July 26 — Signings, Surprises & Brotherly Love

WE CAN’T WAIT FOR: NHL Free Agency — July 28

Days until start of 2021-22 NHL Season: 78 days

Friday’s Forecheck

A BIT OF A DRAFT: Rather than try to recap the weekend’s draft festivities, check out THW’s 2021 NHL Draft Tracker. So much to catch up on!

Saturday’s Snipes

STAYING? NOT EX-ZACH-TLY: Maple Leafs forward Zach Hyman will almost certainly sign with another team once free agency opens on Wednesday. Best of luck!

OVIE AND OUT: Capitals GM Brian MacLellan said the team hopes to have a deal with Alex Ovechkin completed by Wednesday, the start of free agency.

A BRAND NEW MA-KAR: The Avalanche signed defenseman Cale Makar to a six-year $54 million contract, ensuring the former restricted free agent would remain in Colorado for the foreseeable future.

Sunday’s Cellys

VIRTANEN OUT: The Vancouver Canucks are buying out Jake Virtanen’s contract after a turmoil six seasons with the club. The forward has also been accused of sexual assault in a lawsuit that was recently filed.

STILL STAALING: Defenseman Marc Staal agreed to a one-year deal with the Red Wings, keeping the 34-year-old in the Motor City for another season.

Hey Brother

It was a family affair leading up to — and continuing through — the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. Since 1917, close to 50 pairs of siblings have played on the same team in the NHL. As trades were made and players were selected throughout the draft, it seemed like multiple teams were celebrating a family homecoming — with the following brothers being reunited when they heard their names called over the weekend.

Caleb & Seth Jones

Amy Jones has been racking up those frequent flyer miles over the past few seasons to watch her sons play. She can take a big sigh of relief knowing that her boys will now be playing in the same city. The Chicago Blackhawks first acquired Caleb from Edmonton before making a trade with the Blue Jackets for Seth. Two brothers on the same blue line? Yes please.

Kirby & Colton Dach

It was so nice they did it twice. Chicago brought in another sibling duo to its organization — picking Kirby’s younger brother Colton with the 62nd overall selection. Both brothers are forwards with a different approach to their game. Kirby is a natural playmaker, preferring to pass the puck, while Colton has a shoot-first mentality. The Blackhawks have had the most siblings out of any team in the league with 20 over the years.

Jack & Luke Hughes

The most wholesome moment of the weekend was seeing Luke Hughes get drafted by the New Jersey Devils — his brother Jack’s excitement was priceless. Luke is the third and youngest to be drafted, making the Hughes the first family to have three brothers get selected within the top-10. Quinn, give Tom Fitzgerald a call when you’re ready to play with your younger siblings.

Cale & Taylor Makar 

Colorado was Makar-ing it happen this weekend. First, older brother Cale signed a six year extension worth $54 million. Then, later on that same day, his younger brother Taylor was selected in the seventh round by the Avalanche. The 20-year-old is a left winger who Cale refers to as a “Josh Anderson” type.

Didn’t See That Coming!

Owen Power went first, the blue and gold ruled the day, and the top picks of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft played out largely as expected. But, as with any entry draft, the mock drafts didn’t get everything right. This year’s version still saw its fair share of surprises.

And — unlike the widely leaked expansion draft — these picks were able to surprise in real time. So, which picks raised some serious eyebrows? Let’s look at three big ones from this weekend:

The Falling Finn

Draft observers knew Aatu Räty’s stock had dropped after two mediocre seasons in the SM-Liiga and a snub from the Finnish roster at the 2021 World Juniors, but it was still jarring to see a player once projected to go No. 1 fall to 52nd overall.

Touche, Boucher

In the final Central Scouting Bureau rankings, Tyler Boucher ranked 25th among North American skaters. The Ottawa Senators clearly disagreed, selecting the Arizona-born winger 10th overall in an off-the-board pick.

Can’t Have Enough Goalies?

The Detroit Red Wings’ decision to surrender its second- and fifth-round picks in order to move up from 23rd to 15th and select goaltender Sebastian Cossa was, in some ways, double curious. Jesper Wallstedt was actually higher-ranked among available goalies, and the Wings had just acquired Calder nominee Alex Nedeljkovic the previous day.