The NHL has arrived in Las Vegas. Sidney Crosby turned 30. The Nashville Predators are among the Stanley Cup favorites. Connor McDavid signed a new $100 million contract that will make him the NHL’s highest-paid player.
It’s a transformative season in the NHL, and more changes are coming.
Here’s a look at the unsettled issues with training camps starting next week.
Matt Duchene’s future: The Colorado Avalanche center remains in limbo after enduring months of trade rumors.
With 92 goals over the past four seasons, he is a desirable player. But Colorado general manager Joe Sakic has made it clear that he wants a grand slam return to move him. Several teams have talked with Colorado, but none seem to have come close to landing Duchene.
Among the teams that could be a nice fit for Colorado: New York Islanders, Carolina Hurricanes, Predators, Columbus Blue Jackets, Montreal Canadiens and Arizona Coyotes.
The Avalanche must also ask themselves whether it is fair to Duchene and his teammates to start the season with this situation still unresolved.
John Tavares’ contract: As of July 1, the New York Islanders could begin negotiating with Tavares on a contract extension that would prevent him from becoming an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Two months have passed and there is no indication that a new deal is imminent.
From Tavares’ perspective, he has to be wondering about the team’s long-term arena plan. The move to Brooklyn hasn’t been as advantageous as the Islanders hoped it would be. There’s plenty of talk around the league about whether the Islanders will end up back on Long Island.
From the Islanders’ perspective, it would be ruinous for the organization if Tavares bolts through free agency.
Unless a deal is struck soon, the Tavares situation will be similar to what Steven Stamkos faced in 2015-16. His pending free agency was a major story for the media.
Penguins need a No. 3 center: The Penguins are trying to become the first team to win three Stanley Cups in succession since the Islanders won four from 1980-83.
Pittsburgh still has a powerhouse roster, led by Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in their top two center spots. But No. 3 center Nick Bonino was lost to Nashville in free agency.
The fact that general manager Jim Rutherford hasn’t replaced Bonino yet would be worrisome if not for his history of being able…