Photo credit:Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Around the Atlantic: Patrick Kane sweepstakes, Tage Thompson injured & Panthers heating up
By Shane Seney3 months ago
Welcome back for another edition of Around the Atlantic, our Wednesday column that will showcase any trending news surrounding the Atlantic division and of course, the impact it may have on the Toronto Maple Leafs.
This week the Maple Leafs are joined by their divisional rival Ottawa Senators and Detroit Red Wings in Stockholm, Sweden as the NHL’s Global Series kicks off. It’s going to be a great week of showcasing NHL hockey across the pond, and while there’s lots going on in the land of Ikea, Crocs and Meatballs, here’s the very latest from around the Atlantic:
Patrick Kane Meeting With Teams
The Patrick Kane sweepstakes are starting to heat up as the future hall of famer creeps closer to signing a new contract. There’s been a ton of speculation from several insiders on where Kane winds up, but one thing is for sure, the Atlantic division is going hard after the longtime Chicago Blackhawk. Kane has been training in Oakville, Ontario as he continues to rehab from hip surgery and according to John Shannon, he met with the Leafs earlier this week to discuss a potential contract. It’s tough to put a finger on what exactly Kane’s new deal will look like as there’s been word he’d be open to a one-year deal or upwards of a three-year deal, depending on the circumstance. Winning another Stanley Cup remains front and centre in Kane’s aspirations.
While the Leafs are a long shot, however, the same can’t be said for the Buffalo Sabres and Florida Panthers. Both teams are the heavy favorites, with the Sabres likely having a leg up. Kane is from the area and during his rookie season in Chicago, his first roommate and closest friend on the ‘Hawks was Sabres GM Kevyn Adams. This relationship is something that is playing a huge factor. The same can be said for Panthers GM Bill Zito, who Kane knows very well as well. This is where the Sabres have a leg up on the competition. They have the cap space to sign Kane and not have to ship anyone overboard.
Tage Thompson to Miss ‘Significant’ Time
You just hate to see it. The Buffalo Sabres lost 5-2 on Tuesday to the Atlantic division-leading Boston Bruins and while the loss can be forgotten, losing Tage Thompson is going to be a tough pill to swallow. Hesustained an upper-body injury against the Bruins, and Sabres coach Don Granato mentioned after the game his star was going to miss ‘significant time’ after he took a shot off the hand during the second period against the Bruins, while killing a penalty.
It was a tough night for Thompson who got tangled up with Bruins defenceman Charlie McAvoy in the first period and had to leave the game momentarily to attend to a leg injury. He managed to fight through the first bit of pain, but the shot to the hand sent him to the dressing room for the night.
Thompson has recorded 12 points in 16 games and despite their lead in the Kane sweepstakes, the Sabres may have a harder time trying to convince Kane to sign in Buffalo if their best player is going to be on the shelf for the foreseeable future.
Florida Panthers Heating Up
One team that’s skyrocketed up the Atlantic division standings of late is the Florida Panthers. The Cats have won five in a row and are 8-1-1 in their past 10 games. ‘Contract Year’ Sam Reinhart is carrying the load in the Sunshine State, collecting 23 points in 15 games so far this season. He is a pending unrestricted free agent who is going to secure himself quite the bag next summer if this type of production continues. He ranks tied for 3rd in league scoring, one point up on Leafs forward William Nylander, who of course, is also in a contract year. It’s funny how that works, eh?
Even with Matthew Tkachuk only having three goals on the season and the fact both Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour are still out and you can throw in Sam Bennett only having three games under his belt this season. Needless to say, it’s been impressive stuff from the Panthers this season. As forward Carter Verhaeghe put it after the Panthers win over the dismal San Jose Sharks – “I think everyone’s stepping up, every win is kind of a total team win. Everyone is contributing in a different way.”. The Maple Leafs host the Panthers towards the end of November and it’s going to be a great test to see how Toronto fares against one of the hottest teams in hockey.
There we have it folks, another Around the Atlantic in the books. The passport’s getting stamped this week as I make my way to Stockholm on Thursday to take in the Global Series. The division will be well represented in Stockholm, with the Senators and Red Wings kicking things off first.
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