichards // @ColbyDGuy // @TheGovMan Subscribe to the FHN YouTube Channel Visit the FHN Team Shop at TeePublic and RedBubble 2024 STANLEY CUP FINAL EDMONTON OILERS VS. FLORIDA PANTHERS  GAME 5 Panthers Lead Best of 7 Series 3-1 When: Tuesday, 8 p.m. Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise National TV: ABC Streaming: ESPN+/Hulu Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app Series Schedule, All Games 8 p.m. on ABC — Game 1: @Florida 3, Edmonton 0; Game 2: @Florida 4, Edmonton 1; Game 3: Florida 4, @Edmonton 3; Game 4: @Edmonton 8, Florida 1; Game 5: Edmonton at Florida, Tuesday; Game 6*: Florida at Edmonton, Friday; Game 7*:Edmonton at Florida, Monday June 24. (*) – If Necessary How They Got Here — Florida: d. Tampa Bay 4-1, Boston 4-2, New York Rangers 4-2; Edmonton: d. Los Angeles 4-1, Vancouver 4-3, Dallas 4-2. This Season (Florida Won 2-0) — At Florida: Panthers 5, Oilers 3 (Nov. 20). At Edmonton: Panthers 5, Oilers 2 (Dec. 17). Last Season: Edmonton Won 2-0 All-time Regular Season Series: Oilers lead 23-16-0, 3 ties Postseason History: First Meeting [...] Read more...
Kevin AllenJune 17, 2024For some teams, the NHL buyout period can be as important as the start of the free agent signing race that begins on July 1. The buyout window opens 48 hours after the Stanley Cup Final ends. It stays open until June 30 at 5 p.m. Last year, NHL teams bought out nine players, including Nashville Predators’ Matt Duchene. This year, the buyout period is expected to be busy. Faceoff.com lists nine players who face the possibility of a buyout, including goalies Jack Campbell, Joonas Korpisalo and Cal Petersen. The Athletic has 12 players on its list. Keep an eye on veteran NHL defensemen Ryan Suter and Torey Krug. The Red Wings are not expected to buy out any players, although the media has learned to be open minded when trying to project what GM Steve Yzerman might do. Red Wings In Case You Missed It The new Detroit-to-Windsor bridge is just the latest of many places named after Gordie Howe. Here are three talented UFAs, including Adam Henrique, who the Red Wings need to avoid signing. The Red Wings’ goaltending depth goes well beyond Sebastian Cossa and Trey Augustine. Red Wings Offseason Sunday was the 26th anniversary of the Red Wings’ clinching of the 1998 Stanley Cup championship. That gave Detroit back-to-back titles. On this day in 1998, the Detroit Red Wings became back-to-back Stanley Cup champions, and Steve Yzerman handed the Cup to Vladimir Konstantinov in one of the most powerful moments in hockey history. #LGRW pic.twitter.com/w83v3Je2Hw — Winged Wheel Podcast (@WingedWheelPod) June 16, 2024   Hockey Now Network Buffalo: In a just-for-fun 2015 NHL redraft, the Buffalo Sabres drafted Mitch Marner, not Jack Eichel. If the redraft were based on PuckLuck’s WAR metrics compiled from Evolving-Hockey’s raw data, Jack Eichel would fall to fourth overall. Buffalo Sabres Nashville: Three Predators prospects whose stock is up after performing impressively in the AHL playoffs. Nashville Predators.  Philadelphia: Jonathan Bailey looks at what it might take for the Flyers to land Patrik Laine from the Columbus Blue Jackets. Philadelphia Flyers.  San Jose: Defenseman Henry Thrun offers his assessment of new San Jose coach Ryan Warsofsky’s coaching and development approach. San Jose Sharks.   [...] Read more...
Dan KingerskiJune 17, 2024After last week’s NHL combine, general managers say the conversations are increasing, and the NHL trade chatter is getting more intense. Daily Faceoff published their list of the top buyout candidates, the Toronto Maple Leafs let go of a big-name assistant coach, and we look at what is realistic and what fans should expect going forward for the Pittsburgh Penguins. I decided to beat the heat, at least for a day or two. Below are my whereabouts up north. I tried to stop at a little motel along the way on Rt. 6, but it was full (the owner said he didn’t have a cleaning crew on Sunday, but the open room looked pretty good. Uh, no thanks!), so I wound up in my favorite little town of Wellsboro. I stopped more than I usually do, taking pictures of some of the more interesting scenes along the way. Potter County has the best rolling hills and mountainscapes for a little amateur photography. Someday, I’ll find out what this abandoned building was–it’s on Rt. 666 in Endeavor, PA (just beyond Tionesta and near Tidoute), but there’s not much evidence of there ever being a thriving community. So what was this large building?   Next stop … Parts unknown. Pittsburgh Penguins Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Perhaps. Maybe. Possibly, it’s time to consider adjusting expectations regarding the core three and the Penguins. Is talking about winning a Stanley Cup realistic, or is it time to accept that merely being competitive is acceptable? Here’s a look at what comes next for the Penguins franchise. I knew the headline would draw a lot of comments before folks read it. Seriously, stop that! Pittsburgh Baseball Now: Jason Delay is a terrible name for a baseball player, but he brought the bat, and it turned the game. The Buccos won the rubber match with the Colorado Rockies. Here’s the happy details from the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-2 win. Remember Tyler Glasnow? He doesn’t really remember you. John Perrotto is writing a series of stories about the Pirates’ opponents and some former Bucs. Check it out — Glasnow’s time with the Pirates is but a faint memory. Steelers Now: OK, our guys got a look at the 90. Now, they’re projecting who you’re going to see this fall—the 53-man roster of the Pittsburgh Steelers. NHL Trade Talk, News, & National Hockey Now Ottawa Citizen: Ottawa Senators GM Steve Staios said the trade chatter is picking up. The GMs are talking. And things are getting serious. DFO: The buyout candidates. I don’t necessarily agree with Frank Seravalli’s No. 1 candidate (Pierre-Luc Dubois), but he makes a good case. There are a handful of others, including Joonas Korpisalo and Barclay Goodrow. Seravalli even mentions Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry. Here’s their list. If Goodrow hit the UFA market, that would be an interesting pickup for the Penguins, at the right price, of course. However, he had only four goals in 80 games. But why does he score so many in the playoffs? Sportsnet: Guy Boucher has had a wild ride as an NHL coach. The Toronto Maple Leafs hired Craig Berube as the head coach a few weeks ago, and now Boucher is out of a job. We’ve been waiting for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to make their hire. It hasn’t materialized yet, despite a report linking former Northern Michigan coach Grant Potulny to the job. I don’t know if Boucher would enter the mix or not. He was unemployed for five years, between being axed in Ottawa and being hired as an assistant in Toronto (at least according to Wikipedia and Elite Prospects’ bio page). TSN: For those of you into the draft, prospect Sam Dickinson of the London Knights isn’t shy about telling you about himself, “I don’t think there’s a D that has everything that I have.” OK then. Here’s more from one of the top defensemen in the 2024 NHL draft class. I’m not sure if I love or hate that attitude. He’s going to get popped by a veteran, and then he’ll quickly learn the quantum leap between the OHL and the AHL or even the NHL. But I do like the spirit. Florida Hockey Now: We’re back for Game 5 in Florida after Edmonton absolutely stomped Florida in Game 4. Have things changed in the series? Connor McDavid says the Edmonton Oilers have no pressure in Game 5. Philly Hockey Now: Sure, I’d take a chance. Morgan Frost–the player John Tortorella called “a toilet seat” last season because he was up and down, up and down–had a bit of a breakout season this year. However, that only means his name is more prominent in the NHL trade rumors. Boston Hockey Now: I post this because it’s parallel to the Penguins. The young players, the next generation, are arriving. Despite going for it every year, the next wave of the Boston Bruins is about ready. Now to decide where to go next. Anywhere with a higher elevation and lots of shade. [...] Read more...
Alan Greenberg, FHN WriterJune 17, 2024Saturday night was rough for the Florida Panthers, but they are far from being in trouble in the Stanley Cup Final against the Edmonton Oilers. Coach Paul Maurice said he doesn’t believe in momentum, so he considers Saturday’s debacle a loss but not a complete tidal reversal. The Panthers are famous for their resiliency. Go back to the Boston series, which started with a horrendous 6-2 defeat at the hands of the Bruins and was followed by a decisive 6-1 win by Florida. The Panthers refrained from gloating when they were up 3-0 against the Oilers. Edmonton realizes it has won only one game and that it has a lot of work to do to overcome a 3-1 series deficit. “It’s just one win,” Connor McDavid said. “That’s all it is. It doesn’t matter if you score eight or you score one. We have to go to Florida and do a job and drag them back to Alberta.” For The Best Coverage of the Florida Panthers, Anywhere Subscribe to Florida Hockey Now Today! Edmonton has not had much success in Sunrise this season, losing the first two playoff games and the regular season contest. As they say in the stock market, past performance is no guarantee of future results. The Oilers had a more than ample supply of “good looks” during their losses. On Saturday, the posts, misses, and Sergei Bobrovsky acrobatics didn’t go Florida’s way; everything worked for Edmonton. “We’ve had lots of looks over the first four games,” Leon Draisaitl said.  “Certainly created enough to have a couple go in but it’s just not the way the game works sometimes. I’m proud of the way we always stick with it and continue to work at it and stay work-based. Hopefully we can build off that a little bit.” The first defensive breakdown came on the Panthers’ first power play.  With four forwards hovering near the Edmonton goal, Brandon Montour was left alone to attempt to stop a two-on-one, which led to Mattias Janmark’s shorthanded goal. It was downhill from there. Florida’s power play is now an anemic 1-for-13 in the series, including relinquishing the shorty. They are still ahead of Edmonton’s 1-16.  Power play shots were even at 11 Saturday, even though Florida had four power plays and Edmonton six. There is a minor positive in that stat. On Sunday, Maurice’s simple analysis was, “They got to us off the rush in a big way.” Perhaps an understatement. Maurice said he would review the videos, looking for a theme, and then work on correcting them.  No lineup changes are contemplated as of now, but they are not ruled out after reviewing the video. He said his players were in a better mood in the morning but part of his job as coach is to “keep the emotional band narrow.” On Tuesday night, the Cup will be in their house. It is the first time in the team’s history that they can clinch before the home fans. Part of the hockey culture is to have amnesia when dwelling on past mistakes.  Maurice says his team will be ready. Bobrovsky is a seasoned professional; He should be ready. Sunrise will be rocking when the puck drops on Game 5 Tuesday night. For More FHN Coverage of the Florida Panthers: Like our Facebook Page Follow us on Twitter: @GeorgeRichards // @ColbyDGuy // @TheGovMan Subscribe to the FHN YouTube Channel Visit the FHN Team Shop at TeePublic and RedBubble 2024 STANLEY CUP FINAL EDMONTON OILERS VS. FLORIDA PANTHERS  GAME 5 Panthers Lead Best of 7 Series 3-1 When: Tuesday, 8 p.m. Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise National TV: ABC Streaming: ESPN+/Hulu Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app Series Schedule, All Games 8 p.m. on ABC — Game 1: @Florida 3, Edmonton 0; Game 2: @Florida 4, Edmonton 1; Game 3: Florida 4, @Edmonton 3; Game 4: @Edmonton 8, Florida 1; Game 5: Edmonton at Florida, Tuesday; Game 6*: Florida at Edmonton, Friday; Game 7*:Edmonton at Florida, Monday June 24. (*) – If Necessary How They Got Here — Florida: d. Tampa Bay 4-1, Boston 4-2, New York Rangers 4-2; Edmonton: d. Los Angeles 4-1, Vancouver 4-3, Dallas 4-2. This Season (Florida Won 2-0) — At Florida: Panthers 5, Oilers 3 (Nov. 20). At Edmonton: Panthers 5, Oilers 2 (Dec. 17). Last Season: Edmonton Won 2-0 All-time Regular Season Series: Oilers lead 23-16-0, 3 ties Postseason History: First Meeting [...] Read more...
