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Sports Stanley Cup Windows 2021-22: Metropolitan Division

00:15  11 september  2021
00:15  11 september  2021 Source:   si.com

Buffalo Sabres sign former first-round pick Casey Mittelstadt to three-year deal

  Buffalo Sabres sign former first-round pick Casey Mittelstadt to three-year deal In Buffalo, Mittelstadt has experienced the same struggles that almost everyone else on the roster has, posting just 61 points in 155 games. In 2019-20 he was sent to the Rochester Americans for half the season to work on his game, as it was not quite consistent enough to help the NHL squad. The encouraging part about Mittelstadt, and why this three-year contract may look like quite a bargain very quickly, is his performance under head coach Don Granato. When Granato took over partway through last season, Mittelstadt had just one goal and five points in 13 games.

2021 - 22 NHL schedule. The Zamboni word mark and configuration of the Zamboni ice resurfacing machine are registered trademarks of Frank J. Zamboni & Co., Inc.© Frank J. Zamboni & Co., Inc. 2021. All Rights Reserved. Any other third party trademarks or copyrights are the property of their respective owners.

Welcome back to Stanley Cup Windows , an annual blog series in which I (attempt to) assess where each NHL team sits on its road to Stanley Cup contention. Some are squarely in their glory years, others have approached desperate win-now junctures, others are watching their Cup hopes slip So how does the Cup - window landscape look for 2021 - 22 ? Give the snow globe a vigorous shake. That’ll give you a fair sense of what to expect from the NHL’s standings: chaos. For the first time since March 2020, the NHL’s divisions will align under their traditional structures: Atlantic, Central, Metropolitan

Which teams are squarely in win-now mode? Which teams are rebuilding? Who sits in the murky middle? Our division-by-division series continues with the Metropolitan teams.

a hockey game in the snow: Adam Fox and Mathew Barzal (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports) © Provided by Hockey News on Sports Illustrated Adam Fox and Mathew Barzal (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

Welcome to part 2 of Stanley Cup Windows, an annual blog series in which I (attempt to) assess where each NHL team sits on its road to Stanley Cup contention. Some are squarely in their glory years, others have approached desperate win-now junctures, others are watching their Cup hopes slip away and some are obvious rebuilders.

A free-agent profile for former All-Star goaltender Devan Dubnyk

  A free-agent profile for former All-Star goaltender Devan Dubnyk Dubnyk could find a spot where he can act as a No. 3 and, if need be or if he shows he is capable, can take over a backup role. Again, it isn’t the most valuable label, but it could benefit a number of teams. At the end of the day, for those clubs that decide they need another goalie this late in the offseason or in-season but don’t want to make a trade, Dubnyk is the best option.Stats2020-21: 22 GP, 6-11-2 (.368), .895 SV%, 3.20 GAA, .444 QS%, 1 SOCareer: 542 GP, 253-206-54 (.546), .914 SV%, 2.61 GAA, .

Many pundits believe that the Stanley Cup is the hardest trophy to win in professional sports and that’s not usually a good for bettors placing NHL Future wagers but at the same time, the payoff can be great. The money placed on the future wager will be locked in with a sportsbook and bettors will receive fixed odds at the time of the wager. NHL Futures can be bet on before and during the season, depending on when the sportsbooks post their future odds. 2021 - 22 Eastern Conference Winner Odds.

The 2021 – 22 NHL season will be the 105th season of operation (104th season of play) of the National Hockey League (NHL). The league expanded to 32 teams with the addition of the Seattle Kraken. The league plans to return to its normal October-to-April scheduling and a full 82-game regular season

So how does the Cup-window landscape look for 2021-22? Give the snow globe a vigorous shake. That’ll give you a fair sense of what to expect from the NHL’s standings: chaos. For the first time since March 2020, the NHL’s divisions will align under their traditional structures: Atlantic, Central, Metropolitan and Pacific. Which teams will emerge as the alphas? It’s difficult to know when so many haven’t faced each other in a year and a half. The Seattle Kraken also join the fray as the league’s 32nd franchise.

This year’s Stanley Cup Windows exercise should prove particularly challenging, then. But that’s part of the fun. We’ll continue with the Metropolitan Division, which underwent significant player turnover this off-season.

