The NHL and NHLPA have crossed another hurdle to ratifying their CBA extension, the NHLPA announced. The NHL’s Executive Board has approved of the extended CBA and sent it to the NHLPA membership for a vote. The full body of NHL players still needs to cast their ballots, which is expected to take place sometime over the next 48 hours. Only a simple majority is needed to pass, per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. As we await the final vote, let’s check-in elsewhere around the NHL…
- Former Chicago Blackhawks prospect Drew LeBlanc signed a two-year extension to stay with Augsburger Panther of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga, per NHL.com’s Brandon Cain. LeBlanc appeared in two games with the Blackhawks in 2012-2013 and last appeared stateside with the AHL’s Ice Hogs in 2014-2015. He’s carved out a role in Germany over the last five years, scoring exactly 11 goals in the last four. He posted a career-high 49 points last season for Augsburger.
- Speaking of the DEL, top draft prospect Tim Stutzle put up 34 points (7 goals, 27 assists) for Adler Mannheim last season, a strong enough showing to put him in the running to become the highest-drafted German prospect ever (Leon Draisaitl went number 3 overall to the Oilers in 2014). As a consensus top-5 prospect, Stutzle – who has drawn comparisons to Patrick Kane for his offensive creativity – could go as high as number two to the Los Angeles Kings, who may understand Stutzle’s path better than most, writes The Athletic’s Lisa Dillman.
- Kings’ assistant coach Marco Sturm took a similar path on his way to the San Jose Sharks in 1997-1998. Sturm ought to be able to help connect the Kings’ to whatever intel they need on Stutzle. Most pundits suggest the Kings’ choice will come down to Stutzle or Quinton Byfield, though Jamie Drysdale could be in the running as well, which Dillman wrote about in-depth here.