Bruins trade Marco Sturm to Los Angeles; deal awaits clean bill of health

The Boston Bruins appear to be headed towards sweet salary cap freedom today. The Bruins have agreed to trade injured left wing Marco Sturm to Los Angeles for a conditional draft pick. Sturm’s salary cap hit is a solid $3.5 million this season. It’s the final year of Sturm’s contract so he’ll be a free agent at the end of the season. There have been rumblings about what the Bruins will do with Sturm when he got healthy and ready to play again. Given his salary, the Bruins were set to have quite a mess on their hands when it came to the salary cap.

Of course, when trying to deal a player whose coming off of a knee injury and who hasn’t participated in training camp nor any part of the regular season as of yet, things can get a bit sticky. Such is the case here as Sturm will need to pass a physical in order for the deal to be approved. With a guy coming off of major knee surgery, it’s curious to see if he will pass the exam.

If Sturm is fine, he’s a great pick up for the Kings. He can still score and he’ll thrive in a system with the likes of Anze Kopitar, Justin Williams, Ryan Smyth, Jarret Stoll, and Dustin Brown. Sturm figures to be a top six left wing and giving the team another guy that can just score goals. Sturm has been capable of scoring 20+ goals before in the past and he’s a guy that GM Dean Lombardi is familiar with from his years with the Sharks. Keeping him healthy will be the main issue. Thankfully, the Kings don’t have much in the way of salary cap worries this year.

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    Which NHL teams should try to sign Henrik Lundqvist after Rangers buyout?

    Which NHL teams should try to sign Henrik Lundqvist after Rangers buyout?
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    With the Rangers’ long-rumored buyout of Henrik Lundqvist now official, the natural question is: “Which team will sign Lundqvist?” This, of course, assumes that Lundqvist will continue his vaunted career. Just about any hockey fan should hope that the 38-year-old keeps chugging along.

    Few know what Henrik Lundqvist wants (beyond Lundqvist)

    Ultimately, we can only guess where Lundqvist may sign next. We don’t know his priorities, although it seems reasonable to assume that he would emphasize the chance to win that elusive Stanley Cup.

    If Lundqvist followed in the footsteps of other veteran sports stars and took very little money to chase that late-career championship, it would be understandable. After all, Cap Friendly estimates Lundqvist’s career earnings at close to $100 million.

    But Lundqvist might want the best chance to play, rather than a platoon or backup situation. Maybe he’d want to stay reasonably close to New York City, being that he played for the Rangers for 15 years?

    What Henrik Lundqvist brings to the table at age 38

    No doubt, Lundqvist is no longer at his peak, and oh what a peak it was:

    By the numbers, it’s fair to wonder what sort of goalie teams would be getting in current-day Lundqvist.

    In 2019-20, Lundqvist went 10-12-3 with a .905 save percentage. That marks the second straight season in that range, as he sank to .907 in 2018-19.

    According to Hockey Reference’s version of Goals Saved Above Average, Lundqvist was on the negative side of the ledger (from -4.16 to -5.21) in three of the last four seasons.

    While some of those stats attempt to correct for the quality of teams in front of goalies, it’s still worth wondering if Lundqvist might enjoy a renaissance in a different situation. To be frank, the Rangers have been abysmal defensively for some time now. And, for a veteran like Lundqvist, it might be tougher to find that fire on a rebuilding team.

    If you’re a contender and Lundqvist isn’t asking for the moon, maybe you can picture another glory run? Goalies are unpredictable, and Anton Khudobin was no spring chicken (34) in leading the Dallas Stars to the 2020 Stanley Cup Final.

    So let’s consider the NHL teams who may at least consider signing Henrik Lundqvist after that Rangers buyout.

    Contenders going through changes may target Henrik Lundqvist

    Heading into what’s almost certain to be a turbulent off-season, Lundqvist, Khudobin, and other free agent goalies must contend with a flooded market. Teams might prefer a more established name at-or-near their prime ages (Robin Lehner, Braden Holtby) or someone with less name recognition who could deliver Khudobin-type gains (Thomas Greiss).

