Domi’s Stars Advance, Conference Final Schedules Set, Doneghey Talks Draft Depth, Sens Bidders, and Other Blackhawks Bullets
If you didn’t watch last night’s Game 7 between Seattle and Dallas you missed out on some really excellent hockey from both teams. The Kraken never went away, scoring their first goal of the night with an empty cage behind them with 17 seconds left in regulation, but they couldn’t come all the way back. Jake Oettinger was fantastic once again and the Stars will now face the Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference Final.
Which brings me back to Max Domi. He bet on himself and signed a one-year deal with the Blackhawks last summer. In his time in Chicago, Domi was a huge smile and personality in the room and on the ice and proved his postseason success with Carolina last year wasn’t a fluke. He did everything the Blackhawks had hoped for and more. He now has 11 points in 13 playoff games for the Stars, who gave up a second-round pick in 2025 to acquire him on his birthday. I’m rooting for Max to continue making noise, and would love to see him back in Chicago next season if possible. But his performance in these playoffs will undoubtedly make the market more robust for his services this summer.
- If you haven’t noticed, Wyatt Johnston is going to be a pain for a long time for the Blackhawks.
- The NHL announced last night that Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final between Carolina and Florida will be on Thursday night (on TNT). Game 1 of the Western Conference Final between Vegas and TBD will be on Friday night (on ESPN). So… two nights without NHL hockey to watch. Here’s the rest of the schedule for the conference finals:
- Thankfully, the Seattle Thunderbirds host Game 3 of the WHL Championship series tonight. It was be awesome if three Blackhawks prospects played for the Memorial Cup this year. They can take a big step in that direction this evening.
- Blackhawks director of amateur scouting Mike Doneghey joined the guys at NBC Sports Chicago for the Blackhawks Talk podcast to talk about the upcoming draft. He said a few things that were interesting to me in here; the entire interview is worth a listen.
- He said the Blackhawks don’t have a first-round grade on a single goaltender in this year’s draft. Not that the Blackhawks necessarily need a goalie, but that’s interesting because there are a few fairly highly regarded players in this class.
- Skating (speed) is still paramount to the Blackhawks’ front office. Doneghey said they have gone as far as to take players completely off their board if they can’t skate.
- I agree with Doneghey that the Blackhawks’ collection of defensemen is among the best in the league. He said he’d take the group against any in the NHL. He also said the volume of picks the Blackhawks had last year and have again this year opens the door for them to take more “lottery tickets” like Sam Rinzel, who have a higher ceiling but also a lot of work to get there.
- The Rockford IceHogs have already started signing guys for next year. Ryan Gagnier, who turns 21 on July 16, put up 69 points in 66 games for Oshawa this year in the OHL. According to the release from Rockford, Gagnier “placed second in voting for the Eastern Conference’s Best Defensive Forward and Best Penalty Killer” in the 2022-23 OHL Coaches Poll.
- Yesterday I started a three-part series in which we dig a little deeper into the idea of the Blackhawks trading up from the 19th overall pick in the 2023 NHL Draft. With all of the assets Kyle Davidson has collected, and the potentially elite skill at the top of this draft, he’s already said that’s something that at least intrigues him. I started the series looking at what some recent deals have looked like for teams moving up inside the top 15 in the draft. Keep an eye out later today for a few potential trade-up scenarios with partners that make sense.
- The Carolina Hurricanes will face the Florida Panthers in the Eastern Conference Final, and it looks like they’ll be getting a nice piece back in the lineup after a month away. Teuvo Teravainen broke his hand one month ago, but he met with the media on Monday and it appears he’s all systems go for the series. That would be a huge help to a Carolina team that was already rolling without him.
- A noteworthy update from Rob Rossi of The Athletic, who wrote about the ongoing search for a new general manager in Pittsburgh. Kyle Dubas said next year it’s either Toronto or staying home for him, so he’s off the list. One member of Chicago’s current front office has been linked to the Penguins previously, but Rossi reports that won’t happen, either.
“The Penguins were denied permission to interview Blackhawks associate GM Jeff Greenberg, a Pittsburgh native who was formerly an executive with the Chicago Cubs.
Greenberg was one of the first candidates identified by Dave Beeston, the Penguins’ alternate governor, who is overseeing the search.”
- The Maple Leafs met with the media after another disappointing end to their season. One of the big topics in Toronto right now is how things will change — on the ice, in the front office, etc. So of course Auston Matthews was asked about his future. Matthews and William Nylander are both heading into the final year of their respective contracts, and it’s hard to see a path to both staying in Toronto. Matthews wanting to talk extension this summer means the conversations will likely happen. If something can get done, that could take Toronto down one path. If they’re far apart on dollars? We’ll see…
- Even if Matthews wants to stay — and the organization wants to keep him — that doesn’t make the Leafs somehow better moving forward. The incomparable Sean McIndoe (aka Down Goes Brown) wrote his postmortem of the Leafs’ failed postseason on Monday and it’s spot on as usual. McIndoe is calling for some pretty significant changes in Toronto, but wonders if the organization is willing to do what needs to be done to see the results they so desperately want.
- It appears we now have a Final Four bidders for ownership of the Ottawa Senators. It’s an interesting group of potential owners, a couple of which have previous NHL ownership experience. We’ll see which group wins the bid, and what that means for the rest of the league.
- Finally, the NBA Draft Lottery is tonight. Like Connor Bedard, there is a generational talent at the top of the board for this draft, so lots of teams and their fans will be paying attention to the ping pong balls tonight. Our fingers are crossed that the Bulls enjoy the same incredible fortune as the Blackhawks tonight!