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Quick Strikes: The Stanley Cup Final is set

And the Tampa Bay Lightning should go after Erik Karlsson.

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San Jose Sharks v St Louis Blues - Game Six
ST LOUIS, MISSOURI - MAY 21: Brent Burns #88 of the San Jose Sharks congratulates Oskar Sundqvist #70 of the St. Louis Blues after Game Six of the Western Conference Finals during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Enterprise Center on May 21, 2019 in St Louis, Missouri. The St. Louis Blues defeated the San Jose Sharks with a score of 5 to 1.
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The Bolts

A famous man once said, “As long as we are a Stanley Cup contender, we will have cap issues.” Brendan Shanahan said this a few weeks ago to the Toronto media/fans, and yet it hasn’t stopped them from complaining about money. Nevertheless, it’s an honest statement that can very well be applied to the Tampa Bay Lightning, who are still a Stanley Cup contender and will be for the foreseeable future. And since GM Julien BriseBois is going to be wrangling for cap dollars anyway, why not get Erik Karlsson while we’re at it? [Raw Charge]

The rumblings about Erik Karlsson and the Tampa Bay Lightning have already started to pick up. For the moment, it’s still just a quiet murmur. However, as we get closer and closer to July 1st, that rumbling is going to get much louder. After the Lightning’s chase of Karlsson at the 2017-18 deadline, many fans still dream of him joining fellow Swede Victor Hedman on the blue line.

Steven Stamkos is an elite hockey player and this year’s Player Grade for him only helps improve that argument. [Raw Charge]

After missing nearly two full seasons in four years due to injuries, Lightning fans saw a healthy Steven Stamkos post a career high in points and lead the franchise to a record setting regular season. Tampa Bay’s flame out in the first round does provide an ugly smear on what appeared to be a special season. But what Stamkos and company did through 82 games was something that will be remembered down the line—for better or for worse.

Joe Smith dropped a little tidbit of news when sharing Craig Custance’s Top 20 UFA listicle. Anton Stralman hasn’t had any talks with the Bolts on a new contract? Very interesting.

Anthony Cirelli scored the most Anthony of Cirelli goals in Canada’s 3-0 win over the United States on Tuesday afternoon. The group stage for the tournament is now over, with the Quarterfinals starting Thursday.

The Prospects

This is big, our associate editor and knower of all things Syracuse Crunch, Alex Ackerman, has started a new podcast: “Syracuse Speaks”. Alex is an educator and an extremely intelligent hockey fan, so this is pretty much a “must watch” show. Episode 1 is available now, linked below. [Raw Charge]

Also in the minors, Orlando Solar Bears defenseman Alexander Kuqali has been awarded the best smile in the ECHL. What a gooner.

The Game

The St. Louis Blues are in the Stanley Cup Final after defeating the San Jose Sharks in six games. [Fear the Fin]

It wasn’t an accident; the Blues targeted all three men the entire series, and didn’t let up on the remaining Sharks’ talent in Game 6. Early in the first period, Vladimir Tarasenko punched Timo Meier in the face in front of a referee. Like the head hits throughout the first five games, there was no call against the Blues.

With the Stanley Cup Final set, here are the final draft rankings up to pick #29. All seven rounds of the draft is now set, with the exception of picks 30, 31, and any meaningless pick conditions in the later rounds that are based on team preference.

One year into his general managership, who is Kyle Dubas? [The Athletic]

Arguably, Dubas’ biggest win so far was landing the most coveted free agent in team history last July 1 — John Tavares for seven years and $77 million. The deal was hardly a foregone conclusion and it was a detailed presentation led by Dubas, Shanahan and Mike Babcock that helped sway Tavares to Toronto for less money than he could have gotten elsewhere.

The Ottawa Senators have some coaching options ahead of them and none of candidates inspire much confidence. SSS goes down the rabbit hole. [Silver Seven Sens]

Ever since Guy Boucher was unceremoniously fired by the Ottawa Senators on March 1st, the pressing question in the capital has been of who will take his place. The gentlemen in question come from various backgrounds, with different levels of coaching pedigree to their names, so let’s dive right in, and take a look at the seven men who have been interviewed (so far) to be the next coach of the Ottawa Senators.

Oh, and that somehow makes them capable of winning something? Sure.