The Stanley Cup Final resumes on Friday with Tampa Bay and Dallas set for Game 4. The two teams will play again on Saturday in Game 5 in the second half of a back-to-back set. The Lightning hold a 2-1 series lead over the Stars following a 5-2 victory in Game 3 on Wednesday night.
Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper hopes to provide an update on Steven Stamkos Friday during his media availability, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if he didn’t say much. The Lightning captain only logged 2:47 of ice time in his return to the lineup on Wednesday when he scored a goal on his only shot.
Dallas coach Rick Bowness said Thursday that Ben Bishop, Radek Faksa and Stephen Johns remain unfit to play, while Blake Comeau is considered day-to-day. The good news is that Alexander Radulov and Denis Gurianov are fine after they both left Game 3 late due to injury concerns.
Despite not having a game on Thursday there was plenty of other hockey news around the NHL.
Penguins and Panthers complete a trade
The Florida Panthers acquired Patric Hornqvist from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for defenseman Mike Matheson and forward Colton Sceviour. The Hornqvist-Matheson deal emerged as a possibility on Wednesday, but it was reportedly being held up due to Hornqvist’s contract. He has a no-trade clause and there were concerns about insurance in case of injury. The 33-year-old winger has three more years left on his deal, which carries a $5.3 million cap hit, and he has missed at least 12 games in each of the last four seasons.
Hornqvist’s fantasy stock won’t skyrocket as a result of the trade, but he has value as a top-six forward on the Panthers. He is one of the best net-front presences in the league and should land a spot on Florida’s first power-play unit. Hornqvist could also end up alongside Aleksander Barkov and/or Jonathan Huberdeau during even-strength situations. He is also a pretty good bet to surpass 200 shots and 100 hits.
Mike Matheson becomes a bit of a reclamation project for the Penguins after his role diminished on the Panthers last season. Matheson is signed through the 2025-26 season with a cap hit of $4.875 million. He is capable of providing offense from the back end, but he won’t get much power-play time behind Kris Letang. Matheson blocks plenty of shots and could be a waiver consideration if Letang gets injured.
Colton Sceviour has topped the 20-point plateau four times in his career, but he has fallen short of that mark in each of the last two years. He will probably serve as a fourth-line option and can provide hits, but he doesn’t bring nearly enough the table from a fantasy perspective.
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The NHL announced the protocol for off-season training, which will come into effect at the end of the Stanley Cup Final and it is similar to the Phase 2 protocol from the NHL Return to Play Plan. Teams can reopen training facilities to players for voluntary workouts starting Oct. 15 with a maximum of 12 players allowed on the ice at the same time.
The release also stated that start dates for training camp and the 2020-21 regular season have not been set yet. The 2020 NHL Draft, which will be conducted virtually, is set for Oct. 6, with free agency set to begin on Oct. 9.
The first buyout window opens Sept. 25 and shuts on Oct. 8.
Nashville signed Yakov Trenin to a two-year contract worth $1.45 million. Buffalo inked Curtis Lazar to a two-year deal worth $1.6 million. Alexandre Texier left KalPa of Finland’s Liiga to return to France for personal reasons. He was on loan from the Columbus Blue Jackets.