James NicholsJune 17, 2024The two days off in between Stanley Cup Final games is completely understandable. But man, does this ever feel drawn out. The Edmonton Oilers dominated in Game 4 and forced the Florida Panthers to head back to Sunrise, Florida to defend their territory while also trying to claim their franchises first-ever Stanley Cup. Maybe that’s what Connor McDavid was alluding to in some of his comments in Saturday’s postgame. More on that later. Also, some news around the New Jersey Devils. Said news is yet another update on the Jacob Markstrom situation. It sounds like the two sides are in a standoff. Elsewhere, what does Pittsburgh do next? Montreal is after Martin Necas? Chicago seeking Valeri Nichuskin? Let’s do that hockey. Devils News New Jersey Hockey Now: Jacob Markstrom seemingly still wants out of the Calgary organization. It’s been radio silence in terms of a potential Devils trade, however. According to The Athletic insider, Chris Johnston, the Devils and Flames seem to be in a standoff as GM Tom Fitzgerald feels he’s put his best foot forward. New Jersey Hockey Now + Subscribe to NJHN+ and use code James10 for 10% off (yearly subscriptions) at checkout. 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs Florida Hockey Now: Following their Game 4 victory, the Edmonton Oilers find themselves still deep in the hole, needing to win three games in a row over the Florida Panthers to raise the Stanley Cup. Yet, Connor McDavid says the pressure is off the Oilers. NHL Trade Talk, News, & National Hockey Now Sportsnet: Although the New York Rangers extended forward Kaapo Kakko to a one-year contract, do the Blueshirts intend for the young Finnish forward to play on Broadway next season? Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Where do the Pittsburgh Penguins go from here? The Stanley Cup Final is perhaps over on Saturday, which will unleash the first buyout window early next week. While it would be an M. Knight Shyamalan-worthy twist if Penguins president of hockey operations/GM Kyle Dubas bought out any of his veterans, it’s worth watching San Jose Hockey Now: Now that the San Jose Sharks have hired Ryan Warsofsky to be the 11th head coach in franchise history, who else did they talk to — not named Marco Sturm — in their pursuit for a new bench boss? Philly Hockey Now: The Philadelphia Flyers announced Saturday afternoon that the club they’ve signed former Vancouver Canucks forward, Rodrigo Abols. The 6-foot-4 centerman spent each of the last four seasons playing in the SHL, featuring for Orebro HK–for whom he was a captain for two seasons–and Rogle BK. Detroit Hockey Now: The Detroit Red Wings‘ recent free agency history has been a mixed bag. Some have worked out well, others not so much. Here are three free agent forwards they need to avoid. Montreal Hockey Now: It’s no secret the Montreal Canadiens are looking to add a little more firepower to the mix this summer. One of the most enticing names on the NHL’s trade market is Carolina Hurricanes forward Martin Necas, and the Habs have expressed interest. Chicago Hockey Now: It sounds like the Chicago Blackhawks are looking to add more talent around Connor Bedard. One of the many names Chicago could pursue via trade this summer is Colorado Avalanche forward Valeri Nichuskin, if his personal issues settles itself. For more Devils news, visit New Jersey Hockey Now and like our Facebook page. Follow us on 𝕏: @NJDHockeyNow, @JamesNicholsNHL And on Threads: @JamesNicholsNHL [...] Read more...
Marc DumontJune 17, 2024Here are the Montreal Canadiens news items, highlights, and stories you may have missed during the weekend. Montreal Canadiens News ICYMI: The Montreal Canadiens are interested in trading for Martin Necas, but Kent Hughes is far from the only interested general manager throughout the league. No team is yet to convince the Carolina Hurricanes that dealing Necas is the right decision, however, a surplus in Montreal could lead to the framework of a potential deal. [Montreal Canadiens Among Teams Interested In Top Trade Target] A closer look at the pre-draft value of the Habs picks slated for the 2024 NHL Entry Draft reveals the haul is among the most valuable in recent team history, both in quality and quantity. [Habs Analysis: Pre-Draft Value Of 2024 Montreal Canadiens Picks] FC Hockey has put together an interesting 2024 mock draft tool which lets you pick for any organization, while the remainder of the picks are automated.  [FC Hockey] The Habs signed prospect Oliver Kapanen to a three-year, entry-level contract. Kapanen had a slow start to his season, but finished on a strong note, including seven goals and seven assists in 13 playoff games. If Kapanen fails to earn an NHL roster spot at camp, the expectation is that he’ll be loaned to Timra IK in the SHL rather than heading to the AHL to play with the Laval Rocket. For the record, his father, Kimmo, is Timra’s general manager.   The Canadiens have agreed to terms on a three-year, entry-level contract (2024-25 to 2026-27) with forward Oliver Kapanen. News release ↓ #GoHabsGohttps://t.co/BCiwo2gNoY — Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) June 15, 2024 National Hockey Now Network The Edmonton Oilers have dug themselves in a deep hole in the Stanley Cup Final, but star Connor McDavid said the pressure is off his team. When you’re down 3-0 in a series, there is really nothing left to lose. McDavid and the Oilers threw everything they had at the Florida Panthers on Saturday night, taking a 5-goal lead into the third before leaving their home fans giddy with an 8-1 win in Game 4. [Florida Panthers] NHL insider Frank Seravalli revealed a list of his top-25 trade targets on the market on Friday, and it was headlined by the usual suspects, such as Mitchell Marner, Martin Necas, Linus Ullmark, Jacob Markstrom, and others. Towards the bottom of Seravalli’s list were some younger, buy-low trade targets, including Morgan Frost, who checked in at No. 17. [Philadelphia Flyers] We are now a week removed from the Milwaukee Admirals’ season coming to an unexpected end after falling 4-1 to the Coachella Valley Firebirds in the Western Conference Finals of the Calder Cup playoffs. We are also a few weeks away from the 2024 NHL Draft and free agency. It’s now time to assess those Admirals who are set to become restricted free agents this summer and who also may be flirting with making the opening-night roster for the Nashville Predators. [Nashville Predators] [...] Read more...
Jonathan BaileyJune 17, 2024In Monday’s edition of Bailey’s Daily, we’ll be talking the latest Philadelphia Flyers news, NHL news, stories, highlights, and more from the last day. Flyers News No matter what he does, it seems like Philadelphia Flyers center Morgan Frost is going to be perpetually stuck in NHL trade rumors. This time, the 25-year-old finds himself coming in 17th out of 25 fellow trade targets on the trade board of NHL insider Frank Seravalli. Speaking of NHL trade targets, how about Columbus Blue Jackets winger Patrik Laine? The 26-year-old former 40 goal-scorer is reportedly looking for a fresh start, and though he’s already (seemingly regrettably) played for Flyers head coach John Tortorella, Laine is exactly the kind of player the Flyers need and should be taking a chance on. Draft picks be damned. In other Flyers news, the team announced on Saturday afternoon that they had signed Latvian SHL forward Rodrigo Abols, a former Vancouver Canucks draft pick who has yet to appear in an NHL game, to a one-year, two-way contract. He’s got an outside chance of making the big club but will assuredly provide the organization with some size and upside in what is otherwise a dismal group of centers. NHL News After stealing one game from the Florida Panthers in the lopsided Stanley Cup Final, Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid feels the pressure is now off his team as they seek to execute a historic reverse sweep of Sergei Bobrovsky and the Cats. Who should the Colorado Avalanche select in the 2024 NHL Draft, and who should they avoid? I guess we’ll find out in about a week, but four players should be firmly off Colorado’s radar. One of those four players should come as no surprise to anyone who has closely been following the draft and its prospects this season. [...] Read more...
Andrew FantucchioJune 17, 2024It feels as if there is nothing left to do but wait for it all to end. The Edmonton Oilers staved off elimination over the weekend, beating down the Florida Panthers by the tune of 8-1 to send the Stanley Cup Final back to Florida for a Game 5. Surely, all the parties involved want to see this series go the distance, i.e., the teams and their players, the league, the people of Edmonton and South Florida, as well as advertisers and television networks. But for those without a horse in the race, seeing this series go beyond tomorrow night only delays the start of the NHL offseason, where every team has a vested interest. I guess what I’m saying is if this series does reach a Game 7, it better end with Connor McDavid and the Oilers hoisting the Stanley Cup. Otherwise, it will all be a huge waste of time. In the meantime, here’s what everyone else around the NHL is up to. Next-Gen Bruins: From Boston Hockey Now columnist Mick Colageo: Don Sweeney has before him his definitive opportunity to set in motion the next iteration of the Boston Bruins, and while the copycat National Hockey League tends to churn out many an imposter, it’s imperative that Sweeney identify the players who can make the Bruins the real deal. Delay In Devils Deal For Markstrom: The New Jersey Devils are still looking for a goalie. And while they’ve been connected to the Bruins and Linus Ullmark, they’ve also continually been linked to Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom. However, it sounds like there hasn’t been any movement on a potential Devils trade. Flyers Trade Rumors: The Philadelphia Flyers have made it clear that even though they exceeded expectations last season, they are still very much in the rebuilding phase. Whether or not Morgan Frost will be around to see the end of it is unclear at this point, as he’s been at the center of a few trade rumors lately. So, too, has Patrik Laine, who could find a fresh start with the Flyers. More From National Hockey Now: Pittsburgh: Is winning the Stanley Cup a realistic goal for the Pittsburgh Penguins next year? Montreal: The Montreal Canadiens have 12 picks in the upcoming NHL Draft. But what is that all worth? New England Patriots: The All-Patriots Team of the Tom Brady Era Kelley: Jerod Mayo Might Be Better Off Saying Less Patriots 90-Man Roster Spotlight: JuJu Smith-Schuster FOLLOW ANDREW FANTUCCHIO ON 𝕏: @A_FANTUCCHIO FOLLOW BOSTON HOCKEY NOW ON 𝕏 AND FACEBOOK [...] Read more...
Griffin FloydJune 17, 2024Pirates’ affiliates picked up three wins on Sunday, highlighted with a shutdown performance from Thomas Harrington, the organization’s No. 5 prospect per MLB Pipeline. Triple-A Indianapolis put just four runners on base in their 5-0 loss to the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp. Thomas Harrington got the start for the Altoona Curve, striking out five batters and allowing just one hit in five innings of work. The Greensboro Grasshoppers put the hurt on the Winston-Salem Dash in a 12-4 win. Lonnie White Jr. and Shawn Ross homered, each recording three hits. Charles McAdoo and Mitch Jebb also reached base three times, with McAdoo finishing a homer shy of the cycle. Axiel Plaz homered to tie the game in the ninth inning for the Bradenton Marauders, then Javier Rivas and Jeral Toledo doubled to notch the eventual game-winner in a 4-3 decision. Here are some of the top performances from the Pirates’ minor leaguers to round out the week. Triple-A Indianapolis (29-38) DH Joshua Palacios Game: 2-for-4 with 2 singles. Season: .263/.325/.447 with 5 doubles and 3 homers in 22 rehab assignment games. Double-A Altoona (24-39) RHP Thomas Harrington Game: 5 IP, 0 ER and 5 K’s. Season: 34.2 IP, 2.86 ERA, 36 K’s in 8 appearances (7 starts) between Bradenton and Altoona. DH Yoyner Fajardo Game: 2-for-4 with a double and a walk. Season: .250/.297/.360 with 3 doubles and 4 homers in 42 games between Altoona and Triple-A Saint Paul (Twins’ affiliate). High-A Greensboro (36-26) CF Lonnie White Jr. Game: 3-for-4 with a homer and a walk. Season: .171/.270/.389 with 6 doubles, a triple and 10 homers in 46 games. C Shawn Ross Game: 3-for-5 with a homer. Season: .192/.378/.525 with 4 doubles and 12 homers in 39 games. Single-A Bradenton (28-35) SS Keiner Delgado Game: 2-for-2 with a triple and 2 walks. Season: .248/.326/.434 with 5 doubles, 2 triples and 5 homers in 34 games between rookie ball and Bradenton. C Axiel Plaz Game: 2-for-4 with a homer. Season: .218/.311/.425 with 3 doubles and 5 homers in 29 games between rookie ball and Bradenton. [...] Read more...
