It’s the busiest time of the year for NHL GMs as they have a month to figure out where they are in the elimination race and whether it’s time to go all out and make the deal that could propel their team to the Stanley Cup. Julian Presboa goes on to say that the Tampa Bay Lightning is not likely to make any big moves, but let’s be honest, shading the truth is part of the GM’s job. If he can make money work, you know he’s going to do everything in his power to make lightning even better.
One of my favorite parts about this time of year is that people start posting informational lists of the Scouts who attend the various games. It’s really the only time of the year that we find out who’s looking for who. for example:
Expect the Arizona Coyotes to be a popular target for other teams to try and strike a deal, not just for the players, but also for their hat space. Just like Lightning working with the Red Wings to pull off some David Savard’s hit hat last season, Coyotes could use cap space Maximum deadline space (about $34 million) to broker deals and capture more prospects or venture capital.
Defenseman Jacob Chychrun will probably be one of the best teams you’ll call Arizona about and he can pull quite the distance. While Phil Kessel hasn’t had the numbers in recent seasons one would expect, he could be an interesting option for teams looking for depth in the scoring, especially if Arizona keeps 50% of his salary.
Outside of Arizona, look for Claude Giroud to be on the move as Philadelphia Flyers season approaches. He has a complete immobility clause, so he will choose his destination if he wants to get out of Philly. There are plenty of defensive options to be had in the commercial market such as John Klingberg, Mark Giordano and Calvin de Haan.
It will be an interesting month as the teams compete for positions. Look forward to my second favorite lore during trade season – tweets “Player X isn’t on the ice for morning skating” followed by speculation that he’s either injured or being traded.
“I can’t believe this is my baby” [The Athletic]
Alex Barre-Boulet may be stuck with the longest negative streak of his AHL career, but that’s not the first thing on his mind these days. Last Wednesday, Barry Boulet and his wife, Anne-Marie, welcomed their first son in the world. Zack now welcomes BB every time he comes home to Syracuse and that can put a smile on anyone’s face no matter how the night passed on the ice.
The series of stadiums evokes nostalgia for lightning [Tampa Bay Times]
As with all of these outdoor games, it’s time for pool hockey stories for kids. Since it’s the first time Lightning has played without a cap as a team, only six players have done so at the NHL level so far. Ryan McDonagh leads the way after having appeared in three previous matches with the Rangers (plus an outside game for Wisconsin).
Crunch announces competition to see Tampa Bay in person [LocalSYR.com]
Do you live in New York and want a chance to see lightning for yourself? Crunch and Labatt teamed up to provide a fan and their guest with a trip to Tampa to see the Bolts live and in person (this also includes a tour of the Amalie Arena).
Country music will be front and center in this stadium series game [NHL.com]
Miranda Lambert and Dirks Bentley will headline entertainment and are set to perform after the first period. They will likely be other artists that have been announced as the week goes on.
Ducks break up with Dave Nunes [The Athletic]
Once Bob Murray resigned last year, it was only a matter of time for Assistant General Manager Dave Nunes to leave. Now that Pat Verbeek is in place as General Manager Nunes is out. It is possible that he will not be unemployed for long.
Emile Francis dies at the age of 95 [The New York Times]
The Hall of Fame coach and general manager for the New York Rangers still holds the club’s record for games he’s coached (654) and won (342). According to his autobiography, Phil Esposito said that Francis gave him some advice he never forgot. When Phil was appointed as the Rangers general manager, Francis called him and congratulated him. Then he said to him, “You have been appointed, and from now on they will try to expel you.” Which pretty much sums up the life of a general manager.
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