With the final week of the 2019-20 season officially upon us, teams have already been ramping up for the draft and free agency. While the Tampa By Lightning and Dallas Stars have given us an entertaining series, we’re ready for it to be over. Will Steven Stamkos be on the ice to help close the deal? A Stamkos update and much more are included in this week’s edition of the Monday Links, News, and Notes.
- After all these years with the Bolts, it must be really tough for Stamkos to be watching from the stands. He hasn’t played a game since February and it seems he might have aggravated his injury sometime before the playoffs started. He got a chance to take part in game four and even scored a goal, but it seems at this point it’s too much of a risk for him to return. It was announced yesterday that both parties agreed that he will not be ready to return at any point in the series, officially ruling him out for game six and a potential game seven. Should the Tampa Bay Lightning win the Cup, Stamkos’ name will deservingly be on the trophy even if he hadn’t taken part in the finals — only 41 regular season games needed, he played 57.
- The Ottawa Senators seem to be heading in the right direction when it comes to the development of Filip Gustavsson. Since there is no clear indication when the AHL season will resume, the Senators have loaned the young goaltender to Södertälje SK of the Allsvenskan league in Sweden. The hope is that he gets some quality minutes in some competitive games until the AHL/NHL seasons are determined.
- If any team was interested in pursuing defenceman Dustin Byfuglien, it seems they have missed that opportunity. It has been reported that Byfuglien does not plan to play again after a season that saw him suspended for not reporting to training camp, resulting in the Winnipeg Jets agreeing to terminate his contract. The writing was on the wall for Byfuglien, although he has yet to make retirement official. But at 35 years old and not much desire to continue playing, I don’t foresee a miraculous comeback.
- The Detroit Red Wings seem to be in full rebuild mode as they took on an obvious salary dump from the New York Rangers on Saturday. The Rangers were able to unload the contract of 33 year old Marc Staal with only a second round pick to sweeten the deal. These are the kinds of moves that we’re hoping to see from the Senators, but at this point there doesn’t seem to be a lot of action on their end.
- Many people are discussing the effects of COVID-19 on competitive hockey and NHL revenues, but it seems the domino effect goes much deeper. Competitive hockey goes much further than just the NHL and with no indication of when the younger leagues will be able to play, while local rinks who relied on those leagues for practice time are struggling. Matthew Holtorf, president of the Allan and District Communiplex in Saskatchewan speaks about the struggles of maintaining an arena that is 60 kilometers away from the main city. With no competitive hockey taking place, there will be no demand to rent out ice times and local parents can only rent so much skating time which would be at a much lower rate. He also speaks of the struggles of maintaining a flooded arena and how it could be tricky knowing when to flood the arena and when it’s best to conserve the resources.