Four Erik Karlssons? Not quite, but Predators’ vaunted D poses toughest test yet for Penguins

Cracking one Erik Karlsson is tough enough. But four of him? Good luck.

Talk out of Pittsburgh ahead of Monday’s Stanley Cup Final opener has centered on how, exactly, the high-powered Penguins offense will fare against a vaunted Predators blue line that indiscriminately shut down its opponents’ top forwards while cutting through the Western Conference. It’s the matchup that should make for an intriguing series.

The trade winds have been swirling around the Avalanche and Matt Duchene for some time now. It makes little sense for both player and team to enter another season with a malcontent on the roster, so it’s high time a deal gets done. Yet here we are.

Avs GM Joe Sakic is asking a lot: a young defenseman plus some combination of top prospects or draft picks and possibly the moon.

The Islanders reportedly offered Travis Hamonic and a first-rounder, but that ship has sailed. Montreal remains a suitor, especially after Radulov’s departure, but may no longer have the assets to meet those demands with Mikhail Sergachev now in Tampa. Columbus is in hot pursuit as well and would seem to be the best fit.

Though Sakic has every reason to hold out for the right return for his 26-year-old star, his rivals can play the waiting game, too.

It was a huge win for the Capitals, who were bounced from the playoffs by the Penguins in the second round of last year’s playoffs before Pittsburgh went on to win the Stanley Cup.

He checks a lot of boxes for us, Flames general manager Brad Treliving said after sending multiple draft picks, including a 2018 first-rounder and a pair of future second-round selections, to New York for the 26-year-old Hamonic.

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NHL arbitration: Calvin de Haan signs one-year deal with Islanders

Calvin de Haan and the Islanders avoided arbitration Wednesday, but the one-year agreement could be the beginning of the end of the defenseman’s tenure with the club. A career-long Islander since being selected in the first round, 12th overall, in 2009, de Haan is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

The two sides were far apart on their arbitration numbers. de Haan sought $5 million in 2017-18 while the Isles countered at $1.95 million. They reportedly settled at $3.3 million on the one-year deal, close to the midway point.

Thornton had surgery to repair his knee in late April, and his expected recovery time means he’s unlikely to return to the ice until around the start of next season.

Wilson told reporters when the team announced the injuries in April, You see a player play with that type of injury, it tells you all you need to know about him.

That injury situation, along with Thornton’s age and salary, led the Sharks to leave their longtime star unprotected in the recent NHL Expansion Draft. He scored 50 points last season, a far cry from his career-high of 114 points 10 years ago, but his experience not to mention his popularity with fans will continue to be an asset for the Sharks.

Thornton has 1,391 career points, which ranks 23rd in NHL history. His 1,007 career assists rank 13th on the career list and his 937 points in a Sharks uniform ranks behind only Patrick Marleau (1,082 points).

Thornton’s signing comes on the same day Mr. Shark, Patrick Marleau, signed a three-year deal with the Maple Leafs to end his 19-year run in San Jose.

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