NHL Rumours: Boston Bruins, Dallas Stars, Carolina Hurricanes

NHL Rumours
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Preview (opens in a new tab)Last Word on Hockey’s NHL Rumours is continuing to hop this week, even as Free Agent Frenzy begins to wind down. General managers are still trying to shuffle money around to fit internal constraints. Plus, there is still a bevy of restricted free agents to sign. Some high-profile players and teams find their way in this week. We break down the Boston Bruins, Dallas Stars, and Carolina Hurricanes in today’s segment.

 

NHL Rumours

Boston Bruins

Rumour: In the latest edition of Elliotte Friedman’s 31 Thoughts, he mentions that the Bruins have pursued Florida Panthers defenceman MacKenzie Weegar.

Analysis: Weegar would be an incredible addition to an already elite Boston squad. They still have holes in their defence to fill after the departure of Torey Krug. Boston’s addition on forward in Craig Smith is likely to make a huge impact on the club.

Boston needs help defensively, something Weegar would immediately contribute. Florida played him in a top pairing role, utilizing him over 20 minutes a night. He was relatively adept offensively, scoring 18 points in 45 games. Weegar also was extremely solid in his own end. He posted a relative Corsi For of 2.2 percent with 53.6 percent of his zone starts coming in the defensive zone. Weegar is almost a two-in-one replacement for Krug and Zdeno Chara. He would help keep the championship window open in Boston for at least one more season.

Dallas Stars

Rumour: Per Sami Hoffren, a Finnish reporter, Julius Honka plans a return to the NHL with the Dallas Stars.

Analysis: After being drafted 14th overall by Dallas in 2014, Honka has struggled to make things work in a full-time role. He’s only played in 87 games across three NHL seasons, tallying only 13 points. While consistently being a positive possession influence, Honka was never able to gather the offensive impact that Dallas had envisioned.

After not being able to agree on a contract with Dallas for the 2019-20 campaign, he returned to Finland to play for JYP in the Liiga. His offensive touch wasn’t exactly rekindled there, either, posting 15 points in 46 games.

However, offence isn’t exactly what Dallas needs out of Honka. If he can continue his solid transitional play, he can step in down the line as players such as Andrej Sekera age out of the lineup. Miro Heiskanen and John Klingberg now fill that role for the Stars, reducing Honka’s responsibility.

Carolina Hurricanes

Rumour: Another mention in Friedman’s 31 Thoughts is that the Hurricanes have begun the process of shopping defenceman Jake Gardiner.

Analysis: Gardiner’s first season as a ‘Cane certainly did not go as planned. He only had 24 points in 68 games, his lowest point total since 2014-15. His advanced metrics were as solid as ever, though. He posted a 55.6 percent Corsi For and a 2.0 percent relative Corsi. These numbers could be influenced by his deployment in Carolina, however. His 55.9 offensive zone start percentage in 2019-20 was the highest of his career.

That stat makes his offensive struggles all the more concerning. He was already being given plenty of opportunity to succeed. Carolina has a logjam of defensive prospects, as players like Jake Bean will be challenging for an NHL job come training camp. Gardiner appears to be the odd man out as he enters decline.

That’s it for another version of NHL rumours, be sure to check again for our next article.

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