The NHL has reached a seven-year agreement with ESPN to become one of the league’s media partners next season, according to reporting done by Chris Johnston of Sportsnet. The league has not announced the deal yet and Johnston does not have confirmation on the other media company that will be involved. The deal with ESPN is for one-half of the league’s U.S. media rights, which will include four Stanley Cup Finals between 2022 and 2028 in addition to streaming rights for Disney.
More information about the deal is obviously needed, but this could be a very strong step in the right direction for the league, at least in terms of getting back to full financial health. The flat cap which has hindered so many teams this season isn’t likely to change right away, but a strong broadcast deal could get the league on track to start increasing the ceiling once again.
- The Vancouver Canucks will be without top forward Elias Pettersson for at least another week, according to head coach Travis Green. The team is actually on a three-game winning streak even despite his absence, but still have a long way to go if they want to climb up the North Division table. Vancouver currently sits just three points behind the Montreal Canadiens for the last playoff spot but has played five more games than them. Pettersson, 22, had 21 points in 26 games this season.
- The Pittsburgh Penguins, in action already today against the New York Rangers, named Katerina Wu to the team’s hockey operations department earlier today. Wu will hold the position of data scientist and be asked to “design and implement new statistics to evaluate player and team performance.” She will report to Penguins’ director of hockey operations Sam Ventura and work closely with Nick Citrone, who was recently promoted to senior data scientist of hockey and business operations.