    So, beyond knowing what Lundqvist wants, it’s up to the teams to decide if Lundqvist is their preference.

    In the case of contenders, the most sensible situation would be for Lundqvist to provide insurance at a low price, while Lundqvist gets to chase that Stanley Cup. These teams stand out in that category:

    • Capitals – How cool would it be for the Capitals to sign Lundqvist after facing him in, by my calculations, 5 bajillion playoff series?* With Holtby most likely to move on, the Capitals could provide Ilya Samsonov with a well-coiffed safety net. After all those barbs and battles, it would be a blast to watch Alex Ovechkin and Lundqvist team up.
    • Penguins – A fairly similar situation. Matt Murray is a UFA who struggled badly in recent times. Like with Pheonix Copley, the Penguins might have a logjam in that scenario, as Casey DeSmith is under contract. But pairing Lundqvist with Tristan Jarry could be appealing.
    • Flyers – Carter Hart could use a backup upgrade over Brian Elliott. There would be so, so many “Lundqvist mentoring Hart” stories.
    • Maple Leafs – If Toronto moved on from Frederik Andersen, could they roll with Lundqvist and Jack Campbell? Hmm.
    • Stars – In the event that Khudobin priced himself out of Dallas, picture a very old goalie duo in Lundqvist and Ben Bishop. Lundqvist might not know what to do with himself during games when the Stars really put the defensive clamps down, honestly.
    • Blues – After employing Martin Brodeur for a few unthinkable games, maybe the Blues land Lundqvist? They traded away Jake Allen, even after Allen quietly (vastly) outplayed Jordan Binnington in 2019-20.
    • Jets – Winnipeg asked a lot of Connor Hellebuyck last season. It might be wise to find someone to ease that burden in 2020-21.
    • Golden Knights – If they trade Marc-Andre Fleury and sign Lehner, they might need a backup. This would be weird … and fun?

    * – Five series.

    Hopefuls who might offer more starts?

    If Lundqvist wants to thread the needle between having a chance to win a Stanley Cup — but maybe a lower chance — and also maybe getting in a platoon/1B/or even starting situation, there are some scenarios.

    • Flames – Calgary’s been searching for goalie help and that extra push for some time. If it weren’t for David Rittich, the Flames could’ve pulled off the amusing scenario where maybe Lundqvist would be the backup to his former backup, Cam Talbot. But Lundqvist on the Flames would be fascinating.
    • Oilers – Another year, another situation where the Oilers face comparable goalie uncertainty to their Alberta rivals. Imagine the star power of Lundqvist on a team with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. Imagine the angst if that all goes bust again.
    • Canucks – Thatcher Demko + Lundqvist rather than breaking the already-broken bank to bring back Jacob Markstrom?
    • Wild – Minnesota’s been one of the best defensive teams in the NHL. They’ve also made a ton of moves already. What if they found someone who’d actually make some stops?
    • Coyotes – If they moved on from Darcy Kuemper, maybe Lundqvist could sustain them if they play low-event hockey? Lundqvist could at least enjoy the weather, depending upon how the 2020-21 season might play out.
    • Sharks – Hey, they want to get out of the cellar, and their goaltending can only get better. Right?

    Max money, minimum wins?

    Let’s throw bad teams with a lot of money in this category. One could picture scenarios where the Senators, Red Wings, and other rebuilding franchises might value Lundqvist’s presence and name recognition. Lundqvist, meanwhile, might get more money and start more games.

    The most devilish scenario would be if the New Jersey Devils snatched Lundqvist from their local rivals.

    Marinating on that almost troll-like situation seems like a good way to close this off. Which teams would be best served to sign Lundqvist, and which destinations make the most sense for him? Do tell.

    James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

    2020 NHL Draft: Date, time, order of picks for all 31 teams

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    The 2020 NHL Draft will be held virtually with Round 1 taking place on Tuesday, Oct. 6 beginning at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Rounds 2-7 will be held Wednesday, Oct. 7 beginning at 11:30 a.m. ET on NHL Network.

