A Doughnut in Dallas, Kayumov Staying In Russia, Calgary’s New Barn, and Other Blackhawks Bullets
Last night’s playoff action in the NHL was superb once again. The Islanders stayed alive with a big road win in Carolina, pushing their potential elimination back another game. Meanwhile, the Stars and Oilers took 3-2 leads in their respective series. Tonight we only have two games on the calendar, with Florida hoping to follow the lead of the Isles and survive to play another game. The Avs will be without Cale Makar (suspended) and the Kraken without Jared McCann (injury — thus the suspension of Makar). That series is tied at two games each.
- Jake Oettinger led the Dallas Stars to victory last night. I would argue he’s been the best goaltender in this year’s postseason by far (yes, it’s still early). With so many games going to overtime and finishing with big scores, a shutout is impressive. And no, I’m not going to take this opportunity to whine about the Blackhawks trading back a few places in the draft with Dallas so they could move up and pick him because that’s the past and we’ can’t change it.
- Some prospect news for the Blackhawks. Forward Artur Kayumov signed a one-year extension with Lokomotiv in the KHL — meaning he’s at least one more season away from coming to North America. Kayumov, 25, was a second-round pick (No. 50 overall) in the 2016 NHL Draft by the Blackhawks. He had 12 goals and a career-best 22 assists in 53 games in the KHL this past season.
- If you aren’t watching the U18 World Championship this week on the NHL Network, you should tune in soon. There are a lot of draft-eligible players participating whose names might be in play for the Blackhawks when the 2023 NHL Draft arrives in late-June. One of the players putting up huge numbers is Will Smith — and not the one who slapped Chris Rock. This Will Smith is committed to Boston College next year and is one of the most productive players in the history of the USNTDP. If the Blackhawks fall to fifth in the draft lottery on May 8, he would be at the top of the list of players to consider.
- If you’re thinking about the 2024 NHL Draft — and why not at this point, right? LOL — one of the players expected to be among the first names called is Chicago Steel forward Macklin Celebrini, who is currently skating for Canada at the U18 Worlds. Here’s a little taste of what he brings to the table.
- On Wednesday morning the NHL announced it’s heading back to Sweden for the Global Series. The Maple Leafs, Red Wings, Senators and Wild will play in Stockholm in November. The NHL announced earlier this month that the Kings and Coyotes will play in Australia earlier next season. The Blackhawks have been part of this event in the past, but their record means they likely won’t be for a few years at this point. But… obviously the draft lottery could change that (and the trajectory of the franchise).
- Great news in Calgary, where the Flames and local politicians announced on Tuesday that there will be a new home for their NHL franchise. According to the piece below by Eric Francis, “it’s an $800 million event centre with an attached practice/community rink, as part of a $1.2 billion Culture and Entertainment District, blocks north of the Saddledome.”
- Finally, if you’re like me, a lot of time is being spent wandering around CapFriendly’s Mock Draft tool. Absolutely love it… except when you run the lottery simulator and the Blackhawks drop to fifth (though Smith isn’t a bad option, as I noted above). And there’s a good chance that, if you’re like me, you enjoy NFL mock drafts just as much. Apparently Bears fans have been throwing away their share of time on running their own mock drafts. The NFL Draft begins tomorrow night and I cannot wait!
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