Sharks keep assistant GM, despite ‘several opportunities’ from other teams

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Considered to be a GM-in-waiting, Joe Will is going to remain as Doug Wilson’s assistant.

On Wednesday, the Sharks announced they signed Will to an extension as the club’s assistant GM, a role he’s served in since 2011 and apparently had the opportunity to leave for other opportunities across the NHL.

“Joe is an invaluable member of our hockey department,” Wilson said in a statement. “We are extremely pleased that he has committed himself to staying and working in San Jose, despite being approached with several opportunities by other NHL clubs. We’re fortunate to have him in our organization.”

More, from the Sharks’ release:

He’s the lead coordinator and planner for the Sharks training camp, scouting meetings and scouting conference calls each season.

In addition, as general manager of the Worcester Sharks, Will oversees all hockey operations efforts for the Sharks American Hockey League affiliate, including player evaluation, player contracts and player recall and reassignments.

[Will] also works with director of scouting Tim Burke and the Sharks scouting staff in the development and implementation of draft prospect testing, draft table operations and computer scouting analysis.

Since 2003, the Sharks rank second in the NHL in games played (6003) by players selected in the NHL Draft, despite holding the lowest average drafting position (135.22, 30th) of all NHL teams.

The move to retain Will is part of a larger narrative that sums up San Jose’s offseason, one that many expected to be tumultuous in the wake of the Sharks’ opening-round playoff collapse to the L.A. Kings. Rather than shake up the front office and coaching staff, owner Hasso Plattner opted to follow Wilson’s advice for patience and retained head coach Todd McLellan, extended the contract of associate coach Larry Robinson and has now kept Will in the fold as well.

Auston Matthews keeps goal streak alive, gives Leafs 1-0 lead in third

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These are the moments Toronto Maple Leafs fans were dreaming about when they drafted Auston Matthews. At least those bold enough to picture such great things, so soon in his career.

Speaking of so soon … that’s not how you’d describe a 1-0 goal happening in the third period of a game in this Leafs – Washington Capitals series, but it took that long to break the ice in Game 6.

It took a very lucky bounce for the puck to find its way to Matthews … but the finish was pure skill. With that, the remarkable rookie now has a goal in four straight games (with an assist thrown in for good measure).

The lead wouldn’t last long, however, as Marcus Johansson scored to tie it 1-1.

Things could get awfully nervous for Toronto as they try to force a decisive Game 7 in Washington, but that was a huge goal by Matthews either way.

Clarke MacArthur, Craig Anderson made Sens win that much more emotional

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It could have been over for Clarke MacArthur plenty of times during his turbulent NHL career. Scratch that, his turbulent hockey career.

His team walked away from his salary arbitration award. MacArthur’s seen plenty of people give up on him. And then, when he finally found a home with the Ottawa Senators, concussion issues threatened to end his playing days.

Yet, there he was on Sunday … drawing a penalty in overtime and then scoring on the ensuing power play to help the Senators advance beyond the Boston Bruins.

He didn’t deny that he imagined very different possibilities during his darker moments.

And, as uplifting as his story was – seriously, just watch this interview and try not to root for the guy – it wasn’t the only emotionally charged moment from Game 6.

Nicholle Anderson was on hand to cheer on Craig Anderson in this one, and the two were able to embrace after the contest:

As violent and intense as the playoffs can often be, MacArthur and Anderson reminded us of the gentler human side of it all.

Erik Karlsson played through hairline fractures in foot to help Sens advance

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Remember when many were keeping an eye on Erik Karlsson after he was seemingly cramping up after logging more than 40 minutes in an OT contest against the Boston Bruins?

It’s possible he was also dealing with that sort of ailment, but he earned some “hockey tough” kudos on Sunday after word surfaced that the Ottawa Senators defenseman was dealing with hairline fractures in his left heel through the series.

Sportsnet’s Jason York refers to the issue as “two small fractures” while ESPN’s Joe McDonald went into specifics, noting that Karlsson explains that the injury happened on March 28 (and was why he missed some games late in the season).

There’s some optimism as the Senators ready for the New York Rangers, at least according to Karlsson.

Hmm.

Either way, that’s impressive stuff from the Senators defenseman, and the sort of information that usually only surfaces after a team has been eliminated. We’ll see if he’s hindered by such issues as the playoffs go along.

Gaudreau, Granlund and Tarasenko: 2017 Lady Byng finalists

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The NHL officially announced the nominees for the 2017 Lady Byng on Sunday, and they’re a star-studded bunch: Johnny Gaudreau, Mikael Granlund and Vladimir Tarasenko.

The PHWA determines “the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”

(Did Tarasenko help eliminate Granlund’s team in a gentlemanly fashion?)

For more on the three finalists, click here.