As the Stanley Cup Final is set to commence in two days, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche will retake the ice today to practice ahead of their last four to seven games of the season. Of note from Tampa’s side of things is that injured star center Brayden Point continued to take part in practice today and took line rushes for the first time, centering a line between Nick Paul and Ross Colton, per The Athletic’s Joe Smith. However, assistant coach Jeff Halpern said after practice that “he didn’t know if you could read too much” into Point’s status, noting that it was a light session.
Tampa will be waiting anxiously to get an answer on when Point can return. Given the uncertain health of Nazem Kadri on the other side for Colorado, Tampa Bay having their full center depth available to them would give them a much greater chance at winning their third straight Stanley Cup.
- With the 2022 NHL Draft now within a month, The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler, one of the top public prospect evaluators, released his 2022 NHL Mock Draft, taking team needs, consensus, and intel into account aside from just his own rankings. Although more and more doubt remains around the status of Kingston Frontenacs center Shane Wright as the Montreal Canadiens’ no. 1 overall pick, Wheeler still has Wright listed in the first spot. Rounding out the top five is winger Juraj Slafkovsky to the New Jersey Devils, center Logan Cooley to the Arizona Coyotes, defenseman Simon Nemec going first off the board among d-men to the Seattle Kraken, and defenseman David Jiricek headed to the Philadelphia Flyers.
- The first buyout window of the offseason opens July 1, and Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli has Edmonton Oilers winger Zack Kassian at the top of his list of 10 buyout candidates for this summer. Kassian, who carries a cap hit of $3.2MM through 2024, mustered just 19 points in 58 games this season and averaged under nine minutes per game in the playoffs. With the 31-year-old forward only set to continue declining, Edmonton could take the buyout penalty to free up more space to improve their depth scoring. The buyout for Kassian is relatively benign, per CapFriendly, with a cap hit of $666,667 in 2022-23, $1,866,667 in 2023-24, and $966,667 in 2024-25 and 2025-26. It offers $2.5MM in savings upfront in 2022-23, an appealing number for general manager Ken Holland.