The 2018 offseason is in full swing and it’s been a wild ride so far. With the trade deadline looming, we’ve seen some big moves from teams all over the league.
The mn wild trade rumors 2021 is a blog post that covers all the trades, signings, hirings and more you missed this offseason.
The Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup for the second year in a row in July, capping an extraordinary NHL season marked by changes and adaptations prompted by the COVID-19 epidemic.
They’ll attempt a three-peat in the 2021-22 season, which will see the league return to its previous alignment but will include significant changes on the ice for a dozen clubs, as well as the inclusion of a brand-new franchise.
Don’t worry if you haven’t been following the NHL in recent months; we’ve got you covered. Here’s your opportunity to catch up on all of the recent hirings, firings, trades, and signings, as well as a lot of off-ice drama. Everything you need to know about the 2021-22 season may be found in our guide for lapsed fans. Before the puck drops, do your homework!
Everything is back to normal again.
Following the pandemic-affected season of last year (56 games, rearranged divisions, and intradivision scheduling to minimize costs and health concerns), the NHL will return in 2021-22 with a full 82-game schedule. After the top four clubs in each division progressed to the playoffs in 2020-21, the league is returning to the wild-card playoff system that has been in place since 2014. The division lineups are the same as they were in 2019-20, with one exception: the Arizona Coyotes have moved due to the addition of the Seattle Kraken to the Pacific Division.
(They were transferred to the Central Division.) Not in Arizona, for example. Despite the fact that the Coyotes will be evicted from their arena by the city of Glendale at the conclusion of this season, they want to remain in the desert.)
This season, the NHL is also returning to the great outdoors. The St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild will face off in the 2022 Winter Classic on January 1 at Target Field in Minneapolis. On Feb. 26, the Stadium Series will visit Nissan Stadium, home of the Tennessee Titans, for a game between the Nashville Predators and the Lightning. The Heritage Classic will be held on March 13 at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ontario, and will feature the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators.
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The protocol’s most important feature is that if players are unable to fulfill hockey-related responsibilities, they may be suspended without pay. This may involve players on US teams being unable to go to and play in Canada. The NBA has requested a National Interest Exemption from Canada, which would enable unvaccinated players to participate in games against the Raptors in Toronto, but the NHL has declined.
While there is no requirement, according to NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, procedures and club pressure have forced approximately 99 percent of players to be immunized. Among the famous few who have declined vaccination are Detroit Red Wings winger Tyler Bertuzzi and New Jersey Devils goalkeeper Mackenzie Blackwood, whose unvaccinated status may jeopardize his participation in the Olympics with Team Canada.
The NHL is enabling its players to compete in the Winter Olympics for the first time since 2014. The Beijing Games break begins on February 5th, after the completion of the NHL All-Star Game in Las Vegas, and will last through February 22nd. The NHL and NHLPA, which made Olympic participation a part of their collective bargaining agreement last summer, have reserved the ability to drop out of the Games by early January if the epidemic worsens. National teams, on the other hand, are already selecting players to their Olympic teams. One thing to remember about the break: In the five prior occasions when the NHL halted play due to league participation in the Olympics, 90 percent of clubs in playoff position at the time of the break went on to win a playoff spot (72 of 80).
The Kraken has been let free.
When the Seattle Kraken take the ice for the first time this season, they will become the 32nd NHL club. The Kraken shocked many by not using the expansion draft to acquire choices and prospects, like the Vegas Golden Knights did in 2017, but GM Ron Francis believes clubs prepared better this time after learning from the previous one.
Seattle went after free agents more aggressively than Vegas, signing goalies Philipp Grubauer (Colorado) and Chris Driedger (Florida), defenseman Adam Larsson (Oilers) and Jamie Oleksiak (Dallas), and forward Jaden Schwartz (Blues). Calgary defender Mark Giordano, New York Islanders winger Jordan Eberle, and Tampa Bay center Yanni Gourde were among the recognizable names Seattle selected in the expansion selection. Former Philadelphia Flyers bench manager Dave Hakstol will be their coach.
