It’s time for another edition of our NHL rumours and we still have plenty of them to go around. Teams are prepping for the off-season and getting ready to make some moves. General managers are already thinking about the future and looking to find contracts that will fit. Today’s NHL rumours focus on the Detroit Red Wings, Buffalo Sabres and the KHL.
Detroit Red Wings
Rumour: Ansar Khan of Michigan Live took a look at the Anthony Mantha situation. The young winger is a restricted free agent in the off-season, but has missed 28 games due to injuries this season. That could complicate matters as he tries to land a long-term deal.
Mantha does want to stay with the team and help turn the club around. He is aware of his impending situation due to other RFAs like Tyler Bertuzzi, Robby Fabbri and others that are looking for new deals.
Analysis: Mantha has shown flashes of brilliance in his time with Detroit and was a key part of Team Canada at last year’s IIHF World Championships. The Red Wings need scoring and Mantha was playing his part in the lineup. He currently has 15 goals and 18 assists in 41 games.
The 25-year-old has a $3.3 million cap hit and general manager Steve Yzerman has to worry about paying other players. Some of the bad contracts that previous GM Ken Holland gave out are coming off the books. This will give Yzerman more room to play with and Mantha is likely a high priority for the team. Detroit will likely bring back Mantha because he’s notched 25 goals in a season.
Rumour: Mike Harrington of The Buffalo News took a look at if general manager Jason Botterillis on the hot seat. The Pegulas would prefer not to go through another GM search, but there’s a possibility he could be gone.
According to Harrington, some in the organization think Botterill is in over his head and can’t gain traction after the Ryan O’Reilly trade. However, there are many in the league that still respect him.
Analysis: The Sabres have turned into a mess once again after showing some promise early in the season. Buffalo did add pieces at the deadline after playing well near that time frame. However, things have gone off the rails for the club.
There will always be a call for change if a team is struggling, but constantly changing general managers gets in the way of a rebuild. The Sabres likely won’t make the post-season, but progress during the months of March and April could buy Botterill another season.
Rumour: Szymon Szemberg reports that the KHL’s new self-imposed salary cap could have more Russian players head to North America. This new cap would take affect for the next season. The league had a cap, but could spend around it if the player could play for the Russian national team.
With the self-imposed KHL Salary Cap effective next season, there is concern that more Russians will opt for N. American leagues.
— Szymon Szemberg (@Sz1909_Szemberg) March 4, 2020
Analysis: It would be a big blow to the KHL if they can’t keep their younger Russian players. The league usually serves as a way Russians that don’t get a lot of time in the NHL could hone their skills while waiting for a chance.
The best Russians would usually want to come to the NHL to test themselves against the top players in the world. Russian teams are usually owned by big time Russian oligarchs that can foot the bill for an Ilya Kovalchuk type player. However, the cap could really make the NHL the more attractive option.
Russia loves to tout how good their league is, but the NHL would benefit big if stricter cap policies do go through in the KHL.