    The Rangers won Phase 2 of the 2020 NHL Draft lottery in August and will select first overall. Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL) winger Alexis Lafreniere is expected to go No. 1.

    After that? It could go a lot of different ways. Quinton Byfield (Sudbury – C- OHL), Tim Stutzle (Adler Mannheim – C/LW – DEL), Lucas Raymond (Frolunda – LW/C – SHL), Jamie Drysdale (Erie – D – OHL), Marco Rossi (Ottawa – C – OHL), Cole Perfetti (Saginaw – C – OHL), Jake Sanderson (D – USNTDP) are among the top prospects expected to be selected early.

    [NHL Midseason Mock Draft: Lafreniere head of the 2020 prospect class]

    Here is the full 2020 NHL Draft order.

    2020 NHL Draft order

    Round 1

    1. New York Rangers
    2. Los Angeles Kings
    3. Ottawa Senators (from SJS)
    4. Detroit Red Wings
    5. Ottawa Senators
    6. Anaheim Ducks
    7. New Jersey Devils
    8. Buffalo Sabres
    9. Minnesota Wild
    10. Winnipeg Jets
    11. Nashville Predators
    12. Florida Panthers
    13. Carolina Hurricanes (from TOR)
    14. Edmonton Oilers
    15. Toronto Maple Leafs (from PIT)
    16. Montreal Canadiens
    17. Chicago Blackhawks
    18. New Jersey Devils (from ARZ)
    19. Calgary Flames
    20. New Jersey Devils (from VAN via TB)
    21. Columbus Blue Jackets
    22. New York Rangers (from CAR)
    23. Philadelphia Flyers
    24. Washington Capitals
    25. Colorado Avalanche
    26. St. Louis Blues
    27. Anaheim Ducks (from BOS)
    28. Ottawa Senators (from NYI)
    29. Vegas Golden Knights
    30. Dallas Stars
    31. San Jose Sharks (from TB)

    Round 2

    32. Detroit Red Wings
    33. Ottawa Senators
    34. San Jose Sharks
    35. Los Angeles Kings
    36. Anaheim Ducks
    37. Nashville Predators (from NJ)
    38. Buffalo Sabres
    39. Minnesota Wild
    40. Winnipeg Jets
    41. Carolina Hurricanes (from NYR)
    42. Nashville Predators
    43. Florida Panthers
    44. Toronto Maple Leafs
    45. Detroit Red Wings (from EDM)
    46. Chicago Blackhawks (from PIT via VGK)
    47. Montreal Canadiens
    48. Montreal Canadiens (from CHI)
    49. No selection (Originally Arizona Coyotes*)
    50. Calgary Flames
    51. Los Angeles Kings (from VAN)
    52. Ottawa Senators (from CBJ)
    53. Carolina Hurricanes
    54. Philadelphia Flyers
    55. Detroit Red Wings (from WSH)
    56. San Jose Sharks (from COL via WSH)
    57. Montreal Canadiens (from STL)
    58. Boston Bruins
    59. Ottawa Senators (from NYI)
    60. Los Angeles Kings (from VGK)
    61. Ottawa Senators (from DAL via VGK)
    62. Tampa Bay Lightning

    *Coyotes forfeit pick No. 49 due to punishment for violating NHL pre-combine testing rules.

