With Streit gone, is Tavares the next Isles captain?

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The New York Islanders ended an era on Wednesday when they shipped captain Mark Streit to Philadelphia.

Streit, 35, had worn the “C” for New York since 2011 and, in doing so, became the first-ever Swiss born captain in NHL history.

In turn, Streit led the club to its first playoff appearance since 2007 and provided solid veteran leadership to a young team that took Pittsburgh to six games in the opening playoff round.

But now he’s gone, and the attention turns to his successor — which player will step up and become just the 14th captain in franchise history?

Logic suggest John Tavares, who served as an alternate this season, will be that guy.

Tavares, 22, led the Isles with 47 points in 48 games and earned his first-ever Hart Trophy nomination for league MVP (should he win, he’d be the first Islander to capture the award since Bryan Trottier in 1979.)

He’s the club’s most talented player and the face of the franchise. The only question, it seems, is if the Isles are ready to anoint a 22-year-old with the “C”.

For the most part, current NHL captains are experienced veterans (the notable exception being 20-year-old Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog). There have been other exceptions — Sidney Crosby was given Pittsburgh’s captaincy at 20, as was Chicago’s Jonathan Toews — but recent history shows the Isles have leaned towards giving the “C” to older players.

Prior to Streit (who was 34 at the time of his appointment), 38-year-old Doug Weight was the captain.

Prior to him, it was 37-year-old Bill Guerin.

The Isles could choose to go this direction with their next captain. Lubomir Visnovsky is one of the club’s elder statesmen (36 years old) and, after an acrimonious start to his tenure on Long Island, recently showed his commitment to the team by re-upping on a two-year, $9.5 million deal.

The Isles could also reward their longest-tenured player, Frans Nielsen, who’s been with the club since 2006 and has appeared in nearly 400 regular season contests.

Kyle Okposo is another option, having served as an alternate last season as well.

Such moves are possible, but ultimately unlikely.

It’s hard to think the Isles will pass on giving Tavares the honor of joining Hockey Hall of Famers Clark Gilles and Denis Potvin as players to serve as team captain.

It’s the the next logical step in this becoming Tavares’ team.

WATCH LIVE: Blackhawks at Penguins – Wednesday Night Rivalry

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The latest edition of NBCSN’s Wednesday Night Rivalry presents quite the treat: the Chicago Blackhawks at the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Both teams are at 103 standings points and each squad already punched a ticket to the playoffs. Even so, they’re dealing with mini-slumps that they’d like to work out tonight.

For all we know, this could be a preview of what would be one extremely fun, high-profile 2017 Stanley Cup Final. Either way, it’s a showcase of two premiere franchises brimming with star power.

You can watch on NBCSN, online and via NBC Sports App. Click here for the livestream.

Yes, NHL will share protected, available player lists for expansion draft

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We can debate all day how much the NHL, Vegas Golden Knights and others involved really want to do this, but they’re making the right choice with the expansion draft nonetheless. The league will make protected and available players lists available at the same time they’re shared with teams, according to NHL.com’s Nick Cotsonika.

(The NHL tweeted out as much, too.)

Could this lead to feelings being hurt or perhaps even certain sneaky deals being scuttled? Perhaps, but those are headaches that management should be expected to absorb.

The bottom line is that an expansion draft is a dream come true for armchair GMs, rumor enthusiasts, fantasy sports fans and … really, just about anyone interested in hockey. It would be a bewildering decision to try to keep all of this information locked down, even for a league that frequently garners a reputation for choosing comfort over entertainment value.

Cotsonika reports that such lists will probably be made available on June 18, though that isn’t set in stone.

(If you’re the type to take off work if a trade deadline was exciting, you might want to start drumming up excuses/putting aside vacation time/practicing your best “I’m sick” voice just in case …)

Cap Friendly provides a handy timeline for the expansion draft process:

Goalie nods: Blues give Hutton first start in two weeks

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Even though Jake Allen has played extremely well of late, Carter Hutton will get the call when the Blues take on the Coyotes in Arizona tonight.

Some of this could have to do with the opponent. The Coyotes are playing out the string on a forgettable campaign, and have lost six of their last seven. That includes a 4-1 defeat in St. Louis on Monday (in which Allen stopped 27 of 28 shots for the win).

As mentioned above, Allen has been great in March and deserves huge praise for turning his season around. He’s gone 8-1-1 this month with a remarkable .951 save percentage, allowing a mere 14 goals over his 10 appearances.

Hutton, though, has played equally well when called upon. He’s gone 4-1-0 over his last five starts, posting a .962 save percentage and a pair of shutouts. In his last outing, on Mar. 16, he allowed just one goal in a victory in San Jose.

For the Coyotes, Louis Domingue is in goal.

Elsewhere…

— A good matchup in Pittsburgh tonight, as the two defending Stanley Cup champions go head-to-head. Marc-Andre Fleury starts for the Penguins, while Corey Crawford goes for the Blackhawks.

— Calgary can clinch a playoff spot with a win tonight so, unsurprisingly, it’ll go with No. 1 Brian Elliott. No word yet on who starts for the visiting Kings, though it could be Ben Bishop after Jonathan Quick lost last night in Edmonton.

Philipp Grubauer gets the call for Washington, after Braden Holtby led the Caps to victory in Minnesota on Tuesday. Grubauer will take on Calvin Pickard, who starts for the Avs.

Vegas wants ‘progressive’ head coach, says McPhee

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Golden Knights GM George McPhee continued to list the characteristics he wants from a head coach this week, explaining that he’s searching for a forward-thinking bench boss.

“We want someone who is very current on the game, who is progressive on how the game should be played,” McPhee said in a recent phone call with season ticket holders, per the club website. “We’re looking for that progressive guy that can really help us through the early years and help develop our team and our players.”

So, time to connect the dots.

Back in November, Vegas owner Bill Foley laid the initial groundwork for McPhee’s coaching profile, saying he wanted to hire an experienced head coach.

“He’s not looking for a first-termer,” said Foley. “Some may or may not be available. … I would say the coach that we name is going to be a recognizable individual.”

Among the names that have already been floated, many fit the above billing: Jack Capuano, Gerard Gallant, Ken Hitchcock and Michel Therrien, among others.

Vegas has already spoken with Gallant and reportedly made contact with Capuano as well, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Gallant was nominated for last year’s Jack Adams as the NHL’s top coach, and McPhee is familiar with Capuano, having worked as an adviser to Isles GM Garth Snow prior to taking the Golden Knights gig.

It’s also believed former Flyers head coach Craig Berube is being considered, along with current Montreal associate Kirk Muller.