Dodgers surprisingly option super prospect Gavin Lux to minors
Whatever the reasoning, the service implications are hard to ignore given that the team could stand to pick up an extra year of control on the back end. 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.
After wowing the hockey world with his incredible skill, Nils Hoglander didn’t have to wait around long to sign his first NHL contract this spring. The Vancouver Canucks signed Hoglander to a three-year entry-level contract in April, with the intention of bringing him to training camp for the 2020-21 season. Unfortunately, that training camp will now be delayed, meaning Hoglander would be waiting around for months during his most important development period. To solve that problem, he has been loaned to Rogle in the SHL where he will compete until the NHL training camp opens in mid-November.
Blue Jays, Orioles discussing sharing of Camden Yards
The biggest question, as we’ve now learned from experience, isn’t whether the local logistics can be arranged. It’s whether the final authorities will grant approval for whatever scheme is worked out. In this case, that means convincing the state of Maryland to permit another professional sports resident and, more importantly, to facilitate the flow of traffic of visiting teams to and from other states. That was the issue that gummed up the both of the Blue Jays’ prior schemes to play ball through the pandemic.Before formal approval is sought, the two teams still need to hammer out a means of hosting the Jays.
© Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images Canucks prospect Nils Hoglander is headed to the SHL, but will return for training camp in November.
Hoglander, 19, was a second-round pick in 2019 by the Canucks, but quickly started to generate hype thanks to his highlight-reel lacrosse-style goals in both the World Juniors and Swedish league play. The 5-foot-9 forward has incredible skill with the puck and finished with 16 points in 41 games for Rogle last season. While that number doesn’t jump off the page, it’s important to remember he was just an 18-year-old playing against professionals at the highest level in Sweden.
Whether he can bring the same sort of jaw-dropping talent to Vancouver isn’t clear, but getting him skating and training is obviously a priority. These types of loans will be common as teams try to keep their prospects on a strong development path. Obviously, Hoglander also doesn’t have an NHL roster spot locked up when the 2020-21 season comes back, meaning they’ll have to make another decision on where he will play. His entry-level deal includes a European Assignment Clause, meaning he could force his way back to Sweden if sent to (or left in) the minors at a certain point.
Travis d’Arnaud, Tyler Flowers exhibit COVID-19 symptoms, unavailable for Braves' opener
It remains to be seen just when d’Arnaud and Flowers will be cleared to return, though the hope is that both catcher’s symptoms will be abate in short order. 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.
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Related slideshow: Revisiting the biggest storylines from the 2019-20 NHL season (Provided by Yardbarker)
Revisiting the biggest storylines from the 2019-20 NHL season
After a four-month hiatus, the 2019-20 NHL season is set to resume for some summer hockey. There will be 24 teams in the playoffs, two hub cities and a lot of uncertainty, but we are still hopeful to see the Stanley Cup awarded this season with the return to play on Aug. 1. To help get you ready, let us take a look back at some of the top storylines from the 2019-20 NHL season.
The NHL goes on pause and needs a new playoff format this season
The NHL has played shortened seasons in recent years, but it was almost always because a lockout delayed the start (1994-95 and 2012-13 seasons). This time it was a global pandemic that halted the season after teams had played between 68 and 72 games. The result of that is a restart (beginning in August) that will see 24 teams in the playoffs and a best-of-five play-in round, with all games played in two hub cities. There will be a lot of questions as to how the league will successfully pull this off.
Akim Aliu speaks out against Bill Peters
In late November, on a random night of regular-season hockey, former NHL forward Akim Aliu revealed to the hockey world that his former AHL coach (and at the time Calgary Flames head coach), Bill Peters, had referred to him as a racial slur on several occasions. Not long after that, another of Peters' former players (Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Michal Jordan) revealed he was the target of physical abuse from the coach. The Flames immediately removed Peters from behind the bench, resulting in him resigning.
David Ayres beats the Toronto Maple Leafs
Forget the 2019-20 season: This might be one of the most improbable NHL stories of the decade. On Feb. 22 the Carolina Hurricanes had to turn to 42-year-old emergency goalie David Ayres — a Zamboni driver by day — to play goalie in their game against the Maple Leafs. With James Reimer and Petr Mrazek both injured during the game, Ayres played the final 28 minutes of the game and stopped eight out of 10 shots to claim his first NHL victory in a 6-3 Hurricanes win.
