May 27 2016 01:00PM
Steven Stamkos, defiant to the last minute, returned from a horrifying, potentially life-threatening blood clot injury to play for the Tampa Bay Lightning in their game seven loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Finals. It could very well be his final game as a Bolt.
The former first overall selection, four-time All-Star and four-time 40-plus goal scorer (once 60) is set to hit unrestricted free agency on July 1st. Once Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi secured Anze Kopitar's services well into the next decade, that made Stamkos the unquestioned prize of his free agent class. That fact is likely to manifest itself in a sea of suitors followed by a lucrative contract that might run the millions into double-digits annually.
Most are operating on the assumption that the Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning are the preeminent head of the pack, but I wouldn't rule out the field. Is there a team in the league that wouldn't benefit from adding Stamkos to their lineup? Probably not and you can count the Vancouver Canucks among the more needy of the lot. Let's see if there's a match.
May 27 2016 11:00AM
The Canucks are confusing and sometimes hard to love. This week we bid farewell to an affectionate teen, say hello to a new guy, and watch some Canucks actually win something!
May 27 2016 10:45AM
The final rosters for the World Cup of Hockey will be announced today. Finland, Russia, Sweden and the Czech Republic filled out their 23-man rosters this morning, and the remaining four teams will be named this afternoon.
When Canada's final roster is finalized there will be a lot of debate among passionate Canadian fans. Some very good players won't make the roster, but will we see ten eventual Hall of Famers omitted?
That is what happened in 1991.
Nation World HQ
May 27 2016 08:26AM
What the hell are the Canucks doing, why 'staying the course' is best option for the Leafs, is Stamkos feasible for Wings, how the Jets scored goals this year, Ralph Krueger a front runner in Calgary, Taylor Hall isn't so bad after all, salary cap futures for most teams, all kinds of draft news and more in this week's Nation Roundup brought to you by DraftKings.
May 27 2016 08:00AM
Samuel Girard likely has the most offensive potential of any defenceman in this draft class. He's the single most productive defender in junior hockey and he's accomplished that feat as a 17-year-old. Under normal circumstances, this would be enough to launch many a defenceman into the top ten of their class regardless of position.
We're not talking about a normal defenceman, though. Girard plays such a high risk, high reward game that one scout I spoke with at the CHL Top Prospect Game called him a fourth forward. That particular line of criticism is usually exaggerated or unfounded entirely when spent on high point producing junior defenders, but in this particular case it's grounded in reality.
Under the right circumstances, Girard can iron these wrinkles in his game, though. The tools readily available in Girard's toolkit, like his skating, vision, crisp passing and general slipperiness aren't so easily developed from the ground up. Those among countless other reasons culminated in Girard ranking 26th overall in our consensus rankings.