Are the Islanders not done dealing after landing Brian Rolston?

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Seeing the Islanders and Devils complete a trade the way they did yesterday seeing the Islanders send Trent Hunter to New Jersey was a random shot out of the blue. Two rivals making deals with each other, even out of salary floor/salary cap convenience, doesn’t happen all the time.

For the Islanders, they needed to add salary to get themselves at or above the payroll floor and while adding Rolston’s salary helps them close in on that mark, they’ve still got some work left to do. CapGeek says they’re just over $5 million away from reaching the floor so there are other moves yet to be made. While the rumors of the Isles re-interest in Alexei Yashin will persist, Chris Botta of Islanders Point Blank says that there’s another “big” move on the horizon.

Another hockey move is on the way. For what it’s worth, we were also told that we’re going to like this one. In our view, it’s the only way spending $3 million on Brian Rolston instead of somebody younger and better makes sense.

All right, so it’s a hockey move that Isles fans will like and justifies bringing in a guy whose production has fallen off the map the last three years. So that means it’s not Yashin, right?

So let’s get our speculating shoes on. The Isles have a need on defense for someone who can plug in and help give Mark Streit help along the blue line. It’d be reasonable to expect that the Isles would be in the hunt for a defenseman. As for who that might be, your guess is as good as ours. If you judge just based on salary cap numbers at the moment, perhaps the Isles putting in a call to the Sabres to snag Shaone Morrisonn would work out. The Sabres need to cut cash and Morrisonn is making just over $2 million against the cap next season.

That wouldn’t be a move that Isles fans would find exciting, however. That is unless Isles fans find fourth or fifth defensemen to be spine-tingling. If that was the case though, they’d just ride it out with what they have. While the Isles still have to work things out yet with restricted free agent Blake Comeau, you have to wonder if maybe they’re looking for another forward.

This would be where we’d point out how the Washington Capitals are over the cap ever so slightly and how there’s a certain goal-scoring Russian winger making $6.7 million against the cap next season that would give them an offensive lift and help put them well above the salary floor. That wouldn’t make too much sense for the Caps to do that, however, unless they were getting something helpful in return to balance their offense.

As it is, we’ll have to wait things out to see just what the Isles have planned to be crowd-pleasers. Don’t be surprised that if they’ve got a move to make that it happens ahead of the August 1 referendum vote on whether or not to approve building a new Nassau Coliseum. Making a big splash ahead of that would be a good way to show voters who may be ambivalent about voting to get to the polls and support the movement. Here’s to hoping that Alexei Yashin isn’t the guy jumping out of the celebratory cake for that purpose.

Stanley Cup Final odds: Penguins open as favorites over Predators

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The 2017 Stanley Cup Final is set with the Pittsburgh Penguins, continuing their quest to repeat as champions, facing the Nashville Predators.

Both teams come in missing some key players (Kris Letang, Pittsburgh; Ryan Johansen, Nashville) but both still have plenty of star player with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, P.K. Subban, Filip Forsberg and the rest of Nashville’s defense headlining the series.

According to the folks at Bovada, the Penguins open the series as favorites to win it over the Predators.

NHL Stanley Cup Finals Series Price
Nashville Predators +135 (27/20)
Pittsburgh Penguins -155 (20/31)

The series begins on Monday night in Pittsburgh.

Related

2017 Stanley Cup Final Schedule: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Nashville Predators

Canucks sign free agent defenseman Philip Holm to one-year deal

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The Vancouver Canucks announced on Friday that they have signed free agent defenseman Philip Holm to a one-year, entry-level contract.

Before signing with the Canucks Holm had been rumored to be on the verge of joining the Toronto Maple Leafs, but that obviously did not come together.

“Philip is a mobile, two-way defenseman who adds depth to our blue line,” said Canucks general manager Jim Benning in a statement released by the team. “He made strides in his development last season with Vaxjo and played a strong series with Sweden at the World Championships We’re pleased to welcome him to the Canucks organization.”

The 25-year-old Holm has spent the past seven seasons playing professionally in Sweden for Vaxjo HC and Djurgardens IF.

He is regarded as a smooth skating, puck-moving defenseman and had a pretty strong season for Vaxjo this past year, scoring four goals and adding 17 assists in 52 games. He was the top-scoring defenseman on the team.

He also had three points (one goal, two assists) in seven games for Sweden at the 2017 IIHF World Ice Hockey Championships. Sweden won the Gold Medal at the tournament by defeating Canada in the championship game.

The Canucks already have six defensemen under contract for 2017-18 (and they do not seem to be in a hurry to trade any of them) but it was a unit that clearly needs an upgrade, so Holm should be an opportunity to make an impact next season.

Sabres fire AHL coach Dan Lambert

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The Buffalo Sabres continued to overhaul their organization under new general manager Jason Botterill on Friday when they announced that Dan Lambert, the coach of the Rochester Americans, their AHL affiliate, has been relieved of his duties.

“I would like to thank Dan for his hard work and contributions to our organization during the last two seasons and I wish him the best in the future,” said Botterill in a statement released by the team.

“I felt this was the right move for both the Sabres and Amerks and we will begin the process of searching for a new head coach immediately.”

The 2016-17 season was Lambert’s only season as the head coach. The team ended up finishing with a 32-41-3 mark.

When he was hired by the Sabres Botterill talked about wanting to improve the team in Rochester and this appears to be the first step in that process. The entire Sabres organization took a pretty significant step backwards this season with the NHL team finishing with a worse record than it did a year ago. That resulted in general manager Tim Murray and head coach Dan Bylsma all being replaced.

The Sabres have yet to hire a replacement for Bylsma.

Now both of the top teams in the organization are in need of a new head coach.

Report: KHL team in talks with Capitals’ Orlov

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After losing in the second-round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs again and entering an offseason where they have several free agents, it is expected that the Washington Capitals roster is going to be look very, very different next season.

One of those upcoming free agents already seems to be drawing some interest, and not from an NHL team.

According to a report from Sport-Express’ Igor Eronko, the KHL’s CSKA Moscow is in talks with defenseman Dmitry Orlov.

Orlov, who turns 26 in July, is slated to be a restricted free agent this offseason. He has played in every game for the Capitals the past two seasons and has emerged as a solid defenseman on the team’s blue line. He has posted pretty dominant possession numbers the past two seasons and has tallied 29 and 33 points during that stretch. He played nearly 20 minutes per game for the Capitals this season and should be in line for a pretty significant pay raise.

Along with the Orlov news, the Washington Post’s Isabelle Khurshudyan mentioned on Twitter that another KHL team may also be in talks with restricted free agent Evgeny Kuznetsov, though she downplayed the possibility of him leaving. Given that Kuznetsov is one of the top offensive players in the league that would certainly be a shocking move, but it still seems like a long-shot to think that he would leave the NHL.