Days until start of 2021-22 NHL Season: 6 days
Monday’s Moon Shots
WHITE’S NOT RIGHT: Colin White left the Ottawa Senators preseason game against the Toronto Maple Leafs because of an upper-body injury. Following an MRI, Senators head coach DJ Smith told the media he expects White to miss some time to begin the regular season.
CAPTAIN CROSBY?: Perhaps the least surprising decision regarding the Canadian Olympic roster, Sidney Crosby joined Connor McDavid and Alex Pietrangelo as the three players named to Team Canada for the 2022 Beijing Olympics. Crosby, a two-time gold medalist, will likely be the frontrunner to be captain for his fourth appearance in the tournament.
Tuesday’s Toe Drags
OPEN DIALOGUE: Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner had a meeting with the NHL and the players’ association regarding the statements he made on social media over the weekend. Lehner feels encouraged after the discussion and hopes to continue the dialogue in a more private fashion.
CT-ENOUGH: Former US Hockey National Team Development Program (USNTDP) member Tyler Amburgey was posthumously diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) after passing away from COVID-19 in August 2020. Amburgey last played for the Pensacola Ice Flyers in the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL), wrapping up a seven-year professional career.
Do you know your Vancouver Canucks trivia?
- During the inaugural 1970-71 season, who was the Vancouver Canucks leading goal scorer?
- Dale Tallon
- Pat Quinn
- Andre Boudrias
- Rosaire Paiement
- How many jersey numbers have the Canucks retired?
- What year did the Canucks draft the Sedin twins with the second- and third-overall selections?
Answers can be found at the bottom of the email.
Wish You Were Here
Can you feel the excitement?? We are less than a week away from the start of the 2021-22 NHL season! Get ready to witness the birth of a new franchise, Connor McDavid’s attempt to outdo his own superhuman 2020-21 campaign, and the Tampa Bay Lightning’s attempt for a three-peat.
For all the reasons to get hyped for a new hockey season, there will also be a lot of notable talent missing in action once the puck drops Tuesday night. Let’s take a moment to pour one out for some of the difference-makers who won’t be hitting the ice—at least not immediately, anyway.
Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin
These two Pittsburgh Penguin icons merit their own inclusions here, but their legends are so intertwined that it seems fitting to feature them together. Crosby could be ready to return from offseason wrist surgery later this month, while Malkin should be back from knee surgery soon after his long-time teammate.
Maybe Matthews is simply trying to level the playing field for the “Rocket” Richard Trophy by giving other players a head start on the season. Either way, the Toronto Maple Leafs star did enough in a 56-game season that missing time early on this year shouldn’t slow him down much.
The murky nature surrounding Price’s health might have saved the Montreal Canadiens from losing him to the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft. Now, the franchise goaltender looks unlikely to start the season, but shouldn’t be too far behind after undergoing meniscus surgery this offseason.
Owen Power and Matthew Beniers
The NHL’s loss is Michigan hockey’s gain, as the top-two 2021 NHL Draft picks—Owen Power (Buffalo Sabres) and Matthew Beniers (Seattle Kraken)—will ply their trade for the NCAA’s Wolverines rather than at the NHL level.
MSk8 Debate 💬
As we head into the regular season, our crew at the Morning Skate will give our predictions for the 2021-22 NHL season. Today’s debate: Who will win the Calder Memorial Trophy?
BF: Sometimes, it’s best if you don’t overthink these picks. Cole Caufield looked the part of a top-six NHLer in helping the Montreal Canadiens to the Stanley Cup Final last spring. Now, the Hobey Baker winner gets the chance to prove himself over a full season. And with the top two picks of this year’s NHL Draft sticking around the college ranks, Caufield could have the opportunity to conquer a thinner than normal Calder field (apologies to Trevor Zegras and company).
KF: My heart is saying Cole Caufield, but my brain says Trevor Zegras. For the purpose of this debate, I am going with Zegras. He got some exposure in the NHL last season by playing only 24 games, which makes him eligible for the Calder this season. He will not get a lot of help from the Ducks forward group (#SorryNotSorry), and that is why he will become a standout. Ducks fans need something to root for this season and that will be Trevor Zegras.
JJ. It will be a great year in the Motor City, as Moritz Seider is going to win the Calder Trophy with the Detroit Red Wings. There was a time when it seemed like a poor decision to take Seider with the sixth-overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, but general manager Steve Yzerman always saw the potential in the blueliner. Seider has already been producing during the preseason, and I see no reason it will stop during the regular season. The Seider show is here to stay.
KK: Like Ben, I think Caufield is the most poised to win this award after everything he proved at the NHL level last season. However, for the sake of driving a debate, I’m going to put my Skate Coin on an outsider. While my heart wants to pick Moritz Seider or Lucas Raymond from the Red Wings, at +3300 I’m taking Matt Boldy from the Minnesota Wild all day. Boldy has all the tools to replicate the Calder-winning season Kirill Kaprizov put up last year, and the opportunity to learn from Kaprizov along the way.
VERDICT: Caufield leads the early Calder vote but it’s anybody’s race. Agree or disagree with our choices? Sound off on Twitter using #MSk8Debate or join the discussion on Discord.