Bob DuffJune 17, 2024The Gordie Howe International Bridge is officially connected, which is big news for what will become the third international crossing between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario. As big a story as that is for the area economy, the simple fact that what figures to become the number one international crossing for commercial good between the USA and Canada is named after the Detroit Red Wings legend is a story in itself. It’s yet another unique symbol of the gravitas that the legacy of Mr. Hockey continues to carry in the area and in pop culture in general. Quick, name another international border crossing that’s named after a hockey player. One second thought, take your time to come up with an answer. We’ll wait. The largest bridge ever built between Canada & United States connecting Windsor to Detroit is finally connected! 🇨🇦🇺🇸 The Gordie Howe bridge 🌉pic.twitter.com/CJ8aU7HuHT — Made In Canada (@MadelnCanada) June 15, 2024 The fact of the matter is that you can’t. That’s because there’s Gordie Howe and then there’s all other NHLers. No other player in the history of the game can hold a candle to his legacy. Howe played in the NHL as a teenager, and he’s the only one to skate in the league into his 50s. During his farewell NHL season in 1979-80, Howe celebrated his 52nd birthday. He also played all 80 regular-season games for the Hartford Whalers. Howe scored 15 goals that season – more than double his seven-goal output as an 18-year-old rookie with the Red Wings in 1946-47. Bridge Latest Unique Gordie Howe Tribute Howe’s name on such a vital international symbol will assure that his legacy in the area will continues for decades. “Mr. Hockey, one of the greatest players in the history of the game, is a proud Canadian who led the Detroit Red Wings to four Stanley Cup victories, building extraordinary goodwill between our two countries,” then-Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper during the official announcement of the naming of the bridge in 2015. “It is my sincere hope that this bridge, which bears his name, will continue this proud legacy.” Gordie Howe, pictured in the 1949-50 season on the left and during the 1968-69 season on the right, finished in the Top 5 in scoring these years and in every year between. pic.twitter.com/UxGVGhQWIF — The Hockey Samurai 侍 (@hockey_samurai) February 10, 2024 Interestingly, it’s not even the only bridge bearing the name of the Red Wings icon. In the town of Saskatoon, where Howe grew up as a youngster, there’s also a Gordie Howe Bridge. Spanning the South Saskatchewan River, it opened in 2013. There’s also the Gordon Howe Sports Complex in the Saskatchewan city. Saskatoon’s football stadium is named the Gordie Howe Bowl. And, or course, there’s a Gordie Howe Arena in the town. [...] Read more...
Jonathan BaileyJune 16, 2024NHL insider Pierre LeBrun reported on Wednesday that former Winnipeg Jets star and current Columbus Blue Jackets forward Patrik Laine wants a “fresh start” and that Laine and the Blue Jackets were working on orchestrating a trade, though it’s unclear which teams are involved. What is clear, though, is that the Philadelphia Flyers have a massive need for a player of Laine’s size and talent. Making that observation is as simple as the situation gets, however. Though it might seem like he’s been around forever at this point, Laine only turned 26 years old two months ago on April 19. His age and past history of being a productive player should be green flags for the Flyers, even if it’s clear Laine hasn’t been playing at the level he is and once was capable of. For example, we know that Laine’s ceiling as an NHL player (so far) is 44 goals and 70 points, and his floor–in a regular, non-COVID-affected season–is 20 goals and 50 points. And those 50 point seasons were seasons where Laine produced near or at a point per game pace. Laine was at his worst, however, playing under Flyers head coach John Tortorella in Columbus in the 2020-21 season. That was the year where Laine was traded for Pierre-Luc Dubois after playing one game with the Jets. And it’s hard to pinpoint Laine’s struggles solely on the change of scenery or Tortorella; the Blue Jackets as a whole were terrible. Jack Roslovic, traded with Laine, was the team’s No. 1 center. The other Blue Jackets centers that year were Boone Jenner, who scored 17 points in 41 games, a 21-year-old Alexandre Texier, a 37-year-old Mikko Koivu, Mikhail Grigorenko, Kevin Stenlund, and Riley Nash. All things considered, that’s not a recipe for success, and especially so if you’re a winger like Laine whose game revolves around other people getting the puck to you. Tortorella was subsequently dismissed after going 18-26-12 in 2020-21, and soon after, Laine told Finnish media that “Tortorella did not give freedom to anyone. Forwards want to create offensively. I do not even want to be like everyone else. I am who I am and I do things my way. . . I think it’s stupid not to use my potential.” Patrik Laine in the Finnish publication Aamulehti. "Tortorella did not give freedom to anyone. Forwards want to create offensively. I do not even want to be like everyone else. I am who I am and I do things my way … I think it’s stupid not to use my potential." Could be right — scott taylor (@staylorsports) July 14, 2021 After watching the Flyers for the last two years, we know that Tortorella is still the same coach, but his methods are both welcomed and encouraged in Philadelphia, especially after the success that was the 2023-24 season. In the two seasons that followed Tortorella’s dismissal, Laine scored 48 goals and 108 points in 111 regular season games, though he also missed a total of 53 games in that same span of time. This past season, the 6-foot-5 sharpshooter played in only 18 games before entering the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program on Jan. 28, recording six goals, three assists, and nine points in 18 games. Upon entering the NHL/NHL Player Assistance Program, Laine posted the following statement to his personal Instagram account: “Dear fans and supporters, I wanted to take a moment to address my need to step away from the game for a while. After careful consideration and discussions with my support network and the team, I have recognized the importance of prioritizing my mental health and well-being. Hockey has been my passion and my life, but I have come to realize that in order to perform at my best, I need to take this time to focus on myself. “I am grateful for the understanding and support of my team, the league, and our fans during this time. I look forward to returning to the ice with a clear mind and renewed energy. Thank you for respecting my privacy during this time and for your continued support. “With love, Patty.” Patrik Laine releases a statement on Instagram. “I have recognized the importance of prioritizing my mental health.” #CBJ pic.twitter.com/9EY4LkwaZx — Mark Scheig (@mark_scheig) January 28, 2024 Laine is still in the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program, though it seems he is close to returning to the ice given the trade winds are now blowing. Aside from his Flyers connections (for better or for worse) with Tortorella and Cam Atkinson, we must also recognize the state of his current contract. The 26-year-old is in the third year of a four-year, $34.8 million contract he signed with Columbus on July 22, 2022, and currently carries a cap hit of $8.7 million. Laine also has a 10-team no-trade list, though it’s unclear if the Flyers are one of those teams at this time. All of this considered, Laine does come with a lot of baggage, especially given his past relationship with Tortorella. But hey, maybe Laine has turned over a new leaf and is finally engaged and feeling well enough to get back to his best. The Blue Jackets have almost no leverage with the NHL trade talks going public, combined with Laine’s contract and recent history of missing games. As for the Flyers, they’ve had the NHL’s worst power play for three years running, and 70 of Laine’s 204 career NHL goals have come on the power play, including a staggering 20 power play goals in the 2017-18 season. For those who don’t enjoy math, over a third (34%) of Laine’s goals have come on the man advantage. The Flyers have two picks in the first and second rounds of the 2024 NHL Draft, with one of the seconds belonging to Columbus. Would sending the pick back to Columbus for Laine do the trick? Maybe. Maybe not. But if that’s all it takes to take a chance on two years of Laine, why not? If it doesn’t work, the Flyers can trade Laine again or let him walk in 2027. Rebuilds are all about taking risks, and this could be one of them. [...] Read more...
Sheng PengJune 16, 2024Welcome to the San Jose Hockey Now Podcast! This week, we have defenseman Henry Thrun to talk all about new San Jose Sharks head coach Ryan Warsofsky. (56:00) Warsofsky ran the defense last year and worked closely with all the defenders, Thrun included. Thrun shares his insights into Warsofsky’s coaching and development style, and how he thinks next year will be different than last year. But first, Sheng and Keegan share their initial reactions to the hiring of Ryan Warsofsky and discuss some of the industry chatter about his reputation and coaching style. (02:15) Why does Warsofsky, now the youngest coach in the NHL, make sense for a rebuilding San Jose Sharks team? (08:50) Will they keep Brian Wiseman as a power play coach for next season? (12:00) Who should they bring in to coach the defense? (15:05) Why Warsofsky despite the Sharks having a terrible defense and penalty kill last season? (19:20) Why not Marco Sturm? (22:30) Lastly, we focus a bit on the upcoming 2024 NHL Entry draft, including adding a few more confirmed names to the Sharks’ Combine interview list. (38:00) Now, it’s time for the Henry Thrun interview! (56:00) We start off hot: Ryan’s a coach who was part of a staff that led the San Jose Sharks to just 47 points last year. What’s going to be different next season? (56:30) How did Henry think he got better under Warsofsky? (57:32) What makes Warsofsky a strong development coach? (1:00:45) How does his coaching style compare to David Quinn’s? (1:02:20) Thrun shares just how direct Ryan’s communication can be, and how that’s helpful to his development. (1:03:55) Sheng asks about Warsofsky’s competitiveness and shares a story about Ryan knocking over former Shark Steven Lorentz in practice in the AHL. (1:08:21) Finally, Henry shares his offseason plans and outlines some plans for late-summer scrimmages with Will Smith and Collin Graf. (1:10:22) Subscribe to the San Jose Hockey Now Podcast YouTube channel! Listen to the San Jose Hockey Now Podcast — it’s a new link — on Apple Podcasts and Spotify and more. [...] Read more...
John PerrottoJune 16, 2024The Pittsburgh Pirates followed their worst game of 2024 with one of their better ones Sunday. Jason Delay’s bases-loaded triple capped a five-run sixth inning and the Pirates beat the Colorado Rockies 8-2 on Sunday at Coors Field in Denver. Jared Triolo hit a two-run single earlier in the inning before Delay put the Pirates ahead 6-0. On Saturday night, the Pirates were routed 16-4 by the Rockies but rebounded to win two of three in the series. The Pirates (34-37) had 15 hits on Sunday, including three by Rowdy Tellez and two by Andrew McCutchen, Oneil Cruz, Nick Gonzales, Triolo and Jack Suwinski. Tellez hit a two-run single in the seventh to push the lead to 8-0. Bryan Reynolds singled in the seventh inning to run his hitting streak to 14 games. Suwinski singled in the game’s first run in the second. Carmen Mlodzinski (1-2) pitched two scoreless innings in relief of opener Josh Fleming for the win. Fleming worked four shutout innings in his first appearance since being called up from Indianapolis on Friday. Fleming began the season with the Pirates and made one start as an opener and 16 relief appearances before being outrighted to Indianapolis on May 16. The left-hander becomes the ninth Pirates pitcher to make multiple starts and record a save in the same season since 2000 along with Roansy Contreras (2023), Nick Kingham (2019), Steven Brault (2017), Brad Lincoln (2012), Shawn Chacon (2007), Salomon Torres (2003), Brian Meadows (2003) and Omar Olivares (2001). The Rockies’ runs came on Jake Cave’s ground out in the seventh against Justin Bruihl and Nolan Jones’ RBI single off Kyle Nicolas in the ninth. Jones had three hits. Dakota Hudson (2-9) gave up three runs in 5.1 innings with five strikeouts and one walk as the Rockies dropped to 25-46, UP NEXT The Pirates play the Cincinnati Reds at 6:40 p.m. ET Monday at PNC Park to open a three-game series and six-game homestand that also includes three games against the Tampa Bay Rays. Pirates RHP Paul Skenes (3-0, 2.43) is scheduled to make his seventh major-league start and face fellow rookie RHP Carson Spiers (0-0, 2.33).   [...] Read more...
