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Dan’s Daily: It’s Game 7; Flyers Get Top Prospect; Penguins Buyout Costs

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NHL Stanley Cup Final Game 7, Connor McDavid. NHL trade talk, and Pittsburgh Penguins news

The final day of the 2023-24 NHL season. It comes down to Game 7 between the Florida Panthers and the Edmonton Oilers. Connor McDavid could etch his name among the greatest or come achingly close again. Florida will bathe in glory with the Stanley Cup or live with ignominious defeat. The off-season begins in a few days, as well. We sized up the Pittsburgh Penguins’ potential buyouts and the cost. The rival Philadelphia Flyers appear to be getting their top prospect out of Russia two years early. Larry Brooks wonders if a top-shelf goalie is necessary and if the New York Rangers should invest $12 million a year in Igor Shesterkin’s next contract, and Derrick Brassard is done with hockey.

I’m sure I’ll get excited for Game 7 later tonight. I have plans to watch it with friends, but that nervous excitement afforded to hockey fans for the ultimate event has not yet visited me. I’m looking forward to flying out tomorrow to Las Vegas (a city I adore even in the sweltering summer heat), the draft, and free agency, and I have plans to ride the bike to Montreal for a CFL game in July.

I surely hope the NHL learns its lesson here. However, history tells us that is not the case. With this being the final in-person draft (terribly sad and another mistake), I suspect the NHL will care less about when the season finally ends. Also, why is the NHL ending in-person drafts when they even filled the Nashville arena last year? It’s an event that makes them look good, and we all have quite a bit of fun getting to see friends and colleagues whom we might otherwise get to see once a year.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Pittsburgh Hockey Now: The NHL buyout window opens 48 hours after the Cup is awarded (or earlier than June 15), so Wednesday is the day we could see some unexpected players hit the NHL free-agent market. Here are the candidates and costs for Penguins buyouts.

He will live in some infamy in Pittsburgh. In 2018, Derrick Brassard was THE prize on the NHL trade block. On paper, it should have made the Penguins unstoppable. Instead, it only added to their mortality. A year later, former general manager Jim Rutherford traded him. “Big Game Brass” has decided to retire.

Pittsburgh Baseball Now: Paul Skenes went deep into the game, even tossing pitches at 102mph. However, the bats were wet noodles, and the Tampa Bay Rays took the series from the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Bad news for the Pirates (in addition to their refusal to hit the trade market for a bat): David Bednar is on IR. Here’s the plan to share the Pirates’ closer role.

I’ve always believed the Pirates owner when he says he badly wants to win. However, I don’t think he understands what that means. You don’t succeed on your terms without going the extra mile and doing more than you’ve done when others are willing to do so. Bob Nutting could paraphrase a Meatloaf song–I’ll do anything to win, but I won’t do that.

NHL Trade Talk, Stanley Cup Final Game 7, National Hockey Now

Florida Hockey Now: It’s Game 7. The noise is deafening. Florida can probably hear their heartbeats pounding away in their ears. The biggest game in franchise history on the verge of the biggest collapse in NHL history. The Florida Panthers are trying to block out the noise.

Yes, a 3-0 comeback happened in 1942, but that was the six-team league away from the glare and spotlight of the world watching.

TSN: For the Panthers, Game 7 will bring immortality. Or ignominy. The pressure will be absolutely intense, and we’ll finally reach the climax of the NHL season.

Sportsnet: Which Sergei Bobrovsky will show up? The one who carried the Panthers to the Cup Final, stealing games along the way, or the goalie who became leaky with his destiny in his hands?

NY Post: The Vegas Golden Knights won the Cup with Adin Hill in net. The Edmonton Oilers are in Game 7 with Stuart Skinner in the cage. So, does an NHL team really need a big-salary goalie, and should the New York Rangers throw $12 million a year at Igor Shesterkin?

Well, the Rangers need a big-money goalie. They’re not that good without him. He cleans up more messes than any goalie in the league.

Philly Hockey Now: It’s happening. Top prospect Matvei Michkov is bolting his KHL team a couple of years early and will add some electricity to the Philadelphia Flyers lineup.

I wonder why many of the Russian prospects are suddenly available when, a year ago, there were big concerns about pressing them into military service. No, I don’t trust anything Russia says or does.

Sportsnet: The Linus Ullmark trade talk is still swirling around the Ottawa Senators. Whatever happens next, defenseman Jakob Chychrun is a key piece to Ottawa.

Boston Hockey Now: Mutual interest, eh? According to Nick Kypreos, the Jake DeBrusk camp is eying the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the Maple Leafs are eying DeBrusk. That would sweeten the rivalry for the Boston Bruins.

I absolutely do not think the inconsistent DeBrusk would be a wise investment for the Penguins, but the chatter is there.