As the calendar turns to August, the NHL is in the pet dog times of its summer time sojourn. In this article are five storylines I am stoked about right before coaching camps open up in September:
one. Olympic absence
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has held company on not sending players to the 2018 Wintertime Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, citing participation as much too disruptive to the schedule. That usually means NHL players will not contend in the Olympics for the to start with time since 1998. The determination has been critiqued by many NHL stars, such as Henrik Lundqvist, Connor McDavid and Alex Ovechkin. In a tweet posted in April, Lundqvist expressed a sentiment echoed by many in league circles: Skipping the Olympics is a skipped possibility to current market the sport globally, especially in a nascent Asian current market.
Disappointing information, @NHL will never be element of the Olympics 2018. A huge possibility to current market the sport at the most important stage is squandered..
— Henrik Lundqvist (@HLundqvist30) April 3, 2017
Crew Canada kicked its preparations into equipment, naming Willie Desjardins as its head coach and Sean Burke as GM. But with out NHL players, Canada will likely fill its roster with players on abroad contracts, such as some NHL veterans. The Canadians will contend in five tournaments about 7 months, such as the Sochi Hockey Open up from Aug. 6-9. Crew United states will announce its coach and administration teams on Aug. 4. Be expecting the U.S. roster to include players from abroad professional leagues. Collegiate players are in consideration as nicely — so, of course, cue the inescapable references to the “Miracle On Ice.”
2. McDavid trickle-down result
McDavid’s 8-12 months, $100 million extension signed previously this summer time ushers in the highest common once-a-year worth ($twelve.5 million) in league historical past. What is actually the trickle-down result, the two for the Oilers and for the rest of the NHL?
Let us start off with Edmonton. The 20-12 months-aged captain could have recognized a bargain an original deal was rumored at extra than $thirteen million AAV. McDavid also could have requested for a shorter time period. His new deal signals faith in the organization — coming off its ideal year in extra than a ten years — and provides GM Peter Chiarelli respiratory home, even though not significantly.
Limited free agent Leon Draisaitl is the future instant precedence. The Oilers show up bullish on hanging a deal for the 29-purpose scorer to be their long-time period No. 2 center and should get it performed. The issues starts in 2018-19, when McDavid’s new deal kicks in. The Oilers now have $fifty two.3 million committed to twelve players. Though the cap should be bigger future summer time, the Oilers have to make choices on free brokers Matt Benning, Patrick Maroon, Darnell Nurse and Ryan Strome, amongst other folks. Goalie Cam Talbot is an unrestricted free agent in 2019.
Much more broadly, McDavid’s deal sets the bar as the new typical for ascending superstars. Maintain an eye on the Buffalo Sabres‘ Jack Eichel as a current market indicator. Discussions are open up amongst the No. 2 draft choose of 2015 and the new Sabres’ front office, led by GM Jason Botterill. Even even though Eichel skipped 21 games final year, he carries leverage after notching 113 factors in his to start with 142 NHL games. Eichel’s deal, much too, will have a trickle-down result. It could be applied as a baseline for Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews and Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine, the two suitable for paydays future summer time.
3. Poised for a 3-peat?
As the Pittsburgh Penguins parade Lord Stanley from Montreal to Moscow, it is fair to ponder if they’ll be undertaking the exact future summer time — their third summer time in a row. Pittsburgh’s roster did alter this offseason, formally going from Marc-Andre Fleury to Matt Murray in net whilst getting rid of Nick Bonino, Trevor Daley and Chris Kunitz to free company. But what Pittsburgh has developed would seem to instantly replenish (see: Jake Guentzel, Conor Sheary) forwards Zachary Aston-Reese and Daniel Sprong could be on deck.
Two of the Penguins’ hardest foes in the Japanese Conference are taking care of limited home windows. The Washington Capitals, strapped by the income cap, parted with Karl Alzner, Marcus Johansson, Nate Schmidt and Justin Williams — with out signing replacements. (Washington’s paying out centered on extensions for Evgeny Kuznetsov and T.J. Oshie.) Meanwhile, the New York Rangers did usual Rangers matters by signing the ideal free agent on the current market: defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. In a exceptional twist, they failed to overpay. Relatively, Shattenkirk signed at a discounted to enjoy for the staff he grew up rooting for. Meanwhile, the Rangers shook up their main, shopping for out veteran defenseman Dan Girardi and investing center Derek Stepan. Following many moves, New York was left with a myriad of able defensemen and no depth at center.
The Penguins’ hardest conference competitiveness could come from Canada. The Montreal Canadiens, Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators are all coming off robust seasons and challenge no signals of regression.
4. Deliver on Vegas
An arena is developed, a roster is shaped, and the excitement in Sin Metropolis is palpable. There will be hockey in Las Vegas this year. Though the Vegas Golden Knights are strategizing for the long term — GM George McPhee’s mentioned purpose: Make the playoffs in 3 decades — they are far better outfitted than any expansion staff in modern historical past. The Golden Knights have hoarded draft picks and defensemen but will establish all around an amazing centerpiece: 3-time Stanley Cup-winning goalie Fleury. Though Vegas is likely to end at the base of the 2017-18 standings, it has proven scorers in Jonathan Marchessault, James Neal and David Perron to make matters fascinating.
But instant good results in Vegas will never be judged on the ice. Relatively, the NHL anxiously waits to see if this staff can be embraced by the group. Coming off a Stanley Cup playoffs in which the Nashville Predators elevated experiential hockey for admirers in non-conventional marketplaces, can Vegas continue to keep it up? In an interview in July with Forbes, proprietor Bill Foley boasted that the Golden Knights have smashed anticipations with year tickets, selling thirteen,five hundred of 17,000 seats and all suites. The Knights have “extra income than the Flyers, Penguins, the Boston Bruins,” Foley claimed. “We are No. 5, 6 or seven in phrases of ticket income in the league,” he instructed Forbes. “Which is how excellent Las Vegas has been to us.”
5. Potential farewells
There’s a modifying of the guard in the NHL, as McDavid-Matthews results in being the league’s marquee duo, pursuing Sidney Crosby-Ovechkin and Wayne Gretzky-Mario Lemieux right before them. One more fascinating, if tangentially connected, storyline has emerged: prospective departures of NHL mainstays.
It felt as if Jaromir Jagr were being poised to enjoy as long as Gordie Howe did. But after the Florida Panthers failed to re-up the 45-12 months-aged winger, Jagr continues to be unsigned. Absolutely his legs have presented a little bit, but his hands have not (112 factors the earlier two seasons), and his challenging-to-quantify locker home existence adds worth. Jagr is at this time skating with his hometown staff, Kladno, in the Czech Republic. Even though he has explained that his preference is to enjoy in the NHL, if he cannot uncover the suitable match, Jagr could keep in the Czech Republic or signal a deal in the KHL.
Meanwhile, Shane Doan, forty, and Jarome Iginla, forty, are also with out hockey properties, even with staying in shape. Neither player has received a Stanley Cup, which usually means the two could be looking to enjoy only for a contender. Following an unceremonious divorce amongst Doan and the Arizona Coyotes, this feels like an unsavory goodbye.
Of system, if any of these players stay unsigned by February, the Olympics could beckon. A gold medal is not a lousy way to go out.