August 4 — Arbitration, Analysts & Awaiting Answers

Days until start of 2021-22 NHL Season: 69 days

Monday’s Moon Shot

SALARY ARBITRATION: It’s that time of year once again. Salary arbitration hearings have been scheduled from Aug. 11–26. A total of 17 players filed including Juuse Saros (NSH), Adam Pelech (NYI), and Vince Dunn (SEA).

MURRAY MOVING ON: Third time’s a charm? Ryan Murray signed a one-year contract with the Colorado Avalanche worth $2 million on Monday. The defenseman was the second overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft and previously played for the Columbus Blue Jackets and New Jersey Devils.

Tuesday’s Toe Drags

IT’S TORT-ALLY HAPPENING: It is confirmed that John Tortorella will be joining ESPN as a studio analyst. This won’t be his first time in the studio; he had a brief stint as a studio analyst for TSN in Canada in 2008.

KYROU STAYS A BLUE: St. Louis signed restricted free agent Jordan Kyrou to a two-year deal worth $5.6 million. The 23-year-old forward has appeared in 99 NHL games and has 47 points. With the possible departure of Vladimir Tarasenko, Kyrou could be seeing more time as a top-six forward.

COSTLY MISTAKES: USA was unable to secure a win over Sweden in the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, falling for the second time in as many days at the tournament. A few minor mistakes by the Americans led to a final score of 5-3. They wrap up the preliminary round today against Germany.

Trivia Tuesday

Do you know your NHL on NBC trivia?

  1. NBC picked up the rights to broadcasting the NHL for which season?
    • 2004-05
    • 2005-06
    • 2003-04
    • 2006-07

  2. NHL and NBC reached a 10-year deal starting for the 2011-12 season and lasting until 2020-21. How much money was this deal worth?
    • $5 Billion
    • $7 Billion
    • $9 Billion
    • $2 Billion

  3. The last Winter Classic to air on NBC was which matchup?
    • Boston Bruins v. Chicago Blackhawks
    • Nashville Predators v. Dallas Stas
    • St. Louis Blues v. Minnesota Wild
    • New York Rangers v. Buffalo Sabres

Answers can be found at the bottom of the email.

ESPN’s Media Personalities

ESPN debuted its coverage team of NHL personalities on June 29 and includes Stanley Cup Champions among other former players, analysts, and reporters. Former Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella is the latest name to join ESPN, bringing the total number of members of the coverage team to 25. Below are three personalities that should be on your radar once the ESPN broadcasts begin this season.

Chris Chelios

Chelios is a three-time Stanley Cup winner and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2013. Having won the Norris Trophy three times, he is considered one of the best defensemen to play the game. He will serve as an analyst for ESPN, which he previously did during the World Cup of Hockey in 2016. Fingers crossed we can hear some classic Chelios stories in between his analysis this season. If ESPN was looking to adding personality to its roster I think it found its man.

Emily Kaplan

This woman has been flawless with her offseason coverage. Kaplan has been working as a writer and reporter for ESPN since 2017 and was in Edmonton as the only in-arena reporter for ESPN for the 2020 Stanley Cup Final. Along with her colleague Greg Wyshynski, she brought fans the “NHL Bubble Confidential,” which gave readers an inside look into what bubble life was like for the players during the playoffs. Kaplan will be the number one source for insight into the NHL season as October nears. Make sure to follow her on Twitter for updates and news.

Mark Messier

Another Stanley Cup champion on the ESPN roster? Sure, why not. Messier has studio experience — previously working as a studio analyst on NHL on Versus and an in-game analyst for the NHL All-Star Game on Versus. Additionally, Messier has been a guest commentator for NHL on NBC. He is best known for “The Messier Guarantee” during the 1993-94 season with the New York Rangers. Seeing Messier — a six-time Cup champion — analyze today’s game is something fans deserve to witness. A peek into the hockey mind of one of the NHL’s best? Yes, please!

We’re Not Done Yet

The Seattle Expansion Draft is behind us, the entry draft is done, and the on-rush of free agency has given way to a slow, plodding pace with precious few names making news. In short — the dog days of August are upon us.

So, let’s hurry up and get to training camp, right? Well, not so fast — and not just because I like my summers. There remain some big looming questions that will dominate the rest of the offseason and could still cause ripple effects well into the 2021-22 NHL campaign.

Here are some of the biggest storylines that will — hopefully — be resolved in time for the opening of the regular season on October 12th:

Jack Eichel

That the Eichel saga continues to slog along — with animosity between the player’s camp and the Buffalo Sabres only continuing to build — speaks to the difficulty in finding a trade fit for the 24-year-old team captain. But something’s gotta give, right? I mean, can you imagine if this dynamic carries through into the season?

Tuukka Rask

The remaining unrestricted free agent market is sparsely populated with fading veterans and depth options — oh, and a former Vezina winner and Stanley Cup champion who can still assume a No. 1 role in net. Rask’s hip surgery will keep him on the sidelines until the calendar switches over to 2022, complicating his status. But even after the Boston Bruins added Linus Ullmark in free agency, it remains hard to fathom the 34-year-old leaving Beantown.

Vladimir Tarasenko

Eichel may dominate headlines, but he isn’t the only disgruntled star forward embroiled in trade talks. Tarasenko will still be under 30 once the season starts and has potted 40 goals in a season before. However, a tepid market isn’t entirely surprising for a guy who has suited up for just 34 games over the past two seasons.

Offer Sheets?

Believe it or not, there are still some richly talented free agents out there who could be central components of Cup contenders. These, of course, are the restricted free agents left on the market — a group that includes Quinn Hughes and Elias Petterson of the Vancouver Canucks, Kirill Kaprizov of the Minnesota Wild, and Brady Tkachuk of the Ottawa Senators. Each of their clubs has maintained sufficient cap space to retain their free agents, but crazier things have happened!

NHL Participation in Beijing

The 2020 Tokyo Games are still taking place, so it might seem a tad premature to talk about the Winter Olympics — but they are, in reality, exactly six months away as of today. While the NHL and the Player’s Association still haven’t reached an agreement with the IIHF on participation, the NHL schedule for the upcoming season includes a tentative Olympic break. Both sides will surely want a resolution sooner rather than later.

Trivia Answer

  1. 2005-06
  2. $2 Billion
  3. Nashville Predators v. Dallas Stars

Click here for more NHL on NBC trivia!