Ramblings: Paying Goalies; Tampa’s Offense; Possible Buyout Targets & More – June 23

Alexander MacLean

2021-06-23

Vegas decided to go with Marc-Andre Fleury in net on Tuesday, and even in spite of the gaffe from game three, it's tough to argue against it. Both he and Lehner deserve to be leading a team through the final four, but there's only room for one guy in the crease at a time.

The Golden Knights and the Canadiens are actually the two teams with the highest cap hit spent on goalies this season. With all four goalies likely back with their respective teams, and only Jake Allen coming in on a different cap hit ($2.875 million next season, down from $4.35 million), these two teams should once again be sitting at the top of that leaderboard. Interestingly Tampa Bay is fourth overall, and the Islanders are in the top half; Ilya Sorokin being underpaid as a rookie is part of the reason there.

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Chandler Stephenson returned for game five after missing three games with an injury. He has been excellent this season between Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty, but as someone without the real top-line upside or pedigree, you have to wonder if he keeps the spot next season. A first-line centre could be something that Vegas looks to add while they don't have to worry about the expansion draft restrictions, or they could look at an in-house replacement, with both Peyton Krebs and Cody Glass knocking on the door and deserving of a chance at regular time on a scoring line.

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A bit of topical non-NHL news. Oakland Raiders DE Carl Nassib became the first active NFL player to come out as gay.

The trails are continuing to be blazed, and I for one am very happy to see it. I look forward to the day we can say this about the NHL too.

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The scoring eruption by Tampa in Monday night's game was really something… something that we should have seen coming. This is the top offensive team in the league that is firing on all cylinders, and an Islanders team that looks better than last year, albeit less locked-in defensively.

Bouncing back from this kind of defeat can be tough, but we have seen it done many times. The Isles should g