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With the Montreal Canadiens now eliminated from the playoffs, Marc Bergevin’s focus will quickly turn to the offseason.
Priority number one will be getting P.K. Subban locked up long-term, but there are other issues to deal with as well. Like can the Canadiens re-sign Thomas Vanek? My gut says no because of the money they will already have to dish out to Subban and the fact that Minnesota seems like a likely destination. Reports have linked Vanek to the Wild for a while now and they’ve had a habit of making big splashes in free agency recently. Minnesota didn’t look far off from being a serious contender this season and a motivated Vanek could help them get over the hump.
The most interesting thing for me is what they do with Dustin Tokarski. He’s obviously not going to supplant Carey Price in goal, but has he shown enough in the Rangers series to warrant some trade interest from other teams? There are certainly enough teams that would be interested in acquiring a young goaltender this offseason. Of course Montreal could decide to have him continue his development in the AHL or make him Price’s backup, but I’m not sure how much sense that would make.
You can obviously make a case for keeping as much young talent as you can, but goalie is a far different position than a skater. Price is the franchise and if he’s playing 65-plus times a year, then it makes little sense keeping Tokarski as a second option when they could turn him into assets that could help the team.
How about the Vancouver Canucks as a possible destination? Would you take him over Lack and Markstrom right now?
Talk about letting a team off the mat. Chicago has all the momentum now after they evened the series last night at three games a piece.
The Kings led 3-2 late in third before the Blackhawks rallied for a 4-3 win to send the series back to Chicago. Los Angeles is going to be in tough to win the series now.
So much for Patrick Kane’s struggles. He had a pair of goals, including the winner, to go along with an assist on Friday. Combine that with his four assist effort in Game 5, and Kane has taken the team on his back to level the series.
Patrick Sharp, on the other hand, continues to be average. He’s managed just eight points these playoffs and was robbed on a 2-on-0 last night. He just can’t get on a run.
Marian Hossa is now pointless in three games and hasn’t scored since Game 1 of the Minnesota series.
There was almost a scuffle near the end of the second period between Corey Crawford and Jonathan Quick. Crawford has the size advantage but Quick looks like one of those crazy guys you don’t want to mess with.
I’m so close to being a perfect 14-0 in the Dobber Expert panel, if somehow LA just doesn’t blow this. I had the Rangers over the Kings to begin with, but something tells me if that series does happen, Los Angeles may triumph now.
It would help if the Pearson, Carter and Toffli line got back on track. The three have combined for just two points during these last two losses and were a combined minus-6 on Friday.
The good news is, we get to hear Bob Cole for at least one more game on Sunday.
Winnipeg Jets forward Jim Slater had surgery on his hip and is expected to be ready for training camp. Slater is a strong faceoff man, but he won’t get you many points. He led the Jets last season with a whopping 58% win rate among players who had taken at least 275 draws.
Here's a shocker, a goalie wants tougher penalties for goalie interference. Mike Smith of the Phoenix Coyotes thinks the league should protect goalies the way the NFL does quarterbacks.
They really solidified that in football when they brought in the rule of roughing the passer, and it’s a huge penalty for your team when that happens,” Smith told azcentral. “I personally don’t think the penalty is severe enough for a goaltender interference call.
Goalies definitely need to be protected, but hopefully it doesn't get to the point where penalties are being called every time someone gets near the crease. There are a lot of phantom roughing the passer penalties in the NFL and hockey could be heading for a similar situation when it comes to goaltender interference.
I'll be interested to see what Jake Gardiner and Morgan Rielly can accomplish next year. They posted 31 and 27 points respectably in 2013-14 and played much of the year together. Say what you want about Randy Carlyle, but he's not shy about playing young players if he feels they're ready, and he let Gardiner and Rielly learn from their mistakes for the most part last year.
I wouldn't rule out 40 point seasons for each of them as possibilities, although I think Rielly has the better upside of the two at this point. He's the guy I'd be holding onto if you are thinking long-term.
Henrik Lundqvist does this quite frequently with shots that are seemingly going wide of the net and I'm not sure what he hopes to accomplish. Other than giving himself a headache.
Eric Wellwood, who spent some time with the Philadelphia Flyers, was forced to retire because of a serious Achilles injury.
Alex Burmistrov won't be returning to the Winnipeg Jets next season and will be staying in the KHL.
Michael Amato is an Associate Editor for DobberHockey and a News Editor for theScore. You can follow him on Twitter at @amato_mike