A draft lottery without a winner ... yet
Before the 2019-20 resumed, the NHL conducted its draft lottery for the 2020 class in early July. The winner? To be determined by a second lottery! Because the NHL typically has 15 teams in its draft lottery, and because only seven teams were not taking part in the restart, they wanted to keep the same lottery odds as previous years, meaning that they had to put eight "placeholder" teams into the lottery. If one of those placeholder spots won, a second lottery would be held involving the losing teams in the play-in round (each having a 12.5 percent chance of winning). That means, in theory, the top overall pick this year could go to a team like Pittsburgh, Toronto, Edmonton, Chicago, Nashville, New York or some other team that would have otherwise had almost no chance of winning.
Another milestone for Alex Ovechkin: 700 goals
The greatest goal scorer to ever play in the NHL (yes, it is true) rocketed up the all-time goal leaderboard this season, climbing to eighth on the all-time list. He scored his 700th career goal and inched closer to Wayne Gretzky's all-time record (894). Had it not been for the season pause he would have moved up a couple of more spots and claimed his ninth 50-goal season. By the end of next season he could find himself as high as fourth on the list. With 48 goals this season he claimed at least a share (he tied David Pastrnak) of the single-season goal scoring crown for the ninth time in his career and the third year in a row.
The collapse of the San Jose Sharks
The San Jose Sharks have been a model of consistency for more than a decade now, always in the playoffs and always in the mix as a Stanley Cup contender. Just last year they were in the Western Conference Final, two games away from what could have been their second Stanley Cup Final appearance in four years. Even with the free agency departures of Joe Pavelski and Joonas Donskoi they were still returning a team that — on paper — should have been a contender. Instead, they ended up being the worst team in the Western Conference and completely fell apart out of nowhere. Goaltending was an issue, they struggled to replace the offense they lost with Pavelski and Donskoi and some young players internally did not take a step forward. Making matters worse, their first round draft pick belonged to the Ottawa Senators as a result of the Erik Karlsson trade. A miserable year across the board.
The Mike Babcock era ends in Toronto
It was something that probably needed to happen. After a string of first round playoff exits and a brutal start to the regular season (where missing the playoffs seemed possible) the Maple Leafs made the decision to part ways with Babcock. It just seemed to be a bad fit as Babcock seemed determine to take one of the most talented rosters in the league and asked the players to try and win every game 1-0. At this point Babcock's reputation exceeds the actual results his teams have achieved for more than a decade. His Toronto tenure ended with the team never getting beyond the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Minnesota makes sweeping changes
In the span of one year, the Minnesota Wild completely overhauled their hockey operations department. Just before the start of the season they fired general manager Paul Fenton after just one year on the job (and after he had already overseen the draft and free agency) and replaced him with Bill Guerin. During the season, they fired coach Bruce Boudreau. A new GM making a coaching change is hardly strange, but what made the Boudreau firing a bit of an eye opener is that he is one of the most successful coaches in the league and it came at a time when the Wild were starting to get on a roll and turn their season around.
Taylor Hall goes to Arizona
With his contract coming to a close at the end of this season, it was a given that the New Jersey Devils had a big decision to make regarding Hall. When the team turned out to be a massive disappointment on the ice, the decision seemed to be an easy one: trade him. What was surprising was the fact it was the Arizona Coyotes that ended up being the landing spot. He will get a chance to play in the postseason with the Coyotes given the modified playoff format for this season, but it remains to be seen what his future holds. This is his last chance at a big pay day in free agency, and after spending almost his entire career on non-playoff teams, the opportunity to find a legitimate contender has to be enticing.
Leon Draisaitl emerges as MVP contender
After years of disappointment, the Edmonton Oilers finally exceeded expectations this season and played their way into a playoff position. Leading that charge was the two-headed monster of Connor McDavid and Draisaitl. Before the season pause, Draisaitl was running away with the scoring title (110 points) and held a 13-point lead over the next closest player. The way he carried his own line (away from McDavid) and carried the offense when McDavid was sidelined due to injury made him one of the top MVP contenders in the league.
