Nate Schmidt

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NBCSN Hockey Happy Hour schedule: June 22-26

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NBC Sports will present live coverage of the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery this Friday at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN, hosted by Kathryn Tappen. Immediately following the 30-minute program, a special half-hour edition of NHL Live will be presented at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN with reactions to the Draft Lottery as well as a preview of the NHL’s latest Return to Play plans. The show will be hosted by Liam McHugh alongside analysts Keith Jones and Patrick Sharp.

The Draft Lottery will feature interviews with Commissioner Gary Bettman, the consensus top prospect Alexis Lafreniere, and the general manager of the organization that wins the Draft Lottery.

Programming will also stream on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

Monday, June 22 on NBCSN
NHL Hat Trick Trivia Hosted by P.K. Subban (Episode 10) – 6 p.m. ET
NHL Pause: Post to Post – 6:30 p.m. ET

Tuesday, June 23 on NBCSN
#HockeyAtHome: This is Hockey – 6 p.m. ET
• Our Line Starts – 6:30 p.m. ET

Friday, June 26 on NBCSN
• NHL Draft Lottery – 8 p.m. ET
• NHL Live Special – 8:30 p.m. ET

NHL HAT TRICK TRIVIA HOSTED BY P.K. SUBBAN – MONDAY, 6 P.M. ET: Former Rangers goaltender Mike Richter will join the tenth episode of NHL Hat Trick Trivia Hosted by P.K. Subban. The show features fans answering a trio of hockey trivia questions from their homes, along with appearances from NHL players and celebrities, for the chance to win NHL prizes. Additional guests on the episode include Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt, hockey insider Elliotte Friedman, and series regular and NHL referee Wes McCauley.

NHL PAUSE: POST TO POST – MONDAY, 6:30 P.M. ET: The 30-minute show, hosted by model Camille Kostek, takes a look at some of the most memorable hockey-related social media posts during the NHL season’s pause.

#HOCKEYATHOME: THIS IS HOCKEY – TUESDAY, 6 P.M. ET: The final edition of #HockeyAtHome, titled #HockeyAtHome: This is Hockey, highlights the inspiring work the hockey community has organized during the pause in the NHL season. The program, co-hosted by Kathryn Tappen, will feature the efforts of Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith, Jets captain Blake Wheeler and Wild forward J.T. Brown.

OUR LINE STARTS – TUESDAY 6:30 P.M. ET: NHL on NBC analyst Anson Carter, NBC Sports Chicago analyst Jamal Mayers and current professional women’s hockey player and Kings scout Blake Bolden will join host Liam McHugh for a conversation on race, diversity and inclusion in hockey on this episode of NBC Sports’ NHL weekly podcast, Our Line Starts.

2020 NHL DRAFT LOTTERY – FRIDAY, 8 P.M. ET: The 2020 NHL Draft Lottery, hosted by Kathryn Tappen, will feature NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly revealing the 2020 NHL Draft order. The program will feature interviews with Commissioner Gary Bettman, the consensus top prospect, Alexis Lafreniere, and the general manager of the organization that wins the Draft Lottery.

NHL LIVE – FRIDAY, 8:30 P.M. ET: A special half-hour edition of NHL Live will be presented with reactions to the Draft Lottery as well as a preview of the NHL’s latest Return to Play plans. The show will be hosted by Liam McHugh alongside analysts Keith Jones and Patrick Sharp.

NBCSN’s Hockey Happy Hour schedule: June 15-18

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The 2019 Heritage Classic overtime matchup between the Jets and Flames headlines this week’s Hockey Happy Hour coverage on NBCSN, which spotlights 2019-20 regular-season games between potential Qualifying Round matchups. Two clashes between the Oilers and Blackhawks from earlier this year will also be presented tonight at 5:30 p.m. ET and Wednesday at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Monday, June 15 on NBCSN
NHL Hat Trick Trivia Hosted by P.K. Subban (Episode 9) – 5 p.m. ET
Chicago vs. Edmonton (2019-20 Regular Season, Feb. 11, 2020) – 5:30 p.m. ET

Tuesday, June 16 on NBCSN
NHL’s Who Wore It Best? (Episode 5—Series Finale) – 6 p.m. ET
Calgary vs. Winnipeg (2019 Heritage Classic) -7 p.m. ET

Wednesday, June 17 on NBCSN
Edmonton vs. Chicago (2019-20 Regular Season, March 5, 2020) – 6 p.m. ET

Thursday, June 18 on NBCSN
Skates & Plates (Episode 2) – 5 p.m. ET
Our Line Starts – 5:30 p.m. ET

Programming will also stream on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

NHL HAT TRICK TRIVIA HOSTED BY P.K. SUBBAN – MONDAY, 5 P.M. ET: Lightning forward Alex Killorn will join the ninth episode of NHL Hat Trick Trivia Hosted by P.K. Subban. The show features fans answering a trio of hockey trivia questions from their homes, along with appearances from NHL players and celebrities, for the chance to win NHL prizes. Additional guests on the episode include Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt, women’s hockey player Renata Fast, Flyers mascot Gritty, and series regular and NHL referee Wes McCauley.

