The 2022 NHL Draft is just two days away, and the chatter surrounding the first overall pick continues to heat up. Meanwhile, the Washington Capitals currently hold the No. 20 pick, and the team is also caught in the midst of a bit of trade chatter.
Beyond the draft and pending free agency, there’s also more history happening around the league. Mike Grier becomes the first Black general manager in NHL history, Hayley Wickenheiser is an assistant GM and Jessica Campbell becomes the first-ever woman assistant coach in the AHL as she steps behind the bench with the Seattle Kraken’s AHL-affiliate Coachella Valley Firebirds in 2022-23.
Here are all the latest news and notes from D.C. and across the NHL.
- The Capitals hold the No. 20 pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, and one name to watch is Rutger McGroarty. (WHN)
- With Washington looking for a No. 1 netminder, the Capitals may have to choose between RFAs Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek. (WHN)
- And, here’s a look back at Brian MacLellan’s performance with Washington this season. (Japers’ Rink)
- The San Jose Sharks have a new general manager, as Mike Grier takes over at the helm as the league’s first Black GM. (SJHN)
- Will the current situation in Russia make the Pittsburgh Penguins and other clubs think twice about taking Russian prospects in the 2022 NHL Draft? (PHN)
- The Edmonton Oilers appear ready to trade Jesse Puljujarvi, and it’s a deal that could pay off for a few teams. (Pro Hockey Talk)
Sammi’s Top Shelf Takes
- I wonder if the Capitals would consider looking into Puljujarvi’s services at all. He still has a lot of upside and promise that made him a fourth overall pick in 2016. Also, he brings size and speed, and he does a solid job in a middle-6 role. That was an area where Washington needed help earlier in 2021-22. And, with a couple key absences to open this coming season, they will need secondary scoring. And, with a change of scenery, the Finn may be able to be a top contributor. He hasn’t gotten that chance in Edmonton.
- J.T. Miller’s name continues to pop up in connection with Washington. Miller turns 30 in March, and while many are arguing that the Capitals’ goal is to get younger, I believe he can add a lot to the lineup. Plus, considering Nicklas Backstrom‘s situation and Tom Wilson’s absence until at least December, bringing in a veteran presence who has been a top contributor over the last three seasons wouldn’t be the worst thing.
- Capitals development camp kicks off next Monday after a two-year hiatus. It’ll be interesting to see which prospects report and what different players hope to work on.