Given how important the youth have been to Finland this year, it’s probably not a shocker that the final seven roster spots for the nation’s World Cup of Hockey team skew young. But it is nice to see the kids rewarded.
The London Knights are steamrolling the competition at the Memorial Cup and Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Mitch Marner is leading the way, just as he did in the OHL playoffs. All told, the right winger has 57 points in his past 21 games (13 in three Memorial Cup wins). Add in the 116 points he had during the regular season and you’ve got a weaponized threat on the ice.
The Knights have already clinched a spot in the Memorial Cup final thanks to a 3-0 record (in which they have outscored their opponents 20-5), so with one game left on the docket for the team, it’s hard not to speculate what Marner’s future holds next season.
So let’s speculate, shall we?
To these eyes, it was difficult to determine exactly what Corey Perry’s level of intent was when he clipped Patrik Laine of Finland with his left leg when he was coming off for a line change in today’s World Championship game.
So I will defer to the observations of two former NHL players who have more than 2,000 games between them. And the fact that both Ray Ferraro and Bob Errey are analysts for the Canada-centric TSN broadcasts and lambasted Perry for his skullduggery provide further perspective on the situation.
Back in March, we took a look back at five forgotten games from NHL history that, in hindsight, changed the results of a draft lottery. It was a reminder of just how close we came to Patrick Kane as an Oiler, or Vincent Lecavalier as a Canuck. It was meant to be a fun concept, and most fans seemed to enjoy it, with the exception of Capitals fans who saw Alexander Ovechkin photoshopped into a Blue Jackets uniform and immediately had coronaries.
This year, the NHL changed the lottery rules, expanding the process to include three draws instead of just one. And that’s good news for us, because it leaves us with plenty of opportunity to play the “one forgotten game” card with this year’s results. Now that we know what the winning spots in the standings were – that would be 30th, 25th and 27th – we can come up with all sorts of scenarios that would have changed the identity of the teams holding them.
So today, that’s what we’ll do. Granted, given how close the standings were around the key spots, we could pick virtually any game from the season for some of these teams. But that’s no fun. We want something that’s at least vaguely memorable, since it makes it more entertaining to point back and say “We didn’t realize it at the time, but that game changed everything.”
Must be horrible to be Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff right now. After all, his team moved up to second from sixth in the draft order thanks to this weekend’s lottery, enabling the team to pick Patrik Laine or Jesse Puljujarvi this summer. But the Jets already have one of the deepest pools of young talent in the NHL, with Nikolaj Ehlers already a year in and Kyle Connor recently turning pro after one incredible college season.
Oh, the terrible choices Winnipeg will be forced to make in camp this fall.
After missing the playoffs last season for the first since since 2006-07, the Boston Bruins shook up their management and roster. Having missed the postseason in consecutive years (also for the first time since ’07), more changes are expected.
It was assumed coach Claude Julien could lose his job, but GM Don Sweeney stated otherwise during his season-ending press conference. That comes as a big disappointment for teams (such as the Ottawa Senators) in need of a new bench boss next season.
Boston pundits, meanwhile, are speculating over this summer’s possible roster moves. Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald wonders if Sweeney will try to convince aging captain Zdeno Chara to waive his no-movement clause. He also suggests blueliner Dennis Seidenberg could be shopped, though that could mean picking up part of his annual $4-million cap hit through 2017-18. Conroy also thinks UFA rearguard Kevan Miller might not be back and underachieving winger Jimmy Hayes might benefit from a change of scenery. Read more
All hail the Frozen Four champs from North Dakota. The Fighting Hawks stomped all over Quinnipiac in the final and while Vancouver pick Brock Boeser has confirmed his return for another campaign, several free agents are drumming up interest now. Boeser’s linemate, Drake Caggiula, helped his cause with two goals in the final, while defenseman Troy Stecher is expected to leave school early for an NHL contract. In the meantime, San Jose won the derby for Lithuanian goalie Mantas Armalis and the Michigan Wolverines lost their two best players to the pro ranks. Read about them and more in our weekly prospect wrap:
With the NHL regular season completed, the fate of several coaches whose clubs failed to reach the playoffs is a hot topic of discussion. Much of the focus is upon Claude Julien of the Boston Bruins.
Since joining the Bruins in 2007-08, Julien’s guided them to four division titles, a Presidents’ Trophy in 2013, two Stanley Cup Finals and a championship in 2011. Over the past two seasons, however, the Bruins fell short of the playoffs. Their recent failure has some in the Boston media calling for a coaching change.
If Julien is let go by the Bruins, he won’t be unemployed for long. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman suggests the Ottawa Senators could come calling if they decide to drop bench boss Dave Cameron. Read more