Toronto has always been the center of the hockey universe. Just ask Toronto residents. However, the drama unfolding around the team over the past couple seasons has created as many headlines as a Kardashian on TMZ. Will Mitch Marner sign before July 1 or test the waters of restricted free agency? Is Mike Babcock in trouble? Are Auston Matthews and Babcock getting along? Who should be the captain? And now Toronto defenseman Nikita Zaitsev who shined brightly this season has requested a trade. Also in the links, Oskar Sundqvist got the gate for one game and more RFA drama and how can the Pittsburgh Penguins replace Phil Kessel?
Oskar Sundqvist was suspended for his hit on Matt Grzelcyk in Game 2 (Boston Hockey Now)
I still feel Grzelcyk caught an edge and moved in an unpredictable way; I shared Eddie Olcyk’s belief that two minutes was the right call. But if more suspensions are handed out for head hits, that’s not a bad thing either.
Also, Bruce Cassidy wants more from his top line including Brad Marchand, which has suddenly gone cold (Boston Hockey Now)
Toronto defenseman Nikita Zaitsev has requested a trade (The Athletic)
The news for free (ESPN)
Brock Boeser and the Vancouver Canucks aren’t close on a new contract. More RFA drama! (Sportsnet)
It seems if there is a hill the NHLPA wants to die on in the next CBA talks, making restricted free agency less draconian would be it, eh? I still don’t understand why a collusion suit hasn’t been explored publicly and fully.
What would it take for the Pittsburgh Penguins to replace Phil Kessel? It won’t be easy but PHN dove through the numbers, analysis, and projections (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)
The NWHL canceled expansion plans but is open to a new league (NWHL)