Good morning, folks. A lovely Saturday that should be followed by a lovely Sunday during what will be the final weekend of the NHL’s playing season is the right omen we need to get the offseason going. It portends good things. Or, perhaps they’re two mutually exclusive occurrences and I’m just talking out of my ass. Wouldn’t be the first time. Nevertheless!
- After writing features on each of the top four Isles picks in 2018, Arthur Staple has followed up with how the rest of the 2018 draft class is doing now. [The Athletic]
- Corey Pronman has released his first mock draft of the first round of 2019 and has the Islanders selecting RW Bobby Brink, a skilled winger playing for Sioux City of the USHL, at pick no. 23. [The Athletic]
- SBN has their own mock draft of the first round going on as well, and it was the Islanders’ turn yesterday. With the no. 23 pick, Travis and CanadianIslesLifer selected center Ryan Suzuki from the Barrie Colts of the OHL on behalf of LHH. Thank you gents for your hard work in putting this selection together — here’s hoping Suzuki does fall to us in reality.
- In his Notebook this week, Eric Duhatschek does one better than the Andrew Ladd-for-James Neal deal he’s been pushing: he plays a little white elephant gift exchange involving multiple teams sending their bad contracts around in something of a circle. It’s quite mad — almost crazy enough to work. In this scenario, the Islanders would still end up with Neal, but Ladd would go to Buffalo, instead. [The Athletic]
- Stan Fischler remembers when the Islanders shipped out Chico Resch in a package to beef up the offense from the blueline and Roland Melanson took over for him as Billy Smith’s tandem partner. [Maven’s Memories]
The captain, Anders Lee, is fraternizing with the enemy (for good reason, though):
Hey @NYIslanders fans— join me in @NYRangers territory on 6/22 as @shattdeuces and I join together to @jamkancer @VERSA_NYC at @rennycmidtown. LIRR to Penn and walk across the street & Jam! Details in my bio. #rennyjam pic.twitter.com/3RJPnvmiqv— Anders Lee (@leeberr09) June 7, 2019
- The Blues are trying to stay calm and focused ahead of tomorrow’s potential Cup clincher. It would be some scene if they did it at home. [NHL]
- The Bruins, meanwhile, remain confident in their top line, despite the fact that they’ve barely scored anything and been arguably outmatched by Craig Berube and St. Louis.
- Zdeno Chara did end up playing in Game 5 and he will be in for Game 6, as well. Matt Grzelcyk remains uncertain. [NHL]
- Ivan Barbashev had a hearing for his head shot of Marcus Johansson and was suspended for Game 6 tomorrow night. He is the second Blues fourth-liner to be suspended in this series for illegal head contact. He wasn’t penalized during the game for it. [NHL]
- Between that and the blatant tripping that wasn’t called on what turned out to be the game-winner, Bruce Cassidy took his turn eviscerating the referees in the media, calling the officiating a “black eye” for the NHL. [Yahoo]
- A Blues fan put down $400 on 250-to-1 odds of them winning the Cup in Las Vegas back in January, when St. Louis was still near the bottom of the league. If they finish the job, he makes $100,000. He isn’t hedging that bet now. [ESPN]
Fans of The Office will appreciate this: Jenna Fischer is a huge Blues fan, and John Krasinski is a huge Bruins fan. Of course, they play love interests Pam and Jim, respectively, on the show. After the Game 5 win, she posted this tweet to taunt him. [NHL]
- Scratch another name off the free agent market: Jeff Skinner followed suit with Brock Nelson, opting to take a deal with the devil he knows rather than see what else is out there. He signed an 8-year extension with the Sabres worth $72 million. That’s a $9 million AAV for you math wizzes. [NHL | Die by the Blade]
- The Senators have officially signed former Islanders coach Jack Capuano to be an assistant for new head coach D.J. Smith. [Sportsnet]
- When Phil Kessel and his seeming lack of desire to play defense was blamed for the failures of the Maple Leafs, analysts were quick to point to his relative-shot metrics, the leading stat at the time, to prove that he wasn’t the problem. Kessel’s name has resurfaced in trade rumors again, but with better metrics, we see that he actually is a defensive liability. Possibly so much so that it would offset his 82 points in 82 games. [Raw Charge]
- Kyle Turris just finished the first year of his new six-year extension and it went, uh, badly. On the Forecheck gathers for a roundtable to debate what went wrong and look for answers to make it better. One solution? The aforementioned Kessel.
- Speaking of the Penguins, Leafs, and Predators, James Mirtle ranks all 31 teams in terms of their salary cap space and those three teams are capped out. The Islanders are in a good spot, though. [The Athletic]
- Goalie Antti Niemi is leaving North American hockey, signing a one-year deal with Jokerit of the KHL. He notably won a Cup with the Blackhawks in 2010, then went to arbitration with them that summer and watched them walk away from the award as he chose to sign with the Sharks. [NHL]