Last Night’s News 📰
A-MASON: Winnipeg avoided arbitration with forward Mason Appleton, signing the 26-year-old to a three-year, $6.3 million extension. Last season, Appleton recorded eight goals and 13 assists over 58 games split between the Jets and Seattle Kraken.
GOLDEN GUYS: Team Canada was again victorious at a men’s under-18 tournament, defeating Sweden 4-1 in the 2022 Hlinka Gretzky Cup gold medal game on Saturday. It was Canada’s 23rd gold medal at a summer competition, increasing the men’s u-18 record to 116-16-6 since 1991.
COOLEY IN CALGARY: On Sunday, the United States announced its roster for the 2022 World Junior Championship, set to take place in Calgary on Aug. 9. Led by Logan Cooley, the No. 3 pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, the Americans look to win back-to-back gold medals for the first time after defeating Canada in the 2021 championship game.
STANLEY SWINGS THROUGH SASKATCHEWAN: This weekend, the Stanley Cup found itself in Saskatchewan amid celebrations. First, Lord Stanley’s trophy spent the day with goaltender Darcy Kuemper and his dog Rogie before heading to Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon. Then, head coach Jared Bednar took the Cup to the annual Humboldt Broncos Memorial Golf Tournament before his induction into the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League Hall of Fame.
Golden Knights or Islanders: Who Will Bounce Back?
Heading into the 2021-22 NHL season, projecting a Stanley Cup Final of the New York Islanders against the Vegas Golden Knights wouldn’t have seemed all that crazy. After all, the clubs had come within one and two wins, respectively, shy of reaching the Final the previous year. But we all know what happened next—the Golden Knights floundered amidst a cap crisis and a litany of injuries, while the Isles couldn’t get their season off the ground as they opened UBS Arena.
These are two teams, coming off catastrophic playoff misses, who’ve now decided to run it back in hopes that they can return to their previous form and put last season behind them. Can they? Let’s compare:
Golden Knights: For the second summer in a row, Vegas traded a key player for virtually no return, as Max Pacioretty followed Marc-André Fleury out the door. On the plus side, hiring Bruce Cassidy as head coach shows promise, and free agent Reilly Smith returned to the fold.
Islanders: It’s been a quiet offseason for Lou Lamoriello and the Isles’ front office—a little too quiet. With $11 million in cap space and Nazem Kadri still on the market, there’s been rampant speculation that the Stanley Cup champ might be Long Island-bound.
Why They’ll Bounce Back
Golden Knights: Injuries shouldn’t be an excuse, particularly for an organization that liberally leaned on burying salary in LTIR. On the other hand, yikes! Pacioretty, Smith, Mark Stone, Jack Eichel, and Robin Lehner all missed significant time. A new bench boss leading a group of (hopefully) healthy, All-Star talent is a reason for optimism.
Islanders: You know that team that was just a Game 7 1-0 loss shy of knocking out the Tampa Bay Lightning en route to the Final? An incredible 14 of their top 16 scorers from that season remain with the club, including budding young stars Mathew Barzal and Oliver Wahlström.
Why They Won’t Bounce Back
Golden Knights: Pacioretty’s departure only adds to the negativity surrounding the Golden Knights’ organization at the moment, with fans of the team disgruntled by constant, self-inflicted cap woes and opposing fans viewing their struggles as karma for poor management. Lehner headlines the many questions that still linger.
Islanders: If the Islanders want to sell fans on the idea they’ve moved past last season, they’ve found a funny way to show it. Barry Trotz stepped down, so they promptly hired associate coach Lane Lambert. Adding Alexander Romanov doesn’t exactly move the needle in light of their failed push for Johnny Gaudreau. In response to last year’s failure, they’ve done nothing.
2022 World Junior Championship Primer
The 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship kicks off tomorrow at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta. Group play begins with Czechia facing off against Slovakia, while the first day also features Latvia vs. Finland and the U.S. vs. Germany. Morning Skate has you covered with a preview of the event, restarting after December’s COVID pause.
Consisting of 10 teams split into two groups, each team plays a round-robin series within their group, with the top four teams advancing to the playoff round. First place in Group A will play fourth place in Group B, second place in Group A will play third place in Group B, and vice-versa.
