It’s finally Friday, and NHL Free Agency is starting to slow down a bit. Players are re-signing and arbitration dates have been set, and UFAs continue to come off the market. Meanwhile, the Washington Capitals took care of another piece of offseason business by adding more organization depth down the middle.
There’s also still time to consider other options heading into the regular season, while other teams appear set for their openers.
Let’s kick back, relax and go over the latest news and notes from across the league.
- With Evgeny Kuznetsov trade talks still floating around, there are some implications of a move to consider. J.J. Regan explains why dealing No. 92 isn’t as easy as it seems. (NBC Sports Washington)
- The Capitals made another minor-league signing, adding forward Mike Vecchione on a one-year, two-way deal. Jon Sorenson has more on the versatile forward, who had 10 points in 18 games with the Colorado Eagles last season. (NoVa Caps)
- Washington’s Metro Division rivals in the New Jersey Devils had quite the busy offseason, adding Dougie Hamilton, Tomas Tatar and more. James O’Brien analyzes the team’s moves this summer and if they have what it takes to be a playoff team and legit contender. (Pro Hockey Talk)
- Meanwhile, Jack Eichel’s relationship with the Buffalo Sabres has seemingly reached a point beyond repair, and both sides are still trying to ponder what’s next. Greg Wyshynski offers a closer look at the situation, Eichel’s health and what comes next for both parties. (ESPN)
Sammi’s Top Shelf Takes
- The AHL changed the Calder Cup format for the 2022 postseason to feature 23 teams and five rounds (the first round is a best of three). This is a major win for budding prospects and organizations; players get a bigger chance to compete in the playoffs, and some players up with NHL clubs for the Stanley Cup Playoffs will also get the chance to return and play for a Calder Cup (and get more ice time) thanks to a longer postseason.
- The Vecchione signing allows Washington more depth at center. He’s a right wing and center, but if the Capitals do need another pivot in 2021-22 (like Connor McMichael), the Hershey Bears have a player who can fill in and produce. However, if we’re relating this back to any Kuznetsov speculation, I imagine he stays; MacLellan walked back on trade talk, and Washington should wait for the right deal.