While much of the hockey-loving planet was watching the Pittsburgh Penguins repeat as Stanley Cup champions with a six-game series win over the Nashville Predators, the other 29 teams were hard at work. And all that hard work is about to pay off during one of the busiest weeks in recent NHL history.
Here's what was happening elsewhere while the catfish were flying:
Expansion draft scramble: While general managers were finalizing their lists of protected and unprotected players for Wednesday's expansion draft, the Vegas Golden Knights were working on their roster heading into their inaugural season. The New York Rangers buying out defenseman Dan Girardi and the Tampa Bay Lightning trading forward Jonathan Drouin to the Montreal Canadiens were among the first dominoes to fall. Teams were still figuring out their roster decisions right up to the minute before they submitted their list of protected and unprotected players. More to come here.
Deep draft: Though the draft is missing generational talents of recent years like Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews, Jack Eichel and Patrik Laine, this year's prospect crop has been touted for its depth. And with the Philadelphia Flyers and Dallas Stars -- two teams possessing loads of talent up front -- holding the second and third picks, respectively, speculation has been rampant that either club would deal their pick. In fact, Stars GM Jim Nill confirmed that the third overall pick could be had for the right price. Meanwhile, New Jersey Devils general manager Ray Shero has said he is unlikely to trade the top pick, meaning either Nolan Patrick or Nico Hischier likely will be taken first overall.
Goalies on the move: Looking to get a head start before free agency begins on July 1, some teams with dire needs in net made intriguing preemptive moves. The biggest among them was the Stars acquiring the rights to Ben Bishop from the Los Angeles Kings before signing the towering goaltender to a six-year deal, securing a player who was expected to be a big name in free agency. That move overshadowed a similar transaction as the Carolina Hurricanes acquired Scott Darling, who served as a backup for three seasons in Chicago. Just before the trade freeze, the Calgary Flames addressed their needs in net by trading for longtime Arizona Coyotes goalie Mike Smith. Now that three-time Cup winner Marc-Andre Fleury has waived his no-movement clause, the longtime Penguins goaltender can be traded or snapped up by Vegas before the free-agent period even officially begins. There could be experienced goaltending still available as Ryan Miller, Brian Elliott, Mike Condon and Steve Mason are close to entering free agency. But the hunt is already on for top-level goaltending.
Silver lining: In a difficult season for a proud Original Six franchise, the Detroit Red Wings lost longtime owner Mike Ilitch, who died in February at age 87, before closing Joe Louis Arena at the same time they missed the playoffs for the first time since 1990. Seeing that remarkable run of 25 straight postseason appearances end was difficult for the franchise. But there are brighter days ahead for the Red Wings. The team will soon move into the state-of-the-art Little Caesars Arena, and its minor league affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League, won the Calder Cup for the second time in five seasons. Much like the 2012-13 title team, this year's championship squad was led by players who could be contributing to the Red Wings soon, including Tyler Bertuzzi, Evgeny Svechnikov, Tomas Nosek and Jared Coreau.
Bench-boss boost: Lost in all the postseason action were high-profile coaching hires by teams looking to take a big step after disappointing seasons. Perhaps none was bigger than Ken Hitchcock's return to Dallas, where he won the Stanley Cup in 1999. Hitchcock takes over a team flush with talent that will need to further develop its young defensive corps. A two-time Memorial Cup-winning coach (and one more as president) with the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League, Bob Boughner is the Florida Panthers' new head coach. He'll be expected to lead a bounce-back season for a talented club that missed the playoffs after finishing atop the Atlantic Division in 2015-16. John Stevens and Travis Green were promoted to the main job with the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks, respectively, but perhaps no hire was more hailed by locals than Predators assistant coach Phil Housley joining the Buffalo Sabres. Housley began his Hall of Fame career with the Sabres after being drafted sixth overall by them in 1982. The Chicago Blackhawks also added big-name assistants in Ulf Samuelsson and Don Granato, while the St. Louis Blues added Darryl Sydor, Steve Ott and Craig Berube to their staff.
Barroway takes over: An ownership situation that has appeared muddled for years recently gained some measure of clarity as Andrew Barroway has reportedly bought out the Arizona Coyotes' minority shareholders to gain sole ownership of the club. After previously attempting to acquire the New York Islanders, Barroway's move hopefully signals a shift toward greater franchise stability. But there are plenty more steps to take, starting with their arena. Already in a dispute with the city of Glendale over their lease at Gila River Arena, the team's plans to open a new arena in Tempe fell through when Arizona State University backed out of a proposed development agreement. There has since been speculation that the Coyotes could share a new building with the NBA's Phoenix Suns. Already boasting a deep pool of prospects, the Coyotes' arena situation likely will be among Barroway's top priorities.