It's almost here! That one day of the year when you get a brand-new top-round prospect to make the centre of a whole new set of stories. If the Leafs don't trade the pick, that is.

Today is an extremely busy day. Usually a lot of trades are finalized on the day before the draft because all the GMs are in the same place. They have a lot of other business to do as well.

The buyout window is open, so to buy out a player who does not have an NMC, teams have to put them on waivers. Waivers are at noon in the offseason, so watch out for that.

The NHL Awards are on tonight, and I will confess (again) that I'm just not into these things. If you are, you can find the show on ESPN, ESPN+ and Sportsnet.

There will be people there. Hosts. Music acts. Presenters. You name it! I used to have to write these stories, now I just link to them:

NHL Awards 2024: Ceremony Date, Start Time, Candidates and Predictions
In the wake of the Florida Panthers’ epic Stanley Cup victory Monday night in Sunrise, the NHL will honor its best Thursday live from Fontainebleu Las Vegas…
Loud Luxury, Bishop Briggs to perform at 2024 NHL Awards |
Event to take place at Fontainebleau in Las Vegas on June 27

It's likely good I don't know who those people are, but did this Loud Luxury band discover Conspicuous Consumption was already taken?

In other news, the NHL made the Board of Governors meet in New York yesterday while all the GMs got to be having fun in Vegas. The BoG made some new rules:

NHL announces rule changes for 2024-25 season |
Coach’s challenge for puck out of play, face-off procedure following icing among adjustments
Rule 38.2 (Situations Subject to Coach’s Challenge)
A coach’s challenge now will be permitted to take down a penalty for puck out of play. This only will apply to delay of game penalties when the puck is determined to have deflected off a player, stick, glass or boards, and not on a judgment call on how the puck left the defensive zone (e.g., batted pucks or if the puck was shot out from the defensive zone). In the event of a failed challenge, another two-minute minor penalty will be assessed (in addition to the existing delay of game penalty).
Rule 63.8 (Line Change Following Dislodged Net)
There will be an adjustment to Rule 63.8 so that the defensive team cannot make a line change in the event its goaltender accidentally dislodges the net (old language applied just to skater).
Rule 76.4 (Face-Off Procedure – Centers)
Following an icing, the offensive center also now will receive one warning (same as the defensive player) for a face-off violation.
Rule 75.3 (Unsportsmanlike Conduct – Player Sitting on Boards)
The referee now will provide the offending team (coach and players) with one warning regarding players sitting on the boards (and will so advise the other team). After one warning in a game, the team precipitating the warning will be issued a bench minor penalty for future violations.

PWHL free agency continues, and this post has the continually updated list:

PWHL Free Agency
Track the signings and the state of the teams

Some draft and UFA news:

Wow, really!

News on Draisaitl: We'll see how things progress through the summer.

News on Marner: There's ongoing dialogue between Marner and the Leafs. Brad Treliving is focused on defence ... no that's not really news.

News on Stamkos: Status quo is the official update. (LeBrun does say that Nashville and some other teams have serious interest. And CJ does repeat the story that Detroit freed up money for a big move, so maybe it's Stamkos.)

News on Carolina: Lots of teams would like Martin Necas, and someone with a first-round pick might be the front-runner. LeBrun speculates it might be Buffalo, and Tulsky told LeBrun he is still trying to sign Jake Guentzel.

There's some conversation between the NHL and the NHLPA on how to handle the QOs of the players charged with sexual assault. Final answer will come soon.

In other news, if you missed it last evening, Sergei Berezin has died:

I know there's men his age reading here and this can be hard to read about. We don't know his cause of death, only that it's a tragedy for his family. If you need help navigating what can be a very difficult time for men, reach out. I promise you there are people who understand.