Mick ColageoJune 16, 2024General Manager Don Sweeney has before him his definitive opportunity to set in motion the next iteration of the Boston Bruins, and while the copycat National Hockey League tends to churn out many an imposter, it’s imperative that Sweeney identify the players who can make the Bruins the real deal. With $21.2 million to spend under the $88 million salary cap for the 2024-25 season, not counting the $5 million the Bruins are likely to move in a Linus Ullmark trade, this is Sweeney’s big chance to make anywhere from one to three, key acquisitions that would complete his inner picture of a Cup contender. Let’s assume restricted free agent Jeremy Swayman will earn $8 million per year on a long-term contract and that unrestricted free agents Danton Heinen and Patrick Maroon return for, say, $3 million and $2 million respectively. The Bruins would still have $8 million in cap space plus Ullmark’s $5 million presuming a trade. If Sweeney feels strongly enough about his AHL goalies – Brandon Bussi is RFA – then a veteran backup won’t be an offseason priority. What can he do with $13 million, and will the fact Brad Marchand and Trent Frederic have one year remaining on their deals factor? (Frederic is also UFA in 2025). Assuming an Ullmark trade – Sweeney has said he prefers to keep his award-winning tandem intact – $13 million should translate into two impact players, one of which we can assume will be a centerman. The most-discussed Elias Lindholm is apparently going to the open market, and it may help the Bruins’ cause in both competition and commitment that the all-purpose center’s stock had dropped by the time the Canucks bowed out of the playoffs. Vegas center Chandler Stephenson, an integral component of the Golden Knights’ run to the Cup in 2023, is a free agent and only one year older then the 29-year-old Lindholm. The championship chemistry established by Carolina forward Martin Necas in a trio with David Pastrnak and Pavel Zacha has fueled speculation as to the Bruins’ interest at a time when things are reportedly cool between the RFA center and Hurricanes management. The competition lies in the fact several NHL teams have this newfound flexibility, which should rachet up the urgency on the phones as the draft approaches. We’ve discussed in this space two basic core models that reappear, over and over and again and again on the barrel of the Stanley Cup: Two top-line-quality centermen or a “Big 3” defense. When they won the Stanley Cup in 2011, the Boston Bruins (very much like the Pittsburgh Penguins) were built around two elite centermen, Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. Strength down the middle has been the Bruins’ roster priority throughout the NHL’s expansion era (1967-), so help me Harry Sinden. Sinden’s philosophy was not unique but rather conventional. Look at the Olympic rosters put together by Team Canada for best-on-best Winter Games. In the 2010 Vancouver Games, eight of 13 forwards on the Canadian roster were centers, a glaring reflection on management’s long-held belief that a center can play wing, but a wing cannot necessarily play center. During his nine seasons as chief design architect of the Boston Bruins’ roster, Sweeney has looked for versatility in just about every forward acquisition he has made. Primary examples include Charlie Coyle, David Backes, Morgan Geekie and Rick Nash. As an acorn from Hockey Canada’s tree, Sweeney has not fallen far, and it’s no surprise given his successes as Bruins GM why he has been selected for the top management role in the 2025 Four Nations Face-Off and a support role for the 2026 Winter Games. You can argue the merit of any acquisition Sweeney has made based on other factors within and without the organization at the time. For example, should the Bruins have let Ryan McDonagh come into their division and to their strongest rival when they badly needed a bridge between Zdeno Chara and Charlie McAvoy but instead acquired Nash? Even without the terrible misfortune of a career-ending concussion, the rangy Nash was on the back nine of his storied career. The post-Bergeron/Krejci Bruins are now modeled toward a Big 3 defense core built around McAvoy, Hampus Lindholm and Brandon Carlo, but a matured strength at center (i.e. help for Charlie Coyle) remains the big fish for this offseason. Something else to keep in mind as NHL Draft weekend approaches and when the free-agent signing period opens on July 1: Sweeney has never and would never place his own hide ahead of the well-being of the franchise. For instance, if the best deal the Bruins can get for Linus Ullmark this summer is to New Jersey for the Devils’ first-round pick (10th overall), then Sweeney will not hesitate to make that deal, all the while knowing he is at the same time passing up an opportunity to acquire a player who would make the 2024-25 Bruins more formidable and, by extension, being a more successful GM. If it meant sacrificing his career, Sweeney would do right by the Boston Bruins. That is a big reason why he is still guiding the ship. That, and the inescapable reality that sports management is a results business. During Sweeney’s decade on the job, the Boston Bruins have been among the more consistent NHL teams. Since he has hand-picked his own head coach, the Bruins have averaged 50 wins per regular season. The problem during his tenure has been the emerging trend of the Bruins’ finishes not measuring up to their best starts, and that raises the oft-discussed dichotomy of regular-season versus playoff hockey. Reprioritizing personnel decisions with this in mind has been a matter of open dialogue for team president Cam Neely. Especially given the competition traditionally presented by the open market and the overpayment traditionally awarded the hottest name(s), the suggestion here has been to identify opportunities to trend the Boston Bruins toward the kind of players that will more likely hold up to the physical challenges of playoff hockey. Even though the Florida Panthers played Game 4 of the Cup Final at Edmonton exactly as they played Games 1 and 2 of the 2023 Cup Final at Las Vegas, there was a third-period scenario that bears out attention. An outnumbered hockey team is more likely to take heavy hits from the opposition. When killing a penalty, the team making the clear is vulnerable to targeted hits. Conversely, the team on the powerplay has the luxury of throwing the body thanks to numbers on the ice to cover for players out of position. In the third period of Game 4, the Oilers had a powerplay and the Panthers, hopelessly out of the game on the scoreboard, launched the big hits. This should have led to quick execution and even more goals for Edmonton, but it did not. Instead, the Oilers looked rushed to avoid the contact, and to some degree the Panthers recovered a measure of their swagger. Contented with their lopsided victory, the Oilers were fine with how the game finished. But they let Sam Bennett punch Connor McDavid in the head, and the only thing that looked good in the game’s final 10 minutes was the scoreboard. Be very surprised if Florida fails to wrap this series up on Tuesday night at home. [...] Read more...
Marc DumontJune 16, 2024The 2024 NHL Entry Draft is less than two weeks away, which means it’s time to take a look at how the draft picks owned by the Montreal Canadiens compare to the pre-draft value of the picks from various years. To do this, we will reference Michael Schuckers’ draft pick value chart, which gives us an exact value for every pick. It’s important to note that this is pre-draft value, and the moment a player is picked, all bets are off. For example, you’d be hard-pressed to argue Lane Hutson, who was drafted late in the second round of the 2022 Draft, carries a lower value than Filip Mesar, who was chosen in the first round of the very same draft. More than anything, this gives fans a good idea of the overall value of the draft picks owned by the Habs. We should also note that while there’s a clear discrepancy in the pre-draft value of Marc Bergevin’s picks (blue) compared to Kent Hughes’ (red), context is key. For the most part, Bergevin was attempting to find success in the playoffs, while Hughes has been slowly, yet surely stockpiling picks while rebuilding the team. The former does not lend itself well to good pre-draft value, while the latter certainly does. Canadiens Projected Draft Pick Value, Year-To-Year (2012-2024) 2024 represents the year in which the Montreal Canadiens are expected to make the most draft picks in recent team history, with 12. We have to go back to 1994 to find a year in which the Canadiens made more than 12 picks, though the draft also incorporated 11 rounds back then, which goes to show Hughes has done a good job adding improving the overall quantity of picks. For the record, the Canadiens drafted Brad Brown 18th overall in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft, though they also managed to draft two goalies who went on to enjoy quite successful NHL careers in Jose Theodore (2nd round, 44th overall) and Tomas Vokoun (9th round, 226th overall). As for the quality, it will be virtually impossible to beat the pre-draft value of 2022, seeing as the Habs owned the first (Juraj Slafkosvky), 26th (Mesar), 33rd (Owen Beck), and 62nd overall (Hutson) picks. But if we eliminate the value of the picks chosen beyond the third round, 2024 ends up having a slightly better value than 2023, though the difference is negligible. Montreal Canadiens Draft Pick Value – Brass Tacks Of course, things can (and will) change. 2023’s pre-draft value included picks No.31 and No.37, which were traded to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for Alex Newhook. The same type of trade can be expected this year, which means there are healthy odds the Montreal Canadiens will enter the 2024 NHL Entry Draft with a lower pre-draft value than we are currently projecting. But if that’s the case, they’ll also enter the draft with an additional NHL player who can make an immediate impact, which can hold a little more value than the mystery box that is an NHL pick. MUST READ: 2024-25 Montreal Canadiens Salary Cap Projection – A Summer Of Opportunity Any way you cut it, the Habs will be in a good position to not only strengthen their NHL roster, but their prospect pool as well, which is exactly what you want to see from a team in the midst of a rebuild. On that note, seeing as management is looking to take the next step in the rebuild, the 2024 NHL Entry Draft may represent the final time Kent Hughes and Co. will be able to accumulate rich pre-draft value as he did in the last three seasons. [...] Read more...
Jonathan BaileyJune 16, 2024Sometimes, having a career-best season won’t clear your name from NHL trade rumors. And in some cases, that might make the trade rumors even worse. That seems to be the case for Philadelphia Flyers forward Morgan Frost, who has once again been pegged as a top NHL trade target. NHL insider Frank Seravalli revealed a list of his top-25 trade targets on the market on Friday, and it was headlined by the usual suspects, such as Mitchell Marner, Martin Necas, Linus Ullmark, Jacob Markstrom, and others. Towards the bottom of Seravalli’s list were some younger, buy-low trade targets, including Frost, who checked in at No. 17. Said Seravalli, “After a rocky year that saw Frost sit as a healthy scratch for a chunk of time, it sure ended well. Frost closed the campaign with 30 points in 44 games in the 2024 calendar year. One thing that doesn’t appear to be changing: John Tortorella as Flyers coach. While some pushback from Frost seemed to do him well in Tortorella’s books, it’s not entirely clear whether they’ll ever see eye-to-eye.” Another critical piece of information is the fact that Frost, only recently turning 25 years old, was benched by Tortorella for nearly two full periods of the Flyers’ final game of the season. Recall that the Flyers were facing the Washington Capitals in a Game 82 that was ‘win-or-go-home’, and the playoff circumstances forced Tortorella to pull rookie goalie Sam Ersson for an extra attacker in a tied game because a regulation win was required. In a game where the Flyers desperately needed goals and offense to break the tie and win in regulation, Frost played only 8:02. Bobby Brink and Cam Atkinson, who were also benched, were the only Flyers who played less in that game. Seravalli concluded his addition of Frost by remarking that “The Flyers see plenty of upside on Frost and wouldn’t hesitate to keep him. They’re also interested in anything creative thrown their way, so they’d be open to moving Frost and Joel Farabee and others in the right deal. But there hasn’t been much action on that front yet.” “Yet” is doing a lot of heavy lifting here. Note that the 2024 NHL Draft is just under two weeks away, and once we get closer to the draft, we’ll have a better indication of where things are headed for both Frost and the Flyers. Frost finished the 2023-24 season with 13 goals, a career-high 28 assists, and 41 points in 71 games after scoring 19 goals, 27 assists, and 46 points in 81 games in 2022-23. Frost’s 0.577 points per game in 2023-24 was slightly higher than the 0.567 points per game he averaged in 2022-23; he has one year remaining on his contract at a $2.1 million cap hit and will become a restricted free agent in 2025. [...] Read more...
Danny DemilioJune 16, 2024The Pittsburgh Pirates were crushed 16-4 against the Colorado Rockies on Saturday night. Starting pitcher Jared Jones and a host of relievers were shelled in the loss. On offense, Andrew McCutchen hit his 10th homer of the season and Nick Gonzales also went deep. The Pirates (33-37) will attempt to pick up a series win on Sunday afternoon against the Rockies (25-45). Happy Father’s Day to all the dads reading! First pitch is set for 3:10 ET and the game will be aired on SportsNet Pittsburgh. Weather Mostly sunny with temperatures in the 90’s. Winds ENE at 8 mph. The Pittsburgh Pirates Will Send Out LHP Josh Fleming (1-1, 5.68 ERA) This will be Fleming’s second start of the season and his first appearance since the Pirates added him to the active roster. His other start came on Apr. 24 against the Brewers, when he allowed a pair of unearned runs in 2.1 innings. Fleming is a ground ball specialist with over 55% of balls put in play on the ground. This will be Fleming’s first time facing the Rockies. The Colorado Rockies Will Send Out RHP Dakota Hudson (2-8, 4.87 ERA) Hudson was solid in his last outing against the Twins. The right-hander allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits in 6.2 innings pitched. Over his last four starts, Hudson has a 3.00 ERA and has held opponents to a .214 batting average. Hudson has really struggled pitching at Coors Field this season. In six starts, he’s 0-3 with a 7.57 ERA and has issued more walks (20) than strikeouts recorded (17). In 11 appearances against Pittsburgh, Hudson is 2-1 with a 4.82 ERA. Rockies Hitters vs. Fleming N/A Pirates Hitters vs. Hudson Bryan Reynolds: 2 for 12, one double, three walks, one strikeout Andrew McCutchen: 2 for 10, one RBI, one walk Michael A. Taylor: 4 for 9, one home run, two RBIs, two strikeouts Rowdy Tellez: 1 for 9, one double, two RBIs, three strikeouts Yasmani Grandal: 0 for 9, one walk, four strikeouts Jack Suwinski: 1 for 5, one RBI Ke’Bryan Hayes: 0 for 4, two walks Oneil Cruz: 2 for 3, one strikeout Edward Olivares: 2 for 3 Connor Joe: 0 for 3 Tidbits Andrew McCutchen’s solo home run against the Rockies gave him 790 RBIs with the Pirates. He’s now tied with Gus Suhr for seventh on Pittsburgh’s all-time list. Nick Gonzales’ .851 OPS since making his debut on May 10 is second among MLB second basemen behind only the Cardinals’ Nolan Gorman (.907). Bryan Reynolds collected a pair of hits in the loss and extended his hitting streak to 13 games. It’s the second-longest active streak in the league behind Alex Bregman (16 games). Links The Other Side: Tyler Glasnow’s Time With Pirates Now Faint Memory Pirates Minor League Report: Khristian Curtis Mows Through Blue Jays Jared Jones, Relievers Smacked Around in 16-4 Loss to Rockies Pirates Place Henry Davis on Concussion IL, Call up Jason Delay Around the Network: Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Dan’s Daily: Panthers Drilled; Laine Debate; Potential Penguins Change Steelers Now: Steelers WRs Coach Thinks George Pickens Is on the Brink of Stardom Pittsburgh Sports Now: Pitt Staff Reaches Out to 2026 Prospects as Contact Period Begins [...] Read more...
