It’s finally Friday, and the road ahead is finally ramping up for the Washington Capitals. Teams protected lists are due tomorrow, preseason schedules are starting to come out and free agency is lurking. All the while, several players are waiving their NMCs for the expansion draft while general managers go through buyouts.
Thursday also marked a very meaningful day in Columbus, where the Blue Jackets live-streamed a heartfelt memorial service for the late Matiss Kivlenieks.
Let’s recap all the latest news and notes from across the league.
- With teams required to submit their lists of protected players to the Seattle Kraken on Saturday, the question remains: what will Washington do? Luke Adomanis takes a look at which blueliner the team will protect besides John Carlson and Dmitry Orlov. (Japers’ Rink)
- There’s a lot happening in D.C., from Alex Ovechkin‘s looming extension to Evgeny Kuznetsov trade rumblings. Tarik El-Bashir recaps all the buzz and shares what he’s heard so far this summer. (The Athletic)
- The NHL trade market is “set to explode,” and things could get wild. Jimmy Murphy breaks down all the latest trade talks and other speculation across the NHL in the latest “Off The Record.” (Washington Hockey Now)
- The Blue Jackets remembered Kivlenieks at his memorial service Thursday, and Elvis Merzlikins explained how the 24-year-old netminder saved him, his wife and unborn child, as well as several others, from a firework blast that ultimately took Kivleniek’s life. Mark Schieg pays tribute to the Latvian netminder and details the ceremony, which cemented Kivlenieks’ legacy as a hero and spoke to his character. (The Hockey Writers)
- Calgary faces tough decisions as the expansion draft looms, especially in regards to Mark Giordano. James O’Brien has more on the Flames’ situation. (Pro Hockey Talk)
- Colorado traded Ryan Graves to the Devils for Mikhail Maltsev. Adrian Datar explains how this saves cap space and opens up more opportunities for the Avs. (Colorado Hockey Now)
Sammi’s Top Shelf Takes
- Hearing all the tributes to Kivlenieks brings tears to my eyes. To learn about someone and reflect on what a wonderful soul and person he was inspires me to spread goodness. If you need to hear this: you matter, you’re valued and you’re loved. RIP, Matiss.
- Washington released its preseason schedule, which indicates that the NHL is targeting an October start for the regular season. It’s good to see the NHL returning to normal and to hopefully see an 82-game campaign once again. Also, with expansion draft lists due tomorrow, I can confidently say that I am not at all sure what the plan is for the Capitals. Here’s my prediction: they go with the 7-3-1 format and protect the following: Kuznetsov, Nicklas Backstrom (NMC), T.J. Oshie, Lars Eller, Tom Wilson, Anthony Mantha, Daniel Sprong | Carlson, Orlov, Justin Schultz | Ilya Samsonov
The #ALLCAPS preseason schedule indicates that the NHL plans to start 2021-22 as normal (Sept./Oct. start):
9/26 at 5 p.m. ET – Bruins @ Caps
9/29 at 7 p.m. ET – Devils @ Caps
10/2 at 7 p.m. ET – Caps @ Flyers
10/4 at 7 p.m. ET – Caps @ Bruins
10/8 at 7 p.m. ET – Flyers @ Caps
— Sammi Silber (@sammisilber) July 15, 2021
- Shoutout to Phil Pritchard, the Hockey Hall of Fame and everyone who worked to get the massive dent out of the bowl of the Stanley Cup. It’s available to return and has been activated off the IR (or LTIR, ha). Stick taps all around.
Ready for my celebration tour. pic.twitter.com/OlQX7VUXME
— The Stanley Cup (@StanleyCup) July 15, 2021