Well, folks, that’s a wrap on a wild weekend, highlighted by an eight-hour Part 2 of the NHL Draft and blockbusters to boot. Also, Brian MacLellan spoke candidly on the state of the Washington Capitals, and family ties proved vital for several teams.
So, let’s get right to it and drop the puck on the latest news and notes across the league.
- Following a defense-heavy NHL draft, Washington general manager Brian MacLellan spoke on the state of the team, and offered insight into the Evgeny Kuznetsov situation, clarifying the Capitals never said they’d trade him. We break down what his comments mean for No. 92’s future. (Washington Hockey Now)
- Speaking of the NHL draft, we saw several familiar names and family members, from sons to younger brothers, have their names called. One of them: Capitals sixth-rounder Dru Krebs, younger brother of Vegas’ Peyton. Becca H. details the selection and more about the Medicine Hat blueliner. (Japers’ Rink)
- With Washington addressing defense at the NHL draft, they still face questions between the pipes with Vitek Vanecek in Seattle. J.J. Regan explores the Capitals’ options in net. (NBC Sports Washington)
- Meanwhile, the Capitals are working toward an extension with Alex Ovechkin and GMBM hopes to have it wrapped up by Wednesday. Here’s the latest surrounding the extension and what the terms could look like. (WHN)
- In fun news, former Washington blueliner Nate Schmidt took his talent to the diamond, winning a home run derby and making a miraculous catch in a Vegas charity softball game. Peter Hassett shares the full story. (Russian Machine Never Breaks)
- The 2021 NHL Draft was somewhat of a family affair, with Luke Hughes joining brother Jack in New Jersey, Josh Doan following in father Shane’s footsteps in Arizona, Colton Dach joining brother Kirby and more. Mike Brehm examines the winners and losers from the draft and more on the bloodlines. (USA Today)
- Following the Montreal Canadiens’ surprising decision to take Logan Mailloux, who asked not to be drafted following sexual misconduct, Mailloux himself spoke out. Here’s what the No. 31 pick had to say in regards to the incident, being selected and his next steps. (Montreal Gazette)
- Philadelphia was rather active before and after this weekend, making a blockbuster deal for Cam Atkinson and trading away pieces like Jakub Voracek and Shayne Gostisbehere. James O’Brien outlines what’s next for the Flyers as they navigate the rest of the summer. (Pro Hockey Talk)
- On the topic of Philly, Atkinson sported a Gritty t-shirt as he honestly spoke about his time in Columbus and expressed excitement for the road ahead. Ryan Gilbert shares what else the 32-year-old had to say. (Philly Hockey Now)
- In Colorado, the Avalanche checked off a major item on their offseason to-do list, inking Cale Makar to a six-year, $54 million extension. Greg Wyshynski analyzes the deal for both parties. (ESPN)
Sammi’s Top Shelf Takes
- Looking at the report of a four-year, $10 million deal for Ovechkin, I think that’s more than fair for the Great 8. Like I’ve said, he deserves to be paid, and his consistency and durability over time show that he’s not ready to slow down. The 35-year-old is not only still in top shape for another Stanley Cup run, but continues to smash NHL records. He more than deserves to be the Capitals’ highest-paid player. Plus, it’s around the same amount he was making on his last deal, so there’s nothing wrong there. Now, it just comes down to clearing space.
- And that’s the next thing: clearing space. While MacLellan did express that Washington never explicitly said they’d trade Kuznetsov, moving $7.8 million would help. MacLellan also explained that the Capitals are “playing a different game” when it comes to offseason moves. This isn’t the time for a blockbuster, either, especially if the need to dump salary is there. He also addressed Kuznetsov and that the team likes him as a player, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him next season if there’s not a clear deal there. I believe the best strategy is to play a smart “wait-and-see” game instead.
- While Washington mainly focused on defense in this draft, it’s a smart move. The Capitals also took more time to build on the right side and picked up quite a few power-play quarterbacks and strong puck movers. Not only that, German center Haakon Hanelt is a strong two-way forward who plays a smart defensive game. They also have a very promising netminder in Clark. That depth will pay off in the long run, especially after John Carlson‘s career winds down and the blue line starts to gets younger.
- Speaking of Carlson, MacLellan also shared that he underwent “minor surgery” for a knee injury he suffered down the stretch. MacLellan expects him to be ready for the start of 2021-22.
- Lastly, beyond Ovechkin’s deal, the focus is on Washington’s goalie situation. MacLellan said Washington may explore free-agent goalies but added Pheonix Copley and Zach Fucale are strong internal options. All in all, he emphasized that Ilya Samsonov needs to earn his spot as a starter. In other words: it’s his spot to lose.