Following the end of the 2016 Stanley Cup final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and San Jose Sharks, it didn’t take long for speculation to begin over the Cup finalists’ off-season plans.
ESPN.com’s Craig Custance suggests the Penguins trade goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. With Matt Murray taking over as the starter during the playoffs and the Penguins carrying limited salary-cap room, they could consider moving the 31-year-old’s $5.75-million cap hit.
Custance believes Fleury could be “a great fit” with the Calgary Flames or Carolina Hurricanes. Both clubs need depth between the pipes and have depth in young talent and prospects to entice the Penguins.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Dave Molinari notes the Penguins could also move Fleury this summer in order to protect Murray in a possible expansion draft next June. He also speculates the veteran netminder could request a trade.
It appears that expansion is simply a board of governors vote away after news surfaced that the NHL’s all-powerful executive committee will recommend the league grant a team to Las Vegas for the 2017-18 season. The owners will happily accept Bill Foley’s $500 million and the NHL will now be known as The Original 31.
Approval from the board of governors is usually a rubber-stamp process. But when deputy commissioner Bill Daly talked about it prior to the Stanley Cup final, he said he would never pre-suppose the results of a board vote, particularly on a file as contentious as this one. Which is code for saying that not everybody thinks this is a great idea.
Tomas Hertl’s injury became one of the Stanley Cup final’s storylines as the 22-year-old was suddenly out of the lineup come Game 3 and was continuously said to be day-to-day by San Jose Sharks coach Peter DeBoer. But with the post-season over, there’s finally some clarity when it comes to Hertl’s injury situation.
It was announced Monday that Hertl sustained an injury to his right knee, which is the same knee that was injured in a knee-on-knee collision with the Los Angeles Kings’ Dustin Brown in December 2013.
The injury in the Stanley Cup final came when Hertl was hit along the left wing boards midway through the third period of Game 2 by Pittsburgh Penguins winger Patric Hornqvist. Immediately after he was hit, Hertl left the ice and when the NBCSN cameras showed the Sharks winger on the bench, he was flexing his knee and grimacing in pain: Read more
Today probably rots if you’re in San Jose.
The Sharks will wake up with no more hockey to play, no more chances to win the Stanley Cup in 2015-16. And that feeling will linger for awhile, perhaps for the entire summer. Which is too bad, because the Sharks should feel proud of what they accomplished this season.
SAN JOSE – Aside from the players themselves, there are a good number of 18-year-old kids who were thrilled to see the Pittsburgh Penguins win the Stanley Cup this spring.
Unless you follow the prospect world, there’s a good chance you haven’t heard of the likes of Will Bitten, Clayton Keller, Vitali Abramov, Alex DeBrincat and Rasmus Apslund yet. But you will. And depending on how many NHL teams try to copy the blueprint provided by this year’s Stanley Cup-winning Penguins, they might have a better chance to make the NHL than they ever have.
SAN JOSE – Perhaps Sidney Crosby will never score 100 points ever again. Then again, maybe he will. If you go by analytics, logic states that his numbers should begin declining at some point pretty soon. But he proved in the Stanley Cup final, and by winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP, that he’s about so much more than numbers.
“I think Sidney Crosby’s best hockey is ahead of him,” said Penguins assistant GM Bill Guerin.
Whoa there, cowboy. Best hockey ahead of him? Two Stanley Cups, two scoring championships, two Hart Trophies, a Conn Smythe, five 100-point seasons, two Olympic gold medals and a space waiting for his plaque in the Hockey Hall of Fame and his best hockey is still ahead of him? Well, if you consider that Crosby has essentially turned himself into a Selke Trophy candidate and that he’s altered his entire game a la Steve Yzerman, perhaps that’s not as outlandish as it sounds.
SAN JOSE – It was a team that had one player who overcame thyroid cancer, another a stroke. A third player had to retire because of blood clots. It was a team of superstars and castoffs, one player who was run out of the so-called Center of the Hockey Universe. It was run by a guy who called himself a caretaker, then ended up remodeling the whole darn school. It was a team that was floundering until it fired its coach, then had to turn to 22-year-old kid with all of 13 games of NHL experience in the playoffs.
And now the Pittsburgh Penguins are Stanley Cup champions. So they know a little something about staring down adversity. And they also know a little something about forming habits. This is Pittsburgh’s fourth Cup in the past 25 years, which doesn’t seem like much until you consider that the Detroit Red Wings are the only other team to win as many Cups as Pittsburgh in that time frame.
SAN JOSE – The city of Pittsburgh will hold a Stanley Cup parade later this week at its State Point Park and when it does, the good people of that city will have a chance to celebrate a franchise that has set a gold standard over the past quarter of a century.
The Penguins won the Cup Sunday night with a 3-1 win over the San Jose Sharks in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final and it was impossible to make the argument that the better team did not win this series. The Penguins, under new coach Mike Sullivan and a rebuilt roster, were so dominant in the Stanley Cup final that only Sharks goalie Martin Jones prevented it from being a laugher.