The Stanley Cup final is over, but the summer of hockey is just getting started

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A new Stanley Cup champion was crowned last night in Florida, where the Colorado Avalanche dethroned the Tampa Bay Lightning with a 2-1 win in Game 6 of the Finals. The Avalanche’s win ended Tampa Bay’s hopes of becoming the NHL’s first three-peat champion in 40 years and gave Colorado its first trophy since 2001 — and the first for the Avs’ current core group of Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar , Mikko Rantanen and Captain Gabriel Landeskog. MacKinnon scored last night to end part of the postseason lead at 13, while Makar became the youngest defender since Bobby Orr in 1970 to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. On a less positive note, Nicolas Aube-Kubel dented the bottom of the trophy when he dropped it on the ice during the celebration.

This concludes the 2021-22 NHL season. But more big hockey news happened today, and there are many more interesting things to come in the coming weeks. Here is an overview:

The Sedin twins led the new Hockey Hall of Fame class announced today. Daniel and Henrik were drafted back-to-back by Vancouver in 1999 and spent their entire 17-year NHL career with the Canucks. They finished with eerily similar total points (1,041 and 1,070 respectively), won the scoring title in back-to-back years, and even signed identical contracts. It’s only fitting that they’ll be inducting into the Hall of Fame together this fall. The Sedins are joined by their former Vancouver teammate Roberto Luongo and longtime Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, who finally made it in his fifth year of eligibility. The other player chosen today was Riikka Sallinen, a longtime star of the Finland women’s national team. Herb Carnegie, considered the top black player who never made the NHL, is inducted into the Builder category. Read more about the 2022 Hockey Hall of Fame class here.

The Memorial Cup semi-finals are tonight. Quebec Junior Hockey League champions Shawinigan Cataractes meets Ontario Hockey League champions Hamilton Bulldogs at 6:00 p.m. ET. The winner plays for the Canada Major Junior Hockey title Wednesday night against hosts Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL, who received a bye to the finals after winning round robin scoring.

The NHL draft is next week. The July 7-8 event takes place in Montreal, where the Canadians are No. 1 overall after finishing last in the league – a year after playing in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Habs are expected to take on Shane Wright, an 18-year-old center who has 94 points in 63 games for OHL’s Kingston this season. The best young European player is Juraj Slafkovsky, a great forward who was named MVP of the men’s Olympic tournament as a 17-year-old after leading all-scorers with seven goals in seven games and helping Slovakia win the bronze medal. New Jersey should take the first hit against him with the #2 pick.

NHL Free Agency opens July 13. The biggest prize in the open market is Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau, who finished second in the league this season with 115 points, including 40 goals. Other interesting UFA skaters include Colorado’s Nazem Kadri (career-high 87 points this season), Edmonton’s Evander Kane (the playoff co-leader in goals) and Nashville’s Filip Forsberg (42 goals in the regular season). Past big names include Florida’s Claude Giroux and Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang. Selke Trophy winner Patrice Bergeron is also eligible to hit full free agency, but he is reportedly seeking a one-year deal to stay in Boston. Teams looking for a goaltender could turn to Minnesota’s Marc-Andre Fleury, Toronto’s Jack Campbell, or Colorado’s Darcy Kuemper. In addition to Kuemper and Kadri, Avs GM Joe Sakic must decide what to do with key strikers Andre Burakovsky and Valeri Nichushkin, and defender Josh Manson after they helped with the trophy presentation.

The World Juniors are coming in… August? That’s right, Edmonton will be hosting the traditional Christmas event from August 9th to 20th. The original tournament was canceled just a few games later after COVID-19 outbreaks in several teams made it unsustainable. It will start over and Canada’s squad could look different than it did in December. Star defenseman Owen Power, the No. 1 pick in last year’s NHL draft, has since joined the Buffalo Sabers. Forward Shane Wright, the presumed top pick in next week’s draft, is likely to join the Montreal Canadiens soon. It’s unclear if those players will be released for the newly drafted World Juniors, although phenomenon Connor Bedard, who will turn 17 in July and is not draft-qualified, should be available.

The Women’s World Cup will take place again in August. Typically, the tournament takes place in spring. But last year was pushed back from May to August (and from Nova Scotia to Calgary) due to the pandemic. There is a more welcome change this year as the World Championship will be held in an Olympic year for the first time since women’s hockey was included in the 1998 Winter Games. It takes place in Denmark from August 25th to September 4th. Canada is attempting to remain at the forefront of the sport after beating arch-rivals the United States in February’s Olympic gold medal game in Beijing. The Canadians are also the reigning world champions after Marie-Philip Poulin’s overtime goal against the USA in the 2021 final gave their team their first world title since 2012.

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