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NHL Rumours: Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes, 2020-21 Season

NHL Rumours

As American Thanksgiving approaches, business around the NHL isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Last Word on Hockey’s NHL Rumours series continues, bringing you the best of the best of what we can find going on around the league. Today, we investigate a potential trade, contract extension, and some important considerations surrounding next season. The Boston Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes have finagled their way into this of NHL Rumours edition.

NHL Rumours

Boston Bruins

Rumour: In order to alleviate their defensive depth issues, the Bruins may look to trade prized prospect Urho Vaakanainen to upgrade their NHL blue-line via Boston Hockey Now’s Joe Haggerty.

Analysis: If this deal goes through, it may be a tough pill to swallow for Bruins fans. Much hype has surrounded him in the fanbase since he was drafted 18th overall in 2017. However, if it means that Boston can safely extend their championship window for 2020-21, it may not be such a bad move.

Vaakanainen was never going to be a fancy player and has very little potential offensively, but he was almost certainly going to be an integral part of this Bruins team moving forward as a defensive role-player. Long-term, he’s likely to slot in a bottom- or second-pairing role. His defensive ability is highly valued around the league and could entice quite a return. While he would’ve been nice to have, Boston retains their first-round pick in a defence-heavy 2021 NHL Entry Draft. And if they can’t snag their guy there, defensive specialists can generally be had in free agency. Stability would’ve been nice. But, it may be worth it to package him in order to win another championship with this core.

Carolina Hurricanes

Rumour: ‘Canes general manager Don Waddell is expected to begin work soon on a possible contract extension for pending restricted free agent Andrei Svechnikov, via NBC Sports’ James O’Brien.

Analysis: The Hurricanes are a team, historically, that hasn’t had big stars. Naturally, their revenues (and budget) have been on the lower side of the league. Now with a big star to sign and financial uncertainty due to the pandemic, Carolina could be forced to make some decisions.

The offseason of 2021 will be a transformative one for the franchise. Not only is an extension due out to Svechnikov, but both their goaltenders and a solid crew of depth forwards will also all be unrestricted free agents. Some guy named Dougie Hamilton will need a new deal too. A relatively tame rookie season from Svech before his breakout this year may work in Carolina’s favour here. With financial constraints, Waddell may need to work out a bridge deal with Svechnikov in order to keep Carolina in the playoff conversation. A number in the $6 million range may be likely, but will probably only last for two (maybe three) seasons.

2020-21 NHL Season

Rumour: Per the New York Post’s Larry Brooks, the NHL is asking for a prorated salary deferral from its players in advance of the 2020-21 campaign.

Analysis: The NHL currently stands behind all three of its major North American competitors. The NFL continues through its season. The MLB’s offseason is still in its waxing stage. The NBA has a concrete plan for the 2020-21 season. The league is falling behind, and this news can’t help.

This news comes after the recently litigated Collective Bargaining Agreement stated that players would only defer 10 percent of their 2020-21 salary. The league is asking for an additional 13 percent, not including escrow and taxes. It means that some players may receive less than half of their published salary this season if they agree to it.

News flash – they won’t. If the NHL can’t find other ways to recoup operating revenue for this year, the season may be lost. Players will not be willing to defer additional salary just months after it was guaranteed to them. After successful harmony was reached over the new CBA, it seems to be falling apart quickly between the league and players.

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