Sunday’s Penguins Buzz
Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final tonight and here are the Pittsburgh Penguins on the cusp of back-to-back Stanley Cups.
Putting themselves in great position to hoist a fifth Stanley Cup in franchise history, if the Penguins finish the job tonight or in Game 7, what can’t be understated is that the window remains wide open for more Cups.
This group is not going away and in position to potentially add this summer.
The Penguins have not backed themselves into a corner with the cap like the Chicago Blackhawks have for instance and the emergence of difference makers like a Jake Guentzel on a rookie deal for two more seasons are things that have fallen into the Penguins lap.
Among others like the cap friendly Bryan Rust deal for another season and Matt Murray’s new contract for next season at $3.75 million per is tremendous value for a 23 year old ascending Stanley Cup winning goaltender who could be a two-time Stanley Cup winner after tonight and still technically a rookie.
And the expansion draft is coming at the perfect time and could make the Penguins even more dangerous where they are all but certain to free up significant cap space based on scenarios they have in play with Vegas.
87’s to Lose?
Who is the Conn Smythe Trophy favorite entering tonight?
It’s Sidney Crosby’s to lose.
Many voters put great stock as they should in how a player performs in the Stanley Cup Final and Crosby’s performance in Game 5, the biggest game of the year to that point is going to have a ton of weight.
Crosby has 7 points in the Stanley Cup Final entering tonight and is second in the NHL playoffs with 27 points, Evgeni Malkin is first with 28 points.
Crosby’s 200 ft game trumps Malkin’s and how Crosby has rose to the occasion in certain games gives him an edge.
Obviously Game 5 he was special but there’s been many other key moments as the playoffs have progressed.
One that stands out is being down 2-1 to the Ottawa Senators, Crosby was great in Game 4 with a goal, assist as the Penguins tied the series.
Malkin goes out tonight and has a hat trick or scores the OT winner, then I think he could certainly get it but as of right now it sure looks like Crosby’s to lose.
MORE EXPANSION DRAFT SPOKE
NHL clubs have until Monday at 5:00 p.m. to officially ask players to waive their no move clauses for the purposes of being exposed in the expansion draft.
The Penguins have already gone through the process [hide] of officially asking Fleury to waive his no move clause to being exposed, but beyond a verbal from Fleury and his camp a while ago, the paperwork hasn’t been ‘officially’ signed by Fleury to be exposed yet, per a source. A verbal from Marc Andre Fleury is as strong as pen to paper. That will happen this week and Matt Murray will be protected.
The official deadline for that is Friday June 16th. NHL clubs must turn in their expansion draft rosters on the 17th and the league will announce each clubs protected list on the 18th.
Win or lose tonight, it’s going to be a busy week for the Penguins brass.
And on Fleury, as expected, there is a ton of smoke.
The latest chatter is the potential of Fleury being a “flipped candidate” by Vegas as reported by Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet this weekend.
A lot of things are in the air.[/hide]