It’s finally Friday, and we’re one day closer to the NHL offseason. The Washington Capitals and NHL could be in for quite the summer as trade speculation and expansion draft talks continue to rumble.
Let’s get down to business with the latest happenings around the league, shall we?
- Washington checked off one of its offseason tasks, inking RFA forward Beck Malenstyn to a one-year, two-way deal. Jon Sorenson has more on the Capitals prospect, who was a dark horse for a roster spot until an Achilles injury held him out for the entirety of 2020-21. (NoVa Caps)
- Now that the Tampa Bay Lightning have hoisted the Stanley Cup, attention shifts toward the expansion draft and free agency. Peter Hassett outlines what this offseason looks like for Washington. (Russian Machine Never Breaks)
- From signing Zdeno Chara to making a blockbuster trade involving Jakub Vrana for Anthony Mantha, Brian MacLellan had a busy year at the helm of the Capitals. Here’s a roundtable evaluation of his performance through 2021. (Japers’ Rink)
- Vladimir Tarasenko reportedly wants out of St. Louis. Should Washington consider trading Evgeny Kuznetsov for the Blues sniper? We take a look at the pros and cons of a possible deal. (Washington Hockey Now)
- Game 5 featured several memorable moments, including the Lightning’s repeat and a wild, shirtless rambling post-game presser from Nikita Kucherov. Sean Leahy details everything you need to know following the Bolts back-to-back victory. (Pro Hockey Talk)
- Speaking of Kucherov, his comments were controversial to some, while others found them humorous. Sean Gentille defends the Russian forward and explains why his Zoom conference was a welcome change from the norm. (The Athletic)
- Taylor Hall sees a fit with the Bruins, but if he does become a UFA, could Toronto be interested? Jimmy Murphy discusses potential options for the 29-year-old. (Boston Hockey Now)
- With the 2021 NHL Draft coming up, the San Jose Sharks have to build for the future. Sheng Peng takes a look at who the team should consider in the middle rounds. (SJ Hockey Now)
Sammi’s Top Shelf Takes
- My thoughts are with Brendan Gallagher, who came home from Tampa to find out he was robbed following Montreal’s elimination. Hopefully, everything starts looking up for him soon.
- I’m split on Kucherov’s presser. While it is nice to see a player showing their personality and having fun after a major victory and second straight Stanley Cup, commenting on fans and criticizing Vegas Golden Knights’ Marc-Andre Fleury‘s Vezina win may not have been the best way to do it. Regardless, he’s definitely made an enemy of some — and it should make for more interesting hockey when the Montreal Canadiens play the Bolts again.
- That Malenstyn signing was a smart move. He’s an incredibly hard-working player who can kill penalties and play a physical game and provides solid depth on the left side. While he isn’t a high-scoring forward, he can put up points and move the puck up ice, while also playing well in his own end.
- Coors Light made a revolutionary move, collecting ice from the Stanley Cup Final and incorporating it into their beer. It’s honestly one of the coolest things I’ve heard — even though I’m not a big fan of beer. And, speaking of Lord Stanley, it is the best trophy in sports hands down. My favorite award though has to be the Conn Smythe. The postseason can last as long as 28 games for teams, which makes up 34 percent of a regular season. Being able to maintain a strong level of play and production over an extended season like that — and playing over 100 games in one year — is something special. So to win that award is huge.