Despite the hockey season being on hold, there are still plenty of NHL rumours afloat. As always, the team at Last Word on Hockey will continue to keep fans updated on the latest NHL rumours and rumblings around the league. Today’s NHL rumours feature the Toronto Maple Leafs, New Jersey Devils, and New York Rangers.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Rumour: During this past week’s edition of his NHL Mailbag, Luke Fox of Sportsnet answered questions from fans and talked about the future of Tyson Barrie.
Thanks for all the fun questions, fans.
Maple Leafs mailbag: Where will Tyson Barrie land? Should Jack Campbell start? Could you please say something nice about William Nylander? Got a good Gretzky doc? What day is it?… https://t.co/W4TsSWAU9v #LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/BwBXfSmULw
— luke fox (@lukefoxjukebox) April 27, 2020
Analysis: At the end of the current season, whenever that will be, Barrie becomes an unrestricted free agent. He currently makes $5.5 million and will be looking for a new raise come free agency. Even if the salary cap goes up, the Maple Leafs are still facing salary cap problems. With the salary cap most likely being kept at $81.5 million for next season, and the Leafs having other priorities, Barrie doesn’t seem to be apart of their future. In addition, Morgan Reilly is getting healthier and will succumb to his power play to the younger Reilly. Barrie needs to be in a place where he can be on the top power-play unit. That’s why places like the Detroit Red Wings, New Jersey Devils, Los Angeles Kings, and Chicago Blackhawks makes sense. Luke Fox also stated the Winnipeg Jets could be in the running with their defensive issues.
New Jersey Devils
Rumour: The KHL’s best defenceman, Mikko Lehtonen, has become a free agent after mutually agreeing on a contract termination with his team. Now, he is being linked to contract talks with the Devils, among other NHL clubs.
Russian website Championat is linking free agent KHL defender Mikko Lehtonen with the New Jersey Devils.
— Andrew Zadarnowski (@AZadarski) May 1, 2020
Analysis: Lehtonen is the best defenceman in the KHL and the one of the hottest free-agents right now. This season, he led the KHL for most goals and points by a defenceman with 49 points (17 goals and 32 assists) in 60 games played. Lehtonen wanted his contracted terminated citing a chance to pursue an NHL career.
His addition makes total sense for the Devils who are in desperate need of help on the blue line, especially on the left side. Their lack a good puck-moving defenceman further makes Lehtonen an ideal fit for them. He has a very hard and accurate shot that can get through traffic in front of the net. His instincts allow him to jump into high-danger scoring areas when his team is on the rush. Lehtonen is reported to have multiple suitors including the Devils division rival, the New York Rangers. He will be a cheap but valuable addition to any team.
New York Rangers
Analysis: Fast has been a member of the Rangers since entering the league in 2013. In that time, he’s done enough work to earn an alternate captain role on the team. However, he faces an uncertain future. He will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season on a narrowly cap-strapped Rangers team.
Fast brings something to the Rangers that they are missing but it may not be enough to get a new contract offer. The Rangers just signed Chris Kreider to a hefty extension prior to the NHL Trade Deadline.
With Fast expected to make up to double what he earned this season, things may be tight for New York. They have seven NHLers entering the open market, including Ryan Strome, Anthony DeAngelo, and Alexandar Georgiev who could take up most of their $13 million cap space. While Fast is hoping to stay in New York, business may force a change of plan.
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