NHL’S WHO WORE IT BEST? – TUESDAY, 6 P.M. ET: NHL’s Who Wore It Best? spotlights hockey writers, broadcasters and insiders debating the best players to wear each jersey number in NHL history. The hour-long series finale features Keith Jones and Pierre McGuire who take part in debating the following jersey numbers: 9, 7, 3, 2 and 1.

SKATES & PLATES – THURSDAY, 5 P.M. ET: The NHL’s Skates & Plates is a cooking series that features a chef alongside an NHL player preparing a food dish together, giving viewers the chance to see how the two finished products compare. The second episode features New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba with chef Marc Forgione learning how to prepare one of Trouba’s favorite dishes from Forgione’s eponymous New York City restaurant.

OUR LINE STARTS – THURSDAY, 5:30 P.M. ET: NHL on NBC analyst Anson Carter, NBC Sports Chicago analyst Jamal Mayers and current professional women’s hockey player Blake Bolden will join host Liam McHugh for a conversation on race, diversity and inclusion in hockey on the latest episode of NBC Sports’ NHL weekly podcast, Our Line Starts.

Long-term outlook for Vegas Golden Knights

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With the 2019-20 NHL season on hold we are going to review where each NHL team stands at this moment until the season resumes. Here we take a look at the long-term outlook for the Vegas Golden Knights.

Pending Free Agents

The Core

If you showed a non-hockey fan the salary structures of all 31 NHL teams, they’d probably not choose the Golden Knights as the team that’s only in the middle of its third season.

Rather than looking like they just entered the NHL, the Golden Knights are remarkably “established.” Consider their significant long-term commitments, which include luring players to Vegas:

That’s a lot of money, quite a bit of term, and many of those contracts include no-movement and/or no-trade clauses. Our Golden Knights are all grown up, already, folks.

On the bright side, a lot of those contracts are quite team-friendly. Theodore at $5.2M and Karlsson at $5.9M both stand out among the best deals (at least after Marchessault took a step back, and Tuch’s dealt with injury issues).

Few teams boast a strong mix of two top lines and some nice, prime-age defensemen at reasonable prices for considerable terms, let alone one that wouldn’t be old enough to go to Kindergarten. Yet, here we are with the Golden Knights.

[PHT Power Rankings: Where do Golden Knights rank among best and worst long-term outlooks?]

Long-term needs for Golden Knights

For some time, the Golden Knights experienced a serious need for a backup behind Marc-Andre Fleury. Considering that he’s 35, they had to know that MAF-or-bust wasn’t going to work forever. It sunk in 2019-20, to the point that they brought in Robin Lehner.

With Lehner being splendid during the past two years, and being much younger (in hockey terms) at 28, I can’t help but wonder if Vegas might try to be bold and keep Lehner around.

Doing so would require some juggling, possibly including trying to convince MAF to accept a trade … but it’s something the Golden Knights should at least consider.

Beyond figuring out goaltending depth one way or another — this free agent crop does look good, even beyond Lehner — Vegas faces the challenges most competitive teams do during this salary cap era. While I’d argue that Vegas is deeper than most, the Golden Knights could still use more help up and down the lineup.

Long-term strengths for Golden Knights

Under the assumptions you’d make about an expansion team, you’d expect the Golden Knights to possess a strong prospect pool. That they do, with the Golden Knights placing 10th on Scott Wheeler’s rankings at The Athletic (sub required), as one recent example.

When you pour over the details, the Golden Knights compiling a strong pool gets more impressive.

After all, the Golden Knights haven’t ever drafted higher than sixth (Cody Glass in 2017). They didn’t make a first-round selection in 2018, and only picked 17th (Peyton Krebs) in the 2019 NHL Draft.

In enjoying unexpected contention, Vegas also paid up for rentals and significant additions, bleeding picks and prospects like Erik Brannstrom and Nick Suzuki.