Rangers reportedly begin extension talks with star center Mika Zibanejad

  Rangers reportedly begin extension talks with star center Mika Zibanejad Zibanejad has seen his offensive production increase sharply over the past three seasons.  He notched 74 points in 82 games in 2018-19, then managed to beat that total by one in 25 fewer games in 2019-20.  While his output dipped last season, he still managed to put up 50 points in 56 contests.  While it took him a while to get there, Zibanejad has produced like a legitimate No. 1 center over the past three years. Accordingly, Brooks pegs his asking price of being upward of $10M per season on a long-term pact of either seven or eight years.

Check to Watch NBA Finals 2021 Live Stream Game 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Online Free Ice Hockey TV Coverage. Enjoy NBA Finals 2021 Live Streaming Hockey Free on PC, Laptop, IOS, ANDROID, MAC, Windows , ROKU, and All other devices full Tv Coverage. Just Follow The Links Below. Click Here To Watch Live…

Our division -by- division series begins with the Pacific teams. Detroit Red Wings: 2021 - 22 Trade Candidates.

WINDOW WIDE OPEN

(In position to contend for multiple seasons)

New York Islanders

The Isles did almost nothing all off-season before announcing the simultaneous re-signings of UFAs Casey Cizikas and Kyle Palmieri and RFAs Ilya Sorokin and Anthony Beauvillier Sept. 1. The telegraphed Zach Parise contract was finally made official Friday, too.

For a team that hasn’t cleared the conference-final hump in consecutive seasons, Parise doesn’t qualify as a major upgrade, but the Tampa Bay Lightning seem to be the only team New York can’t handle, and those Lightning lost multiple important players this off-season. The Isles may thus be in the driver’s seat as top contenders in the East. They own the best shutdown defense pair in the game right now in Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock; a versatile, speedy No. 1 center in Matt Barzal; an elite goaltending tandem in Semyon Varlamov and Ilya Sorokin; a deep forward group top to bottom; and a peerless coach in Barry Trotz. They also get captain Anders Lee back from his ACL tear to patrol the left wing on their top line. With most of their key players still in their primes, the Isles appear to have plenty of runway left in their quest for a championship.

WINDOW CLOSING

Maple Leafs sign winger Nikita Gusev to professional tryout

  Maple Leafs sign winger Nikita Gusev to professional tryout Gusev is one year removed from a 40-point campaign in a shortened season. Gusev’s certainly had his struggles defensively, he’s still an extremely skilled playmaker and a valuable power-play option. Gusev, if he’s signed, could join a left-wing depth chart in Toronto that’s wide open. He’ll compete with Nick Ritchie, Michael Bunting and others for potential top-six usage with either Auston Matthews or John Tavares. Adding Gusev to an already possession-strong unit could potentially pay dividends.Subscribe to Yardbarker's Morning Bark, the most comprehensive newsletter in sports.

Because of this postponement, the Stanley Cup Playoffs (originally scheduled to begin May 11) has been pushed back as well. What could be most interesting about the 2021 NHL postseason, though, is the matchups. In non-COVID-affected years, eight teams from each conference would qualify for the playoffs 2021 is different. With the realignment of the divisions , the 2021 Stanley Cup Finals could see some whacky matchups. The top four teams in each division will make the playoffs, the No. 1 seed playing No. 4, the second-best team against No. 3, with the winners advancing to play each other.

The 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs was the last time we had a "normal" postseason. In 2019 and 2018, both wild cards went to the Metropolitan Division . Looking at the 2020 playoffs, based on points percentage the Metropolitan Division again would have gotten both wild card spots. The Atlantic Division boasts the two-time defending champs Tampa Bay, Boston, Florida, Toronto and Montreal, all of whom look like real playoff contenders. I'm not saying that only three teams from the Metropolitan Division will make the playoffs, but there is going to be serious competition from the Atlantic for those

(Aging perennial contender team, running out of years to make a deep playoff run)

Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins

We very much know who the Caps are at this point. They’re a veteran team, still extremely deadly on the power play, armed with an enviable top-six forward group including Alex Ovechkin, Tom Wilson, Anthony Mantha and T.J. Oshie on the wings and Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov at center, though it remains to be seen if the Caps deliver on trade rumors and deal Kuznetsov. Elite offensive defenseman John Carlson adds to the firepower. The Caps played decent defensive hockey at 5-on-5 last season and had a great penalty kill, but they allowed a lot of goals because they didn’t get consistent season-long goaltending from Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek. With key penalty-killing D-man Brendan Dillon traded to the Winnipeg Jets, there’s more pressure on Washington’s netminders to elevate their play. The Caps had the league’s 17th-best save percentage and second-worst high-danger SP at 5-on-5 last season.

