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Dan’s Daily: Penguins Projections, Vegas is Ready, Return of Whalers?



Pittsburgh Penguins, Evgeni Malkin, Brian Dumoulin, NHL trade talk and rumors

We examined the possibilities and probabilities for Pittsburgh Penguins president of hockey operations Kyle Dubas’s first move. We also examined the surprising difficulty the Penguins would face in replacing Brian Dumoulin. The Vegas Golden Knights are ready. They’re itching for their chance to win the Stanley Cup, which comes tonight. There are more NHL trade rumors around the Flyers, and the Connecticut Governor has an ownership group and is courting Gary Bettman for the return of the Hartford Whalers.

I have no idea how to tell you the oddities of my day on Monday. From multiple cop cars at the hotel to one dude and one bucket at the bus stop to me scolding the von Trapp family on the Vegas strip because they were holding hands four-wide on the sidewalk and no one could get around them. And my steak was burned to a crisp as the waitress explained it was medium rare.

But I got White Castle as a late-night treat.

Yet, it was a fun day. I can’t explain it. Mindset, I suppose. Now, if the Golden Knights wrap it up, I’ll get to cover the Cup, a parade, and come home this weekend.

Pittsburgh Penguins:

Pittsburgh Hockey Now: From buyouts to trades, since I’m a quasi-Vegas resident, we laid odds on Kyle Dubas’s first move with the Penguins.

This was a surprising story for me — I started a piece on potential free-agent replacements for Brian Dumoulin. And then I realized there were very few options. It was a startling realization. Penguins free agent targets.

Stanley Cup Final, NHL Trade Talk, & National Hockey Now:

Vegas Hockey Now: The Golden Knights practice was a carnival. Fans packed the place. They brought signs and funny hats and went wild when the players stepped on the ice. Adin Hill is a burgeoning cult hero here, as he should be. Check out the video of his ovation. Vegas Golden Knights practice.

I rolled through the Golden Knights locker room Monday. It’s tough to get near any players, but I tried to steer away from the hoards of cameras. There was a vibe, a positivity, and I recognized it. I’ve seen it before when a team KNOWS they’re going to win the Stanley Cup, and there is nothing their opponents can do to stop them. The Vegas Golden Knights are ready.

Florida Hockey Now: Matthew Tkachuk is injured. We knew that. He didn’t practice Monday, and his status is iffy for Game 5. The latest on the Florida Panthers.

It’s rare for a city to have two teams in a championship in the same year. Has a city ever lost both in five games?

NHL trade talk…

Philly Hockey Now: The NHL trade rumors aren’t waiting for the Cup this year. Count the Edmonton Oilers as interested in what the Philadelphia Flyers are selling.

Buffalo Hockey Now: Will the Buffalo Sabres use their salary cap space to get busy on the NHL trade and/or NHL free agency?

Colorado Hockey Now: Defenseman Erik Johnson is not ready to hang ’em up, but will he return to the Colorado Avalanche?

LA Hockey Now: What of the trade rumors linking Tom Wilson to the LA Kings?

Sportsnet: The Connecticut governor has a local ownership group ready to buy the Arizona Coyotes. The governor is courting Gary Bettman to let it happen and bring about the return of … the Hartford Whalers!

Won’t happen, but it’s a nice thought. Which team would get flipped out west?

And the mock draft…

Montreal Hockey Now: Marco D’Amico was the guy who turned me onto Lane Hutson last year (Hutson had a monster freshman year at Boston U). He knows his prospects. Here’s the first-round mock draft, including who the Penguins (should) take in at the NHL Draft.