Congratulations to the Tampa Bay Lightning on back-to-back Stanley Cups. The Bolts are what the Devils are trying to model themselves after and with good reason. Depth, speed and skill are things that will never go out of style in the NHL.
A special shoutout to the man who became the first rookie since Mike Rupp (2003 with the Devils) to score the Stanley Cup clinching goal – Ross Colton.
Colton grew up in Robbinsville, New Jersey a Devils fan. In fact, if you want to feel old (as pointed out by some on the internet), listen to the NBC announcers when he scores the Game 5 winner. They talk about him attending the 2012 Stanley Cup Final as a Devil fan. No mention of the 2000, 2001 or 2003 Final. I did not even mention 1995 since he was not born for another year at that point!
Congrats to him on securing the Cup for Tampa for another year.
Now that the 2020-21 season is over, we need to get to the business of preparing for 2021-22.
First up, the Expansion Draft as the Seattle Kraken will try to build on what the Vegas Golden Knights did in 2017 and create a contender out of thin air.
The 2021 Expansion Draft will take place on July 21 at 8 PM ET on ESPN2 here in the United States. Chris Fowler, Dominic Moore and Kevin Weekes will host with Weekes “reporting from various iconic Seattle locations” according to the press release put out by the NHL.
More information on that in regard to who the Devils will be protecting and leaving open to the Expansion Draft as the team makes that public.
On July 23, the 2021 NHL Draft will commence from the NHL Network studios in Secaucus, New Jersey.
The Draft will start at 8 PM ET on ESPN and will be hosted by John Buccigross for Round 1. In addition, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and Sam Consentino will be the analysts. The press release notes that Weekes and Jackie Redmond of the NHL Network “ESPN hockey writer and reporter Emily Kaplan will join the coverage team, providing insight and analysis.”
The Draft will continue to day two on July 24 with Rounds 2-7. These rounds will also take place in Secaucus and will broadcast on NHL Network. In Canada, these rounds will air on Sportsnet and SN NOW.
NHL Now and NHL Tonight on the NHL Network will be providing pre- and post-game coverage to both the Expansion Draft and the first round of the NHL Draft.
Speaking of the Draft, the order for the remainder of the picks has been set with the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs now in the books.
The Sabres, of course, will pick first. The Kraken second, the Ducks third and the Devils own pick will be fourth.
The Blue Jackets are fifth, the Red Wings sixth, the Sharks next at seventh, the Kings at eight, the Senators at ten, the Blackhawks next at eleven, the Flames at twelfth, the Flyers at lucky thirteen, the Stars at fourteen and the Rangers at fifteen.
From there, the playoff teams have settled into their spots. The Blues at 14, the Jets at 16, the Predators at 18, the Oilers at 19, the Bruins next at 20 and the Wild at the 21 spot.
Detroit will pick at 22 having received the Washington Capitals’ first-round pick in the Anthony Mantha trade. The Panthers pick next at 22. Columbus then has the 24th pick from the Toronto Maple Leafs, acquired in the Nick Foligno trade. The Jackets have three picks in the first-round.
From there, Minnesota, who like the Devils and Red Wings, have two picks in this year’s first-round, will pick next having gotten the Penguins’ first rounder in the Jason Zucker deal. From there, the Hurricanes pick at 26, the Avalanche at 27.
Then the Devils make their second pick of the first round when they pick at 28. This was the New York Islanders’ pick acquired in the Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac trade.
The Golden Knights will make pick 28 while the Stanley Cup runners-up the Canadiens will pick at 30. Columbus will round things out when they use Tampa Bay’s first rounder at 31. That was acquired in the deal that made David Savard a member of the Lightning.
The Arizona Coyotes forfeited their 2021 “first-round pick for violating the NHL Combine Testing policy during the 2019-20 season.” That is why there are only 31 teams picking in a year when a 32nd team joins the league.
Following the Draft, free agency will commence at the end of July.
Finally, condolences to the family and friends of Columbus Blue Jacket goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks. The Latvian goalie died in a fireworks accident while attending a party in Michigan over the Fourth of July weekend. Kivlenieks was just 24-years-old.