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Stamkos, Subban, Hall: Teams make flurry of blockbuster moves as free agency looms

Stamkos, Subban, Hall: Teams make flurry of blockbuster moves as free agency looms

With NHL free agency set to begin on Friday, many teams are not waiting to make blockbuster moves. Tuesday saw a flurry of moves involving big name players.

Steven Stamkos chooses to remain in Tampa Bay

Free agency just got a tad less exciting with the news that Steven Stamkos will be staying put in Tampa Bay. Stamkos was the biggest name on the market in free agency, but the Lightning were able to re-sign him to an eight-year deal for $68 million for a cap hit of $8.5 million per season. The news was first reported by TSN's Bob McKenzie. Craig Custance of ESPN also reports that the deal includes a no-movement clause.

By staying with his current team, Stamkos was allowed to sign for the maximum length of eight years. Had he gone elsewhere, the longest he could have signed for was seven years. There was talk of possibly Tampa attempting a sign-and-trade deal if it looked like they were not going to be able to sign Stamkos, but this deal will put an end to that speculation. Stamkos is in Tampa for the long haul.

In the end, this was the destination that made the most sense. Stamkos is one of the best scorers in the NHL and, at 26 years old, he's entering his prime. Though there has been talk of tension between him and Lightning head coach Jon Cooper, Cooper has made the Lightning a Stanley Cup contender. Tampa came within one win of two consecutive conference championships despite Stamkos missing all but one playoff game. Any of the other teams thought to be in the chase for Stamkos this summer do not have nearly as much talent as Tampa's roster currently boasts. If Stamkos wants to win, Tampa makes the most sense.

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Montreal Canadiens trade P.K. Subban to the Nashville Predators for Shea Weber

The Montreal Canadiens and Nashville Predators swapped all-star defensemen as the Canadiens shipped the mercurial P.K. Subban in exchange for Shea Weber, as first reported by Nick Kypreos of SportsNet. The move comes just before Subban's no-movement clause was set to kick in on Friday.

There were a lot of rumors flying around about possible trades involving Subban, but much of the speculation surrounded Montreal's desire to trade up in the draft. The fact that Shea Weber could be on the table caught everyone by surprise, but it's a deal Nashville absolutely had to make.

Weber is a phenomenal player and was the captain of the Predators. He has spent his entire career in Nashville and was the team captain. But how could they pass this up?

Nashville gets Subban, who won the Norris Trophy in 2013 as the NHL's top defenseman, a player who is just as good if not better than Weber, and who is nearly four years younger. Subban's cap hit is $9 million, which is steep, but one in which Nashville can easily absorb after shipping out Weber's hit of just over $7.8 million. Oh, and Weber's contract doesn't expire until 2026.

Subban didn't seem to fit with the culture of Montreal, but the Canadiens may soon regret chasing out one of the top defensemen in the NHL.

Edmonton Oilers trade Taylor Hall to the New Jersey Devils for Adam Larsson

The Edmonton Oilers were in desperate need of a defenseman and they got one...at an enormous price. The Oilers announced they have traded former No. 1 overall pick Taylor Hall to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for Adam Larsson.

Let's be clear. Larsson is a very good defenseman, a promising blue liner who is just 23 years old. After getting the No. 1 draft pick in seemingly every draft for the past 50 years, someone was bound to be the odd-man out and it turned out to be Hall. Edmonton got a bright young talent at a position of need in exchange for a player that was likely not in their long-term plans.

Having said all of that, Edmonton got swindled.

Hall tallied 65 points in 2015-16 (26 goals, 39 assists). That kind of offensive talent is hard to come by and it certainly should have netted them a greater return than just Larsson.

General manager Peter Chiarelli also now has the dubious distinction of having traded the first two picks of the 2010 draft as he also traded Tyler Seguin as the general manager in Boston. How'd that trade work out?

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3 things to watch in Caps vs. Panthers

3 things to watch in Caps vs. Panthers

The Capitals play their last home game of October on Friday as they host the Florida Panthers (7 p.m., NBC Sports Washington). Here’s what you need to watch.

Dmitrij Jaskin is back in

Todd Reirden has made one adjustment to the lineup for Friday’s game, putting Dmitrij Jaskin back in on the fourth line in place of Nathan Walker. Jaskin has yet to record a point since joining the Capitals, but that has a lot to do with where he was coming from.

“This team is based on being creative and it's probably something that I missed in the last few years,” Jaskin said following Friday’s morning skate.

In St. Louis, Jaskin was coached by Mike Yeo and, before him, Ken Hitchcock. Both coaches preach a hard-nosed offensive style based more on effort and being defensively responsible than skill. Coming to a team like Washington then, a team that encourages skill and creativity on offense, is a pretty dramatic change.

Jaskin has played a very safe style since coming into the lineup. It’s good to be defensively responsible, but not if it completely chokes the life out of the offense. Jaskin is hardly generating any offense at all thus far since coming to Washington.

After a few more practices, can it finally spark some skill and creativity from Jaskin?

Can the Caps get the bottom six back on track?

The Caps have gotten only two goals in six games from their bottom six and both came in the team’s blowout opening win against Boston. The third and fourth lines generated some chances on Wednesday, but afterward, Reirden stressed that the team needed to see more production from its depth forwards.

“We've got to continue to get scoring depth wise if we want to have success in this league,” he said. “That's where everything's headed is you can't rely on your top guys to come through for you every night and we'll continue to focus on finding the right chemistry with that third and fourth line to be able to give us some added offense there as well.”

Florida could provide a good opportunity for those players to get some points on the board.

Starting goalie Roberto Luongo is out with an injury and James Reimer will get the start on Friday. In three games, Reimer has a GAA of 3.62 and save percentage of .885.

As a team, the Panthers currently rank 24th in goals against per game with 3.50.

Two teams in need of a win

Florida is still searching for its first win of the season with a 0-2-2 record. It is still early, but this is a Panthers team with playoff aspirations and you don’t want to dig yourself in too deep a hole to start or it becomes very difficult to dig out.

The Caps, meanwhile, will be playing in their final home game of October. They leave Saturday for Vancouver to kick-off a three-game Western Canada trip. They then will face the Canadiens in Montreal on Nov. 1 before finally returning home.

Washington’s next home game will not come until Nov. 3. That makes Friday’s game a big one for the Caps as they try to secure two points before hitting the road.

“It's definitely a big game,” Reirden said. “We want to build on some of the things we were able to accomplish last game. It's difficult anytime you go out west with time changes and different stuff. We know that [Florida is] going to be a desperate team that hasn't had the start that they want and they're talented so it's an important game for us to go on the road on a winning note.”

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The Ovechkin's posts family photo with newborn son Sergei

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The Ovechkin's posts family photo with newborn son Sergei

Capitals star Alex Ovechkin had arguably the best summer of anyone.

In June, the Capitals won their first ever Stanley Cup, and in August, Ovechkin and his wife Nastya Ovechkina welcomed their first kid.

Although Ovechkin's son Sergei is only a couple months old, the public has not seen much of him. Both Nastya and Alex posted pictures on Instagram of Sergei's foot when he was born, but neither had posted anything of him since.

In honor of Sergei's two month birthday, Nastya posted a picture of the three of them, with Alex holding Sergei in his hands. 

While it is hard to see much of Sergei, this is one of the first pictures of the couple with their newborn present. 

What a happy family! 

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