Decide on new contracts for Bennett, Wallmark, Duclair, more. The Panthers made several additions to the team this season, and many of those players are due for new contracts this summer. Who stays and who goes? Sam Bennett was acquired at the trade deadline and was such a tremendous fit at second-line center, the Panthers should ink a new deal (he's a restricted free agent, with arbitration rights). Lucas Wallmark and Anthony Duclair -- who spent a lot of the season on Barkov's wing -- are RFAs. Alexander Wennberg, Nikita Gusev and Brandon Montour are all unrestricted free agents; their futures with Florida are a little murkier.
Adam Gretz, NHL writer: Golden Knights in 6. Montreal is a great story, and I could easily see Carey Price winning a game or two, but this seems like one of the biggest mismatches in recent semifinal history. At least on paper. Vegas is a buzzsaw right now and after what it just did to Colorado in Games 2-6 of that series I am thinking that the Golden Knights reach their second Stanley Cup Final in four years.Columbus Blue Jackets
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Michael Finewax, NBC Sports Edge Senior Hockey Writer/Editor: The Islanders are capable of the upset, more so than the Canadiens. Semyon Varlamov is almost as good as Andrei Vasilevskiy who is widely acclaimed as the best netminder in the NHL and New York’s style of defensive play, will help immensely. While the Lightning are star-studded, the Islanders play an outstanding team defense and counter when the opportunity arises. New York is strong down the middle with Mathew Barzal, Brock Nelson, the underrated Jean-Gabriel Pageau and a hard-playing fourth line led by center Casey Cizikas. Varlamov is capable of shutting the door and if he has trouble, there may be no better backup in the NHL than Ilya Sorokin.Toronto Maple Leafs
Jeremy Swayman is the future in net for the Boston Bruins. The rookie goalie established himself as a legit NHL-caliber player in 2021. He posted a 7-3-0 record with a .945 save percentage and a 1.50 GAA in 10 games during the regular season. He looked poised and comfortable in net as well.
Truly, it’s anecdotal whether beefing about officiating actually affects calls. Rod Brind’Amour spoke about the disparity in penalties in the Predators – Hurricanes series, and that gap seemed to close. But was that a coincidence?Buffalo Sabres
The Leafs' Matthews, meanwhile, topped the NHL goal-scoring charts this season with 41 goals in 52 games, the first US-born player to achieve the feat in 24 years.
Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson and Reilly Smith have scored eight goals in five games against Colorado. Coach Peter DeBoer called the trio "the identity of this franchise." Fans have started calling them the "Misfit Line," an ode to Vegas' inaugural season when the entire team called itself the "Golden Misfits."Vegas Golden Knights
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