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Quick Strikes: The Bunch of Baby Jerks win the Calder Cup

No jaws were wired shut in the making of this championship.

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2019 Calder Cup Finals - Game Five
ROSEMONT, ILLINOIS - JUNE 08: Andrew Poturalski #22 of the Charlotte “Baby Jerks” Checkers holds the MVP trophy after a win against the Chicago Wolves during game Five of the Calder Cup Finals at Allstate Arena on June 08, 2019 in Rosemont, Illinois. The Checkers defeated the Wolves 5-3 to win the Calder Cup.
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Bolts

The NHL Draft is less than two weeks away, and Raw Charge will begin — I guess you could call it a charge — to provide you, the readers, with our best analysis and preparation for the most important day of the offseason. Here’s our preview of what to expect for the next two weeks. [Raw Charge]

The 2019 NHL Draft is less than two weeks away and with the date creeping up on us, we’re going to ramp up our coverage here at Raw Charge. The first round of the draft will be Friday, June 21st at 8PM ET and televised on NBCSN in the US. Rounds two through seven will get started on the following day at 1 PM on NHL Network.

Friday was the 15th anniversary of Tampa Bay’s first Stanley Cup championship. As a result, we got to hear lots of amazing stories from people who were there at the time (contrary to popular belief, I’m not that young). Here is the story of the biggest goal in Martin St. Louis’ career, told by himself and Joe Smith at the Athletic. [The Athletic]

It was Friday, June 4, 2004, and the Lightning were having their team dinner at Ceasar’s Steakhouse in Calgary. It was the the eve of Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final. Tampa Bay wasted an opportunity to pull ahead in the series a night earlier at home in Game 5, an overtime loss, and now trailed the best-of-seven series 3-2.

The Game

The Charlotte Checkers had a perfect season. Tops in the AHL regular season standings, an immaculate playoff run through four rounds, including a battle against the reigning champions, all resulting in the 2019 Calder Cup. It didn’t deserve to go to any other team. [Canes Country]

The Checkers won their first-ever AHL title with a 4-3 victory over the Chicago Wolves, taking the lead 91 seconds into the game on a goal by leading scorer and playoff MVP Andrew Poturalski and never looking back. Alex Nedeljkovic made 26 saves as the Checkers won their fourth straight game in the series, going 3-for-3 at Allstate Arena after splitting the first two games in Charlotte.

The Carolina Hurricanes had each of their NHL, AHL, and ECHL teams in the Conference Finals of their respective playoffs. It didn’t end well in the NHL and ECHL, but that franchise full of jerks definitely deserved to end the season with their head held high and a trophy in their cabinet. Bad grapes to the haters.

Pride Month

A lot of NHLers haven’t gotten there yet, but Braden Holtby has, and his work to support the LGBTQ+ community is really nice to see. Happy Pride Month, y’all! [Russian Machine Never Breaks]

Other NHL News

The Vegas Golden Knights are in cap hell. Yeah, already. Crazy. Everyone in Nevada has one question in their mind this summer: Who gets traded? [Knights on Ice]

Vegas has eight free agents hitting the market and not a lot of wiggle room to bring them all back. Per CapFriendly, the Golden Knights have a projected cap hit of $83,124,999 tied up to 19 contracts.

For those keeping score at home, the projected cap next year is $83 million. It won’t take you long to do the math.

And finally, $10+ million for Matt Duchene? I hope Montreal gives it to him.