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Lightning Round: Wrapping up news around the league as we wait for the Stanley Cup to begin

It seems like forever since we’ve seen a NHL playoff game. Luckily, the Stanley Cup Final gets underway on Saturday as the Florida Panthers head up to Las Vegas to take on the Golden Knights. In the meantime other teams are getting to work on their own offseason needs. First it was Toronto officially announcing Brad Trevling as the lucky son of a gun tasked with figuring out how to get the Leafs to the promised land.

Pittsburgh followed suit by enticing Kyle Dubas out of his two-week sabbatical to lead their hockey operations. There are still teams out there that need to fill either coaching vacancies or general manager spots as the draft and free agency loom closer and closer.

Meanwhile, things are rather quiet in Lightning Land. That’s one of the joys of a stable and successful franchise. Julien BriseBois is undoubtedly hard at work putting together his roster for next season, but it’s unlikely we’ll hear anything until free agency opens up.

One thing we do know is that Cam MacDonald was not signed, so the Bolts have lost their exclusive rights to sign the 2020 draft pick. Since he is still just 20-years-old MacDonald could go back into the draft this summer. If he does and is not selected, he would be a free agent. So, theoretically, he could still end up in the Lightning organization.

Lightning / NHL News

Lightning Draft Hats for Sale [Fanatics]

The Lightning will be at the draft despite not having any picks until late in the 6th round. So, someone is likely to don the NHL-approved hat for that special occasion. Get yours today, if you want. In my opinion they’re extremely “meh”.

Penguins hire Kyle Dubas [Pensburgh]

After a less than ideal separation from the Toronto organization, Kyle Dubas landed on his feet in Western Pennsylvania. On Wednesday the Pittsburgh Penguins introduced Dubas, not as their new general manager, but as the Director of Hockey Operations. While he will hit the ground running and try to keep the Pens relevant in the waning years of the Sidney Crosby/Evgeni Malkin Era, he will also likely hire a general manager some time this summer to help him out.

Could Mathieu Darche be among the candidates? He made it pretty far in the process for the job that went to Dubas, at least according to Pierre LeBrun:

Every team’s best value contract in 2022-23 [The Athletic]

For the Lightning it was Mikhail Sergachev (on the final year of his old deal), Nick Perbix, and Brandon Hagel.

How Dierks Bentley ended up as the host of the NHL Awards [The Tennessean]

The country star is a huge fan of the Nashville Predators and hockey, to the point he once rented out Bridgestone Arena so his beer league buddies could skate on NHL ice. That’s pretty cool. With the NHL Awards (and draft) in Nashville this summer, it’s a natural fit for him to be involved.

Hilary Knight wins inaugural IIHF Female Player of the Year [IIHF]

Congrats to the future hall of famer who won the vote easily. The 33-year-old led Team USA to gold in the 2023 IIHF Women’s World Championship by scoring 8 goals, including the game-winner over Canada in the title game.

Patrick Kane undergoes hip surgery [Elliotte Friedman Twitter]

The winger will be out 4-6 months after under going hip resurfacing surgery on Thursday. While the free agent wants to keep playing, he likely won’t be ready for action until December or January, making for an interesting decision for any team that is interested in him.

Senators want to sign DeBrincat [TSN]

Alex DeBrincat is a restricted free agent this summer, and due to the contract that he just finished up his qualifying offer is a robust $9 million. The Ottawa Senators want to re-sign the dynamic forward, but likely would want to do it for a lower cap hit. Can they figure out a deal before things get serious? Will another team offer sheet him? We’ll find out.

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