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Russell’s Roundup: NHL Trade Bait; Former Islanders Litter the News

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Kyle Okposo and the Panthers pose with the Prince of Wales Trophy
Kyle Okposo and the Panthers pose with the Prince of Wales Trophy.

The Stanley Cup Final is just a few days away. The NHL Draft is just 25 days away, with unrestricted free agency following three days after that. Once things start to take off, it’s going to fly by. In the Roundup, the New York Islanders coverage here is going to change but keep the highest standards. There’s plenty of Islanders news, from Kyle Okposo in the Stanley Cup Final to the Islanders letting go of high draft picks. Daily Faceoff churned out the NHL trade bait list with one Islanders player in their top 10, and our colleague took a sledgehammer to some ideas floating around the falling Pittsburgh Penguins.

Welcome to the next phase of NYI Hockey Now. We said goodbye to Andrew Fantucchio on Friday as he accepted his new assignment to cover the Boston Bruins for National Hockey Now. I’m leading the charge this summer.

I’m a native Long Islander. I know the team and the area, and the now-retired Brooklyn-themed all-black alternate jersey still makes me cringe. In my collegiate career, I attended Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and interned with the Penguins. I know how to cover a locker room, and I’m looking forward to bringing you those stories from inside and out, with a lot of analysis, too.

Long Island is passionate and hardcore. I know how it works–we can criticize the Islanders, but outsiders beware. Our coverage won’t be soft. It will be fair, honest, and delivered without sugar. There’ll be no Pollyanna or cheerleading, but no insistent negativity, either.

I can’t wait to get rolling.

New York Islanders News

NYI Hockey Now: The biggest news here was the blockbuster trade and torch passing from the great Andrew Fantucchio, now up at Boston Hockey Now, to yours truly here at NYHN. I’m excited to get going, and I hope you’ll enjoy the ride for the Islanders coverage.

Andrew left you a goodbye letter.

CHL: While the Oilers eliminated the Stars Sunday, Isaiah George and the London Knights lost an absolute heartbreaker in the Memorial Cup Final. The Knights overcame a 3-0 deficit, only for Josh Bloom of the Saginaw Spirit to score with 22 seconds left. Saginaw won their first-ever Memorial Cup, and the Islanders’ prospect felt the sting.

Bridgeport: On June 1st at 5 p.m., the Islanders forfeited exclusive rights to signing 2020 3rd-round pick F Alexander Ljungkrantz to an entry-level deal, along with fellow 2020 draft pick defenseman Matias Rajaniemi. However, Rajaniemi had already signed an AHL-exclusive deal in late March.

Rajaniemi, 21, played for SaiPa and had 8 assists in 53 Liiga games. The 2020 Draft occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, so it’s difficult to come down hard on the Islanders, especially with COVID-19 affecting players’ development.

Florida Hockey Now: A former Islander and current Florida Panthers forward, Kyle Okposo, made it to the Stanley Cup Final. It will be the first-ever finals appearance for the 36-year-old. Okposo has two assists in 11 playoff games played with the Panthers.

NHL Trade Talk, News & National Hockey Now

Daily Faceoff: The trade bait list for the off-season is up, and there is an Islander in the top 10. At least according to DFO, here are the perspective players on the move this summer.

Florida Hockey Now: The Stanley Cup Final is set. Game 1 is set in stone and the media members trying to cover the series are going to have a nightmare travel schedule. The players won’t be too fond of it either, but one team will lift the Cup. It’s the Edmonton Oilers and the Florida Panthers.

Sportsnet: The Edmonton Oilers were outshot 35-10 Sunday night. You read that correctly. Yet, Edmonton beat the Dallas Stars 2-1 to advance to the Cup Final.

Florida Hockey Now: Long Island’s own Colby Guy discussed the demolition of the New York Rangers’ dreams. There will be no repeating 1994 heroics. So if you want to keep reveling in the Rangers’ agony while enjoying a fantastic article, give that good read. The Rangers are not the team of destiny. The Panthers are.

Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Colleague Dan Kingerski took a sledgehammer to some ideas in the Penguins atmosphere. Penguins trade a goalie? Buyout a defenseman? Dan doesn’t spare feelings for the Islanders’ rival, but if enjoying the Rangers’ pain isn’t enough, you can take a good look at the Pittsburgh Penguins’ problems.

NJ Hockey Now: Devils Fans are cheering for the Edmonton Oilers and 2012 hero Adam Henrique as they advanced to the Stanley Cup Final.

Philly Hockey Now: It was a decade ago, but it still hurts, especially with Florida in the Cup Final. Our friend Jon Baily rehashes the haunting Sergei Bobrovsky trade.