Well, that was an interesting day! Making up for the duds on trade deadline day and the NHL Draft in which teams actually kept their own picks, July 1, 2018 will go down as a day which altered the landscape of the NHL for a generation. John Tavares, Ryan O’Reilly, James van Riemsdyk and Peter Statsny took center stage (center stage, get it?) and the Toronto Maple Leafs now have a hometown boy who is ready to win a Stanley Cup.
The Tavares sweeps are over. The little boy who slept in Maple Leafs sheets will lead the blue and white. The Maple Leafs now have arguably the second best 1-2 center punch in the game with Tavares and Auston Matthews, behind Sidney Crosby-Evgeni Malkin. And, it won’t be too much longer before the Leafs have the top 1-2 punch.
Childhood Dream (TSN).
The move is a cataclysmic shift for both the Leafs and the poor New York Islanders who go home empty-handed, without even a parting gift (Sportsnet).
Islanders are crushed. This is a short, sentimental and sober read: (Lighthouse Hockey).
The Buffalo Sabres owed Ryan O’Reilly a large signing bonus. They checked with the league–they didn’t have to pay until 11:59 p.m., July 1. They never paid it at all. Hours after the Blues signed free agent center Tyler Bozak, they got the best pivot on the trade market: Ryan O’Reilly. Suddenly, the Blues look really good.
The St. Louis Side (St. Louis Post Dispatch).
From Buffalo, GM Jason Botterill is putting his stamp on the team. Mike Harrington calls it a culture change (Buffalo News).
UPDATE: James Neal is headed to Calgary. (Sportsnet)
And John Tortorella went off. Off the hook. Off the chain over Jack Johnson and Jim Rutherford’s comments at Johnson’s introductory press conference. Pittsburgh Hockey Now was working on a story about the back-and-forth between the GM’s (Jim Rutherford and Jarmo Kekalainen), and then Torts spoke…and spoke. Many outlets have reprinted portions of the rant, but they all stem from Aaron Portzline of the Athletic. Here is the complete and full story (The Athletic. Subscription required)
*Stick tap Aaron. What I wouldn’t give to still have Torts cellphone.