The Devils disappointment
The New Jersey Devils were one of the champions of the offseason thanks to their moves to land P.K. Subban, Nikita Gusev, Wayne Simmonds, the No. 1 overall pick (Jack Hughes) and the return of a healthy Taylor Hall. Expectations were through the roof at the start of the season. As it turns out, expectations were a little too high. The team never addressed the goaltending issue, and everything else seemed to fall apart around that as New Jersey was never able to get on the right track. The Devils blew several big leads early in the season got into an early hole they were never able to get out of. The result: a new general manager, a new head coach and Hall being traded to Arizona.
King Henrik's reign comes to an end
Henrik Lundqvist has been the face of the New York Rangers organization for more than a decade. He is one of the best goalies of his era, has constantly elevated the Rangers into a contender and has been a rock in their crease. But his age, combined with the emergence of two young goalies in New York (Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev) helped make him an afterthought toward the end of the 2019-20 season. He rarely played after the new years holiday and was consistently the odd man out in a three-headed goalie rotation. He still has a year left on his contract, but his future is very much in doubt.
Peter Laviolette out in Nashville
The NHL coaching carousel was in full swing this season and it made a stop in Nashville, where the Predators replaced Peter Laviolette with John Hynes. The Predators did not meet expectations this season due to goaltending issues and poor special teams play, and it was Laviolette who ended up paying the price. With steady goaltending, it is still a team that could make some noise in the playoffs.
Columbus doesn't fade away
After the free agency departures of Artemi Panarin, Sergei Bobrovsky and Matt Duchene there was an expectation that the Columbus Blue Jackets were going to be in for a brutal season — especially with no clear cut solution in net. Then once the season started they were absolutely hammered by injuries all year. None of that prevented them from falling out of the playoff race, and thanks to some surprisingly great goaltending from the duo of Joonas Korpisalo and Elvis Merzlikins, they remained in the playoff hunt right up until the season went on pause.
Another collapse in Buffalo leads to more changes
The Sabres need a rebuild from their rebuild. Despite having one of the league's best players in Jack Eichel, the Sabres have completely failed to build anything resembling a contending roster around him and remain one of the Eastern Conference's bottom feeders. What makes the 2019-20 season so disappointing is that even after winning nine of their first 12 games, and even with a 24-team playoff format, they were still not good enough to snap their now nine-year postseason drought. It all resulted in the firing of general manager Jason Botterill. The general manager keeps changing. The coaches keep changing. The only thing that remains the same is the ownership. Might be time to look there.
It is a great time to be a Bruins fan. After coming within just a single game of winning the Stanley Cup a year ago, the Bruins came back this season even stronger and completely dominated the NHL regular season, running away with the Eastern Conference and Presidents' Trophy races. They compiled a 44-14-12 record in 70 games, boasted one of the league's most dominant lines (David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron) and continued to have one of the best goaltending situations in the league with Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak.
Calder Trophy race
It turned out to be the year of the defensemen in the Calder Trophy race, as Colorado's Cale Makar, Vancouver's Quinn Hughes, New York's Adam Fox and Pittsburgh's John Marino all excelled this season. Makar and Hughes are the two clear front-runners, and there does not seem to be a right or wrong selection when it comes to the two of them. They have both been impact players and have superstardom in their future. Chicago's Dominik Kubalik is the top rookie forward, but he may not have done enough to top the young blue liners.
NHL draft lottery: Ranking the eight teams 1-8 in terms of who is least deserving of No. 1 pick .
Alexis Lafrenière is expected to go first overall in the upcoming NHL draft. Here is a ranking of the teams in play for No. 1 who are least deserving.The first phase of the June 26 draft lottery revealed that one of the eliminated teams from the qualifiers would nab the No. 1 position, a reality that had a 2.5% chance of happening. The seven other teams were those not included in the NHL’s expanded season restart, one that included 12 teams from each conference, instead of the typical eight in the playoffs. The top four teams from each conference battled for seeding, while the rest played to advance into the first round.