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2016 Flyers free-agent fit: Lightning C Steven Stamkos?

2016 Flyers free-agent fit: Lightning C Steven Stamkos?

Each day from now until July 1, the day NHL free agency begins, CSNPhilly.com producers Tom Dougherty, Jordan Hall and Greg Paone will profile some of the league’s top impending free agents and project their likelihood of signing with the Flyers.

Steven Stamkos, center

Age: 26
Height: 6-1
Weight: 194 lbs
Last team: Tampa Bay Lightning
2015-16 cap hit: $7.5 million
 
Scouting report
Every year, there’s that one big fish in free agency who teams would love to get a crack at signing. Say hello to Steven Stamkos, by far the biggest fish swimming in this year’s free-agency waters.
 
The first overall pick of the Lightning in the 2008 entry draft, Stamkos is one of the most lethal goal scorers the league has seen in decades, as you probably already know. In eight NHL seasons, Stamkos has scored 312 goals. He’s earned two Rocket Richard trophies for most goals scored during a season — 51 in 2009-2010 (shared with Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby) and 60 in 2011-12.
 
The three-time All-Star possesses an unbelievable wrist shot that features a lightning-quick (no pun intended) release. That shot allows him to do plenty of damage on the power play, where he’s scored 108 goals in career. As it is with most prolific scorers, the top of the faceoff dot is Stamkos’ sweet spot for the wrister or a one-timer.

While a natural center, Stamkos can also play wing as he did for a period of time this season.
 
Stamkos has played a full schedule of games in five of his eight NHL seasons. His 2013-14 campaign was cut short thanks to a broken leg. This season brought a more concerning ailment, as he missed the last five games of the regular season and all but one playoff game (Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals) thanks to blood clots. It’s a tricky situation to deal with because you never know if or when blood clots are going to happen again and there’s no exact timetable for a recovery.
 
Projection
Let’s get this out of the way now: If you really think the Flyers, who have about $11 million of cap space as of this writing and still need to re-sign Brayden Schenn, Nick Cousins and likely Ryan White as well, are going to offer Stamkos the $10 million-plus per season he’s could get in his next deal, it’s going to be a long, hard fall back to reality for you. Get out and enjoy the lovely weather in the Delaware Valley this weekend instead of dreaming about something that will never happen.
 
As for where Stamkos will land, that question added another layer of intrigue Friday night at the draft when the Detroit Red Wings traded the last year of KHL-bound Pavel Datsyuk’s $7.5 million cap hit to the Arizona Coyotes. That frees up a boatload of money the Wings can dump into Stamkos’ lap. Detroit has some nice young talent to put around Stamkos, too.
 
And, of course, there’s Stamkos’ hometown Toronto Maple Leafs, who can have a Brinks truck loaded with loot back into his driveway at the snap of a finger. But he may not want to take part in Toronto’s rebuild.
 
And, who knows, maybe there’s a mystery team out there lurking in the weeds with a huge offer.
 
The main question here is does Stamkos really want to leave Tampa, the only NHL home he’s known. The Bolts may not be able to give Stamkos the same money Detroit, Toronto or another team can as Tampa has to re-sign restricted free agents Alex Killorn, Vladislav Namestnikov and Nikita Kucherov this season and Tyler Johnson, Jonathan Drouin and Ondrej Palat next season. All of those players are key parts of Tampa’s successful nucleus and will be due nice raises. Not an easy task to accomplish by any stretch in a cap world.
 
One homefield advantage Tampa does have is the fact there’s no personal state income tax in Florida. So less money in a contract from the Lightning could actually come close to the money a team in another state or province offers in a contract.
 
Gut feeling: Stamkos re-ups with Lightning in the $8.5-9 million per year range. He has unfinished business there with the Bolts being so close the Stanley Cup over the last few seasons and there’s so much young talent in Tampa that the Lightning can be a legitimate threat for years to come. But this is the true wild card of free agency. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see him land with another team …
 
… Not named the Flyers.

2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule: Capitals, Stars look to eliminate Hurricanes, Predators

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USA Today Images

2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule: Capitals, Stars look to eliminate Hurricanes, Predators

The Capitals and Stars can deliver knockout punches Monday night in the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

With a 3-2 series lead, Washington visits the Hurricanes, while Dallas has a shot to clinch its series on home ice over the Predators.

Below is the full schedule for Day 13 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. You can watch the entire playoffs on the networks of NBC. 

Washington Capitals at Carolina Hurricanes (WSH 3-2)
Game 6, Eastern Conference first round
7 p.m. ET | TV: NBCSN | Live stream here

Nashville Predators at Dallas Stars (DAL 3-2)
Game 6, Western Conference first round
8:30 p.m. ET | TV: CNBC | Live stream here

What's next for Scott Gordon? Watching Stanley Cup Playoffs

What's next for Scott Gordon? Watching Stanley Cup Playoffs

Chuck Fletcher wanted to give Scott Gordon some time to think about his future.

The general manager said Gordon was understandably disappointed Monday morning when he was told he didn't earn the Flyers' full-time head coaching position.

What might Gordon be doing in the meantime?

Good chance he's checking in on the NHL playoffs.

Two weeks ago, Gordon was in limbo with the Flyers — a part of meetings moving forward and considered a strong candidate for the head coaching job, but with nothing guaranteed.

He was asked if such a dynamic was awkward at all.

"At the end of every year, it doesn't matter where you are or what your contract is, there's always a chance you're not going to be back," Gordon said. "I go into the summer or the end of the season, I obviously reflect on the past season, what I'd like to do different [or keep] the same."

In doing so, Gordon likes to study the postseason. A big advocate of dissecting game film, Gordon does the same with the Stanley Cup Final.

"I generally try to watch the playoffs as a fan and then in the finals, I'll watch it as a fan but then I will get those on a computer and break down, in August, some of the things … when the playoffs go through, just identify some things that I like that teams did," Gordon said. "Pay particular attention to the finals in August, as far as what I might consider doing differently, pull footage and present to my team maybe a different way of going about business."

Which team Gordon is working for in 2019-20 is unknown. He impressed Fletcher as the Flyers' interim head coach. The club was in the basement of the 31-team NHL standings more than halfway through the regular season. By March 11, the Flyers were within three points of a playoff spot following an 18-4-2 spree under Gordon.

Fletcher said he would likely touch base with Gordon again after Easter weekend. He will welcome him back to the organization with open arms. Fletcher said Gordon's previous job as head coach of AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley was his if the 56-year-old wanted it.

However, Gordon said after the Flyers' regular-season finale that his time with the 2018-19 club changed his perspective on coaching in the NHL again, a much-needed spark following a not-so-memorable two-plus seasons as head coach of the Islanders from 2008-10.

"My experience in Long Island wasn't a great one," Gordon said April 6. "So much so that I didn't really think too much about coaching in the NHL. If it happened, great, but I wasn't losing any sleep over it. As I told the players after the game tonight, coming in here and dealing with the character of the players — not just as players but as people — reinvigorated that desire to coach in the NHL. With that being said, I'll do what job is asked of me and I won't think twice about it."

Gordon won't have any issues finding a job. He'll be watching the Stanley Cup Final, ready to coach.

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