The New York Islanders are in reflection mode after the disappointing end to their postseason run. Islanders head coach Barry Trotz says he has no regrets on not inserting rookie forward Oliver Wahlstrom back into the lineup after return from injury. Semyon Varlamov put together a phenomenal season as he gave his team a fighting chance. These stories and more in today’s daily links!
New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz expressed no regrets over keeping talented rookie Oliver Wahlstrom up in the press box instead of on the ice during the Islanders’ run to the Stanley Cup Semifinals. Wahlstrom had played in the first five games of the First Round before he was hurt in Game 5 and then never got back into the lineup even when he was healthy. (NYI Hockey Now)
In Game 7 down in Tampa this past Friday, the New York Islanders saw themselves down 1-0 as the clock continued to dwindle. The Islanders seemed to be a step behind the defending Stanley Cup Champions all game long, but it was the play of veteran goaltender Semyon Varlamov who stood tall to give his team a fighting chance. While the final score favored the Lightning by that count, that fighting chance is something that Varlamov gave his team all season long. (NYI Hockey Now)
NHL trade chatter has picked up significantly over the last two weeks. That chatter will only grow louder as we approach July 17, the deadline for NHL teams to submit their NHL Expansion Draft protection lists for the draft four days later. (NYI Hockey Now)
Islanders president and general manager Lou Lamoriello addressed an open letter to the team’s fans praising them for inspiration at Nassau Coliseum and hoping that same enthusiasm is present when the $1.2 billion UBS Arena at Belmont Park opens next season. The Lightning eliminated the Islanders, 1-0, in Game 7 of their NHL semifinal series on Friday in Tampa. Lamoriello is scheduled to address the media via conference call on Tuesday for the first time since the Islanders’ season ended. Lamoriello assured the team’s fans that “preparation for the 2021-22 season has begun.” (Newsday)
Once John Tavares departed for Toronto via free agency in 2018, the expectation was that Mathew Barzal’s elite playmaking skill would make him the new face of the franchise. Barzal is the most recognizable Islander, thanks to some highlight-reel goals and two All-Star appearances. His choked-up words and tear-filled eyes in the immediate wake of the Islanders’ playoff elimination to the Lightning in Game 7 of the NHL semifinals spoke volumes for the entire team. But captain Anders Lee remains the team’s emotional leader. That does not diminish Barzal’s NHL evolution. (Newsday)
Boston Bruins star forward David Pastrnak announced early Monday morning on Instagram that his newborn son Viggo, who was born on June 17, had passed away six days later. “We have an Angel watching over us and we call him SON. You will be loved FOREVER. Please respect our privacy as we are going through these heartbreaking times,” Pastrnak wrote around 2 AM ET Monday. (Boston Hockey Now)
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman both affirmed his promise to the NHL players to go to the 2022 Winter Olympics but also cast doubt because prolonged negotiations are interfering with finalizing the 2021-22 NHL schedule. As part of the annual joint media conference before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final with deputy commissioner Bill Daly, the pair answered the lingering questions about the 2021-22 season and where the important dates will be held. (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)
The Philadelphia Flyers continue to be in the mix for top-tier defensemen this offseason. A few weeks ago, it was reported that Seth Jones wants out of Columbus and the Flyers were immediately among the teams mentioned. Elliotte Friedman continued reporting on Jones and the Flyers in his weekly 31 Thoughts column on Monday: (Philly Hockey Now)
Washington Capitals defenseman Zdeno Chara continues to cement his remarkable legacy. This time, he added another award to his trophy case. Slovakia president Zuzana Čaputová honored Chara and 23 others at a ceremony celebrating the 28th anniversary of the country’s independence. According to SME, the award honored Chara “for extraordinary merits in the field of sports and for extraordinary dissemination of the good name of the Slovak Republic abroad.” (Washington Hockey Now)
Vince Dunn-to-anywhere might be the NHL’s longest active trade rumor. When did we start hearing about the St. Louis Blues moving him? He’s only 25. Yet it seems as if his name has been in the marketplace for 18 months to two years. The name of Minnesota defenseman Matt Dumba has been out there for a while. Who should the Red Wings consider trading for? (Detroit Hockey Now)
Fans of this site know how much we value Alec Martinez and for good reason. He’s a Stanley Cup winner twice over, a player who has an uncanny knack for scoring big goals at big times, is not afraid to sacrifice his body and block shots, leads by example, and does a million little things that make him an incredibly important player to the Vegas Golden Knights. While the VGK figure out if they can swing a deal for Jack Eichel, they also need to get Martinez back into the fold as quickly as possible. (Vegas Hockey Now)
Business looks like it’s going back to “normal” for the San Jose Sharks. “I think there’s plenty of evidence that by late this summer and September,” San Jose Sharks president Jonathan Becher said today, “it’ll definitely feel like we’re in post-pandemic mode.” That should mean packed crowds at SAP Center and a full calendar of events. (San Jose Hockey Now)
Nikita Kucherov had two goals and an assist in the third period, and the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Montreal Canadiens 5-1 in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena on Monday. Kucherov reached 30 points (seven goals, 23 assists) in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second straight season. He scored 34 points (seven goals, 27 assists) in the 2020 postseason to help the Lightning win the Cup. (NHL)
The Montreal Canadiens will review their 5-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Monday, but they already know which area needs the most work. “It’s going to be the puck management,” Canadiens assistant coach Luke Richardson said. (NHL)
The Vegas Golden Knights will host the 2022 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced Monday before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning. All-Star Weekend will be the first in-season NHL event hosted by the city of Las Vegas and the Golden Knights since their inaugural season of 2017-18. (NHL)
NHL participation in the 2022 Beijing Olympics remains a work in progress, and time is running short to address issues concerning the League. The NHL will release the 2021-22 schedule between the end of the 2021 Stanley Cup Final and the 2021 NHL Draft on July 23-24. (NHL)
It appears the Edmonton Oilers are close to signing one of their top forwards to a contract extension. According to TSN’s Ryan Rishaug, the Oilers are set to announce an eight-year, $41 million contract extension with center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The deal included a no-movement clause. (TSN)
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