August 11 — RIP Tony Esposito

WE CAN’T WAIT FOR: IIHF Women’s World Championship — August 20-31

Days until start of 2021-22 NHL Season: 62 days

Editor’s Note: There are many instances throughout today’s issue that references the Chicago hockey team as the Black Hawks and the Blackhawks. This was not because of lack of sleep… Chicago was known as the Black Hawks until the 1986-87 season when they rebranded as the Blackhawks.

Monday’s Moon Shot

SPENDING CAPS: The Capitals re-signed restricted free agent Ilya Samsonov to a one-year, $2 million deal — keeping the 24-year-old goalie in Washington D.C. for another season.

FLASH OF GREEN: The Lightning re-signed restricted free agent Ross Colton — who scored the Stanley Cup-clinching goal last season — to a two-year, $2.25 million contract.

Tuesday’s Toe Drags

FLYING HIGH: The Red Wings avoided arbitration with restricted free agent Jakub Vrana, agreeing to a three-year, $15.75 million contract. The 25-year-old forward had eight goals and three assists in just 11 games with Detroit following the trade deadline last season.

HE’S NO LONE RANGER: The New York Rangers re-signed restricted free agent Igor Shesterkin to a four-year, $22.7 million deal, ensuring the goalie will remain in the Big Apple until he is 29 years old. The deal makes him the 12th-highest paid goalie in the NHL.

REST IN PEACE: Hall of Fame goalie Tony Esposito died on Tuesday after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer. The five-time All-Star played all but 13 NHL games with the Chicago Black Hawks. Rest in peace, Tony.

Trivia Tuesday

Do you know Tony Esposito?

  1. Esposito was a goaltender in the NHL for how many seasons?
    • 13
    • 14
    • 15
    • 16
  2. Esposito’s first NHL start was Dec. 5, 1968. Which team did he face?
    • St. Louis Blues
    • Boston Bruins
    • Detroit Red Wings
    • Minnesota North Stars

  3. The Chicago Blackhawks retired Esposito’s number (No. 35) in 1988. How many numbers have been retired by the organization?
    • 4
    • 7
    • 5
    • 6

Answers can be found at the bottom of the email.

Esposito by the Numbers

Last night the hockey world was saddened to hear Tony Esposito passed away after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988, and is ranked 79th on The Hockey News list of Top 100 NHL Players of All Time. Let’s take a moment and review his career by the numbers.

886: Number of times Esposito suited up for an NHL game. He began his career with the Montreal Canadiens before landing in the Windy City and playing the rest of his career in Chicago. The goaltender played for the Black Hawks from 1969-84.

3: The Vezina Trophy winner is selected by the general managers around the league at the conclusion of the season. Esposito took home the honors three times — in 1970, 1972, and 1974.

35: On November 20, 1988, the Chicago Blackhawks retired Esposito’s number (No. 35). His 418 victories and 74 shutouts remain team records.

423: Number of Esposito’s career NHL wins. During the 1969-70 season, he secured 38 wins — a career-high. He reached the 30 plus wins eight times in his career, all with the Chicago Black Hawks.

1: Every single player in the NHL hopes to become a Stanley Cup champion. Most would be content with one Cup ring and that is the exact number that Esposito finished his career with. He won his first and only Stanley Cup in 1969 — as a rookie backup with Montreal.

Cup or Crash: Predicting Your Favorite Team’s Season

Although there are certainly questions left to answer and loose ends to tie up, most of the roster-building is done for the NHL’s 32 front offices in preparation for the 2021-22 season, which is somehow just a month away. To get you set, we’ll be taking a quick look at where each team stands and what the chances are that this might be their year. Rather than commit to predicting how good each team will be, we figured we might as well look at both possible paths: good and bad.

Please follow along and look back as we traipse through the NHL four teams at a time — all done alphabetically — and examine why these teams just might succeed, but also why they could be poised to flop.

Calgary Flames

Why Your Team Will Succeed
Can we all just dismiss 2020-21 as some weird fever dream (I mean, what’s the North Division anyway?) and remember that a core of Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Matthew Tkachuk, and Jacob Markström is good enough to make the playoffs?

Why Your Team Will Flop
The Flames lost more games than they won last season and then lost captain — and heart of the franchise — Mark Giordano to Seattle for nothing.

Carolina Hurricanes

Why Your Team Will Succeed
The Hurricanes lost Dougie Hamilton, completely revamped their goaltending depth chart, underwent a modest retooling, and took on a questionable risk in Tony DeAngelo. Even with a busy offseason, there’s little reason to believe they won’t be a formidable postseason threat once again.

Why Your Team Will Flop
Hamilton averaged more than 25 minutes of time on ice for the Canes last season — so let’s not pretend that the Carolina blue line will simply shrug off his departure and carry on without at least a bit of regression.

Chicago Blackhawks

Why Your Team Will Succeed
Everything is happy once again in Chi-town — now that Vezina winner Marc-André Fleury has decided he wants to play for the Blackhawks. Chicago can now focus on the fruits of a busy — and expensive — offseason that brought Seth Jones and Fleury to the Windy City to join Alex DeBrincat, Patrick Kane, and a healthy Jonathan Toews.

Why Your Team Will Flop
Adding a 36-year-old goalie making $7 million represents a pretty interesting rebuild strategy. What direction are these guys actually going in?

Colorado Avalanche

Why Your Team Will Succeed
The Avs return most of their loaded Presidents’ Trophy-winning lineup from last season, with Darcy Kuemper replacing Philipp Grubauer between the pipes.

Why Your Team Will Flop
Colorado had won 14 of its last 15 games and was up 2-0 on Vegas when the Golden Knights reeled off four wins in a row to reach the Conference Finals. Seriously — what happened???

Trivia Answer

  1. 16 Seasons
  2. Boston Bruins — Brother Phil scored twice against Tony in a 2-2 tie.
  3. 6 Numbers

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