Sharks get overtime win in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final, details on expansion, salary cap & more in this morning’s collection of NHL headlines.
THE MERCURY NEWS/TRIBLIVE.COM: Joonas Donskoi’s overtime goal gave the San Jose Sharks a 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 3 of the 2016 Stanley Cup Final. Their victory narrows the Penguins series lead to two games to one, giving the Sharks an opportunity to tie the series in Game 4 on Monday night. Joe Thornton collected two assists for the Sharks, while Ben Lovejoy tallied one goal and set up another for the Pens. The Sharks played without winger Tomas Hertl, sidelined by a lower-body injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Though the Penguins once again outshot the Sharks by a wide margin (42-26), the Sharks actually had more shot attempts, plus they outworked and out-hit their opponent. The Sharks also benefited from a couple of bad goals given up by Pens goalie Matt Murray. He misplayed Joel Ward’s game-tying slapshot and was beaten high on the short side on Donskoti’s OT goal. The stage is now set for what should be an exciting Game 4.
LAS VEGAS JOURNAL-REVIEW: The dream of an NHL franchise in Las Vegas appears to be drawing closer to reality. “The league’s nine-member executive committee meets this week, likely on Tuesday, though NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly refused to confirm the date. The group is expected to recommend Las Vegas to join the league for the 2017-18 season while deferring Quebec City until 2018-19.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Vegas expansion is widely believed to be a slam dunk, but it’s interesting that a decision on Quebec City could be deferred a year. Seems like the league wants another year to see if the Canadian dollar will rally before offering its blessing on an expansion team.
NEW YORK POST: Almost lost in another of Larry Brooks’ screeds against the NHL’s salary-cap system are a couple of newsworthy bits regarding next season’s cap ceiling and expansion. He cites a source with ties to the NHLPA claiming the salary cap for 2016-17 could drop to $69.3 million if the PA votes not to enact their annual five percent escalator clause. However, it’s expected the PA will approve the escalator, raising the cap to $72.8 million.
Brooks also cites a source claiming Las Vegas being approved as the NHL’s 31st franchise is a done deal. Teams with players holding no-movement clauses must protect those players even if their movement clauses or contracts expire at the end of 2016-17. “This means if the expansion draft is held, say, on June 21, 2017, teams will be obligated to protect players who, a) would become unrestricted free agents 10 days later; or, b) would be able to be waived or traded 10 days later.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Brooks’ source is correct, the cap could come in much lower than the projected $74 million, which would jibe with deputy commissioner Bill Daly’s recent claim the cap could be flat for next season. A $72.8 million cap isn’t much of a bump over the current $71.4 million, which could force some cap-strapped teams into cost-cutting trades this summer. Brooks source is also confirming what was widely assumed would be the rules regarding players with no-movement clauses.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: In the wake of reports Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos Jr. is involved in a lawsuit with his three eldest sons, Luke DeCock provides lengthy answers to questions over the ownership status and concerns of relocation of the Hurricanes. In the long term, the lawsuit could raise questions over the club’s cash flow. While the Hurricanes are up for sale, as long as league expansion remains on the table, DeCock doubts the club will be going anywhere. Karmanos said he doesn’t want to move the club. The club has a great lease and the league also claims the club isn’t moving.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m only citing the notable highlights. I suggest reading the entire piece as DeCock goes into detail explaining over the Karmanos lawsuit, the status of the Hurricanes, its future in the Triangle and possible player moves by the club this summer. While it’s possible the Canes could be relocated, it doesn’t sound as though its something that will happen anytime soon.
THE SCORE: The Los Angeles Kings re-signed defenseman Brayden McNabb to a two-year contract extension. The annual average salary is reportedly in the range of $1.7-1.75 million.
NBC SPORTS: “Results, amusing photos and more from the 2016 NHL Draft combine.”