Off the ice, one of the season’s most important stories is unfolding.
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The Buffalo Sabres and star center Jack Eichel have been at odds for months about how to treat his neck injury. The Sabres prefer a routine fusion procedure. Eichel wants to have an artificial disc replacement operation that has never been done on an NHL player. The fight has been public and acrimonious; the Sabres, for example, have stripped Eichel of his leadership. Kevyn Adams, the general manager of the Buffalo Sabres, has been receiving trade proposals for Eichel, who has requested a move, but the player’s peculiarity — a 24-year-old franchise center with a $10 million salary cost — and the uncertainty of his health have complicated things.
Late in the preseason, there has been some movement, as it seems that clubs with access to Eichel’s medical data are ready to allow him to undergo the operation he desires. They are, however, requesting that the Sabres attach conditions to the deal in the event that Eichel’s health continues to be a problem in the future. Keep an eye out for updates.
The health of the players is a priority.
Former teammate and Vegas goalie Robin Lehner spoke out about Eichel’s predicament. Lehner drew attention to the maltreatment of NHL players in a Twitter thread in October, accusing certain clubs of forcing unprescribed medicine on players. He also accused Philadelphia Flyers coach Alain Vigneault of harassing his teammates, calling him a “dinosaur.” Both the NHL and the NHLPA reached out to Lehner in response to his allegations. Lehner said that the talks were fruitful and that he intends to continue working on the project without additional public input.
Carousel of goalkeepers
The NHL offseason was marked by an unprecedented amount of goalie changes, with 18 clubs changing goaltenders.
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While the team attempts to maintain its attention on the ice, an ongoing independent investigation into claims that then-assistant coach Brad Aldrich sexually abused two players in 2010 is casting a shadow over all they do. According to TSN, GM Stan Bowman and other club officials met in 2010 to discuss the accusations, but neither the NHL nor the police were informed at the time.
Bowman and others are assisting the inquiry, and the Blackhawks have said that the findings will be made public.
During the offseason, one of the biggest names in free agency signed with an unexpected club. Hamilton, 28, signed a seven-year, $63 million deal with the New Jersey Devils, a club that has only reached the playoffs once in the last nine seasons and is in the midst of a reconstruction.
But, in the end, they were able to get the services of the offensive defender with an offer that blended huge money with the maximum term available to an unrestricted free agency. The Devils’ ownership granted GM Tom Fitzgerald permission to spend, and Fitzgerald did so.
Meanwhile, the Hurricanes signed former Rangers defender Tony DeAngelo, a contentious signing owing to his off-ice record, to fill the hole created by Hamilton’s departure. Because of his disruptive conduct, which included a physical confrontation with teammate Alexandar Georgiev, the Rangers purchased DeAngelo.
Faces from the past in fresh settings
Other prominent skaters who moved clubs through free agency this summer include:
The Lightning lost their whole checking line over the summer, which may be a major setback for their hopes of winning a third straight Stanley Cup. Blake Coleman (Calgary, six years, $29.4 million) and Barclay Goodrow (Rangers, six years, $21.85 million) both departed through free agency after being selected in the expansion draft. Corey Perry, formerly of the Canadiens, has inked a two-year contract with the Lightning and may help cover the gap.
Veteran forward Nick Foligno (two years, $7.6 million) joined the Bruins, but the Bruins also lost a key player in center David Krejci, who signed a free agency deal to play in his homeland of Czech Republic.
Some senior players had their contracts bought out and were able to join other clubs on lower-cost agreements. The Minnesota Wild surprised many by buying out winger Zach Parise and defender Ryan Suter’s last four contract years, freeing up approximately $13 million in salary space from 2022-23 through 2024-25. Suter (four years, $14.6 million) joined the Dallas Stars, while Parise (one year, $750,000) joined the Islanders, where he was selected by his GM, Lou Lamoriello. The Florida Panthers bought out defenseman Keith Yandle, who signed a one-year, $900,000 contract with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Finally, two great athletes were able to extend their careers for another year. Joe Thornton has signed a one-year contract with the Panthers to play his 24th NHL season. Zdeno Chara will play his 24th season with the New York Islanders, the club from whom he was drafted.
