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Several Stanley Cup winners breaking up championship core

While Braden Holtby noticed his break up with the Washington Capitals coming, Patric Hornqvist, Corey Crawford and Alex Pietrangelo weren’t so fortunate.

Hornqvist was “blindsided” the Pittsburgh Penguins needed to commerce him. Crawford was “devastated” the Chicago Blackhawks have been entering into one other route. And Pietrangelo was caught off guard when the St. Louis Blues signed one other big-money defenseman, shifting on from him earlier than he was prepared to shut the door on staying.

The previous a number of weeks have featured a number of current Stanley Cup winners breaking up their championship core by saying goodbye to a key participant along with his title on the trophy. It’s a bittersweet actuality within the NHL due to the wage cap, and the departing gamers are left with no less than one Cup ring and the irreplaceable reminiscences of profitable – plus the hope they will do all of it once more with a brand new workforce.

“We accomplished what we wanted to do there: We won a championship, and I think that’s something you can never take away,” Holtby stated after leaving Washington to signal with the Vancouver Canucks. “It was very important to me to find a team that has that same chance and that same structure of an organization and team that can win because that’s what you play for, and I think that’s the opportunity that we have in Vancouver that is very exciting to me.”

The younger Canucks look able to win now, and Holtby provides them one other veteran with expertise from deep playoff runs after they made it to the second spherical over the summer time.

New Jersey is additional away from being a legit contender, however Crawford sees loads of similarities between the Devils and the Blackhawks of greater than a decade in the past that went on to seize the Cup 3 times. Instead of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, the Devils have Nico Hischier, Jack Hughes, Pavel Zacha and Jesper Bratt of their early 20s and capable of develop up collectively.

“Things change pretty quick in the NHL,” Crawford stated after signing with the Devils, who completed final within the Metropolitan Division, have one playoff look eight years and no sequence victories over that point. Chicago made the playoffs as soon as in six years earlier than profitable all of it in 2010.

“The Hawks did it. They had a young group too, and they got good pretty fast. … It’s a group that can definitely do the same thing.”

That’s what Hornqvist is betting on after waiving his no-trade clause to hitch the Florida Panthers. The agitating, go-to-the-net winger helped Pittsburgh win the Cup in 2016 and 2017. He didn’t take it too kindly when the Penguins advised him they needed to commerce him, so now he’s much more motivated to assist the Panthers get the job completed.

“The last six years of my hockey career has always been great in Pittsburgh,” Hornqvist stated. “All my family life is in Pittsburgh. I like the city, I like the fans, but when they decide they didn’t want me, it was an easy choice to go down to Florida and try to win the Cup there.”

Former Penguins teammate Matt Murray will attempt to do the identical after getting traded and signing a $25 million, four-year contract with the Ottawa Senators. Pittsburgh had already dedicated to Tristan Jarry as its goalie of the current and close to future, so Murray will get a contemporary begin with a long-term rebuilding mission in Ottawa.

Pietrangelo gained’t must be that affected person. While shocked Friday evening when the Blues signed Torey Krug to a $45.5 million, seven-year deal to primarily change him on the blue line, Pietrangelo is nearly definitely heading to an elite contender, whether or not it’s the Vegas Golden Knights or one other workforce.

GM Doug Armstrong stated St. Louis tried arduous to re-sign the one captain in franchise historical past to carry the Stanley Cup, however buying and selling for and lengthening defenseman Justin Faulk at a giant worth greater than a yr in the past and including Krug paved Pietrangelo’s street out of city lower than 16 months after profitable all of it.

“That’s the frustration and the joy of today’s NHL with the salary cap,” Armstrong stated. “There’s turnover and there’s change and every team has to go through it. You try and keep the nucleus together as long as possible, but change is inevitable.”

The Boston Bruins know that every one too nicely. They misplaced Krug as a result of they weren’t keen to supply as a few years because the Blues and others, they usually’ve turned their consideration to their longtime captain, Zdeno Chara, who raised the Cup in 2011 and is a free agent.

Chara is 43 now within the twilight of his profession, although he’d prefer to play one other season. Like Armstrong describing Pietrangelo as “historic,” Bruins GM Don Sweeney known as Chara an “iconic” participant – and the 6-foot-9 defenseman’s departure can be the largest cra-ck but to the core that gained the Cup 9 years in the past, and reached the ultimate in 2015 earlier than dropping to Crawford’s Blackhawks and 2019, dropping to Pietrangelo’s Blues.

“What Zee decides to do, ultimately he’ll tell us, then we’ll react accordingly to that,” Sweeney stated. “And we have our own feelings as to where these things will go.”

The most up-to-date Cup champions, the Tampa Bay Lightning, don’t actually know the way issues will go earlier than they attempt to defend their title. They’re in a bind up in opposition to the wage cap, needing to get new contracts completed for restricted free brokers Mikhail Sergachev and Antony Cirelli.

Tampa Bay put longtime ahead Tyler Johnson on waivers, however with a $5 million cap hit for 4 extra years, he went unclaimed by the league’s different 30 groups. It’s again to the drafting board for the Lightning, and it appears to be like as in the event that they’ll should half with an necessary participant from their championship core.

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Follow AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno

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More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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