The NHL season is almost here, but with just 56 games and a condensed schedule, it will be over before you know it. Perhaps that doesn’t mean we should look past it already, but it didn’t stop Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic from taking a quick look at the 2021 unrestricted free agent field and giving his thoughts on a few of the top names. There are several elite players included, but like he does when he’s on the ice, Alex Ovechkin steals the spotlight of the piece. That doesn’t mean he’s leaving Washington though, as LeBrun’s colleague Tarik El-Bashir points out:
I’m going to cut to the chase: There’s a 0.00-percent chance of Ovechkin signing with another team, in my opinion. He wants to be a Washington Capital for life, and management and ownership have voiced a similar desire. The big question is how much longer does he want to play? To me, it makes a lot of sense for Ovi to sign an extension that lines up with the one Backstrom inked a year ago. Backstrom’s deal expires after the 2024-25 season.
Among the other players examined are winners of the Hart Trophy, Vezina Trophy, and Stanley Cup, making the entire thing a valuable read for those looking ahead to next offseason. It seems like a long way away right now, but it’ll be here before you know it.
- Though we’re just a few days away and the schedule has been set, there was technically still some dispute over whether the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators would actually be allowed to host NHL games in their facilities given provincial restrictions. This afternoon, Lisa MacLeod, Ontario’s Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Minister released an official ruling allowing those North Division matches to take place. Of course, fans will not be allowed to attend those matches, a restriction that Ian Mendes of The Athletic points out is very unlikely to be relaxed at any point this season.
- If you took a guess at who was turning heads in Vancouver Canucks camp, Elias Pettersson or Quinn Hughes may come to mind first. But perhaps the most interesting performance has been that of Nils Hoglander, who has routinely flashed his brilliant skill while lining up beside captain Bo Horvat and Tanner Pearson. Iain MacIntyre of Sportsnet highlights that Hoglander performance in his latest piece and suggests that the young forward may just make the NHL out of camp. Selected 40th overall in 2019, Hoglander only turned 20 a few weeks ago but has already wowed the hockey world on multiple occasions with his lacrosse goals.