With a depleted D-corps and an effective but aging forward group, the Caps seem likely to remain a comfortably competitive playoff team, maybe even a division winner, but it feels like their Stanley Cup trajectory peaked with their 2018 win – unless prospect Connor McMichael makes the team and becomes a high-impact rookie.

Charlie Coyle 'frontrunner' to serve as Bruins second-line center?

  Charlie Coyle 'frontrunner' to serve as Bruins second-line center? To say it’s been an eventful offseason for the Boston Bruins would be an understatement. With the extensions for Taylor Hall and Mike Reilly and the acquisitions of Linus Ullmark and Nick Foligno came some serious departures. Longtime Bruin David Krejci left the team to continue his career at home in the Czech Republic, while netminder Tuukka Rask remains unsigned amid injury uncertainty. © Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports While Krejci’s replacement as the second-line center isn’t entirely clear, the frontrunner in the eyes of most is Charlie Coyle.

As for the Penguins…eek. It was already a head-scratching off-season in which GM Ron Hextall (a) doubled down on Tristan Jarry as Pittsburgh’s starting goaltender despite Jarry’s playoff meltdown; (b) lost wingers Jared McCann (indirectly) and Brandon Tanev to the expansion draft; and (c) made no major upgrades unless you count signing checking left winger Brock McGinn. Center Evgeni Malkin’s balky knee is slated to keep him out of training camp, and now center Sidney Crosby will miss at least six weeks after wrist surgery. That means the Pens’ opening-night center will probably be 36-year-old Jeff Carter. It really feels like we’re at the edge of the cliff in the fruitful Crosby-Malkin era, especially when Malkin and defenseman Kris Letang are in their final years of their contracts.

WINDOW FOGGED UP

(Unpredictable outcome and differing opinions on whether team is a contender or pretender) Carolina Hurricanes, Philadelphia Flyers, New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils

I’m shocking myself by placing the Hurricanes in this category. They should be up with the New York Islanders in the Window Wide Open section coming off a dominant season in which coach Rod Brind’Amour won the Jack Adams Award. Alas, GM Don Waddell’s off-season decisions have eroded my confidence. Haggling over money, he traded starting goaltender and Calder Trophy finalist Alex Nedeljkovic to the Detroit Red Wings. Replacing ‘Ned’ and Petr Mrazek are the high-risk duo of Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta. The Canes also let No. 1 defenseman Dougie Hamilton walk as a UFA. Most of the forward group remains intact, and the Canes still have Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce thwarting chances on defense, so it’s entirely possible this team remains a top-tier contender. Given the significance of their player losses, however, they’re difficult to forecast.

Canucks forward Tyler Motte recovering from undisclosed surgery

  Canucks forward Tyler Motte recovering from undisclosed surgery If Motte’s not ready to join the lineup by then, the team will have to find another option to take his minutes and penalty-killing role. Video: After Dalton injury, is Fields ready to start? (NBC Sports) Your browser does not support this video Subscribe to Yardbarker's Morning Bark, the most comprehensive newsletter in sports. Customize your email to get the latest news on your favorite sports, teams and schools. Emailed daily. Always free! Sign up now ▸More must-reads:Flyers star Kevin Hayes out six to eight weeks following abdominal surgeryWhite Sox to 'evaluate' Carlos Rodon in Sept.