Vinnie PariseJune 16, 2024The Edmonton Oilers turned to Duncan Keith for a little pregame speech Saturday. Down 3-0, why not turn to the defenseman who saw his fair share of comebacks and nearly pulled out an 0-3 comeback in 2011 against the Vancouver Canucks? Knoblauch shares that Duncan Keith was around the Oilers dressing room yesterday. Nothing formal. Says Keith was sharing his experience being down 3-0 in 2011 with some. Chicago forced a Game 7. While they lost in OT (Burrows), a lot of lessons to be shared. #Oilers pic.twitter.com/3fallgvLxI — Tony Brar 🚀 (@TonyBrarOTV) June 15, 2024 It spurred something–along with some desperation–in the Oilers 8-1 shellacking of the Panthers Saturday night. Maybe the Oilers run on Duncan Keith and his words? There’s no doubt Keith’s leadership was a major strength for the Blackhawks locker room during their Cup runs. Could it do the trick as a former player watching from the outside now? We’ll see Tuesday night. A Happy Father’s Day to all of our readers and those who follow us here at Chicago Hockey Now. Blackhawks In Case You Missed It The Chicago Blackhawks should avoid Valeri Nichuskin this off-season for a few reasons. Liam Greentree is someone that the Chicago Blackhawks could consider drafting with the 18th overall pick in the draft. Avoiding Patrick Kane is a missed opportunity for the Chicago Blackhawks late in his career. The Chicago Blackhawks are involved in many trade rumors early in the off-season. Stanley Cup Final Coverage From Florida Hockey Now On Tuesday night, the Stanley Cup Final will have a game five between the Edmonton Oilers and Florida Panthers in Sunrise, Florida. The Florida Panthers must learn how to close out a Stanley Cup Final series quickly. National Hockey Now New Jersey Hockey Now: The New Jersey Devils seem to be at a standoff with the Calgary Flames. San Jose Hockey Now: New San Jose Sharks coach Ryan Warsofsky has a few excellent qualities about him. Boston Hockey Now: David Quinn is joining the Pittsburgh Penguins as a member of Mike Sullivan’s staff. [...] Read more...
Evan RawalJune 16, 2024Every NHL team, when putting together their rankings, also puts together a “do not draft” list for their team. Players make it onto those lists for various reasons. Maybe they’ve got off-ice issues that simply can’t be ignored. Maybe they can’t skate and the team thinks it will hold that player back from taking that next step. Or maybe they just can’t think the game at a high enough level. For whatever reason, teams try to avoid certain players. The prospect pool for the Colorado Avalanche is lacking talent and depth, but there are certain principles they should stand by at that 24th pick. Their list of players to avoid at the NHL Draft is likely different than mine, but here’s three I think the Avalanche should stay away from with the 24th pick. W/C Trevor Connelly Looking strictly at just talent alone, Connelly would probably be a top 10 pick. His hands are ridiculous and his skating is top notch. That’s not why there are some NHL teams out there that simply won’t take him. The reason why some teams will avoid him have to do with some off-ice issues that have followed him. They are…unpleasant to read. The two situations are extremely different, and Colorado might not even have the chance to pick Connelly at 24 (I think he goes before their pick), but given what has happened with Valeri Nichushkin the last two postseasons, drafting someone with some off-ice concerns wouldn’t make much sense to me. Connelly would almost certainly become the most talented prospect in Colorado’s system, but I don’t think it would be worth it. I’d steer clear of him. The things I’ve heard when digging around aren’t great. C Julius Miettinen There are a few big centers that could be available around 24, and if I’m being honest, none of them really excite me. I could be convinced with Cole Beaudoin or Sacha Boisvert, but Miettinen doesn’t do it for me. He’s a massive guy, coming in at 6’3″ and over 200 pounds, but I’m always leery of these big guys who dominate in Juniors. Are they maxed out? Is there much room for growth? I have similar concerns about Beaudoin, but I’d take a chance on him over a guy like Miettinen at 24. D E.J. Emery and Charlie Elick Okay, picking two is kind of cheating, but they’re both very similar players. For two big guys, both are fantastic skaters and defend really well. That’s not the concern here. There’s definitely value in big defensemen that can move, but you have to have some puck skill to play in the NHL now. I’m still not sure either of these guys have enough puck skill to justify taking them at 24. Heck, Emery played almost 100 games and didn’t score a single goal. I don’t mind either as prospects, and of the two, prefer Emery, but I’d feel much more comfortable if one of these two is selected after trading down and grabbing another asset. [...] Read more...
Dan KingerskiJune 16, 2024The Stanley Cup is the reason they play the game. To win is the only goal for players, coaches, and executives. But is it the Pittsburgh Penguins’ realistic goal within the near or even intermediate future? Well, no. The Penguins hoisted three trophies. Sidney Crosby flexed his muscles with a pair of Conn Smythe trophies. Evgeni Malkin has etched his name on the same trophy, and the crew, with Marc-Andre Fleury, Kris Letang, and a few others, will walk together forever. Penguins fans aren’t usually ones for nostalgia, unless it involves Fleury returning. While crosstown neighbors, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the faithful drip in nostalgia for the 1970s and Super Bowl trophies, Penguins fans have always been about what’s next. What’s next isn’t as much fun. There are no parades or magazine covers. There is not now nor should there be shame if the core of the Penguins never again lifts that glorious 34 pounds of silver. Sure, president of hockey operations/GM Kyle Dubas will try. Crosby will drag his team forward with all his might. And stranger things have happened. In 2009, Tom Watson played in the final pairing of the British Open at 59 years old. In 1991, 39-year-old Jimmy Connors made it to the U.S. Open semi-final. There are moments when the greats defy age for a moment, taking fans on a nostalgia-filled joyride, adding pages to the already full scrapbook. It’s possible. Perhaps Erik Karlsson will turn up the heat next season, and Tristan Jarry will find his true potential and claim the net without stumbling late in the season. Malkin will strengthen his legs, and we will again see that gallop. And sure, Dubas could work magic with the roster, turning superfluous veterans into invaluable cogs that fill one net and protect the other. Perhaps the hockey gods will visit coach Mike Sullivan in his sleep with an epiphany that redefines the game like the Penguins did in 2016 when they skated circles around the league. Sure, it could happen. But it probably won’t. And therein lies the next chapter of the Pittsburgh Penguins. It should be enough just to make the playoffs and to be competitive. Perhaps fans must learn to enjoy the journey instead of demanding the highest result. Struggling and fighting to be in the top half is where it’s headed, and it will be that way for a good while. The Philadelphia Flyers haven’t won in my lifetime, they haven’t lifted the Stanley Cup since Gerald Ford was president. I’ll give you a moment to snicker. The Toronto Maple Leafs have been perennially competitive but haven’t lifted the Stanley Cup since Lyndon Johnson secretly sent troops into Laos under the umbrella of the Vietnam War and Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. I only vaguely remember the New York Islanders dynasty. Buffalo, Winnipeg, Florida, San Jose, and Nashville have waited decades to see Lord Stanley dance upon their streets. The Florida Panthers should deliver on that promise this week, but should the rest fold? Should fans turn off the TV, forgo their tickets, and hang a banner, “Call me when we win the Cup”? Of course not. It’s a matter of perspective. As Florida prepares for their first Cup after more than 30 years in the league, and others watch wistfully, hoping their team will soon have their turn, it becomes a matter of rooting for the next step. The Penguins had their turn on center stage. If they didn’t keep trying to win it, they would be rightfully booed out of the building, but watching the Cup Final unfold, the thought occurs that success for the Penguins must be redefined. Understanding their current situation is why Dubas said he’s hunting for more draft picks and prospects. Unfortunately, understanding the Penguins’ situation also means adjusting external expectations. It means taking solace in little victories and lower expectations. It means rooting for the young players without expecting them to save the team; there are no players in the pipeline nearly capable of that. It means rooting for Dubas to properly execute his plan, whether that is to retool or rebuild or something in the middle. Right now, Dubas’s plan seems to be the impossible dichotomy of building for the future while supporting the current team. As fans of the Generation Next team of the early 2000s found, there can be joy in the hockey and players without the glory. There’s no nobility in shunning a team that has already won three Stanley Cups. None of the above means we’ll ease up on coverage or expectations to be successful. Florida retooled on the fly with a bevy of trades and bargain-free agents. The process took only a couple or few years. That’s the goal, and that’s the standard by which it makes sense to judge Dubas, but it doesn’t yet make sense to judge the Penguins, Crosby or even Dubas by the Stanley Cup standard any longer. [...] Read more...
Dan KelleyJune 16, 2024The New England Patriots can have up to 90 players under contract during the offseason. Patriots Football Now will profile all 90 players (though there are currently 91 on the roster) over the upcoming months. Today’s featured player is wide receiver JuJu Smth-Schuster. JuJu Smith-Schuster Smith-Schuster is a 27-year-old wide receiver who just completed his first season in New England. He finished 2023 with 29 receptions, 260 receiving yards, and one touchdown. Smith-Schuster appeared in 11 games last season for the Patriots. Several medical issues prevented him from playing in more games. He entered the season with known knee issues. During the season he suffered a concussion, which caused him to miss two games. During his best game of the season against Pittsburgh in Week 14 he injured his ankle. The injury kept him sidelined for the remainder of the season. JuJu Smith-Schuster had a career year with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2018. He had 111 receptions, 1,486 yards, and seven touchdowns in his second NFL season. However, that was his only 1,000-yard campaign in his five years in Pittsburgh. He played one season with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2022, winning a Super Bowl, before joining the New England Patriots in free agency. Also Read – Sixteen NFL Free Agents Who Should Interest the Patriots The Patriots signed Smith-Schuster in free agency in 2023. His contract was similar to that of Jakobi Meyers, the Patriots leading receiver who had just left New England to sign with Las Vegas  In the first season following their respective deals, Meyers was significantly more productive. While Smith-Schuster was not responsible for the Patriots’ personnel decisions, the comparison did him no favors in winning over Patriots fans. (via Stathead.com) Pro Football Focus viewed Smith-Schuster unfavorably in 2023. His offensive grade for the season was 57.0, the worst of his career. For reference, a grade below 70.0 isn’t considered worthy of starting. A grade below 60.0 represents being replaceable by a non-roster player. His PFF had been 70.1 in 2022, with a career-best of  81.8 in 2018. Contract Status JuJu Smith-Schuster still has two years remaining on his contract with New England. However, According to Patriots salary cap expert Miguel Benzan, parting ways with the wide receiver would affect the salary cap situation as follows: Post-June 2 Cut – $267K in 2024; +$7.5M in 2025 Post-June 2 Trade +$6.7M in 2024; +$7.5 M in 2025 Wide Receivers Group The New England Patriots have 12 wide receivers on their 90-man offseason roster. The unit can be broken down into four groups. Returning Patriots: JuJu Smith-Schuster, Kendrick Bourne, DeMario Douglas, Jalen Reagor, Tyquan Thornton, and Kayshon Boutte. NFL Veterans: K.J. Osborn and Kawaan Baker. 2024 NFL Draft Picks: Ja’Lynn Polk and Javon Baker. UDFA: David Wallis and JaQuae Jackson. Outlook for JuJu Smith-Schuster Jerod Mayo called the Patriots wide receiver room a “wide-open competition” heading into training camp. Kendrick Bourne, still recovering from an ACL injury that ended his 2023 season, could remain inactive to start the season. This would give the rest of the group additional opportunities to earn a roster spot in training camp. DeMario Douglas and rookies Ja’Lynn Polk and Javon Baker all seem like locks to make the 53-man roster, barring something unforeseen. Kawaan Baker and the undrafted free agents all seem like long shots to make the active roster, more likely vying for a practice squad spot. That leaves five veterans vying for two or three spots even if Bourne begins the year on PUP or IR. Smith-Schuster has had the most productive NFL career of anyone in the Patriots wide receiver room. It’s likely he never replicates his numbers from his peak in Pittsburgh. However, only two seasons ago he was WR1 on a Kansas City team that won the Super Bowl. He is reportedly healthier than at any point last season. If Jerod Mayo is genuine about it being a “wide-open competition” the opportunity is there for JuJu Smith-Schuster to succeed. If not, the New England Patriots can part ways without much financial repercussion. [...] Read more...
