The Stars are facing an interesting decision when it comes to their back end and the upcoming expansion draft. John Klingberg and Esa Lindell are expected to be protected which leaves one opening for several blueliners who are at risk of being exposed. One of those is Jamie Oleksiak and Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News opines that the hulking rearguard should not be protected over youngster Stephen Johns even though the early thought seems to be that they may be leaning towards doing so.
GM Jim Nill has been extremely patient with Oleksiak, their first round pick back in 2011. Big defenders often have a longer learning curve and that seems to be their thinking with him, who has played a limited role the last two years. Heika argues that the team would be better off trying to deal him and protect Johns but it stands to reason that Oleksiak’s limited playing time over the past two seasons (just 60 games combined) could potentially make dealing him a bit more of a challenge.
Other notes from around the league:
- Penguins forwards Sidney Crosby and Conor Sheary both passed their baseline tests and are listed as game-time decisions for tonight against Washington, NHL.com’s Nick Cotsonika was among many to note (all Twitter links). Crosby didn’t take part in the morning skate but head coach Mike Sullivan advised that doing so is normal for him. Both players were diagnosed with a concussion following Game Three on Monday night.
- The Capitals announced that they’ve re-assigned center Chandler Stephenson back to Hershey of the AHL in advance of their second round series getting underway against Providence today. Stephenson was recalled to the big club back on May 1st but didn’t see any action with Washington in this stint. He did, however, get into four games with the team in the regular season, being held off the scoresheet while averaging just shy of nine minutes of playing time per game.
- Vadim Shipachyov’s decision to join the expansion Golden Knights came as a surprise to some but Elliotte Friedman suggested to Sportsnet 590 in Toronto (audio link) that a big factor was their willingness to give him a second guaranteed year, something that other teams weren’t willing to do. The 30 year old has yet to play outside of Russia and while his KHL numbers this year were quite strong (26-50-76 in 50 games), it appears most teams around the league weren’t completely convinced that they’d be able to translate to NHL success.