Avs Advance, More Trade Chatter, a Legend Passes, Job Opening in Boston, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Alex DeBrincat Blackhawks

Avs Advance, More Trade Chatter, a Legend Passes, Job Opening in Boston, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

Did you watch the climactic conclusion of the Western Conference Final last night? Colorado erased a two-goal deficit in a wild third period outburst of offense from both teams and won the game in OT. They’ll now sit back and watch the the Eastern Conference Final with the rest of us. Tonight’s game could bring the Lightning even in the series; it could also give the Rangers a 3-1 lead heading home to Madison Square Garden for Game 5. The puck drops at 7 PM on ESPN.

•   The Avalanche sent Edmonton to the golf courses last night in dramatic fashion. The game was incredible; it was 3-1 Oilers heading to the third period and tied at five after 60 minutes of hockey. Colorado won the game early in overtime to clinch the Western Conference’s berth in the Cup Final. Edmonton’s season ending now is significant for the Blackhawks.

•   On the latest episode of the “32 Thoughts” Podcast, NHL insiders Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman went into further detail with the rumors surrounding the Blackhawks’ trade buzz and added a name to the Hawks’ coming search for a head coach. We broke down their conversation yesterday.

•   Dave Pagnotta of The Fourth Period was on NHL Network television on Monday afternoon and continued the conversation about the Blackhawks — specifically Alex DeBrincat. He threw out the New Jersey Devils as a potential suitor for DeBrincat, citing their desire to add an immediate impact forward for next season (and beyond).

•   The Devils are a fascinating fit for a potential DeBrincat trade. New Jersey owns the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft and have one of the better systems in the NHL. Scott Wheeler at The Athletic ranked the Devils’ prospect pool fourth in the NHL earlier this year. It’s highly unlikely the Devils would move either of the Hughes brothers, but Dawson Mercer, Alexander Holtz, Tyce Thompson and Nolan Foote are all players who would look terrific in a Blackhawks’ sweater. We’ll see if anything develops here.

•   In a bit of a postseason faux pas, the Boston Bruins announced they fired head coach Bruce Cassidy within an hour of the start of Game Four between the Avalanche and Oilers. Add Boston to the list of NHL teams searching for a coach.

•   Is Cassidy an option for the Blackhawks? Obviously his name is out there now, and some will add him to their list. But the buzz I’m hearing out of Boston is that the Bruins let him go because they wanted someone who could work better with younger players; they felt he was better suited working with a veteran roster … which obviously isn’t the next couple years in Chicago. So I would pass on Cassidy.

•  Jonas Siegel and Scott Powers at The Athletic wrote an intriguing proposition piece this morning. Siegel covers the Maple Leafs and Powers covers the Blackhawks. They wrote a tandem piece considering if the Blackhawks could help the Leafs solve part of their financial issues by taking goaltender Peter Mrazek off Toronto’s hands/books.

•  My two cents on Mrazek — I’m a hard pass. And for a few reasons. I will fully acknowledge the Blackhawks do have the cap space to add Mrazek and have expressed a need to add a veteran goaltender. However, I don’t like the player; he’s been mediocre too often and hurt too frequently. And I hate both the cap hit ($3.8 million) and the fact there are two years left on the deal. But my bigger issue is the Leafs’ lack of the right assets to make a deal. Toronto doesn’t have a second-round pick until 2024. Siegel doubts Toronto would give up a first to get the money off their books, but Powers notes taking the full term/cap hit of Mrazek is a significant ask. I would need Toronto to be seriously creative for a deal to make sense, and I’m not taking a B prospect back to offset waiting until 2024 to make a second-round pick.

•   On Monday we learned that long-time Blackhawks forward Eric Nesterenko has passed away. He is one of only eight players in the history of the Hawks to appear in 1,000 games in the Indian head sweater and his 495 career points still rank 18th in franchise history.

•  Some hockey fans will remember Nesterenko from his role playing Blane in the classic 80s hockey film “Youngblood.” Here’s an interview Nesterenko did with the Hall of Fame a few years ago:

•   The Montreal Canadiens announced a significant hire on Tuesday morning. If you aren’t familiar, Marie-Philip Poulin is considered the best female player on the planet. She’s the captain of the Canadian team and a star in the women’s professional game.

•   It’s a great time for Chicago fans to get excited about 4-5 years from now. So let’s get hyped for Cristian Hernández!

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Author: Tab Bamford

Tab is the Lead Blackhawks voice for BN. He is the author of two books about the Blackhawks, most recently "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter at @The1Tab