Kevin AllenJune 16, 2024The Stanley Cup was in the building. The Florida Panthers had a chance to win the first Stanley Cup in franchise history. They could have been the first team to register a sweep in the SCF since the Detroit Red Wings did it against the Washington Capitals in 1998. Instead, Florida goalie Sergei Bobrovsky wasn’t as sharp.  The Panthers’ offense wasn’t as impressive. And the team’s impressive defensive coverage was absent. “Florida’s usually gridlocked defenses loosened up and it opened up the dam for Connor McDavid & Co. to run the Panthers — and the Stanley Cup — out of their building,” FHN’s Colby Guy wrote. The question is whether the Panthers lost their focus, perhaps caught up in the excitement of anticipated success. “The Cup is going to be in the building at some point anyway, so we have to be ready for that,” captain Sasha Barkov said. “And I don’t think it was a distraction for us. I don’t think so.” "Not a lot of silver linings here people. Bob got some rest. We'll take that." Paul Maurice on the Panthers' 8-1 defeat in Game 4. pic.twitter.com/jCvX5wK9eP — Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) June 16, 2024 Red Wings In Case You Missed It Three potential UFA forwards the Red Wings should stay away from if they can’t re-sign Patrick Kane. Grand Rapids Griffins defenseman Simon Edvinsson is the only pick on the AHL Future Stars team. Paywall story: With Edvinsson projected to be on Detroit’ defense next season. Axel Sandin Pellikka is No. 1 on a list of top Detroit prospects on defense. Red Wings Offseason The Edmonton Oilers’ 8-1 thrashing of the Edmonton Oilers set a new NHL record for the largest margin of victory in a Stanley Cup Final game for a team facing elimination. The Red Wings were involved — and not in a good way — the previous record game. In the 1942 Stanley Cup Final, the Red Wings held a 3-1 series lead against the Maple Leafs and lost Game 5 by a 9-3 decision. The Leafs won the series. Those 1942 Red Wings are the only team in NHL history to own a 3-0 series lead in the SCF and not win the Cup. Hockey Now Network Colorado: Evan Rawal looks at who the Avalanche will select with their first round pick. Colorado Avalanche. Philadelphia: Flyers sign veteran Latvian forward who had been playing in the Swedish Hockey League. Philadelphia Flyers. San Jose: Sheng Peng looks at 12 salary cap issues around the league that the Sharks could use to their advantage. San Jose Sharks.        [...] Read more...
John PerrottoJune 16, 2024EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part of a recurring series that spotlights Pittsburgh Pirates-oriented news and notes from their opponents. Tyler Glasnow has understandably put his time with the Pittsburgh Pirates in the past. The big right-hander did not meet great expectations during his first three major-league seasons from 2016-18 with the Pirates. He was 3-11 with a 5.79 ERA in 56 games, including 17 starts. So, it was not necessarily a big deal coming back to PNC Park last week for the first time since he was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays in 2018. Glasnow is now in his first year with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Santa Clarita, Calif., native couldn’t be happier. “It’s like a dream come true to wear the Dodger uniform,” Glasnow said during his return trip. The Pirates once dreamed big about Glasnow. However, he was a major disappointment. “I never felt like I could pitch the way I wanted,” Glasnow said. “That changed when I got traded to the Rays. But I can’t make excuses. I pretty much sucked in Pittsburgh.” Ray Searage was the pitching coach when Glasnow broke into the big leagues with the Pirates. Searage, under orders from the front office, tried to turn Glasnow into a sinkerballer as the Pirates pretty much had a cookie-cutter template for pitchers during that time. The 6-foot-8 Glasnow is a power pitcher and started throwing his fastball to the top of the strike zone – and overpowering opposing hitters – once he got to Tampa Bay. Rays pitcher coach Kyle Snyder is also 6-8. “It was like he immediately knew what I needed to do, and he understands the challenges that come from being a tall pitcher, especially with stuff like your delivery,” Glasnow said. “We just clicked right away.” However, Glasnow reached the point where the thrifty Rays could no longer afford him – sound familiar? Glasnow’s salary was $25 million last season. So, the Rays and Dodgers agreed to a tentative trade in the offseason in which Glasnow had a 48-hour window to agree to a contract extension. The 30-year-old signed a five-year, $136.5-million deal that runs him through the 2028 season. Glasnow and the Chicago White Sox’s Garrett Crochet are tied for the major-league lead with 116 strikeouts. Glasnow has a 6-5 record and a 3.24 ERA in 14 starts. “I knew I was going to get traded over the winter and you hear all the rumors, and you wonder what is going to happen,” Glasnow said. “If I could have picked any team I wanted to be traded to, it would have been the Dodgers. I was so excited.” And his time with the Pirates seems like a lifetime ago. “They’ve made a lot of changes since I was here and I hardly know anyone,” Glasnow said. Walker Buehler, Pirates Never Close Dodgers right-hander Walker Buehler was selected by the Pirates in the 14th round of the 2012 amateur draft following his graduation from Henry Clay High School in Louisville, Ky. Buehler had accepted a scholarship to Vanderbilt. He told teams he would only sign if drafted by the end of the supplemental first round. Buehler also wanted a $1-million signing bonus. The Pirates didn’t meet Buehler’s requirements. Three years later, the Dodgers drafted Buehler in the first round, and he has a 47-20 record over seven seasons. “We talked with the Pirates, but it never got serious,” Buehler said. Michael A. Taylor Fan Club The Minnesota Twins did not attempt to re-sign center fielder Michael A. Taylor in free agency even though he hit a career-high 21 home runs last season and played good defense. Taylor wound up signing with the Pirates late in spring training. Twins center fielder Byron Buxton was limited to being the designated hitter in 2023 because of knee problems. However, Buxton is healthy again and back at his old position, so there was no room on the roster for Taylor. Taylor made a strong impression during his one season with the Twins. “He’s one of the best teammates I’ve ever had,” Buxton said. “He’s just a great guy and had a great year for us. It’s too bad there wasn’t a way we could have brought him back.” [...] Read more...
Colby GuyJune 16, 2024EDMONTON — For the first time all postseason, Sergei Bobrovsky got run out of the building. With the Edmonton Oilers firing on all cylinders in an 8-1 victory over the Florida Panthers in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, they forced Florida to make a goalie change less than five minutes into the second period. Bobrovsky gave up five goals on 16 shots with the Oilers bursting past the Panthers for one rush chance after another. When Darnell Nurse beat him with a shot from the slot off of a quick drop pass by Connor McDavid 4:59 into the second period, Paul Maurice figured that was that. “He’d had enough. If you think you’re mounting a comeback, rarely does the goalie make a difference for you,” Maurice said. “There’s something that happens at the other end of the ice. He’s played an awful lot of hockey. My number on Bob is probably five in general. That was the decision.” For The Best Coverage of the Florida Panthers, Anywhere Subscribe to Florida Hockey Now Today! Coming into the game, Bobrovsky was the odds-on favorite to win the Conn Smythe Trophy if Florida wins this series — of which it still holds a commanding 3-1 lead with Game 5 in Sunrise on Tuesday night. Bobrovsky had a .953 save percentage, a 1.33 goals-against average and a shutout in the first three games of the series. Eventually, the dam was going to break when he was facing so many high-danger chances as was the case in Game 4. “Yeah, I mean, he’s been unbelievable all year, all playoffs. That was more of a wake-up call to the forwards and the D as opposed to (him),” Matthew Tkachuk said. “It had nothing to do with Bob. It was more of a wake-up call to everybody. We know he’s going to come back better than ever and with that being said, none of them were his fault. I still thought he made some unreal saves. Everybody’s going to come back ready to go on whatever day we play next, game 5 at home.” Anthony Stolarz stopped 16 of 19 shots in relief while behind a similarly shaky Florida defense. Again, Stolarz came in down 5-1 and the game was all but decided. “He was good,’’ Maurice said of Stolarz. “The guy’s watched a lot of hockey for a while. That’s what you need. He comes in and he’s going to battle his butt off. It was great for him to get in. There are not a lot of silver linings here, people, but Bob got some rest. I’ll take that.” For More FHN Coverage of the Florida Panthers: Like our Facebook Page Follow us on Twitter: @GeorgeRichards // @ColbyDGuy // @TheGovMan Subscribe to the FHN YouTube Channel Visit the FHN Team Shop at TeePublic and RedBubble 2024 STANLEY CUP FINAL EDMONTON OILERS VS. FLORIDA PANTHERS  GAME 5 Panthers Lead Best of 7 Series 3-1 When: Tuesday, 8 p.m. Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise National TV: ABC Streaming: ESPN+/Hulu Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app Series Schedule, All Games 8 p.m. on ABC — Game 1: @Florida 3, Edmonton 0; Game 2: @Florida 4, Edmonton 1; Game 3: Florida 4, @Edmonton 3; Game 4: @Edmonton 8, Florida 1; Game 5: Edmonton at Florida, Tuesday; Game 6*: Florida at Edmonton, Friday; Game 7*:Edmonton at Florida, Monday June 24. (*) – If Necessary How They Got Here — Florida: d. Tampa Bay 4-1, Boston 4-2, New York Rangers 4-2; Edmonton: d. Los Angeles 4-1, Vancouver 4-3, Dallas 4-2. This Season (Florida Won 2-0) — At Florida: Panthers 5, Oilers 3 (Nov. 20). At Edmonton: Panthers 5, Oilers 2 (Dec. 17). Last Season: Edmonton Won 2-0 All-time Regular Season Series: Oilers lead 23-16-0, 3 ties Postseason History: First Meeting [...] Read more...
George Richards, FHN PublisherJune 16, 2024The Edmonton Oilers have dug themselves in a deep hole in the Stanley Cup Final, but star Connor McDavid said the pressure is off his team. When you’re down 3-0 in a series, there is really nothing left to lose. McDavid and the Oilers threw everything they had at the Florida Panthers on Saturday night, taking a 5-goal lead into the third before leaving their home fans giddy with an 8-1 win in Game 4. The Panthers come home holding a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-7 series and can claim the Stanley Cup on Tuesday night in Sunrise. McDavid said the Oilers were playing fast and loose down 3-0 — and it showed. “Obviously we needed it, it feels good,’’ he told Hockey Night in Canada after the win. “It feels good to survive another day, go down to Florida and look to do the same. “We felt like it was going to break, we would find a way to score some goals and we did tonight. We have to repeat it. … There was nothing to panic about. We’re still in a hole but there’s no pressure on us, really. We just need to find a way to get a win in Game 5 and go from there.’’ For The Best Coverage of the Florida Panthers, Anywhere Subscribe to Florida Hockey Now Today! McDavid certainly was not the only Edmonton player to convey those thoughts. It is obviously Edmonton coach Kris Knoblauch had a message to send to his team — and it apparently got through. “Just one win but we live to fight another day,’’ Zach Hyman said. “It’s been the feeling the whole year, we have been on the ropes for a lot of it. Facing adversity seems to bring out the best in us. One down and we’re off to Florida. “I think we’re playing free right now, we have nothing to lose any more. We’re just going out there and playing. We have to keep up the pressure on them.” Florida coach Paul Maurice said the Panthers were not anywhere near there usual selves — they came in winning the previous six playoff games and were trying to pull off the first Final sweep since 1998 — but he is not worried about it. Those who think Maurice is going to tear his team a new one obviously has not been paying attention. “It’s the first opportunity we’ve had as a franchise, really, to feel the two days, the excitement of it, the emotion of it,’’ Maurice said of coming in to Game 4 up 3-0 and having the chance to take the Stanley Cup home. “We’ll learn how to channel that; it’s all part of this process. … You just re-establish your game and you come back in the fight. “I’ll fire up one cliché for you: We came into Edmonton to get a split and we got what we needed. But there’s also a reason for that. Most cliches have some merit to them. In general, things will be far more extreme outside your room than inside. At 3-0 we’re not sitting there, you know, getting the engravers out. We lost the game tonight, pretty sure, we have to check but there’s going to be a Game 5. And there we go.” Yes, both the Panthers and Oilers will be flying southeast in the coming days. Florida is a win away from winning the Cup. Edmonton still has some work to do — and knows it. “It’s just one win. That’s all it is,’’ McDavid said. “Doesn’t matter if you score eight or you score one — it’s just one win. We’re going to go to Florida and do a job and try to come back to Alberta.” For More FHN Coverage of the Florida Panthers: Like our Facebook Page Follow us on Twitter: @GeorgeRichards // @ColbyDGuy // @TheGovMan Subscribe to the FHN YouTube Channel Visit the FHN Team Shop at TeePublic and RedBubble 2024 STANLEY CUP FINAL EDMONTON OILERS VS. FLORIDA PANTHERS  GAME 5 Panthers Lead Best of 7 Series 3-1 When: Tuesday, 8 p.m. Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise National TV: ABC Streaming: ESPN+/Hulu Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app Series Schedule, All Games 8 p.m. on ABC — Game 1: @Florida 3, Edmonton 0; Game 2: @Florida 4, Edmonton 1; Game 3: Florida 4, @Edmonton 3; Game 4: @Edmonton 8, Florida 1; Game 5: Edmonton at Florida, Tuesday; Game 6*: Florida at Edmonton, Friday; Game 7*:Edmonton at Florida, Monday June 24. (*) – If Necessary How They Got Here — Florida: d. Tampa Bay 4-1, Boston 4-2, New York Rangers 4-2; Edmonton: d. Los Angeles 4-1, Vancouver 4-3, Dallas 4-2. This Season (Florida Won 2-0) — At Florida: Panthers 5, Oilers 3 (Nov. 20). At Edmonton: Panthers 5, Oilers 2 (Dec. 17). Last Season: Edmonton Won 2-0 All-time Regular Season Series: Oilers lead 23-16-0, 3 ties Postseason History: First Meeting [...] Read more...
