The Nation Notebook: Vegas Begins Its Wheeling And Dealing

Christian Pagnani
June 19 2017 07:00AM


The Nation Network Notebook is a regular feature that rounds up interesting news, stories, and rumours from around the NHL that don’t quite deserve their own article. 

The NHL trade freeze is on until Thursday as teams wait for Vegas to pick their team. There were some surprise names on the unprotected side of things, but hold on before projecting them onto Vegas' roster, or your favourite team, as there might be a side deal already in place to prevent that. The NHL puts out the official salary cap for next season. The Coyotes are broke and need to find a way to the salary cap floor.

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Because It's The Cap: Chicago Blackhawks Offseason Preview

Scott Maxwell
June 18 2017 06:23PM



After a disappointing first round exit to the St. Louis Blues in 2015-16, the Chicago Blackhawks returned with a vengeance, storming their way to first place in the Western Conference, and once again being one of the Cup favourites in the playoffs.

They then proceeded to get sweep in the first round, limited to only three goals, including none at home. So, long story short, they choked. I don't care if the analytics said they weren't guaranteed to beat Nashville like every MSM said they would, just accept and enjoy the narrative of Chicago Blackhawks: Chokers. Savour it.

Anyway, they come into this offseason like every other offseason for the last 7-8 years: in cap hell. It'll take more of Stan Bowman's magic, or the stupidity of other GM's, whatever you want to call it, to get them out of this pickle, before they are doomed to mediocrity for eternity...or at least until their core's contracts are up.

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Because It's The Cap: Columbus Blue Jackets Offseason Preview

Scott Maxwell
June 18 2017 11:25AM

After a season that saw them finish fourth worst in the NHL, the Columbus Blue Jackets lottery in 2016 was a very good representative of their 2016-17 season, in that the results were good, but they still managed to find a way to screw it up. In the case of the draft, it was passing on Puljujarvi to pick Dubois, and in the case of the 2016-17 season, it was deciding that they "got away from what made them good during their 16 game winning streak".

While many think the Blue Jackets run was unsustainable, they were kind of right, in that they were a good team that looked great. But, they're still a good team, and they might be able to become a great team pretty quickly, but only if they make the right moves.

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Because It's The Cap: Minnesota Wild Offseason Preview

June 16 2017 12:32PM


© Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Wild went into the 2016/17 season with an abundance of optimism. New head coach Bruce Boudreau was going to be the coach to take the Wild, a perennial playoff underachiever to the next level, and in the process, he would shed his reputation as a great regular season coach who struggled come playoff time. Unfortunately for him and fans in Minnesota, the playoff reputation reared its ugly head again in the first round against St Louis.

Now, the Wild are in a tough cap situation, and will almost surely lose an upper-echelon player from the roster to Las Vegas. The question for the Wild will be what can they do this summer to finally take the next step in the playoffs. (Hint: Don’t trade a first round pick for Martin Hanzal!)

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Because It's The Cap: Anaheim Ducks Offseason Preview

Cam Lewis
June 15 2017 08:00AM


© Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time since 2013, the Anaheim Ducks won a Game 7 on home ice, knocking out the Edmonton Oilers in the second round to reach the Western Conference Final for the second time in three seasons. So they made it over one hump, but unfortunately, they weren't able to get over the other. The Nashville Predators, for the second year in a row, took down the Ducks in the playoffs, this time en route to their first ever Stanley Cup Final appearance. 

All in all, it was a good season for the Ducks. Obviously the goal for a team with three core players in their early 30s is a Stanley Cup, but reaching the Conference Final is no small feat. Now the Ducks will head into an offseason with some major challenges as they try to maximize the value of their assets before the Vegas Golden Knights can take advantage. 

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