Happy Friday, readers. The 2021 NHL Draft is finally here, with the first round kicking off at 7 p.m. ET and rounds 2-7 on Saturday at 11 a.m. ET. Reminder that the Washington Capitals don’t own a first-round pick, so barring a deal, they’ll be busy on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the post-expansion draft action continues to happen, as Friday could be another busy day.
Let’s get started with the latest news and notes across the league:
- Assistant general manager Ross Mahoney explained that the Capitals are ready to go into the NHL Draft with the picks they have. Here’s more on what he had to say about Washington’s strategy, if there’s potential for a trade up and more. (Washington Hockey Now)
- With some of the NHL’s most promising prospects ready to start a new journey in their lives, it’s appropriate to take a trip back to the past. Diane Doyle looks back at some of the Capitals’ most memorable drafts in franchise history. (NoVa Caps)
- After the roster freeze lifted, Alex Ovechkin‘s wife snapped a picture on Instagram of the Washington captain on the phone. Ian Oland wonders if this means anything for the pending UFA. (Russian Machine Never Breaks)
- The NHL schedule is officially out as the league returns mostly to normal. We break down the Capitals full 82-game slate, key dates to watch, the possibility for an Olympic break and more. (Washington Hockey Now)
- Steve Yzerman is shaking things up in Detroit, as the Red Wings acquired young goalie Alex Nedeljkovic, who is re-signing with Detroit for two more seasons, for pending UFA Jonathan Bernier and a third-rounder. Max Bultman breaks down the deal, as well as what Yzerman had to say about the state of the Red Wings heading into the draft. (The Athletic)
- The Philadelphia Flyers sent Shayne Gostisbehere and 2022 second and seventh-rounders to the Arizona Coyotes for… well, nothing. Brad Keffer explains how this trade frees significant cap space for Philly — and gives the Yotes a decent defender. (Broad Street Hockey)
- What would a draft be without a mock draft first? From Owen Power to Luke Hughes, Sean Leahy makes his predictions and selections. (Pro Hockey Talk)
- Greg Wyshynski has more on the full NHL schedule, including re-aligned divisions and the debut of the Seattle Kraken. (ESPN)
Sammi’s Top Shelf Takes
- Don’t panic that there was no Ovechkin deal at 1 p.m. on Thursday. Negotiations take time, and if it doesn’t happen right away, that doesn’t mean it’ll never come. Deep breaths, Capitals fans.
- The Kraken headed to the Mariners game on Thursday, and it’s exciting to see how the new teammates are already bonding and getting to know each other. Reminds me of the point Nate Schmidt brought up to me back in 2018 with Vegas: everyone’s in the same boat and it brings you closer — and makes you a good team.
— Seattle Kraken (@SeattleKraken) July 23, 2021
- Detroit is going to be a legit competitor next season. Their recent deals and trades are fantastic, and with Jakub Vrana, Nick Leddy, Thomas Greiss and Nedeljkovic in net, the Red Wings have a lot of pieces to win.
- Owen Power will make an immediate impact. The 6-5 blueliner is expected to go first in the 2021 NHL Draft, marking the first time in 21 years an NCAA player will go first.