October 3 — Trolling, Shade & the Wild West of Goalies

Last Night’s News 📰

INJURIES KEEP MOUNTING: On Sunday, the Boston Bruins announced another injury. This time it is forward Taylor Hall listed with an upper-body injury and is likely to miss the Bruins’ season opener on Oct. 12. The 30-year-old left Saturday’s preseason game in the second period. 

MARNER ON THE BLUE LINE?: Toronto Maple Leaf head coach Sheldon Keefe provided a shocking revelation when he said he could utilize Mitch Marner as a defenseman. Late last week, Marner skated with teammate Morgan Rielly on the back end, and when asked about it, the 25-year-old said he is “open to all kinds of opportunities” and was “not against anything.”

PTO SIGNINGS: Over the weekend, the Anaheim Ducks agreed to terms with 29-year-old defenseman Nathan Beaulieu, and the Carolina Hurricanes signed 31-year-old defenseman Calvin de Haan. Both inked one-year, $850,000 deals and will look to bring depth to their respective teams.

FLEURY FEELING IT: In one of three games on Sunday, Marc-André Fleury made 12 saves en route to a 3-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Fleury, 37, has yet to allow a goal in 91:10 of preseason play for the Minnesota Wild. Anaheim lost to the Los Angeles Kings, while the New York Islanders defeated the Philadelphia Flyers in the other two games yesterday. 

ARE THEY TROLLING?: Debuting this weekend was Buoy, a sea troll mascot for the Seattle Kraken. Adopting a softer image for fans and inspired by the Freemont Troll sculpture nearby, Buoy will be an “extension of [the Kraken] brand.”

Mascot Trivia

In honor of Buoy the Troll making his debut over the weekend, we are bringing back trivia to see if you know your NHL mascots.

  1. Who was the NHL’s first mascot?
    • Harvey the Hound
    • Badaboum
    • Youppi!
    • Howler the Yeti

  2. Which NHL mascot’s failed pregame routine left them dangling above the ice surface for more than 10 minutes?
    • Gnash
    • N.J. Devil
    • S.J. Sharkie
    • Gritty

  3. Lil’ Red was the unofficial mascot of which NHL team in the 1980s?
    • Calgary Flames
    • Chicago Blackhawks
    • Montreal Canadiens
    • Vancouver Canucks

Answers can be found at the bottom of the email.

Need an Umbrella for That Shade

Many NHL players like to talk before the season to poke fun at different topics or players. But sometimes, there can be a little more to a quote, throwing some “shade,” as you will. Here are some snippets from the offseason of passages that are so shady you’ll swear there’s an eclipse!

One Has Stanley Cups

One of the most significant departures for the Calgary Flames this offseason came from Matthew Tkachuk after his trade to the Florida Panthers. He had a big year for Calgary, and with him gone, Tyler Toffoli expects to be a more substantial offensive threat. When asked about the similarities between the two players, head coach Darryl Sutter remarked, “One guy’s won Stanley Cups and been a big part of long playoff runs.” Toffoli won the Cup with the LA Kings in 2014.

One Got Traded

Phil Kessel was one of the big free agent names this summer. After spending the last three seasons with the Arizona Coyotes, he ultimately signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Vegas Golden Knights. Following his signing, Kessel stated, “It’s gonna be nice playing on a team that wants to win.” Considering Kessel is a two-time Cup champion, it’s hard to blame him for feeling that way. 

One That Got Overlooked

One surprising story from the summer came during the 2022 NHL Draft when the supposed first overall pick, Shane Wright, fell fourth to the Seattle Kraken. Juraj Slafkovský ended up going first to the Montreal Canadiens, and Habs prospect Jan Myšák had some thoughts about the choice, declaring, “I played a whole year against Shane Wright, so for me personally, if I would be GM, I would take Slafkovský too.” Wright will likely use this as motivation next season after facing Myšák in the OHL. 