    Round 3

    63. Detroit Red Wings
    64. Ottawa Senators
    65. Detroit Red Wings (from SJ)
    66. Los Angeles Kings
    67. Anaheim Ducks
    68. Vegas Golden Knights (from NJ)
    69. Carolina Hurricanes (from BUF)
    70. Nashville Predators (from MIN)
    71. Ottawa Senators (from WPG)
    72. New York Rangers
    73. Nashville Predators
    74. Florida Panthers
    75. Colorado Avalanche (from TOR)
    76. Edmonton Oilers++
    77. Pittsburgh Penguins
    78. Montreal Canadiens
    79. Chicago Blackhawks
    80. Washington Capitals (from ARI via COL)
    81. Calgary Flames+++
    82. Vancouver Canucks
    83. Los Angeles Kings (from CBJ via OTT via TOR)
    84. New Jersey Devils (from CAR)
    85. Tampa Bay Lightning (from PHI via SJ)
    86. St. Louis Blues (from WSH via MTL)
    87. Florida Panthers (from COL)
    88. St. Louis Blues
    89. Boston Bruins
    90. New York Islanders
    91. Vegas Golden Knights
    92. New York Rangers (from DAL)
    93. Tampa Bay Lightning

    ++ Oilers have yet to announce whether they will give their 2020 or 2021 third-round pick to the Flames as part of the James Neal trade. If they give up the 2020 choice, the Blackhawks will get No. 76 as part of the Erik Gustafsson treads. If they give up their 2021 pick, the Blackhawks will get the No. 81 pick from the Flames.

    +++ If Calgary does not receive Edmonton’s 2020 third-round pick, they will send their own 2020 third-round pick to the Blackhawks.

    Round 4

    94. Tampa Bay Lightning (from DET)
    95. Ottawa Senators
    96. Calgary Flames (from SJ vis MTL via BUF)
    97. Los Angeles Kings
    98. Montreal Canadiens (from ANA)
    99. New Jersey Devils
    100. Buffalo Sabres
    101. Minnesota Wild
    102. Montreal Canadiens (from WPG)
    103. New York Rangers
    104. Anaheim Ducks (from NSH via PHI)
    105. Florida Panthers
    106. Toronto Maple Leafs
    107. Detroit Red Wings (from EDM)
    108. Pittsburgh Penguins
    109. Montreal Canadiens
    110. Chicago Blackhawks
    111. Arizona Coyotes
    112. Los Angeles Kings (from CGY)
    113. Vancouver Canucks
    114. Columbus Blue Jackets
    115. Carolina Hurricanes
    116. Philadelphia Flyers
    117. Washington Capitals
    118. Colorado Avalanche
    119. St. Louis Blues
    120. New Jersey Devils (from BOS)
    121. New York Islanders
    122. Toronto Maple Leafs (from VGK)
    123. Dallas Stars
    124. Tampa Bay Lightning

    Round 5

    125. Detroit Red Wings
    126. San Jose Sharks (from OTT)
    127. San Jose Sharks
    128. Los Angeles Kings
    129. Anaheim Ducks
    130. New Jersey Devils
    131. Buffalo Sabres
    132. Minnesota Wild
    133. Winnipeg Jets
    134. New York Rangers
    135. Nashville Predators
    136. Montreal Canadiens (from FLA)
    137. Florida Panthers (from TOR)
    138. Edmonton Oilers
    139. Pittsburgh Penguins
    140. Carolina Hurricanes (from MTL)
    141. Chicago Blackhawks
    142. Arizona Coyotes
    143. Calgary Flames
    144. Vancouver Canucks
    145. Columbus Blue Jackets
    146. St. Louis Blues (from CAR)
    147. Philadelphia Flyers
    148. Washington Capitals
    149. Colorado Avalanche
    150. St. Louis Blues
    151. Boston Bruins
    152. New York Islanders
    153. Toronto Maple Leafs (from VGK)
    154. Dallas Stars
    155. Ottawa Senators (from TB)

    Round 6

    156. Detroit Red Wings
    157. Tampa Bay Lightning (from OTT)
    158. Ottawa Senators (from SJ)
    159. Los Angeles Kings
    160. Anaheim Ducks
    161. New Jersey Devils
    162. Dallas Stars (from BUF via CAR via FLA)
    163. Minnesota Wild
    164. Winnipeg Jets
    165. New York Rangers
    166. Nashville Predators
    167. Colorado Avalanche (from FLA)
    168. Toronto Maple Leafs
    169. Edmonton Oilers
    170. Pittsburgh Penguins
    171. Montreal Canadiens
    172. Chicago Blackhawks
    173. Arizona Coyotes
    174. Calgary Flames
    175. Vancouver Canucks
    176. Columbus Blue Jackets
    177. Toronto Maple Leafs (from CAR)
    178. Philadelphia Flyers
    179. Washington Capitals
    180. Toronto Maple Leafs (from COL)
    181. Ottawa Senators (from STL via EDM)
    182. Boston Bruins
    183. New York Islanders
    184. Vegas Golden Knights
    185. Dallas Stars
    186. Tampa Bay Lightning

