Welcome to the Pregame Skate, a Five Minute Major Upgrade to Your Inbox
🧢88’s 8th: David Pastrnak scored his eighth career hat trick last night, becoming the first player to score two hat tricks against the Canadiens in the same year since Gordie Howe did it during the 1951-1952 season.
⚡️Gourde’s Goal: Yanni Gourde broke a 35-game goal drought to extend the Lightning’s point streak to 10 games.
(@capitalsdistrict) NHL players last competed in the Olympics in Sochi, Russia in 2014.
What’s Happening: The NHL is being stubborn when it comes to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China despite some recent assurances by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF). Travel and insurance costs along with video and photo usage during the Olympic games were some of the discrepancies IIHF chief Rene Fasel attempted to clear up.
The NHL’s response was not positive. In fact, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told the Associated Press that they “aren’t even close to being [in Beijing in 2022].” He went on to say that “at this point in time, we continue to believe that the negatives outweigh the positives.”
Why It Matters: The NHL continued their labor talks with the NHLPA in Toronto this week, as they look to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement. Some players, like Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf, feel that the NHL commissioner plans to use the Olympics as a bargaining chip. Quoted: “[The NHL is] a business. If they put [the Olympics] into negotiations, that means it’s a leverage chip for them that they’re going to try to use against us.”
The Bigger Picture: NHLPA executive director Don Fehr expressed the players’ desire to have a long-term international plan that would include the Olympics and the World Cup of Hockey. Basically, the players want international play, which means the owners and the league will likely use that against them during negotiations.
Dig Deeper: Stephen Whyno and Larry Lage, Associated Press
Rent or Buy?
What’s Happening: The first domino fell on Monday when the Wild shipped Jason Zucker to the Pittsburgh Penguins. There’s still plenty of players out there worth snatching up at the deadline—some will likely be short term rentals, while others could be significant long term additions. Here’s a look at some players to watch ahead of the February 24th NHL trade deadline.
Available for Rent: Mike Hoffman (Panthers, 10-team no-trade clause), Chris Kreider (Rangers, 11-team no-trade clause), Conor Sheary (Sabres, no trade protection).
Available for Long Term Purchase: Kyle Palmieri (Devils, unrestricted free agent in 2021), Matt Dumba (Wild, unrestricted free agent in 2023), Josh Manson (Ducks, unrestricted free agent in 2022).
Rent or Buy? Players available for rent will likely remain with the team they are traded to for the duration of the season before entering the free agent market on July 1st. The players available for long term purchase still have some years left on their current contracts, meaning the team that trades for them could sign them to an extension.
Teams in the Mix: Anyone in playoff contention will likely look to add someone at the deadline, but the Hurricanes, Flyers, Panthers and Canucks all have roster deficiencies that could be addressed at the deadline.
Dig Deeper: Greg Wyshynski, ESPN
One Game to Watch: Capitals vs. Avalanche
When: Tuesday, February 11th @ 7 p.m. EST
Watch: Alti, NSWA
The Matchup: The Capitals have struggled mightily in their last two outings, surrendering 12 goals combined against the Flyers and Islanders. Conversely, the Avalanche come into this game fresh off a shutout victory over the Senators and are riding a five game winning streak. One player to watch: Alex Ovechkin, who is still just two goals shy of 700.