Evan RawalJune 16, 2024I love hockey, and I realize that once this series ends, we enter a massive drought without NHL hockey for at least three months. That being said, I had kind of mentally prepared myself for the NHL season to end on Saturday night, allowing all of the offseason shenanigans to begin. That was not the case, though. Florida laid a stinker, the refs showed just minutes into the game how little consistency there is on a night-t0-night basis, and Connor McDavid broke a record many thought would never be broken. The season continues. It seems like all I’m talking about these days is goaltending, and none of it has to do with the Avalanche. Jacob Markstrom to the Devils seems inevitable, one of New Jersey or Calgary has to budge first. That hasn’t happened yet. Happy Father’s Day to all the dad’s out there! Colorado Hockey Now We’re a little under two weeks away from the NHL Draft. I’m finalizing my draft list of who I think would be solid picks for the Avalanche at 24, but everyone has different opinions. Here’s a roundup of a few mock drafts with who the Avalanche might select. Going back a few days, some didn’t like how much I think Logan O’Connor might get on his next deal. That’s fine, and I’m not really sure I’d feel comfortable giving him that much. In a perfect world, I think you want to keep it around $3 million. We’ll see if that’s possible. McDavid Breaks Record The NHL season is not over quite yet. The Panthers laid a stinker, and now the series will head back to Florida for at least one more game. That won’t happen until Tuesday because of travel. A big reason why the season isn’t over is the play of Connor McDavid, who broke a record Wayne Gretzky held for over 35 years. With his 32nd assist, Connor McDavid now has set the record for most assists in one playoff run. Not bad. Even though the Oilers will likely still lose, there’s a chance McDavid gets the Conn Smythe. Bobrovsky getting lit up helped the chances of that happening greatly. Connor McDavid just tied Wayne Gretzky for most assists in a single postseason in NHL history 🔥🍎 pic.twitter.com/E5AEVhFu00 — B/R Open Ice (@BR_OpenIce) June 16, 2024 Inconsistent Reffing Can we also talk about the inconsistent reffing in the NHL right now? Just a few days ago, Warren Foegele got five minutes for kneeing. On Saturday night, Darnell Nurse gets a five that somehow gets lowered to a minor penalty. The two hits looked nearly identical, so how do they justify one being a major and not the other? That’s what frustrates everyone. On a night-to-night basis, the standard changes. Darnell Nurse knee/hit on Sam Bennett. Given as a 2-minute minor …#TimeToHunt | #LetsGoOilers pic.twitter.com/TxmwYszrrV — NHL News (@PuckReportNHL) June 16, 2024 News And Rumors New Jersey Hockey Now: The Devils have made their offer. Calgary apparently doesn’t find it to be enough. What’s going to happen to Jacob Markstrom? The Athletic: I’m a huge Yegor Surin fan, and you’ll all find that out when you see my rankings in a few days for the 24th pick. Here’s Corey Pronman’s favorite prospects in the 2024 NHL Draft. Sportsnet: So Kaapo Kakko got a one year deal, but he might still be on the move. A $2.4 million contract might make it a lot easier for the Rangers to trade him. Philly Hockey Now: It seems like he’s always hurt, and guess what? Another surgery for Sean Couturier. [...] Read more...
Dan KingerskiJune 16, 2024It figures. Settle in for a Saturday night hockey game and the highlight of the season–the Stanley Cup presentation–and the Edmonton Oilers absolutely drilled the Florida Panthers, extending the series to Game 5. The NHL trade rumors are a little light today, but we’ve got various takes on Patrik Laine and a Columbus perspective. And we dug into potential Pittsburgh Penguins’ changes with new assistant coach David Quinn. I don’t like to ever comment on the competition or other media outlets. Still, sometimes events compel me to stand up for Pittsburgh Hockey Now’s Penguins coverage and our National Hockey Now network. When others have a habit of simply “borrowing” ideas and content a day later, it’s no good. They’re going to hear about it. I’ve had to rip the Hockey News before for this very issue. Their local coverage around the league is highlighted by a lot of contractors who have never written or worked professionally before, so they don’t necessarily understand etiquette or professionalism. It’s time they learn. Rip off one outlet Friday. Rip off another Saturday. How many times a month do you do this? It’s unprofessional and SHAMEFUL. We’ve been keeping a list across the network.@BreakawayOnSI pic.twitter.com/UbDq2NjJGq — Dan Kingerski (@TheDanKingerski) June 15, 2024 We all cross streams once in a while. Hey, I’ve had conversations with my colleagues about what I have coming up or what I’d like to do, and we’ve realized we have similar thoughts, but those crossovers aren’t frequent and certainly not within 24 hours on unique topics. The above happens far too often and in too many cities for it to be a coincidence. Also, I’m incredibly sad to report that DeAgengelis’s Donuts in Rochester is closing for good today. That little donut shop with strong black coffee and vintage counters announced yesterday that today was their last day. You don’t get bits of Americana like that anymore. I’d occasionally ride up just for the best cake donuts ever. Fare thee well. Enjoy the weather today before the sunny sauna arrives. I do believe I’ll be using two wheels to get some donuts and then BBQ from the Happy Cow in Tionesta. Happy Father’s Day. Hopefully, Dad is or was your biggest fan, too. Pittsburgh Penguins Pittsburgh Hockey Now: It was a notebook day. What could be the potential effects on the Penguins’ system after hiring assistant coach David Quinn? And Penguins president of hockey operations/GM Kyle Dubas has stated a desire, but how will he get there? Can he get there? The Penguins Notebook. It’s a hockey night in Kraftville. The annual Kraft-funded renovation of an old building as chosen by fans has visited Western PA a couple of times. This time, Elliot Lake, Ontario, is the host for a preseason game between the Ottawa Senators and your Pittsburgh Penguins. Does anyone else hear Ryan Mill’s voice when they read “Your Pittsburgh Penguins?” Geez, I miss covering hockey games. Pittsburgh Baseball Now: Uh oh. The worst team in the National League thumped Jared Jones and the Pirates’ relievers. It was a pretty epic drubbing of the Pittsburgh Pirates. NHL Trade Talk, News & National Hockey Now Florida Hockey Now: On the plus side, if or when Florida wins the Stanley Cup in Game 5, our George Richards will get to be in the building and locker room. George has been a staple of South Florida media for two (three?) decades. Edmonton absolutely drilled Florida in Game 4 to avoid the sweep–here’s what the Florida Panthers need to learn. The Hockey Writers: Mark Scheig is a credentialed reporter who covers every bit of hockey between Erie and Columbus. While a few National Hockey Now writers have taken swings on the NHL trade chatter surrounding Laine, Scheig delivers the Columbus perspective on what it will cost. Hint: it’s affordable. Edmonton Journal: NHN buddy David Staples is always a good read. In the next couple of years, the Edmonton Oilers will need to sign their core three of Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and Evan Bouchard. Get this: it could cost $40 million a year. That’s a wicked number, eh? I wonder if other free agents would take a bit less to go north to help McDavid win that Cup (assuming he doesn’t this season). Of course, the rub is they don’t have good sushi in Edmonton, so beware. New Jersey Hockey Now: After my Laine piece, James Nichols and I chatted. Would he fit in Newark? James came to the conclusion that … heck no. Here’s why the New Jersey Devils should pass on Laine. NYI Hockey Now: Russel Macias (our Duquesne alum) teed it up. The Islanders have been trying to break free from the middle for a while. They had some playoff success, but this season, they showed they’ve sagged to the mushy middle, even though they finished third. Laine on Long Island? Yes, please. The New York Islanders will take two scoops. New Jersey Hockey Now: Is Calgary running with the Devils or not? Where’s this deal for goalie Jacob Markstrom? The draft is now less than two weeks away, and free agency is closing in. Are we going to see the Devils trade or not? Chicago Hockey Now: Patrick Kane is a free agent this summer. Chicago won’t be bringing him back. Why?? It makes perfect sense, writes Nate Brown, for the Chicago Blackhawks to do it. [...] Read more...
Colby GuyJune 16, 2024EDMONTON — In the first Stanley Cup Final closeout game in franchise history, the Florida Panthers uncharacteristically fell flat on their face. The Edmonton Oilers crushed them on the rush, running up the score to 8-1 to force a Game 5 back in Sunrise. As much as the Panthers hoped to hoist the Stanley Cup on Saturday night, the Oilers were more in tune to keep this series going. Florida’s usually gridlocked defenses loosened up and it opened up the dam for Connor McDavid & Co. to run the Panthers — and the Stanley Cup — out of their building. “It’s the first opportunity that we’ve had as a franchise really to feel the two days — the excitement of it, the emotions of it,” coach Paul Maurice said. “We’ll learn how to channel it. That’s all part of this process. “Every new experience presents opportunities that you didn’t have. This was a good experience for us. We’re gonna work here over the next few days.” For The Best Coverage of the Florida Panthers, Anywhere Subscribe to Florida Hockey Now Today! Did that excitement and the build up ahead of Game 4 of the Cup Final get in the heads of the Panthers? “The Cup is going to be in the building at some point anyway, so we have to be ready for that,” captain Sasha Barkov said. “And I don’t think it was a distraction for us. I don’t think so.” But when looking at the on-ice product, it seemed to be. Early on, the Panthers were trying to get the kill shot in on a power play and one mistake turned into a shorthanded Oilers rush the other way that put them down 1-0. From there, they looked out of it. “I think it was just more, we weren’t together as 5 as much as we were in previous games and yeah, they were flying all over the ice,” Matthew Tkachuk said.  “So, you have to give a ton of credit to them. they played an unbelievable game. That’s kind of the biggest thing they’re known for is their rush game and their skill and making plays. Everybody, lines one through four and all six D, they were making some crazy great plays.’’ Of Edmonton’s eight goals, seven of them were off the rush and one was on a 5-on-3 power play. Florida’s defense looked discombobulated while the offense was trying to force things that weren’t there. Vladimir Tarasenko scored Florida’s lone goal off of a deflection of a Gus Forsling point shot 11:26 into the second period. That made it 2-1. The Panthers had their best chance to swing the momentum their way down 2-1 with 7:52 to go in the second period, when Carter Verhaeghe received a cross-crease feed from Tkachuk. Skinner sprawled out, flashed the leather and made a 10-bell save to snuff Verhaeghe out. “I would suggest that usually the end result is just,’’ Maurice said. “I’m not sitting there going ‘Hey, we had some chances. If they just make good, it’s a different game.’ It doesn’t matter because all teams are going to have chances. Both teams are going to hit posts. We couldn’t stop the rush.” Dylan Holloway cashed in on a rush chance less than two minutes later to put Edmonton up by a pair of goals and kill any momentum Florida had. From there on, it was all Edmonton. The Oilers scored two quick goals to start the second period and chased Sergei Bobrovsky out of the game 4:59 into the second period. “He’d had enough,” Maurice said. “If you think you’re mounting a comeback, rarely does the goalie make a difference for you. There’s something that happens at the other end of the ice. He’s played an awful lot of hockey. My number on Bob’s probably five in general. That was the decision.” The Oilers ran up the score — with McDavid scoring a goal and three assists while setting the NHL record for most assists in a postseason run in the process — and the Panthers walked away knowing they have another chance to close this thing out on Tuesday in Sunrise. “I don’t believe in momentum at all. Because I would have been wrong at 3-0 to have that one happen,” Maurice said. “You just re-establish your game and you come back in the fight. “I’ll fire up at least once cliche for you so you have something there: We came into Edmonton to get a split and we got what we needed, but there’s also reason for that. Most cliches have some merit to it. In general, things will be far more extreme outside your room than inside it. So at 3-nothing, we’re not sitting there getting the engravers out. We lost the game tonight. I’m pretty sure — I’ve got to check, possibly — but there’s going to be a Game 5.” For More FHN Coverage of the Florida Panthers: Like our Facebook Page Follow us on Twitter: @GeorgeRichards // @ColbyDGuy // @TheGovMan Subscribe to the FHN YouTube Channel Visit the FHN Team Shop at TeePublic and RedBubble 2024 STANLEY CUP FINAL EDMONTON OILERS VS. FLORIDA PANTHERS  GAME 5 Panthers Lead Best of 7 Series 3-1 When: Tuesday, 8 p.m. Where: Amerant Bank Arena, Sunrise National TV: ABC Streaming: ESPN+/Hulu Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932, NHL app Series Schedule, All Games 8 p.m. on ABC — Game 1: @Florida 3, Edmonton 0; Game 2: @Florida 4, Edmonton 1; Game 3: Florida 4, @Edmonton 3; Game 4: @Edmonton 8, Florida 1; Game 5: Edmonton at Florida, Tuesday; Game 6*: Florida at Edmonton, Friday; Game 7*:Edmonton at Florida, Monday June 24. (*) – If Necessary How They Got Here — Florida: d. Tampa Bay 4-1, Boston 4-2, New York Rangers 4-2; Edmonton: d. Los Angeles 4-1, Vancouver 4-3, Dallas 4-2. This Season (Florida Won 2-0) — At Florida: Panthers 5, Oilers 3 (Nov. 20). At Edmonton: Panthers 5, Oilers 2 (Dec. 17). Last Season: Edmonton Won 2-0 All-time Regular Season Series: Oilers lead 23-16-0, 3 ties Postseason History: First Meeting [...] Read more...