Price and Weber are both absent.
Last season, the Montreal Canadiens had an incredible run to the Stanley Cup Final before falling to the Tampa Bay Lightning. However, when the season starts, they will be missing two of their most important players to that run. Due to injuries to his foot, ankle, and knee, defenseman Shea Weber will miss the whole 2021-22 season — and perhaps his entire career. Meanwhile, goaltender Carey Price departed the club a few days before training camp ended to voluntarily join the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program. Price is likely to miss the first month of the season, but GM Marc Bergevin warned that it might be longer.
Evander Kane, a forward for the San Jose Sharks, was accused by his estranged wife, Anna Kane, in an Instagram post of betting on NHL games and affecting the result of Sharks games he bet on. The NHL looked into the allegations and found no evidence to back them up. However, it went on to conduct two further investigations. Kane’s former wife also accused him of physical and sexual assault. Through his lawyers, he has rejected the allegations. The NHL is also investigating if Kane provided the league and the Sharks with a forged COVID-19 immunization card.
Kane did not participate in San Jose’s training camp, and there is no word on when or if he will return.
Coaches who are new
There are three additional new head coaches in the NHL this season, in addition to Hakstol in Seattle.
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Gerard Gallant, who guided the expansion Golden Knights to the Stanley Cup Final in 2018, has returned to the New York Rangers to take over from David Quinn.
Brad Larsen, an assistant coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets, has been promoted to replace John Tortorella, who has been with the team for six seasons.
Andre Tourigny, who coached Canada’s world junior team, has been hired by the Arizona Coyotes to replace Rick Tocchet.
Meanwhile, interim tags were removed from Don Granato (Buffalo) and Dominique Ducharme (Montreal) to make them legitimate head coaches.
Rookies to keep an eye on
This season, there is a strong crop of rookies eager to make an impression. Canadiens forward Cole Caufield, who scored 12 points in 20 postseason games last season, is leading the way. Forward Trevor Zegras and defender Jamie Drysdale are both candidates for rookie of the year for the Anaheim Ducks. In forward Lucas Raymond and defender Moritz Seider, the Detroit Red Wings have a solid rookie combination.
Rangers winger Vitali Kravtsov, Wild center Marco Rossi, Knights center Peyton Krebs, and Avalanche center Alex Newhook are all players to watch. So is Kings center Quinton Byfield, the second overall selection in 2020 who will miss the first few games due to an ankle ailment. Spencer Knight of the Panthers, Alex Nedeljkovic of the Red Wings (still a rookie), Kaapo Kahkonen of the Wild (ditto), and Jeremy Swayman of the Bruins may all be contenders for rookie of the year.
Crackdown on cross-checking
The NHL has promised to clamp down on certain types of cross-checking that it believes are out of control. Expect to see multiple cross-checks on a player battling for the puck near the boards in the preseason and early in the regular season; defenders using excessive force to defend in open ice; and cross-checks delivered from the faceoff dots to the crease that send opponents to the ice while a shot is coming from the point.
The pursuit after Ovechkin
In the offseason, Alex Ovechkin signed a new five-year deal with the Washington Capitals. “I’m not sure whether he says it, but he wants a five-year term for a reason, don’t you know?” Brian MacLellan, the Capitals’ general manager, said. What is that reason? Ovechkin is on pace to break Wayne Gretzky’s NHL career goal record of 894. In 1,197 games, Ovechkin has 730 goals. If Ovechkin maintains his career average of 0.61 goals per game, he’ll need 271 games to catch Gretzky and score another 165 goals. He’d beat the record during the 2024-25 season, the fourth year of his new deal, if he maintained this pace. Obviously, that timeframe will be determined by his continuing domination as a scorer and excellent health into his later years.
The nhl signings is a blog post that discusses the trades, signing and hirings of NHL players this offseason.
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