It’s a Father’s Day edition of our NHL Rumours. The NHL is hoping they can start Phase 3 and 4 in July. There are plenty of rumours about that and other things going on to tide you over until the possible return of the 2019-20 season. We have NHL rumours surrounding the possible hub cities, the New York Rangers and the Dallas Stars.
All NHL rumours are taken from the original source and are subject to change.
Playoff Hub Cities
Rumour: The league has reportedly cut its list of 10 hub cities down to six and all three Canadian choices are in the mix. TSN and The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun added that the NHL and NHLPA hope to have the two cities named some time next week. The Canadian government approved the NHL’s quarantine plan.
The hope/expectation is for the NHL/NHLPA to agree on the 2 hub cities by the end of this upcoming week. Time is of the essence, the league needs to negotiate deals with both hub cities (hotels, etc) once selected
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) June 20, 2020
Vancouver Picking up Steam?
Sportsnet’s Satiar Shah added that Vancouver is picking up steam as a location. He also stated that league is close to a decision on locations. The NHL is also still on forging ahead on its timeline despite the recent increase of positive COVID-19 tests.
Vancouver has picked up steam as being a NHL hub city, the league is getting closer to making a decision
— Satiar Shah (@SatiarShah) June 20, 2020
Sportsnet’s Elliote Friedman tossed out Vancouver and Vegas as possible front-runners to get the spots. Naming the hub cities will cap a busy week that includes the draft lottery, safety protocol vote and CBA framework.
Analysis: It makes sense that the league is trying to name the two spots soon. The NHL has to start negotiating for hotel space and other items needed to run the post-season. This is a big undertaking and the league wants to do it right.
There’s a bit of concern with the United States seeing a large spike in cases. The recent round of testing revealed 11 players, including Auston Matthews as positive for the coronavirus. Some are calling for a cancellation of the season, but there were a handful of positives before European soccer leagues returned to play.
Canada could be a better bet because of the lower positive cases like some parts of the U.S. Chicago did enact strict guidelines that”flattened the curve.” However, no other American cities, except for Vegas are known as of now.
New York Rangers
Rumour: Larry Brooks of the New York Post said that former seventh overall pick Lias Andersson won’t be part of the training camp. The former first-rounder in the 2017 NHL Draft is opting to stay in Sweden.
Post has learned that Lias Andersson has decided to remain in Sweden. Rangers had talked to him about joining team for 2020 training camp, but seventh-overall from 2017 opted against accepting invite…So it ends until there's a trade…
— Larry Brooks (@NYP_Brooksie) June 18, 2020
Brooks speculated that it has to be the end of the young Swede’s time with the Blueshirts. However, team president John Davidson said that Andersson wants to be a Ranger. Davidson added that they’ll discuss where Andersson fits into the lineup before the start of the 2020-21 season.
Analysis: Andersson has struggled to find a spot in the lineup as he’s only played 68 games over three seasons. He never regained his confidence after being sent down. He and Filip Chytil got demoted at the start of the season, but Chytil forced his way back into the lineup.
Many have questioned Andersson’s heart and don’t think he’ll play for the Rangers again. He’s been the subject of previous trade rumours and some want management to trade him.
Andersson will play in Sweden if he isn’t traded. If he doesn’t decide to return to the Rangers next season. Dealing Andersson would be another case of the club whiffing on a first-round selection.
Rumour: Sean Shapiro of The Athletic hosted a mailbag on what the Stars will do in the off-season. One of the main priorities is re-signing goalie Anton Khudobin to a new contract. They said a new deal for him would be a priority.
Analysis: Khudobin has done well splitting time with Ben Bishop in the Dallas crease. The Russian finished the regular season at 16-8-4 with a 2.22 goals-against-average and .930 save percentage. His save percentage this season is a career-best for the 11-year veteran.
He is 34 years old, but he’s a good option for the oft-injured Bishop. Khudobin has played for Dallas since the 2018-19 season. It’s not a bad thing to have a veteran backup ready to go just in case.
Bowness has a record of 20-13-5 since taking over for Jim Montgomery earlier in the season. Dallas managed to snag one of the top-four seeds to skip the qualifying round. Bowness has only made the post-season once a head coach and that was with the Boston Bruins in the 1991-92 season. However, he’s helped steady the ship since he’s gotten the job.