Marc DumontJune 16, 2024MONTREAL — There’s always Montreal Canadiens news on tap, but there are only so many hours in a day. On Sundays, we recap the most exciting and relevant NHL news stories that you may have missed throughout the week so that you can stay in the Canadiens loop.   Monday ICYMI: In the latest Montreal Canadiens Mailbag, we focus on 2024 NHL Entry Draft questions, including the ideal target for the Habs, as well as the possibility they may move up or down in the first round. We also touch upon Lane Hutson’s potential, as well as free agency, and prospect analysis. [Habs Mailbag: 5th Overall Prospect Target, Hutson’s Future, Trades] The NHL announced next year’s salary cap will be set at $88 million, a significant increase that will surely benefit the Habs, as they have plenty of financial manoeuvrability heading into the summer, giving general manager Kent Hughes a bevy of options in trade negotiations and free agency. [2024-25 Canadiens Salary Cap Situation: Summer Of Opportunity] We wrapped up our 2024 MHN Top 16 Mock Draft, making picks for teams No.13 to N0.16.  [2024 NHL Mock Draft – Final Picks, Top 16 Draft Selections] Top salary cap resource Cap Friendly won’t be around much longer. The website has been bought by the Washington Capitals, who are expected to shut down all public access in the near future. Fortunately, there’s already an alternative available.  [Alternative Salary Cap Website After Cap Friendly Goes Dark] It was Formula 1 weekend in Montreal, which always leads to Canadiens-related events, including the gala attended by Arber Xhekaj, Rafael Harvey-Pinard, and their better halves. Hey Rafael & Arber 👋 pic.twitter.com/KFJmKZNmtv — /r/Habs (@HabsOnReddit) June 9, 2024 Tuesday Russian forward Ivan Demidov is considered the second-most talented player available at the 2024 NHL Entry Draft, but there are no guarantees he’ll be drafted early. This works to the Canadiens’ advantage, as they could certainly use an injection of talent in their forward prospect pool.  [Pre-Draft Nerves Improve Odds Demidov Available To Canadiens] The hope that Demidov might be available at fifth overall will grow if teams continue to question whether he’s top 3 material. Chris Peters on the “lack of comfort some teams feel about selecting Ivan Demidov.” 👇👇 👇 pic.twitter.com/XX90w5BMx8 — /r/Habs (@HabsOnReddit) June 10, 2024 The Montreal Canadiens are looking to take the next step, which means there’s inevitably going to be some housekeeping when it comes to the contracts offered to marginal players. [Potential Montreal Canadiens Free Agent Exodus On The Horizon] Arber Xhekaj’s name pops up on a regular basis in Habs-related headlines, but we didn’t expect to see the Canadiens defenceman enter into a collaboration with legendary rapper Snoop Dogg.  [Rapper Snoop Dogg Representing Arber Xhekaj During Concert] Wednesday The Montreal Canadiens are no longer playing, but it’s always entertaining to look back at some of the strong work put together by the team’s top line. Juraj Slafkovsky, Cole Caufield, and Nick Suzuki have created an impressive amount of chemistry in a very short time frame. The Canadiens top line did not get enough credit for how exciting they were to watch this season So here’s a mix that highlights a fraction of these moments #GoHabsGo pic.twitter.com/qSlKWucL3y — Cam Weitzman (@Cweitz99) June 11, 2024 Finding a suitor for Carey Price’s contract won’t be easy, but once the Canadiens pay his $5.5 million bonus on July 1, it should be a little easier. The Habs don’t necessarily have to trade Price, but freeing up the funds currently tied to the long-term injured reserve (LTIR) would give general manager Kent Hughes more financial flexibility in trades and free agent negotiations. [Why The Canadiens Should Explore Trade Options For Carey Price] Apparently the NHL was not a big fan of Cap Friendly, which is why they never bought the website to ensure it would remain public. The league also considers salaries to be private information, despite putting a salary cap in place. It should also be noted the NHLPA publishes salaries every year.  [Alternative Salary Cap Website After Cap Friendly Goes Dark] Listened to @FriedgeHNIC’s report about the NHL being icy with CapFriendly and not wanting salary info to be public. They should release this info themselves, and they don’t. Once again, this is the NHL telling its most passionate fans to shut up and eat their slop. — Steve “Dangle” Glynn (@Steve_Dangle) June 11, 2024  The Four Nations Faceoff tournament is scheduled to take place in Montreal and Boston next year. The Bell Centre will host four games, including Finland versus Sweden and Canada versus the United States on February 15. Thursday According to reports, forward Patrik Laine wants to start anew, which would necessitate a trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets, seeing as the Finnish forward has two years left on a contract that pays him $8.7 million per season. Of course, Laine’s value in the league has plummeted in recent years, but it should be noted that he maintained a point-per-game pace in 2021-22 and was a few points shy of maintaining the same pace in 2022-23. The Habs certainly need to add offensive talent to the mix, and Laine fits the bill. He also has the type of size that tends to entice Kent Hughes in trade negotiations. And finally, he’s a reclamation project to a certain extent, yet another avenue the Canadiens have explored in depth since Hughes has taken over. With that in mind, what type of offer would you make for Laine? Is he even worth considering? Would you like to see the Canadiens trade for Laine? 🤔 Let’s see your trade proposals 👇 https://t.co/eRFWHyiNpj — /r/Habs (@HabsOnReddit) June 12, 2024 Most expect the Montreal Canadiens to trade the 26th overall pick, which was acquired in the deal that sent Sean Monahan to the Winnipeg Jets at the 2024 NHL Trade Deadline, but if they do take to the podium at the end of the first round there are several interesting draft targets worth evaluating. [Underrated Canadiens Draft Targets With The 26th Overall Pick] Draft analyst David St-Louis suggests that Beckett Sennecke’s overall value is not that far off from Berkly Catton’s, and that there’s merit to the idea that Sennecke should perhaps be picked beforehand. To be absolutely clear, St-Louis wasn’t necessarily discussing whether the Canadiens should pick one over the other, but it does give us insight as to how impressive Sennecke’s production was in the second half of the season. Depends on the lineup. If there’s room for a Catton, I pick Catton. If I need some size and skill, I pick Sennecke. No real separation there. If we’re just talking in theory and not fit, I had Sennecke ahead at the end. — David St-Louis (@DavidSt_Louis) June 12, 2024 Belated congratulations to Erin Ambrose for winning Defenceman Of The Year honours in the PWHL. Ambrose, along with Marie Philip-Poulin, was also named to the league’s First All-Star team.   LA DÉFENSEURE DE L’ANNÉE: ERIN AMBROSE! Avec 18 points en 24 matchs et une moyenne de 26:26 minutes par match en saison régulière, Erin Ambrose s’est imposée comme l’une des meilleures joueuses de la ligue, devenant la toute première défenseure de l’année de la PWHL ! 🙌 LPHF… pic.twitter.com/maGtF3dTqL — LPHF Montréal (@PWHL_Montreal) June 11, 2024 The Laval Rocket and the Trois-Rivières Lions have extended their affiliation for three more seasons. While the Lions aren’t officially part of the Montreal Canadiens organization, they have provided the Rocket with an endless stream of players when injuries and call-ups came into play. Remember, when the Canadiens set a record for the most man games lost in back-to-back seasons, it’s the team at the end of the ladder that truly takes it on the chin. That team is the Lions. C’était une formalité mais l’association entre le Rocket de Laval et les Lions de Trois-Rivières a été reconduite pour les trois prochaines années. On ne pourra jamais reprocher aux Lions de ne pas avoir fourni le Rocket en joueurs de qualité dans les dernières années. — Anthony Marcotte (@anthonymarcotte) June 12, 2024 Friday Two Montreal Canadiens players appear on Frank Seravalli’s top-25 NHL Trade Bait board.  Defenceman David Savard clocks in at No.18 while centre Christian Dvorak is listed at No.23. Both players should garner some interest according to Seravalli, but seeing as Savard is a right-handed defenceman, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a trade partner in a league where they’re in constant demand. As a reminder, Savard is in the final year of a four-year contract that carries a $3.5 million annual average value. [Daily Faceoff] The Montreal Canadiens have a massive selection to make at the 2024 NHL Draft with the 5th overall pick, and we’re starting to gain some clarity over who the targets will be. Since the Canadiens retained their spot in the 2024 draft order after the NHL Draft Lottery, all the talk has been over which player the Canadiens should add to their organization. The clear need is at forward, as the Habs don’t currently have a dynamic offensive prospect in their pool at the moment, with Juraj Slafkovsky and Joshua Roy graduating to the NHL. [Latest Trends Hint At Potential Canadiens Pick At 5th Overall]   There are no guarantees in life, but it does seem like Lane Hutson’s younger brother, Cole, has some of that Hutson magic in his skill set.[Montreal Canadiens Draft Targets: Cole Hutson Could Spike Interest] If the Hutson brothers are both drafted in the 2nd round and both hit as superstars I would enjoy it very much, as might they. pic.twitter.com/13LiBcpUy3 — Byron Bader (@ByronMBader) June 10, 2024 Saturday According to Corey Pronman at The Athletic, top 2024 NHL Draft prospect Cayden Lindstrom’s injury was due to a herniated disc in his back.  Back issues are incredibly complicated, and without further details (or a medical degree) it’s rather difficult to project whether it’s the type of injury that has the potential to linger throughout his career. The good news is the Habs do have staff with a medical degree, which means they’re sure to do their due diligence prior to the June 28th NHL Entry Draft.[Cayden Lindstrom a Prime Draft Target for the Montreal Canadiens] Lindstrom addressed the injury issues while at the NHL Scouting Combine, assuring everyone that it should not be a concern going forward. The Canadiens are interested in trading for Martin Necas, but they’re far from the only suitors. Half a dozen teams have inquired about the price tag, but so far none of the teams have offered enough to gain the inside track in trade negotiations with the Carolina Hurricanes.  [Montreal Canadiens Among Teams Interested In Top Trade Target]   Cole Caufield and YouTuber IShowSpeed got together for an interesting off-season skating session. The famous streamer has over 2 million subscriptions on YouTube. [...] Read more...