Note: Place team finished in 2021 World Junior Championship is in parentheses
United States (1st)
Tuesday, August 9
Czechia vs Slovakia, 2:00 p.m.
Latvia vs Finland, 6:00 p.m.
U.S. vs Germany, 10:00 p.m.
Thursday, August 11
Finland vs Czechia, 2:00 p.m.
Slovakia vs Canada, 6:00 p.m.
Switzerland vs U.S., 10:00 p.m.
Saturday, August 13
Austria vs U.S., 2:00 p.m.
Canada vs Czechia, 6:00 p.m.
Germany vs Switzerland, 10:00 p.m.
Monday, August 15
Switzerland vs Austria, 2:00 p.m.
Canada vs Finland, 6:00 p.m.
Sweden vs Germany, 10:00 p.m.
Friday, August 19
Semifinal 1, 4:00 p.m.
Semifinal 2, 8:00 p.m.
Wednesday, August 10
Sweden vs Switzerland, 2:00 p.m.
Latvia vs Canada, 6:00 p.m.
Germany vs Austria, 10:00 p.m.
Friday, August 12
Austria vs Sweden, 2:00 p.m.
Slovakia vs Latvia, 6:00 p.m.
Sunday, August 14
Finland vs Slovakia, 2:00 p.m.
Czechia vs Latvia, 6:00 p.m.
U.S. vs Sweden, 10:00 p.m.
Wednesday, August 17
Quarterfinal 1, 12:00 p.m.
Quarterfinal 2, 3:30 p.m.
Quarterfinal 3, 7:00 p.m.
Quarterfinal 4, 10:30 p.m.
Saturday, August 20
Bronze Medal Game, 4:00 p.m.
Gold Medal Game, 8:00 p.m.
Players to Watch
Canada: Connor Bedard, F
Bedard is currently the top prospect in the 2023 NHL Draft class after scoring 100 points (51 goals, 49 assists) in 62 games for the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League (WHL) last season.
FInland: Topi Niemelä, D
Niemelä, a 2020 third-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs, was voted best defenseman in last year’s tournament, posting eight points (two goals, six assists) in seven games.
Czechia: Jiří Kulich, F
Kulich won MVP of the 2022 Under-18 World Championship after scoring 11 points (nine goals, two assists) in six games and was drafted 28th overall in this year’s NHL Draft by the Buffalo Sabres.
Slovakia: Dalibor Dvorsky, F
Dvorsky is one of the top prospects in next year’s NHL Draft class following a season in which he posted 40 points (20 goals, 20 assists) in 33 games for AIK in Sweden’s junior league.
Latvia: Klāvs Veinbergs, F
Veinbergs, a seventh-round pick by the Tampa Bay Lightning, finished with 24 points (16 goals, eight assists) in 47 games with HK Riga of the MHL (Latvia’s top pro league) last season.
USA: Logan Cooley, F
Cooley, a University of Minnesota commit, was drafted third overall by the Arizona Coyotes last month after scoring 75 points (27 goals, 48 assists) in 51 games in the U.S. Development Program (USDP) this past year.
Sweden: Simon Edvinsson, D
Edvinsson was drafted sixth overall by the Detroit Red Wings following a season in which he had 19 points (two goals, 17 assists) in 44 games for Frolunda HC of the Swedish Hockey League (SHL).
Switzerland: Simon Knak, F
Knak, a 2021 sixth-round pick by the Nashville Predators, returns for his third WJC after finishing with 11 points (six goals, five assists) in 42 regular season games and four points (two goals, two assists) in nine playoff games for HC Davos of the National League (NL) last year.
Germany: Florian Bugl, G
Bugl enters this tournament as Germany’s starter in net after going 2-1-0 with a 2.95 goals-against average (GAA) and a .897 save percentage (SV%) in last year’s tournament.
Austria: Senna Peeters, F
Peeters, who had 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) in 34 games for the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) last season, will be counted on by a shorthanded Austrian team.
Player Spotlight – William Karlsson
William Karlsson is one of the original misfits on the Vegas Golden Knights roster. Wild Bill instantly became a fan favorite putting up 78 points in his first season in Las Vegas. Fans know plenty about what he has brought to the ice, but what about his life outside of hockey? Let’s check in.
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