It was a busy day for current and former Washington Capitals on Tuesday. Two key members of the 2018 Stanley Cup Championship team reunited and Jakub Vrana got a new deal in Detroit.
In other NHL news, the Jack Eichel trade talks continue to heat up, and the return remains a question. Without further ado, let’s catch up on the latest news and notes across the league.
- Nick Jensen is lighting up Da Beauty League and improved his offensive game significantly last season. Here’s what to expect from him with the Capitals in 2021-22. (Washington Hockey Now)
- While training in the offseason, Tom Wilson hit the ice with a familiar face: Devante Smith-Pelly. Ian Oland has more on the reunion. (Russian Machine Never Breaks)
- Daniel Sprong came in clutch time and time again for Washington last year. Justin Trudel explains how he can keep the momentum going. (NoVa Caps)
- Former Capitals winger Vrana settled on a three-year extension that pays $5.25 million per season, a little bit less than Anthony Mantha’s deal. Kevin Allen breaks down the new contract and the Czech’s play. (Detroit Hockey Now)
- Meanwhile, in Rangers news, a report broke that Mika Zibanejad could be a part of a potential Eichel deal. Would that be the right move? (Forever Blueshirts)
- Tampa lost a lot of key members in the offseason, and a lot of their prospects and promising depth players will have to step up for a repeat. Adam Gretz takes a look at the state of the Bolts heading into next season. (Pro Hockey Talk)
Sammi’s Top-Shelf Takes
- Rest in peace, Tony Esposito. The Blackhawks legend and Hockey Hall of Famer was 78 years old following a battle with pancreatic cancer. His butterfly style carried Chicago to new heights, and his 432-306-151 record is the 10th best all-time. The league also recognized him as one of the “100 greatest players in NHL history.” Off the ice, he was a loving husband, father and grandfather who also as the GM of the Pittsburgh Penguins and as a chief scout with the Tampa Bay Lightning, a team which he helped his brother, Phil, found. Tampa has gone on to win three Stanley Cups and remains a top contender. Thank you, Tony O.
- It always brings a smile to my face to see DSP back on the ice. Always a class act and a great guy to talk to, and his impact in 2018 was tremendous. He headed to the KHL following a tough NHL stint and had eight goals and 11 points in 36 games with the Kunlun Red Star, and returned to North America last season for 14 games with the AHL’s Ontario Reign, picking up an assist. He’s currently a UFA.
- Vrana’s lower AAV on his three-year extension doesn’t mean anything in regards to who won the Vrana/Mantha trade. Vrana needed a change in scenery, and Mantha looked solid in a small 14-game sample size with the Capitals to close out the regular season and went on to be one of the top performers in the playoffs. A full 82-game season as well as more time to adjust to his new team will allow Mantha to reach new heights.