Quick Strikes: A historic Syracuse Crunch season ends

Congrats to the boys in blue for making it to the Calder Cup Final — an amazing run.

The Bolts

Over at the Tampa Bay Times, Joe Smith digs into Tampa Bay Lightning’s defensive side of the NHL expansion draft. Should Toronto favorite Jake Dotchin join the list of the protected ones? [Tampa Bay Times]

Our writer Saima anticipated her piece out tomorrow by joining Erik’s article about the expansion draft. “In the days to come, there will be plenty of speculation about which players are protected and which players Vegas will end up selecting. So I invited a few other outlets to participate in an expansion draft by providing their choices for who will be protected by Tampa Bay and which Lightning player will be selected by Vegas. Those participating [include] Saima Siddiqi from RawCharge.com.” [Lightning Insider]

Bay Bolts wrote about Jonathan Drouin and what place he might have in the expansion draft. “Drouin’s contract expires this offseason, however, there are several teams who would be interested in a young stud such as himself. These are just some examples of the rumors and remember they are called rumors for a reason.” [Bay Bolts]

The Syracuse Crunch’s playoff run garnered one player a whole lot of eyes. [This would make a nice article, by the way, staffers... - Acha]:

GeoFitz provided Mr. Yzerman with a nice off-season checklist. [Raw Charge]

Devils, Bolts and Leafs could make play for Vatanen. Oh really. "The Bolts will obviously want to protect Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman, but to add a guy like Vatanen, they might be willing to expose Jason Garrison and Andrej Sustr." [NBC]

Here are some way-too-early predictions for the 2017-18 NHL season. John Tavares: "This situation reminds one of Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning. Stamkos signed long-term partly because they paid him, but largely because GM Steve Yzerman built a strong foundation to win now and in the future. Garth Snow hasn’t done that in New York." [SBNation]

How did we do against the Cats last season? Kinda 50-50. “It’s interesting to note that special teams played a role in the series, with 2 power-play goals from Kucherov, and one shorthanded goal from Gourde. Pretty sure if we’d won those other two games against the Panthers, we would’ve made playoffs, so each loss to our in-state rival hurt.” [Raw Charge]

Another article about JT Brown playing games on Twitch. (Remember, we wrote about it here first. :D ) “The questions that come have been great. You’ll get asked things like, ‘Where’s your favourite place to play?’ Who is the hardest guy to play against?’ It’s really different questions from all over. Not all of them are directed at the Lightning. To be able to get people together and form that community has been a lot of fun.” [NHLPA]

The Crunch

Grand Rapids edges Syracuse Crunch to win AHL's Calder Cup. “The Grand Rapids Griffins had one final heartbreak to hand the Syracuse Crunch on Tuesday night in Van Andel Arena.” [Syracuse.com]

Celebrate the Crunch’s season in this photo gallery. In Alex’s words, “The players have had so much to say about the fan support during this past season and into the playoffs. It was absolutely a meaningful moment for those in blue to see the Crunch protect their barn like they did on Saturday.”  [Raw Charge]

The Syracuse Crunch were rather aware of many eyes were on them last night:

Crunch head coach Ben Groulx seems to have a pretty good kid:

The Game

Miss you, Brian Boyle:

The Pittsburgh Penguins will not deny a White House invitation. [NHL SB Nation]

The Boston Bruins have hired former AHL coach Kevin Dean. [The AHL]

Buffalo Sabres GM Jason Botterill hopes to hire coach by early next week. [Syracuse.com]

Keith McCambridge hopes to improve the fortunes of the Hartford Wolf Pack, a team that has missed the playoffs for the past two seasons. [Hartford Courant]

Pieces will be moving as the expansion draft gets closer:

Even more Vegas speculation:

The Texas Stars have renamed the main entrance atrium of their building the Richard L. McLaughlin Atrium, honoring the former President of the team who stepped down in April. [Texas Stars]