It’s time for another look at NHL rumours for your Sunday. Teams are trying to walk the tightrope of improving their rosters and staying cap-compliant. It’s always a tough to do in the best of times, but will be that much harder this off-season. Today’s NHL rumours focus on the New York Rangers, Vancouver Canucks and the 2020-21 season.
All NHL rumours come from the original source and are subject to change.
New York Rangers
Rumour: Dan Rosen’s latest mailbag talks about what the Rangers might do to get a No. 2 centre.
Analysis: The Blueshirts will make a run at keeping restricted free agent Ryan Strome. He formed a bond with winger Artemi Panarin as the Rangers made it into the bubble. Strome could get a one-year prove it deal or a bridge deal to keep him with the team. He will be a unrestricted free agent if he signs just the one-year deal.
Another option could be the Rangers dangle RFA defenceman Anthony DeAngelo as trade bait. He is a due a nice raise, but he would be someone else’s issue if he’s dealt. Young K’Andre Miller will have every chance to make New York’s opening night roster. Trading DeAngelo also means the Rangers would be also in the market for a lower-pair defenceman to give depth and help their younger defenders.
New York has to deal with the salary cap charge on Kevin Shattenkirk‘s buyout. However, the team could recoup some of that money if Henrik Lundqvist retires or his $8.5 million contract is moved. New York is a team on the rist, but general manager Jeff Gorton needs to make the right moves. He will get an exciting forward in Alexis LaFreniere at the top spot in the draft.
Latest Rumblings blog: Staal, Dumba, Reimer, Palmieri, Eriksson and more:https://t.co/0qSuxfq14V
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) September 17, 2020
Analysis: The Canucks would love to get big deal off the books. Erikson is owed $6 million on his contract this year and next. However, he is owed just $5 million in real cash and that would average to $2.5 million a season. That money figure is a little easier to swallow.
A team like the Ottawa Senators, Detroit Red Wings and Buffalo Sabres are in the market for depth forwards. However, the Canucks are gong to have put in a sweetener to make a team that take contract. It’s similar to what the Toronto Maple Leafs had to do to make the Carolina Hurricanes take Patrick Marleau. The Leafs had to throw in this year’s first-round pick for the Canes to take the veteran. Eriksson does a 15-team no-trade list, but he may forgo that so he can play regular minutes.
Vancouver is already down in choices as its first and second round picks are gone. Would a team be satisfied taking a 2021 secound-rounder from the Canucks? Benning will balk at the asking price of a first-round selection, but his hands are tied.
Rumour: Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston said that the number of fans allowed into buildings will be one of the factors on when the 2020-21 season will start. This topic was brought up on the Saturday night Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada.
Analysis: Johnston added that the league would be comfortable playing with no fans, but increase more as the season moves forward. The league gets nearly half of its revenue from gate receipts and tickets. Hockey is more of a gate-driven league than the NBA and the NFL. The latter two league have tremendous television rights deals that dwarfs the NHL’s.
Gary Bettman says he won't be surprised if the 2020-21 NHL season starts later in December or in January.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) September 19, 2020
League Commissioner Gary Bettman mentioned Dec. 1 as hopeful start date, but that could be moved into later that month or the start of the new year. One factor is the state of the border between the United States and Canada, which has been closed since March. This is a unique situation since seven teams make their home in Canada.
Bettman does want to try an 82-game season, but wants to stay out of playing in the summer. Pulling off a full season and playoffs will be difficult for any league, but the NHL successfully pulled off the bubble. Don’t put anything past them.