Maybe the Calgary Flames actually lucked out losing the Jack Eichel sweepstakes. Eichel thought he hit the jackpot when the Vegas Golden Knights snatched him out of the perennial last-place Buffalo Sabres. But the end result is the same. On Wednesday, the Knights were eliminated from playoff contention. Meanwhile, Calgary Flames stars Johnny Gaudreau and Jacob Markstrom were honourable mentions in an NHLPA poll of its players.
The NHLPA players’ poll recognized Markstrom as one of the league’s most impressive netminders. In the on-ice section, he earned 3.1% of the vote (ranking fifth) as the one goalie you would want to win one game.
Gaudreau — a soon-to-be free agent — landed in the best-stickhandler top five (tied with Auston Matthews). Johnny Hockey got 1.4% of the vote and finished behind winner Patrick Kane (57.3), Connor McDavid (22.8), Nathan MacKinnon (5.3) and Aleksander Barkov (2.4).
NHL News & National Hockey Now
Sportsnet: Elliotte Friedman’s latest 32 Thoughts talks about the Juuse Saros injury and it doesn’t sound great, which might be a huge boost for the Calgary Flames if they end up playing the Nashville Predators in the first round. Friedman dropped a few great stories, including having Gaudreau in his top-eight grouping for Hart Trophy voting.
Vegas: It’s over. Goodnight. Goodbye. After thinking they would find a way, they didn’t. The 2022 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs will not include the team Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter said was the class of the Pacific Division, the Vegas Golden Knights.
Montreal: Oh boy, Carey Price will hang out with the team for the final weekend but see the same surgeon who operated on his knee. Worries are high, as is the mystery. Montreal Canadiens news.
Washington: Double Oh boy. Alex Ovechkin’s status for the playoffs is up in the air. Ovechkin was injured this week and isn’t guaranteed to start the playoffs. Washington Capitals update.
Pittsburgh: Dan Kingerski advocated for the Penguins core with Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang to stick together and the organization to bend (within reason) to make it happen. Not anymore. Read on–If the last two months are all that’s left, it’s time to say goodbye to the Pittsburgh Penguins core.
Philly: The Flyers lost. The Flyers lost. Again. Another no-show loss for the Philadelphia Flyers.
NYI: The Islanders did well in shortened seasons. But an 82-game season sunk the Islanders. Stefan Rosner writers–yeah, defence isn’t enough anymore. You need offence, too. New York Islanders analysis.
Florida: Much like ex-Calgary Flames Sam Bennett, another Sam is finding his groove with the Florida Panthers. Sam Reinhart was languishing in Buffalo. In Florida? The dude is ripping it up. He’s been part of the Panthers’ turnaround. Florida Panthers story.