The 2020-21 NHL season is officially over. It ended last night when Montreal failed to score a goal, and Tampa Bay scored one in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. In front of their home fans, the Tampa Bay Lightning defended their Stanley Cup championship. Then Nikita Kucherov torched Montreal fans and Vezina voters in the postgame while shirtless with a beer. The backroom drama of the NHL trade market got a jolt when Vladimir Tarasenko asked the St. Louis Blues for a trade, and GMs are bracing for offer sheet battles.
The offer sheet battles are what could shake the NHL and reshape team-building procedures. They could also raise player salaries.
PHN+: Multiple GMs and NHL execs spoke “Off the Record” in our weekly column. The New York Islanders are sitting ducks if GMs get brave, but as one GM admitted, “I know some GMs don’t want to be on Lamoriello’s revenge list…”
But the Islanders, Colorado Avalanche, and more have big-name RFAs and no money. The Seattle Kraken appear to be poised to build patiently with younger players–don’t expect old veterans–they are also playing poker with a stone face. Read it all here.
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Pittsburgh Hockey Now: There is one thing Montreal and Tampa Bay had, and the Pittsburgh Penguins can learn from. Actually, all of hockey should heed the lesson.
Stanley Cup Final
Montreal Gazette: The hometown paper put it bluntly. “The Habs simply weren’t good enough to beat the Lightning.”
I’m not sure anyone was, Montreal.
USA Today: Just wow. After the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Cup, Nikita Kucherov owned the postgame pressers. While shirtless with a beer, it wasn’t an episode of Cops, but it was Kucherov letting loose. He ripped Montreal fans and Vezina Trophy voters for snubbing Tampa Bay goalie and Conn Smythe winner Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Nikita Kucherov not holding back in his post-game. Legendary press conference. pic.twitter.com/6hA9KvpgPE
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) July 8, 2021
When you win the Stanley Cup, you get to talk. And you thought drunk Olli Maatta and Justin Schultz were fun. I don’t think Kucherov will get a warm welcome in Vegas or Montreal next year.
Of course, that’s assuming he plays in the regular season.
NHL Trade Chatter and National Hockey Now network…
ESPN: Greg Wyshinski confirms sources that Vladimir Tarasenko has indeed requested a trade from the St. Louis Blues because of the lack of trust and friction over his three shoulder surgeries.
I don’t think Tarasenko will draw the price St. Louis will ask. This will be interesting. Tarasenko’s AAV is $7.5 million, but his actual salary is $9.5 million next season. Ouch.
Vegas: So–whatever happens next, if Vegas puts Marc-Andre Fleury or Robin Lehner on the NHL Trade block, it won’t change that Vegas is the place where Fleury finally became a Hall of Famer.
For Marc-Andre, I hope Vegas keeps him around.
And, if you can do me a personal favor, like and share the Vegas Hockey Now stories you read. Please and thanks!
Colorado Hockey Now: Sifting through rosters and stats sheets has begun in Adrian Dater’s office. It will be a good player–Who will the Colorado Avalanche expose to Seattle, and who will they lose?
TSN: Get this–Daren Dreger reports the Toronto Maple Leafs are interested in Taylor Hall if they can’t re-sign Zach Hyman. And the Oilers and Blackhawks are still working towards the Duncan Keith trade.
Seattle is waiting to pounce on that situation like a cat hiding in the weeds.
San Jose Hockey Now: Data scientist and hockey statistician Patrick Bacon is not a fan of the consensus top picks in the NHL Draft. Bacon explained why William Eklund is likely the real steal of the draft.
Boston: And in a sign of normalcy, the Boston Bruins are the first team (to my knowledge) to announce their rookie camps for the fall. Hallelujah!