The NHL offseason is hurtling towards us faster and faster each day. And NHL rumours are starting to swirl. As if things had not been busy enough the last few days, speculation continues to pour in from insiders. Today’s NHL rumours will discuss the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, and NHL financial issues.
Analysis: With the Calgary Flames out of playoff contention, they are looking ahead to next season. The roster is not getting any younger. With some of their ageing stars either nearing or on the decline, Johnny Gaudreau has been the subject of trade rumours. As was mentioned in yesterday’s rumours, Arizona is a potential landing spot for Gaudreau.
Many teams will be looking to bring Gaudreau in. The former Boston College Eagle has been one of the Flames’ top wings in recent years. While he has been a regular-season star, his playoff performances have been questioned. That said, Gaudreau could be an excellent addition to an Arizona team that can’t even make it that far. He could easily slide into a top-line role on a team with a weak forward group. Gaudreau would also serve in a leadership role. That is highly valuable on a team full of young players with little success this far into their careers.
Analysis: These are not the first rumours to appear involving Matt Murray. Josh Yohe and Rob Rossi also reported potential trades involving Murray this week. Rossi said that general manager Jim Rutherford would ideally want to recoup one of the top draft picks he has traded away. Yohe cited the fact that Pittsburgh has two solid netminders and they appear committed to dealing Murray. The two-time cup winning goalie did not have the strongest season, setting a career-low in save percentage with a .899.
Edmonton would be an excellent fit for Murray. This season they relied upon Mikko Koskinen and Mike Smith. Since Smith is on an expiring contract, they will be looking for a replacement after a disappointing season. With Murray at the end of his contract and headed to restricted free agency, Edmonton does have some leverage to sign him. An interesting candidate to head back to Pittsburgh if a deal is made is the former fourth overall pick Jesse Puljujarvi. Puljujarvi has publicly expressed disinterest with the Oilers franchise and has been playing in Europe.
Rumour: NBC’s Pierre McGuire said on TSN690 that some teams are having trouble paying player bonuses and could have to sell their team as a result.
Analysis: The COVID-19 pandemic has hit hard in many communities. This is by far the hardest it has hit one of the four major North American sports leagues. McGuire was quoted as saying “I believe you will see some teams that will be sold… Some teams are having very difficult times getting to bonus payments, let alone, keeping their staff.” This does not bode well for several franchises.
Teams that could be potentially sold are teams that have been drawing in low attendance for years. You have to look at the Arizona Coyotes and Florida Panthers as two of those franchises. Neither team has had much success and have a hard time selling tickets. They are not in traditional hockey markets and fans are hard to come by. But a non-traditional market is not the end all be all for financial struggles. The Buffalo Sabres and Ottawa Senators have failed to put forth competitive teams for the better part of a decade. All four of these teams could wind up with a new owner in the coming months.
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