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NYHN Daily: Wahlstrom’s Impact on Islanders Offseason Decisions & More

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We are a couple of weeks away from the Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft and Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello has tough decisions to make. After the rookie year we saw from Islanders Oliver Wahlstrom, there is a case to be made that his play makes Jordan Eberle expendable. This story and more in today’s daily links!

With the NHL salary cap stagnant for a second straight season, New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello must get creative to keep the Islanders under the cap without decreasing the talent if possible. Less than a year ago, restricted free agent Devon Toews was shipped to Colorado to save the Islanders money and sign back key free agents and now a similar situation could be developing with Oliver Wahlstrom Defenseman Noah Dobson showed Lamoriello and head coach Barry Trotz enough in his first season, 2019-20, which allowed Toews to become expendable. Has Wahlstrom done the same to make another player become expendable? (NYI Hockey Now)

After the Boston Bruins lost Assistant Coach Jay Pandolfo to Boston University last Friday, their AHL affiliate, the Providence Bruins saw head coach Jay Leach head west to become an assistant coach with the Seattle Kraken on Monday. Mark Divver of the New England Hockey Journal and RinksideRhodeIsland broke the news on both departures. (Boston Hockey Now)

It didn’t hit the NHL trade rumors, nor did we think it possible, but did the Pittsburgh Penguins call the Columbus Blue Jackets about defenseman Seth Jones? Upon closer examination, it does make sense that Penguins GM Ron Hextall chatted up Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen. Jones is in the prime of his career. He’s 26-years-old, a bonafide top-shelf blueliner, and a righty, too. He would be the heir-apparent to Kris Letang and could simultaneously extend Letang’s career by eating some of the hard minutes Letang gobbles up on a nightly basis. (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)

If you are a Red Wings fan hoping Swedish draft prospect William Eklund might slide to Detroit at No. 6, then your longshot hopes are growing longer. NHL.com sportswriter Mike Morreale reports Eklund has interviewed with teams owning four of the top five picks. Plus, the Buffalo Sabres, holding the No. 1 pick, will meet with him Wednesday. That’s an indication Eklund will land in the top five. TSN’s Craig Button compares Eklund to Sebastian A

Washington Capitals blueliner Michal Kempny seems ready to put the adversity and injury woes from last season behind him. Kempny posted an Instagram video of himself training and lifting weights as he gears up for a return to action. It’s a good sign for the Czech d-man, who missed the Capitals 2020-21 campaign after suffering a torn Achilles in October. He returned two games with the AHL’s Hershey Bears, but a collision with an ice shoveler led to another ailment that halted his comeback. Given the circumstances of the expansion draft and a tight salary cap, Kempny will be instrumental to the team’s blue line plans next season. (Washington Hockey Now)

Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez exemplified the grit and determination of hockey players to win the Stanley Cup. The Golden Knights top-pair defenseman played through the postseason with a broken foot. As ridiculous as it sounds, the Golden Knights need more of that toughness, not less. Martinez, 33, is headed towards unrestricted free agency. In his mid-30s, this will be his last chance to cash in on the NHL free-agent market, and fanbases already familiar with Martinez’s gutsy work and underrated offensive acumen are lining up. (Vegas Hockey Now)

I feel like it’s more the offender and not the offense” said Nazem Kadri on the hit that ended his season, and the lack of NHL officiating consistency. His hit was delivered to stop a prime scoring chance and even at this point in time, the physical forward is still trying to wrap his head around his eight-game suspension. (Colorado Hockey Now)

Kyle, Erik, and JD release their updated top-10 big board of our favorite 2021 NHL Draft prospects. We debate how the top defenseman should be ranked and which player tops our list for who we want the San Jose Sharks to draft. (San Jose Hockey Now)

Dominique Ducharme laughed when asked about the prospect of the Montreal Canadiens having to fly into Tampa on Tuesday with a possible hurricane bearing down on Florida’s west coast. The coach said it’s the latest example of adversity they will have to overcome this season.  “It’s no surprise anymore,” Ducharme said. “Anything that happens right now and for a while, we just take it and look at it and say, ‘It’s probably our destiny.’ (NHL)

The Tampa Bay Lightning would’ve preferred to have the Stanley Cup with them on their plane when they flew home from Montreal on Tuesday. They’ll have to settle for trying to win it in front of their families, friends and fans when they play the Montreal Canadiens in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena on Wednesday. (NHL)

How do the top prospects eligible for the 2021 NHL Draft compare to current NHL players? Owen Power is No. 1 in NHL Central Scouting’s final ranking of North American skaters. The defenseman, who scored 16 points (three goals, 13 assists) in 26 games with the University of Michigan, said he watches a lot of Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman. (NHL)

Luke Hughes said being selected by the New Jersey Devils at the 2021 NHL Draft and getting to play with his brother, Jack Hughes, would be ideal. “It would be unbelievable to go to the Devils,” Luke Hughes said Tuesday. “My brother clearly wants me to be there. That’d be super cool to play with him, and I’d love that. But at the same time, there’s 32 great teams out there, and I’d be happy to go to any one of those teams.” (NHL)

 

 

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