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Fiala to the Kings, Kadri’s Legacy, Memorial Cup Champs and More

Thursday’s edition of the Links, News and Notes

2022 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Six Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Cup has been awarded at long last! While the Colorado Avalanche continue their celebrations, the rest of the league is now ramping up for the most important time of the off-season. Let’s get an update on the latest free agency rumours and other hockey news happening this week:

  • A big name on the Sens radar was Minnesota Wild’s Kevin Fiala, who has been rumoured to be shopping the young forward. While the Sens were allegedly on the shortlist, the Los Angeles Kings eventually were the winners of the prized forward. It was announced last night that the LA Kings had acquired the rights to Fiala in exchange for a first-round pick, and prospect Brock Faber. He can’t sign an extension just yet, but it seems to be a 7-year extension with an AAV of $7.9M.
  • With Nazem Kadri, everyone has an opinion. But regardless of what you think of him, winning a Stanley Cup is a great step for diversity in the NHL. Kadri becomes the first Muslim player to have his name engraved on the Cup and while that may not mean much to some, it’s truly important that an entire generation of aspiring hockey players can now have an idol they can relate to and look up to.
  • Hockey Canada is facing down a string of sponsorship losses. Starting with Scotiabank and more recently Tim Hortons, multiple big-name companies have severed their relationships with Hockey Canada. It is now up to Hockey Canada to show some real action on how they plan to deal with previous incidents as well as clear steps on how they plan to improve the culture long-term.
  • Congratulations to the Saint John Sea Dogs on winning the 2022 Memorial Cup. They beat the Hamilton Bulldogs 6-3 last night in the first Memorial Cup event since 2019.
  • In a bit of a surprise twist, prospect Juraj Slafkovsky has edged Shane Wright for the first overall ranking on Bob Mckenzie’s draft list. As is widely known, McKenzie’s list has long been the most reliably accurate at predicting the order of selections. Wright has been the presumed first overall for so long that it seems odd for him to drop in opinion all of a sudden. Slafkovsky rose from the fifth overall ranking after having a stellar year that caught everyone’s attention. It will be interesting to see what direction the Montreal Canadiens go with at the draft but it’s difficult to imagine a “bad” decision either way.
  • Ron MacLean has been a staple in hockey broadcasting after retiring from his officiating career. Unfortunately, for his fans, we will be seeing less of him as his famous show Hometown Hockey has been cancelled. He will however continue to host Hockey Night in Canada every Saturday night.