Game 7 Monday, Eichel’s Redemption, An Oilers Cautionary Tale, Options At 19, and Other Blackhawks Bullets
I hope you had a good Mother’s Day. Maybe even almost as good as the mothers of the Vegas Golden Knights, who eliminated Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and the Edmonton Oilers from the playoffs last night. And they did it in Edmonton. Tonight we’ll find out one way or the other who faces Vegas in the Western Conference Final. That’s right folks: Game 7 on a Monday night.
- I would have to imagine last night’s elimination win was especially meaningful for Jack Eichel. Back in 2015, you might recall the Buffalo Sabres did everything in their power to be the worst team imaginable so they could win the draft lottery and land McDavid. When that didn’t happen, they “settled” for Eichel, but their fans were never happy about it. The relationship between Eichel — who, by the way, is a legit superstar in his own right — and Buffalo never quite felt right. And it ended in an ugly divorce that included a significant injury, the Sabres not letting him get the surgery he wanted and a trade to Vegas. This is the first postseason of Eichel’s career, so the wins are special for him. Knocking out the guy Buffalo really wanted in 2015? Probably doubly nice. Good for him!
- One thing we can all take away from last night is the importance of a complete, deep roster. As Mark points out below — and many have in the comments here and on social media — one player does not win a Stanley Cup. Two isn’t enough, either. With all of the comparisons we’ve heard and read between Connor Bedard as a generational talent and McDavid, it’s important to keep in mind that it takes a good, complete roster to win in the playoffs. Which should make us all appreciate Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson’s patience with his rebuild plan. And his commitment to building with quality and quantity in the draft this summer (again) and into the future.
- Speaking of needing organizational depth, just a reminder that the Blackhawks have a few prospects still playing right now. We have one more sleep to wait until the Blackhawks’ three prospects — Kevin Korchinski, Nolan Allan and Colton Dach — get back at it in the WHL Championship series. They’ll be on their home ice in Seattle for Game 3 tomorrow night. The series is tied at one with a trip to the Memorial Cup on the line.
- It was noted that the Florida Panthers’ cap pains back when Vegas was preparing for their expansion draft are still paying dividends. Florida had to dump a bunch of money to make the cap work. Vegas is still benefitting from the deal(s).
- On franchise looking to make changes this offseason to spark a brighter future is the Calgary Flames. They’re in the market for both a general manager and a new head coach. On Monday morning, Frank Seravalli reported they’re interested in Toronto’s assistant GM Brandon Pridham. We wish them luck in their searches. Just stay away from Chicago’s braintrust. And keep spending money on the wrong guys, by all means.
- Over at The Athletic, Scott Wheeler and Scott Powers got together and considered a few names that might intrigue the Blackhawks when their second pick in the first round of the 2023 NHL Draft comes up. The guys they named: forwards Colby Barlow, Daniil But, Samuel Honzek and Eduard Šalé and right-handed defenseman Tom Willander. It’s notable they’re talking about the Blackhawks adding size to compliment Bedard. Thankfully, there appear to be plenty of options for Chicago to turn to whether they stay put at 19 or move up.
- Finally, Brett wrote a marvelously transparent piece this morning in which he discusses the struggle of fandom. The reality that seasons are long (offseasons, too) and trying to capture both the immediate moment and the context within we digest the result can be incredibly hard. This was really good for me to read on a Monday morning, and I hope you do, too.
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