The World Junior Championships were moved only by circumstance to August from their usual time around high school winter break, but perhaps they should become a permanent summer fixture. Hockey in August shouldn’t make sense, but it felt right during the pandemic bubble in 2020, and it feels right now.
The World Juniors kicked off yesterday, and there are perhaps a few more New York Islanders fans watching than there normally might be. As we noted yesterday, four Islanders prospects are participating this year, three of them with Finland, who played yesterday.
One of them had himself a night, and I bet you can guess who.
- That young man—God, I feel old—was Aatu Räty, who notched a goal and three assists (two primary) for a four-point night during Finland’s opening game. This comes after two solid showings in exhibition games. Finland next plays Thursday; meanwhile, William Dufour and Team Canada kick it off this evening. [Islanders]
- The Nazem Kadri Formality saga has reached the Newsday-affiliated papers: Joe Pantorno echoes Dave Pagnotta’s radio hit from a couple days ago. For what it’s worth, when the Kadri-deal-in-the-drawer rumor started making its rounds, Pantorno tweeted that his sources indicated the probability was high that there was a deal in place. [amNY]
- Andrew Gross dropped a new episode of Island Ice as I was preparing this piece. I haven’t gotten to listen yet, but it appears he discusses Kadri, Lou Lamoriello, ticket sales, and the offseason.
- Travis Yost graded NHL teams’ center depth, and the Isles graded out as solid, lacking star power up top but with great depth (depth which will only grow, uh, deeper if/when Kadri joins). [TSN]
- The Isles are hosting another Summer Skate at the Clark Gillies Arena in Syosset. Sign up for one of the sessions on Sunday afternoon! [Islanders]
- Three lucky Long Island dads were named Ultimate Hockey Dad and were visited by Sparky. [Islanders]
- He asked a few days ago, so I don’t know if he is still accepting questions, but Kevin Kurz is back on the clock and is answering mailbag questions. Submit yours here. [The Athletic]
- Newly acquired-for-nothing Carolina Hurricanes forward Max Pacioretty will miss the next six months undergoing surgery to repair a torn Achilles. [Sportsnet]
- But at least the Hurricanes got Martin Necas signed; he inked a two-year bridge deal. [NHL]
- The Vegas Golden Knights got young forward Nicolas Roy signed to a five-year deal paying him only $3 million per year on average. [NHL]
- Lawson Crouse somehow got a five-year deal from the Arizona Coyotes, who are also probably wondering how they got anyone signed to a five-year deal. [NHL]
- I believe all three of the signings in the previous bullets were to avoid arbitration; the last arbitration case was Jake Walman with the Detroit Red Wings, and they just settled as I was typing. But because it so rarely happens, you may be wondering what happens in NHL salary arbitration, so here’s a primer. [The Athletic]
- I believe we covered it already, but Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci each signed one-year deals to return to the Boston Bruins. [NHL]
- As part of the NHL site’s annual 32 in 32 or whatever they call it every year, it took an inside look at the Bruins getting the band back together, which will help them withstand the losses of Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy for the first few months of the season. [NHL]
- The “remaining” free agents include Kadri, Phil Kessel, Paul Stastny, and P.K. Subban. [NHL]
- We know who to watch for locally at this year’s WJC. But here are some other names you’ll hear called throughout the tournament and potentially hear again in the NHL someday. [Sportsnet]
- Toronto Maple Leafs legend Börje Salming was diagnosed with ALS. [Sportsnet]
- The annual Fan-Confidence-in-Team’s-Front-Office survey from The Athletic. Lou Lamoriello doesn’t care about your survey, though. [The Athletic]