One Who’s in the Hot Seat

Dallas Stars owner Tom Gaglardi has not been shy to criticize star players Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin in the past. In August, he discussed some disappointment in them, stating, “They are taking a quarter of the cap space and not producing enough.” With Seguin and Benn on the roster together, the Stars have missed the playoffs four times in the last nine seasons, but the duo has played a big part in any success Dallas has had. Could they be in the hot seat if the team underperforms next season? 

Who’s Got Net: Western Conference

As we saw in Friday’s newsletter, fans in Boston, Detroit, New Jersey, and Toronto currently have their training camps focused on the crease where netminding battles will determine who the top option is between the pipes once the regular season gets underway. Of course, as we’re about to see, questions in goal aren’t a trend reserved for the Eastern Conference.

Out west, not even the defending Stanley Cup champions are exempt. Let’s take a closer look at the backstop situations facing not just the Colorado Avalanche but a quartet of Western Conference teams:

Colorado Avalanche: Georgiev or Francouz

Pressure’s on for Alexandar Georgiev in Colorado this year. (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

No, the Avalanche didn’t just sacrifice three draft picks and pony up $10.2 million so that offseason acquisition Alexandar Georgiev could sit on the bench and watch Pavel Francouz take over. But if Georgiev struggles out of the gate, then what? Colorado believes in the 26-year-old’s upside as an NHL starter, but Francouz had significantly better numbers last year. It remains to see how patient the Avs will be with Georgiev as they look to defend their championship. 

Los Angeles Kings: Quick or Petersen

Jonathan Quick’s turn-back-the-clock season in Los Angeles last year was instrumental in the Kings’ surprise playoff appearance, but it probably wasn’t what the club had in mind. Cal Petersen, nine years younger and signed two years longer, indeed appeared to be the heir apparent ready to take over. Petersen ultimately lost out to his two-time Stanley Cup-winning teammate, but it still could be a different story this year, the last of Quick’s long-term contract.

San Jose Sharks: Reimer or Kähkönen

James Reimer just won’t go away. (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Whether Jonas Gustavsson and Jonathan Bernier in Toronto, Petr Mrázek in Carolina, or Adin Hill in San Jose, James Reimer has made a career out of taking the organization’s preferred option in net and outplaying them. Now, the 34-year-old will take on a new challenger in Kaapo Kähkönen. Reimer may not be a name that inspires excitement in a fan base, but he’s just going to do what he does and earn all the minutes made available to him.

Vegas Golden Knights: Thompson, Hill, or Brossoit

Hill found himself getting out of one three-way goaltending battle in San Jose and right smack dab into another in Vegas. The uncertainty is palpable with the Golden Knights, where Robin Lehner (hip surgery) is shut down for the season, leaving Hill, Logan Thompson, and Laurent Brossoit, who is also recovering from hip surgery, forgoing the preseason. Although new head coach Bruce Cassidy has never worked with these netminders before, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that Thompson is the preference here, owing to his lengthier contract and younger age.

Heading into the 2022-23 season, the Morning Skate will introduce The Hockey Writers team contributors as they share some quick thoughts on what has been happening with their respective clubs this summer.

As we enter the final week before the regular season, we spoke with Tampa Bay Lightning contributors Lydia SzyjkaEugene Helfrick, and Jim Bay as our Morning Skate crew pitched in for the writerless Dallas Stars. 

Dallas Stars

Tampa Bay Lightning

How Would You Rate the Team’s Offseason?



A Prospect Who Could Make His NHL Debut This Season:

An Offseason Move That Will Pay Off This Season:

Most Underrated Player on the Roster:

Which Player Departure Was the Biggest Loss?:

Who Steps up if Jason Robertson’s Holdout Continues?:

Who Steps up in Place of Ondřej Palát and Ryan McDonagh?

Trivia Answers

  1. Harvey the Hound
  2. S.J. Sharkie
  3. Vancouver Canucks