The Stanley Cup has been decided and the league is staying in the limelight as the NHL Draft is set to take place and the free agency and buyout period are right behind it.
The Top Stories to Watch:
1. The upcoming 2013 draft is set to be one of the best since Marc-Andre Fleury and Eric Staal were drafted 1-2 in 2003. The draft saw a number of top NHL players go in the 1st round including Ryan Suter, Nathan Horton, Ryan Getzlaf and Brent Seabrook.
2. With the cap dropping we may see a number of teams become very active during the buyout period. The Flyers have already used their buyouts ridding themselves of Briere and Bryzgalov and there are rumors that the Rangers are looking to buyout Brad Richards. The buyout window began last night and ends on July 4th before free agency opens the following day. Players will need to pass through waivers before being bought out.
3. Offseason trades may make the trade deadline pale in comparison. The lack of upper-echelon NHL free agents may lead to more teams looking to deal rather than overpay for 3rd line player. The Penguins are expected to deal Kris Letang and Fleury may be on the block as well. The Bruins may also need to make a deal of a top 6 forward or top 4 defenseman in order to get enough space under the cap to sign Rask.
4. The Phoenix Coyotes are on the verge of moving to Seattle. While moving the team out of Arizona may be a good move the arena in Seattle is nor ready for an NHL team. A move into Quebec or even Toronto may make more sense. The deadline is looming so a resolution should be coming soon.
5. Gary Bettman has been booed every year while presenting the Stanley Cup. There are rumors circulating that he may step aside and have former players do the honor or another member of the NHL staff. The cup ceremony has always been special, but imagine if Bobby Orr passed off the cup to Zdeno Chara or Stan Mikita presenting it to Jonathan Toews.