Same goes for the Flyers, who were extremely aggressive in overhauling their roster this off-season. They traded center and 2017 No. 2 overall draft bust Nolan Patrick as part of a three-team trade bringing stellar puck-moving defenseman Ryan Ellis to Philadelphia; swapped Jakub Voracek for Cam Atkinson in a hockey trade of right wingers; and broke the maligned but physically promising Rasmus Ristolainen out of prison, a.k.a the Buffalo Sabres blueline. Does that mean the Flyers return to Stanley Cup contention after it felt like they were right there a year ago? It depends on goaltending. Carter Hart mysteriously imploded last season, and his new backup, Martin Jones, is statistically the worst NHL netminder of the past three years if we measure by goals saved above average per 60 at 5-on-5. If no one can stop the puck, all the Flyers’ other transactions might not matter. It all comes down to Hart and whether he can get his highly intelligent brain back on track.

The Rangers’ current roster breakdown represents two conflicting philosophies colliding head on. Holdovers from Jeff Gorton’s time as GM include top-end homegrown talents such as Igor Shesterkin in net, K’Andre Miller on defense and lottery picks Kaapo Kakko and Alexis Lafreniere on the wings, with blueliners Adam Fox, Jacob Trouba and Ryan Lindgren and center Mika Zibanejad having arrived via trades made by Gorton. Superstar left winger Artemi Panarin was also a Gorton-era signing. That core represents the promise of ‘The Letter’ the Rangers brass sent to their fans in 2018: a mix of pure skill and youthful upside.

Blues name Peter Chiarelli VP of hockey operations

  Blues name Peter Chiarelli VP of hockey operations Chiarelli, 57, had already been working for the Blues as a consultant but will now have an expanded role in the front office. The longtime executive last held a full-time position in 2019 with the Edmonton Oilers, but he was fired early that year halfway through another disappointing season. There’s no lack of experience assuming the role for the blues, as Chiarelli was an NHL GM for 13 consecutive seasons between the Boston Bruins and Oilers. Before that, he held various positions with the Ottawa Senators, including assistant GM.

The new additions represent owner James Dolan’s impatience, which culminated in firing Gorton last season and replacing him with Chris Drury as GM. Attempting to inject the franchise with competitive fire, Drury overpaid massively for two-time Stanley Cup winning checker Barclay Goodrow, traded for rugged right winger Ryan Reaves and picked up hitting machine Sammy Blais from St. Louis. If Drury has the cocktail mixed correctly, we could see the Rangers bust out as a first-place team with sandpaper to complement their talent. If not, this group might be slower and less skilled than last year’s. The Rangers will be a fun watch in 2021-22 because their range of outcomes is incredibly wide.

Another team whose fate could spin in many directions: the New Jersey Devils, a rebuilding team that has behaved this off-season as if it’s done rebuilding. The Devils landed the top UFA on the market in Hamilton and traded for defenseman Ryan Graves while also fortifying their goaltending with Jonathan Bernier to work with Mackenzie Blackwood and adding Tomas Tatar as a scoring-line left winger. Given the Devils were unlucky last season, ravaged by COVID-19 early on and losing top center Nico Hischier to injury, there’s potential for growth here. Don’t sleep on Jack Hughes, either. It didn’t look like he improved as a sophomore, but his under-the-hood stats say he did.

REBUILDING

(Laying foundation for the future, not interested in pursuing a Cup right now)

Columbus Blue Jackets

Gone are several pillars of a Columbus team that had fringe-contender potential as recently as the 2020 post-season: right winger Josh Anderson, then top center Pierre-Luc Dubois, then coach John Tortorella, then top defenseman Seth Jones. General manager Jarmo Kekalainen understands that he’s been cornered into a reset. He used the Jones trade to net a package of picks and young blueliner Adam Boqvist, and the Jackets had three first-round picks at this year’s draft. Getting Boqvist and Jake Bean in separate trades signified a shift toward targeting players who haven’t approached their primes yet. Columbus should contend for a lottery pick in 2022.

Blackhawks star Patrick Kane says nagging injury hasn't completely healed .
Neither Kane nor others in the organization are concerned about his ability to play through the matter.NBC Sports Chicago’s Charlie Roumeliotis reports that a nagging injury to star winger Patrick Kane, an undisclosed matter that had appeared before the start of the Edmonton bubble in 2020, hasn’t healed completely. However, neither Kane nor others in the organization are concerned about his ability to play through the matter, as Kane himself remarked Thursday that he’s “optimistic with where [he’s] going.

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