Around The Bases – Your trip around the world in sports for June 25, 2018

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The daily sports news cycle is crazier than ever. Don't have the stamina to keep up to speed? Around The Bases is your daily morning destination to stay in the know on the biggest stories in both local and professional sports. We’ll start at first base with an intriguing story or event, and bring you home with a must-read story in the North Peace sports scene.

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First Base - NHL draft recap

The 2018 NHL Entry Draft went Friday night and Saturday. Here are all the picks. As we expected, Rasmus Dahlin was selected first overall by the Buffalo Sabres. However, there were some interesting picks and trades. Finnish forward Filip Zadina, who was expected to go third overall, fell to the Detroit Red Wings at six, a nice bonus for them. The Oilers finally drafted a top defensive prospect in Evan Bouchard, and the move is being praised universally. Once again, there were no noteable trade downs, even though some teams, like the Montreal Canadiens, should have done it. Montreal passed on Zadina to take Jesperi Kotkaniemi, a player they likely could have gotten at pick number eight, or even 10. There was also a trade, as Washington sent Phillip Grubauer and Brooks Orpik to Colorado. 

Second Base - John Carlson resigns with Capitals

Although the Washington Capitals were unable, and perhaps unwilling, to keep head coach Barry Trotz, the team was able to resign defenceman John Carlson to a eight-year, $64 million contract. Carlson is easily one of the team's best five players, and best defenceman by far. His salary cap hit may hurt the team down the road, but having Carlson in the fold is integral to the Cap's chances of winning another Stanley Cup in the next two or three years.

Third Base - John Tavares sweepstakes

NHL free agency officially begins July 1, but this week, players are allowed to meet with teams for interviews. John Tavares is the biggest impending unrestricted free agent, and is meeting with six teams this week, including my beloved Toronto Maple Leafs. Other teams he's meeting with are the San Jose Sharks, Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning. It would be really exciting if he signed with any of these teams, and make that team an instant Stanley Cup favourite. Unfortunately, I really think he will sit pat and stay with the New York Islanders, which is boring, especially considering the Islanders are unlikely to build a contender around Tavares. There's an interesting rumour going around that the Leafs could sign Tavares to a one-year max contract to make a run at a Cup before they lose their salary cap flexibility, and while this is starting to become a common thin in the NBA, it has yet to be used in the NHL and I'm skeptical of this being the year it happens. 

Home Base - Final round of World Cup group stages begin

The next four days feature four games a day, as the top two teams in each group will be decided. This morning saw Uruguay beating Russia soundly, clinching first place, but it doesn't matter a whole bunch since Russia likely had to play Spain or Portugal either way. The next games today see Iran looking for a desparate win to shock the world and send Portugal home, which is unlikely to happen. The real excitement begins tomorrow, wheere Australia has a chance to squeak past Denmark into the round of 16, and in group D, where Iceland, Nigeria and Argentina will all be fighting for a spot in the knockout rounds. Here's hoping we get to see one last sad Messi moment.

Around the Bases runs Monday through Friday. If you have a news tip or story to share, email Dillon Giancola at sports@ahnfsj.ca

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