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Russell’s Roundup: Florida on the Cusp; Islanders and Laine

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Aleksander Barkov, Gustav Forsling and Sam Reinhart celebrate a goal // Jason Branson/The Canadian Press via AP

The Florida Panthers are one win away from hoisting the Stanley Cup. They beat the Edmonton Oilers last night by a score of 4-3, but the game was over in the second period. It was the most even of the three games thus far in the series, as both teams had strong pushes. The difference is simply in the net, as the Panthers have a hall-of-fame-worthy goaltender in Sergei Bobrovsky, while the Oilers have the inconsistent Stuart Skinner. Elsewhere, more gasoline was poured on the Patrik Laine rumors. The Islanders could be fit to trade for him, while the Vegas Golden Knights may be in on Mitch Marner, which, seriously, they keep finding ways to do things. It’s truly impressive.

Last night in game three, it felt like Florida was just better. Their relentless forecheck routinely wore the Oilers down, leading to multiple brutal turnovers. Skinner turned it over on the Vladimir Tarasenko goal. Darnell Nurse’s nightmare postseason continued as he got rag-dolled by Sam Bennett and Matthew Tkachuk before a counterattacking Aleksander Barkov delivered the dagger late in the second period.

It’s hard to see this Final making it past Saturday, and if it doesn’t, it may speed up the trade market if it does.

New York Islanders

Patrik Laine’s trade request went public on Wednesday, so yesterday at NYI Hockey Now, I discussed a potential trade package for Laine, how the salary cap fits into it, and all possible nuances. Ultimately, despite some risks, I concluded that despite superficial concerns and other potential issues with the cap, Laine checks all the boxes.

NHL Trade Talk, News & National Hockey Now

Florida Hockey Now: The Panthers won again. They’ve won six straight playoff games and haven’t shown any signs of slowing down. They’ve neutralized every star in their path. George Richards broke it all down, with the Panthers now on the verge.

Sportsnet: Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek discussed Patrick Laine at length during the Jeff Marek show. Laine has wanted out for almost a year, but the trade is complicated due to his cap hit. They mentioned Utah as a possible suitor before going over the latest Mitch Marner gossip, where somehow the Vegas Golden Knights are mentioned. Any time someone says that the Islanders can’t do something because of the cap, show them the Golden Knights’ transaction log. The main topics filled the Friday rumor roundup.

Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Last summer, reigning Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson was available for a cheap price, primarily due to his enormous cap hit. Kyle Dubas, a creative General Manager, found a way to acquire Karlsson at a discounted price. Now, Laine is out there for cheap. It’s another opportunity the Penguins should pounce on.

New Jersey Hockey Now: More Laine talk, all of the time. The Devils are also looking for a top-six winger to replace Tyler Toffoli after the Devils dealt him to Winnipeg. Devils General Manager Tom Fitzgerald is expected to be aggressive, and Laine could be on the Devils’ radar. However, James Nichols says Laine does not make enough sense for New Jersey and, given the opportunity, should pass on Laine.

Forever Blueshirts: That other team in town made their first move of the summer, re-signing Kaapo Kakko to a one-year deal. Despite the deal, this upcoming season will likely be Kakko’s last chance with the Rangers to develop into something more.