    Round 7

    187. Detroit Red Wings
    188. Montreal Canadiens (from OTT)
    189. Toronto Maple Leafs (from SJ)
    190. Los Angeles Kings
    191. Vancouver Canucks (from ANA)
    192. New Jersey Devils
    193. Buffalo Sabres
    194. Minnesota Wild
    195. Toronto Maple Leafs (from WPG via MIN)
    196. New York Rangers
    197. New York Rangers (from NSH)
    198. Florida Panthers
    199. Carolina Hurricanes (from TOR)
    200. Edmonton Oilers
    201. San Jose Sharks (from PIT)
    202. Philadelphia Flyers (from MTL)
    203. St. Louis Blues (from CHI via MTL)
    204. Arizona Coyotes
    205. Calgary Flames
    206. New York Rangers (from VAN)
    207. Columbus Blue Jackets
    208. Carolina Hurricanes
    209. Philadelphia Flyers
    210. San Jose Sharks (from WSH)
    211. Colorado Avalanche
    212. Toronto Maple Leafs (from STL)
    213. Boston Bruins
    214. New York Islanders
    215. Vegas Golden Knights
    216. Buffalo Sabres (from DAL)
    217. Tampa Bay Lightning

    NHL Draft order procedure

    Round 1
    Picks 1-15: Determined by Phases 1 and 2 of 2020 NHL Draft Lottery
    Picks 16-27: Teams eliminated in Rounds 1 and 2 of 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, in inverse order of 2019-20 regular season points percentage
    Picks 28-29: Teams eliminated in 2020 Conference Finals, in inverse order of 2019-20 regular season points percentage
    Pick 30: Team eliminated in 2020 Stanley Cup Final
    Pick 31: 2020 Stanley Cup champion

    Rounds 2-7
    Picks 1-7: Teams who did not participate in the Return To Play, in inverse order of 2019-20 regular season points percentage
    Picks 8-15: Teams eliminated in 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers, in inverse order of 2019-20 regular season points percentage
    Picks 16-27: Teams eliminated in Rounds 1 and 2 of 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, in inverse order of 2019-20 regular season points percentage
    Picks 28-29: Teams eliminated in 2020 Conference Finals, in inverse order of 2019-20 regular season points percentage
    Pick 30: Team eliminated in 2020 Stanley Cup Final
    Pick 31: 2020 Stanley Cup champion

    Lightning return home, lift Stanley Cup in front of fans

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    Defenseman Ryan McDonagh was preparing to answer one last question regarding the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Stanley Cup championship when teammates Nikita Kucherov and Alex Killorn crashed the room, putting an abrupt and celebratory end to the news conference.

    “Who’s next? Next question,” Kucherov said, looking into the camera.

    With McDonagh stopping in mid-sentence, Killorn stepped behind the podium and said, “We’re not staying here all night, man.”

    The wait for the Lightning — and the NHL — was long enough after Tampa Bay clinched the Cup with a 2-0 win in Game 6 against Dallas on Monday night in Edmonton, Alberta.

    The Lightning raised the Cup 363 days after the first puck was dropped on the 2019-20 season, and some 6 1/2 months after hockey was put on pause due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    “We knew what we were capable of with our whole roster, and we were pretty thankful to get the opportunity to come back and play,” McDonagh said.

    The Lightning’s title, their second after winning in 2004, was historic.

