NHL Rumours: Chicago Blackhawks, Florida Panthers, Prorated Salaries

NHL Rumours
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The new season is looming closer by the day and NHL rumours are starting to pile up. There are plenty of important decisions looming ahead for every team in the NHL. Big names remain unsigned as franchises are figuring out what direction to take this upcoming season. The Chicago Blackhawks are one such team as they made a big announcement yesterday. The Florida Panthers are still figuring out how to handle the contract of a young defenceman. Lastly, are prorated salaries coming to the NHL next season? We will break it down in the latest edition of NHL Rumours.

NHL Rumours:

Chicago Blackhawks

Rumour: The Blackhawks have released an official team statement saying that they are entering a rebuilding phase.

Analysis: Blackhawks fans may want to look away now. A team that has struggled for the last few seasons is officially headed into rebuild mode. With some bright young stars rising through the ranks, the franchise has their eyes set on the future. The days of winning Stanley Cups on the backs of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, and Duncan Keith are over. With that in mind, the team would like to keep most of the core around. The stars of yesterday could mould the next generation of Blackhawks legends.

The team may be keeping their core in the building, but several players are clearly on the trade block. Players like Calvin de Haan and Andrew Shaw are players the team would ideally move on from. While the two of them still have plenty of hockey left in front of them, they will be much older when the team is ready to contend again. While they may have fit the short term plans a couple of years ago, they do not fit the long term vision now. Don’t be surprised to see the team move on from them in the next few months.

Florida Panthers

Rumour: According to David Pagnotta of Sirius XM NHL Radio, MacKenzie Weegar and his agent are unhappy with current contract negotiations with the Florida Panthers.

Analysis: Weegar has been the subject of trade rumours in the past few weeks. It is very clear that while the Panthers would like to hold onto the restricted free agent, but they are open to all options. Weegar is looking for a new contract and based on his role, he is in line for a pay bump. After making a meager $1.6 million last season, he is most certainly deserving of more money next year.

Weegar’s offensive numbers are at a career-high. Prior to this season, he had posted 23 points in 127 games for 0.18 points per game. In the 2019-20 season, he managed to put up 18 points in a mere 45 games. That comes out to 0.4 points per game, double his career total. While those numbers may not be sustainable for him, only time will tell. Weegar is a talented player who started to produce at just the right time. We have seen this story before where a player has a career year when looking for a new contract. Once the ink dries, they go back to subpar play. Weegar is looking to capitalize on that fact. We will just have to wait and see if last season is the new normal for him.

Prorated Salaries

Rumour: As reported on TSN’s Insider Trading Segment, the NHL and NHLPA are discussing the possibility of prorated salaries for the upcoming season.

Analysis: The NHL has never been afraid to have a lockout. That could be coming sooner rather than later. With a discussion on prorated salaries coming in the near future, the NHL could be in for a long conflict. Prorated salaries are not ideal for anyone involved but the league also lost money by putting on the Stanley Cup Finals this past season. This is a business first and foremost. The owners will not be happy with that fact and will likely use prorated salaries this upcoming season to offset the costs of finishing the 2019-20 season.

We saw this scenario play out with the MLB this summer. Prorated salaries were a major topic of discussion going into the 2020 season. Talks took so long to wrap up that we wound up not having baseball for several weeks past what was initially planned. If the NHL wants to implement prorated salaries, they could be in for a similar battle. It has been reported in weeks past that the league wants to target January 1, 2020, as a tentative start date. If a heated debate breaks out over prorated salaries, the NHL may have to kiss that start date goodbye.

That does it for today’s NHL rumours. Check back tomorrow for another edition!