The Tampa Bay Lightning are now down 1-0 in the Stanley Cup Finals and, of course, the question of Steven Stamkos’ availability came up in the most recent press conference. Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said he doubted that Stamkos would be ready for Game 2, but did speculate further on the possibility that Stamkos could make an appearance for the Lightning at some point in the series, according to The Athletic’s Joe Smith.
Cooper said that Stamkos is “inching closer” to a return and it’s “killing him” not to play, but the coach also said he refuses to put him in if he’s not ready. Cooper said the team needs to make sure his conditioning is up and both he and the medical staff are both comfortable with Stamkos on the ice.
- The Detroit Red Wings sent 2018 first-round pick Filip Zadina to the Czech Republic to continue playing until the 2020-21 begins, but already have felt the danger of loaning out one of their players. HC Ocelari Trinec announced that Zadina will miss the next few weeks with a upper-body injury that he sustained during a game Sunday. While there is no word on how serious the injury is, the diagnosis that he will be out a few weeks likely means it won’t threaten his availability when the NHL begins their 2020-21 season, which likely now won’t be until at least January 2021. Zadina took over a top-six spot late in the season, scoring eight goals and 15 points in 28 games and is a key component to the team’s 2020-21 season.
- With four pending unrestricted free agents coming up in the offseason, the New York Islanders have quite a few decisions to make about who they intend to keep. While general manager Lou Lamoriello was able to re-sign most of his UFA’s last season, that’s not likely to be the case. Newsday’s Andrew Gross reports that the team may only keep one of them this time around, suggesting that forward Matt Martin could be the only one to retain. The team isn’t likely to bring back goaltender Thomas Greiss now that Ilya Sorokin is on board, although Gross does add that Lamoriello does have a long-standing relationship with Andy Greene, so the team could potentially bring him back as well.
- USA Today’s Vince Mercogliano looks at the Rangers goaltending situation, suggesting the Rangers may have no choice but to buyout long-time Rangers icon Henrik Lundqvist when the buyout window opens on Sept. 25. General manager Jeff Gorton said he doesn’t plan to keep three goaltenders on the roster and word is the Rangers have not liked any offers they’ve received for Alexandar Georgiev, suggesting the team could save significant cap space in the future if they let go of Lundqvist, including $3MM next season and quite a bit more in 2021-22. With a trade unlikely for Lundqvist even if the Rangers retain half of his $8.5MM salary, the team could announce a buyout as soon as Friday, although at this point, anything is still possible.