Anyone else going through brief withdrawals? Doesn’t matter if you’re a fan of the Vancouver Canucks, the Nashville Predators, or the Buffalo Sabres, having a night off with no playoff hockey can be quite a jolt, especially when you’ve been riding an adrenaline-high from some memorable matches in 2022.
It cranks back up this evening (Monday) for a Game-7 of the series between the New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes with the Canes hosting in Raleigh.
If that doesn’t do it for you, Tuesday night we see the start of the Western Conference Final with the Edmonton Oilers visiting the Colorado Avalanche. Yeah, that’s right, Connor McDavid vs Nathan MacKinnon.
Gaudreau and Company
Holy Moly, check out the contracts Calgary Flames General Manager Brad Treliving has to get figured out in the coming weeks. Unrestricted free agent (UFA) Johnny Gaudreau says he wants to come back, Treliving says he definitely wants him back, and the annual price tag will likely be around $10-million for the 28-year-old winger. Gaudreau finished tied for second in NHL scoring this past season with 115 points. He’s played eight full seasons in the league and if he re-signs with Calgary he’s eligible for an eight-year extension.
Toss in Matthew Tkachuk as an RFA with arbitration rights, fellow forward Andrew Mangiapane and D-man Oliver Kylington in the same boat, and Treliving has his hands full with just those. Add seven more UFA’s including Erik Gudbranson and Michael Stone, both right-shot D-men, and monster left-shot defenceman Nikita Zadorov, and it’s a salary cap circus.
Some of you may recall that when 14-year-old Jason Spezza first caught the eyeballs of scouts in the mid-1990’s, he was considered the “next one”. The NHL, it’s fans and it’s pundits were always wondering who would be the next game changer, the likes of Wayne Gretzky, if that were even possible. A handful earned the next-one label as teenagers and Spezza was one of them.
He joined the Ontario Hockey League as a fifteen-year-old and put up 71 points in 67 games with the Brampton Battalion. He ended up being the 2nd-overall pick of the Ottawa Senators in the 2001 NHL Draft behind Russian Ilya Kovalchuk who went to the Atlanta Thrashers.
Spezza obviously didn’t have a Gretzky-like career, but he did put up near Hockey Hall-of-Fame numbers while helping lead his Senators to the Stanley Cup Final in 2007, only to lose to the Anaheim Ducks in five games. After five years in Dallas, the 38-year-old just finished up with three seasons for his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs.
Spezza announced his retirement on Sunday, immediately joining the Maple Leafs front office as a special assistant to the GM.
With the 2022 NHL Draft pushed back a bit, as well as the start of the free agency period, June becomes a little quieter on the surface for the Vancouver Canucks. The front office continues to meet and plan and negotiate with it’s expiring players and with potential free agent acquisitions. The next official calendar item is the opening of the arbitration window on July 2nd for particular RFA’s, likely a moot event, and then the amateur Draft on July 7th and 8th.
In the meantime, one could expect free agent talk to pick up and sporadic transaction announcements from Vancouver Canucks GM Patrik Allvin.
Enjoy the Hockey Action !!