    In becoming the first team to win the Cup after the month of June, the Lightning also became the first to win 18 playoff games, including two in a preliminary round seeding series, as opposed to the standard 16. And they did so while spending 65 days in the NHL bubble, starting in Toronto before relocating to Edmonton for the conference finals.

    “Obviously, we can go back and look at what’s going on in the world now,” said Maroon, who won the Cup last year with St. Louis. “I think a lot of us are going to sit back and talk about this one a lot, because this one was a special one, and a hard one to win.”

    The Lightning returned home later Tuesday, greeted by family members and hundreds of fans on an airstrip near Tampa International Airport.

    The crowd cheered team members exiting the plane. Defenseman Victor Hedman, holding his Conn Smythe Trophy, and team captain Steven Stamkos, hoisting the Stanley Cup, were the last to leave the airplane.

    “To finally be here and enjoy it, it’s awesome,” Killorn said. “It’s kind of surreal right now to be honest.”

    Once reunited with their families, the team members were taken to Amalie Arena for a private on-ice celebration that included their wives, girlfriends, children, arena staff workers and team sponsors.

    Team owner Jeff Vinik said the Lightning have been one of the most successful teams in the NHL, but were missing one thing.

    “Over the past six years we’ve been to four conference finals and played for the Stanley Cup,” Vinik said. “This time we won it.”

    Stamkos thanked the families for their patience as the players spent more than 60 days in the NHL’s bubble in Toronto and Edmonton.

    “This was probably the toughest Stanley Cup to win under the circumstances.,” Stamkos said. “It’s amazing the sacrifices the families went through just to allow us to chase our dreams.”

    A fan rally and boat parade along the Hillsborough River is set for Wednesday, followed by a public celebration at Raymond James Stadium where 16,000 fans are expected to attend.

    While the Lightning celebrate, the NHL turns its attention to next week, when the two-day draft — to be conducted remotely — opens on Oct. 6, followed by the start of free agency three days later.

    It remains unclear when the 2020-21 season will open, either in December or early January, though the plan is to squeeze in a full 82-game schedule.

    The experienced and deep Lightning made Stars coach Rick Bowness’ pre-series comments prescient. Bowness, a former Tampa Bay assistant, noted how the Lightning “weren’t quite ready to win” in 2015 in losing the final to Chicago in six games.

    This year’s team proved far more battle-tested, with much of the same core still in place, and all too familiar with playoff setbacks. The Lightning lost Eastern Conference final appearances — both in Game 7 — in 2016 and 2018. Then there was the unshakable memory of last year, when Tampa Bay ran away with the regular-season title only to be swept by Columbus in the first round.

    It was only fitting, McDonagh said, that Columbus was the Lightning’s first-round opponent this year. Tampa Bay not only won the series in five games, but showed perseverance in opening the series needing five overtimes to pull out a 3-2 win in the fourth-longest game in NHL history.

    They did it with Stamkos limited to playing just two minutes and 47 seconds while missing the rest of the playoffs with a core muscle injury. And they overcame leading goal-scorer Brayden Point missing two games (both losses) with an undisclosed injury.

    The Lightning never lost two straight, and enjoyed a few blowout victories, including 8-2 and 7-1 routs over Boston and the Islanders. More important, Tampa Bay was 12-3 in games decided by one goal.

    General manager Julien BriseBois earned credit for adding grit and playoff experience. Maroon and defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk were among the team’s offseason free-agent additions. BriseBois didn’t stop there, trading first-round draft picks to acquire Barclay Goodrow from San Jose and Blake Coleman from New Jersey in February.

    The Lightning, who finished second in the Atlantic Division with a 43-21-6 record, capped a season in which they enjoyed a franchise-record 11-0 run from Jan. 29 to Feb. 17 following a 14-11 start.

    Shattenkirk credited coach Jon Cooper for not over-reacting to the early stumbles.

    “I think his patience was probably the best characteristic,” Shattenkirk said earlier this month. “He showed throughout the whole way in believing in our team and believing in the guys we had in the locker room.”

