The Nation Notebook: Playoff Injuries, McDavid Contract, and Sweden Wins

The Nation Network Notebook is a regular feature that rounds up interesting news, stories, and rumours from around the NHL that don’t quite deserve their own article.

The playoffs are losing bodies left and right. Connor McDavid might opt for a five-year contract like other superstars have. Sweden wins the World Championships. Phil Kessel is there for a teammate during a time of need.

Playoff Injury Woes

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The 2017 Stanley Cup might as well be handed to the team with the last player standing. We’ve seen some important players get injured early and team’s rosters are getting thinner by the day. Pittsburgh’s Matt Murray got hurt at the start of the playoffs but has since returned, although, the defense in front of him is hurt, but somehow holding it together. Half of Nashville’s centers have disappeared, and this was with rookie Kevin Fiala already out for the season. Erik Karlsson didn’t return for the third period in a blowout loss in Game 5 against Pittsburgh, but said he’d be okay for Game 6. Rickard Rakell and Patrick Eaves won’t make the trip to Nashville for Game 6, but John Gibson will after being replaced by Jonathan Bernier on Saturday night.

Staying healthy throughout the playoffs might be more important than anything at this point. Crucial injuries have occurred, but both Pittsburgh and Nashville see themselves one win away from the Stanley Cup Final despite missing key pieces. Sure, their rosters aren’t fully healthy, but either team only needs five more wins at this point and it might be possible without Ryan Johansen or Justin Schultz (or Kris Letang) in the lineup.

5 years for McDavid?

On Saturday Headlines, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman suggests that there’s a theory that McDavid might follow other superstars like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Patrick Kane, and elect for a five-year contract. This would take him to unrestricted free agency at age 25 and he could then sign a huge eight-year deal at that point.

Friedman notes that Peter Chiarelli and the Oilers would basically give McDavid whatever they want, but signing for five years could be more beneficial for McDavid. Nick Kypreos also said that the talk of McDavid getting 12-13 million or the max is just not going to happen, and the difference between McDavid and Draisaitl’s contracts might not be all that much more than a million or so dollars. This is interesting because McDavid could command a whole lot more, even while only signing for five years. This could mean Leon Draisaitl’s contract will be for more than originally thought, but it sounds like McDavid’s contract could come at a significantly lower price than a lot of people were expecting.

Sweden Wins the Worlds

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After a grueling game against Canada, Sweden prevails in the shootout.

It always feels odd when games like these are deciding in the shootout, but those are the IIHF’s rules. Mitch Marner’s last attempt sealed the fate for Canada and they went home with second place. It’s hard to compete with a blueline featuring Victor Hedman, Anton Stralman, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Jonas Brodin, Alex Edler, and John Klingberg. Oh yeah, then Henrik Lundqvist in net. Sweden wins it. The Russians place third, and all eyes are firmly on the NHL playoffs now.

Bonino Hitches a Ride

The Pittsburgh Penguins have had their share of injury problems, but now players are even finding it difficult to make it to the games. Luckily for Nick Bonino, Phil Kessel was there to save the day and provide him with a ride to the Penguins’ arena.

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Phil Kessel had 18 points in 17 playoff games this year, and he’s quite literally helping on and off the ice during this playoff run.


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  • madjam

    Why the league abandons calling penalties different in playoffs over regular season is puzzling . Player safety in playoffs seems to go the way of the dodo bird .

  • FlamesFanOtherCity

    The suggestions that McDavid and Draisaitl’s contract would be similar are without any merit. Just speculation from Kipper, which one should only take with a grain of salt. If McDavid and the Oilers want to do an 8 year deal now, the chances of it being less than $12m are low. The agents don’t have any modern benchmarks for players of this sort. Crosby’s 2nd and 3rd deals were in the days of the 12 year deals, where backdiving contracts were allowed. Crosby made $12m in his first years of the 3rd deal.

    A 5 year deal may help the Oilers in the short term keep it closer to $10m, but sets them up for a bigger hit when the player can go free agency. And they could lose him to highest bidder, should he decide the future is not as bright there as elsewhere where he can get huge endorsement deals.

    Suck it up and pay the guy.

      • FlamesFanOtherCity

        If you really think he will take a hometown discount just so they can pay Draisaitl almost as much, then you must think players don’t care about money. They are one injury away from never playing the game again. Their agents know this and know the market value of McDavid. $10m x 5 is fair to both player and team, both knowing the next deal will be more than that. If he went the Crosby way, and signed for 8 years, then $97m is not out of the question. Crosby was worth that when he re-signed, and that was 5 years ago. 20% of the cap is not unreasonable for a player in on 33% of the scoring.

  • OnDaWagon

    During the regular season, McDAVID was worth more(not a lot more)than Drai. During the playoffs Drai was superior to McDAVID. I said I would wait to see if McDAVID had an injury. So far I haven’t heard of one. That makes me believe McDAVID is a “regular season” player, and feast on weaker opposition. Drai stepped his game up during the playoffs, and played the heavy game. If McDAVID had stepped his game up, or even maintained his regular season play, the Oilers would still be playing. But he didn’t. Don’t overpay this young man, he may not be the elite performer most of you think he is.