Despite losing key assets, the Golden Knights still managed to bulk up on prospects, giving them a strong chance of supplementing their current stars as they get older. Ideally, a Glass or Krebs may pick up the slack when players like Pacioretty run out of steam.

Beyond Pacioretty and Fleury, a lot of key Golden Knights are either in or around their primes. That Stone price tag might eventually be rough, but right now he’s a two-way superstar, and the Golden Knights can win plenty of best-on-best battles.

When you ponder the big picture, few teams enjoy a better long-term outlook than the Golden Knights.

MORE ON THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS:

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.

PHT Morning Skate: Players that need change of scenery; Who should go after Byfuglien?

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Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.com.

• Here are seven cup contenders that have yet to make a trade. (TSN)

• The Hockey News provides us with a list of seven players that could benefit from a change of scenery. (The Hockey News)

• Sticking with the seven trend: ESPN shares seven trades they’d like to see happen before the trade deadline. (ESPN)

• The Canadiens and Penguins made a four-player minor-league trade. (NHL.com/Canadiens)

Connor McDavid‘s return from injury puts pressure on GM Ken Holland before the trade deadline. (Sportsnet)

• Ever wonder who the top 10 Latvians are in NHL history are? Here’s your answer. (The Hockey Writers)

Artemi Panarin still doesn’t understand why the Blackhawks traded him away in 2017. (Daily Herald)

• Here’s three teams that should trade for Dustin Byfuglien. (The Score)

• Who could the Blue Jackets move before Monday’s trade deadline? (The Cannon)

Cale Makar and Ryan Graves have been a strong pairing for the Avs. (Mile High Hockey)

• The Alec Martinez pairing could push Nate Schmidt and Shea Theodore onto the same pairing. (Sinbin.Vegas)

• How has the Jason Zucker trade affected Wild prospect Kirill Kaprizov? (Hockey Wilderness)

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

Trade: Kings send Alec Martinez to Golden Knights for draft picks

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The Los Angeles Kings continued to sell off veteran players on Wednesday afternoon while the Vegas Golden Knights got their defensive upgrade.

The Kings have traded veteran defenseman Alec Martinez to the Golden Knights in exchange for a 2020 second-round draft pick as well as a 2021 second-round draft pick that had originally belonged to the St. Louis Blues.

Martinez is signed for one more season at a $4 million salary cap hit, while the Kings are retaining zero salary in the move.

Let’s break this down.

For the Golden Knights

They definitely need some help on the back end. Goal prevention has been a big issue for them this season and it’s been a two-part problem. For one, the goaltending has not been great. Marc-Andre Fleury hasn’t been as consistently good as he has been the past few years, while they still have some major question marks with the depth behind him. But it’s not just on the players in the crease.

They also needed some depth on the blue line in front of them for this season and beyond. Before acquiring Martinez they only had three NHL defensemen under contract for next season (Nate Schmidt, Shea Theodore, and Brayden McNabb). At 32 years old (and with some injury issues the past two seasons) Martinez is not the same player he was a few years ago when he was a key cog in a championship team in Los Angeles, but he should still be an upgrade to a defense that needs some extra help. He is no longer a player you want to rely on to be a top-pairing player (his offense is all but gone and his defensive impact has declined), but the Golden Knights shouldn’t require that level of play from him. He should sitll be an upgrade for the second or third pair, a role that he is probably best suited for on a contending team at this stage of his career.

[MORE: PHT’s 2020 NHL Trade Deadline Tracker]

For the Kings

It is simply something that needed to be done.

This is part of the Kings’ ongoing attempt to turn the page on this core and continue selling off veteran players for future assets. Martinez spent 11 seasons with the team and was a significant contributor to a championship team (scoring a Stanley Cup clinching goal in overtime), but he was one of the veteran players on the team that could bring a solid return. And he did.

The two draft picks now give the Kings 20 draft picks over the next two draft classes, including seven in the first two rounds and 11 over the first three rounds. They also had nine picks in the 2019 draft, including four picks among the top-50. The best way to maximize a return on draft picks for a rebuilding team is to give yourself as many chances as possible to find a player. The Kings will have done that with with three classes between 2019 and 2021, while still having a chance to add even more before Monday’s trade deadline (3 p.m. ET).

The Kings have already traded Tyler Toffoli (Vancouver), Jack Campbell, and Kyle Cliffort (both to Toronto) over the past couple of weeks.

MORE KINGS TRADE COVERAGE:
Kings send Tyler Toffoli to Canucks
Kings trade Jack Campbell, Kyle Clifford to Maple Leafs
• Kings face key stage of rebuild

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.