    Dallas Stars’ Rick Bowness still has ‘passion’ to coach

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    Dallas Stars goaltender Anton Khudobin felt empty. Jamie Benn, their longtime captain, was almost speechless.

    Like head coach Rick Bowness, who likely soon will shed the interim tag, they were disappointed and drained after more than two months inside the NHL bubble, where this most unusual season ended with a loss in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final.

    ”Go through a lot with that group,” Benn said before going silent for more than a full minute, even when asked another question. ”It was a good run … it’s tough here, you’re two games away from the Stanley Cup.”

    It was a group that overcame miserable stretches to start and finish the regular season, and an unexpected coaching change in between. A group not really expected to be one of the last two teams playing in a season that wrapped up nearly a full year after it began, especially as the injures mounted.

    Now the focus turns to the future of the 65-year-old Bowness, the interim head coach who has been behind NHL benches in parts of five different decades.

    After Dallas wrapped up the Western Conference final two weeks ago, general manager Jim Nill said Bowness had ”definitely” earned the right to come back as coach. Team owner Tom Gaglardi has indicated the same.

    Bowness was hired by Dallas before the 2018-19 season as an assistant for first-year coach Jim Montgomery, who made the jump from the college ranks. Bowness became the interim head coach when Montgomery was fired for off-ice issues last December.

    Nill and Bowness agreed then that the interim tag would hold through the season, and they would discuss things after that. No one could have known that would be nearly 10 months later – after a 4 1/2-month pause to the NHL season because of the pandemic, and then the team’s first Stanley Cup Final since 2000.

    After repeatedly deflecting questions about his future all postseason, Bowness gave some indication of his thoughts after the season-ending 2-0 loss to Tampa Bay.

    ”What I learned is that I still have the passion to compete, I still have the passion to coach,” Bowness said. ”I know I’m getting up there, and there’s a lot more behind me than ahead of me. But I still have the passion. That’s the most important thing. … I’m just going to keep pushing.”

    FREE DOBBY

    Khudobin, with his fifth different team over 11 NHL seasons, had never started a playoff game before Ben Bishop was declared unfit to play for pretty much the entire time in Edmonton. Khudobin went 14-10 with a 2.69 goals-against average and .917 save percentage this postseason.

    After two years as Bishop’s primary backup, and an impressive playoff run, the 34-year-old Khudobin is an unrestricted free agent. Bishop just finished the third season of his $29.5 million, six-year contract.

    TIME TO RECOVER

    Dallas ended the season with several injured regulars, including Bishop, who last played Aug. 31, and forwards Radek Faksa, Blake Comeau and Roope Hintz. Everybody else had plenty of bumps, bruises and assorted ailments; Tyler Seguin talked about waiting in line to get in into the trainer’s room.

    ”We left everything on the ice,” Bowness said. ”We pushed this team as far as it could get.”

    PAVS AND PERRY

    Joe Pavelski and Corey Perry combined to score the Stars’ last six goals in the Stanley Cup Final. The veteran forwards were the primary additions in free agency last summer, along with veteran defender Andrej Sekera.

    The 13 goals by Pavelski, who still has two seasons left on his deal, were more in a single postseason than any other player 36 or older and only one fewer than his 14 during the regular season. His 61 career playoff goals are now the most for an American-born skater.

    Perry, 35, and Sekera, 34, are free agents again. Center Mattias Janmark, an effective penalty killer with the Stars since his NHL debut in 2015-16, is headed into free agency for the first time at the age of 27.

    YOUNG STARS

    Miro Heiskanen, who got a taste of the playoffs as a 19-year-old rookie last season, produced on both ends of the ice this postseason. He finished with six goals and 20 assists inside the bubble.

    Rookie forward Denis Gurianov, who led the team with 20 goals during the regular season, had four goals and an assist in the Game 6 clincher over Calgary in the first round. The second round ended when Joel Kiviranta, who had one goal in 11 regular-season games, finished off a hat trick with his overtime goal in Game 7 against Colorado.