With the NHL off-season in its dog days of what usually would be summer, things are starting to slow down. The NHL rumours, however, are still going strong. Even with nothing happening, that doesn’t mean there aren’t things moving in the background. Today we will look at the Chicago Blackhawks, the NHLPA, and the upcoming 2020-21 divisions.
Rumour: Talks between the NHL and NHLPA have hit a snag this week as the NHLPA feels blindsided by the request to defer salary, changing the terms of the new CBA.
Analysis: As recently stated, the NHL has asked the NHLPA to postpone the NHL salaries. This seems to have taken the NHLPA by surprise, as they have recently signed a new CBA, and the NHL is now asking for it to be altered. As there are tough times for everyone, it would stand to reason why the NHL owners would want to defer, however, by the same reasoning, it makes sense why the NHLPA would find this request outrageous.
The NHLPA was hoping for a January 1st start date, however, this is an additional snag they weren’t expecting. Players do not like that the NHL is trying to walk the agreement back. The players had already made concessions of 10% salary deferral when the agreement was negotiated. The players don’t want this to be the reason they don’t start playing, however, it is understandable that they feel slighted. This agreement was reached only a few months ago, with the pandemic in mind, and now the owners are looking for it to be altered so soon. We will have to wait and see how this issue gets resolved.
Rumour: Greg Wyshynski said that he has heard what potential divisions may look like for the 2020-21 season under to accommodate the pandemic.
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) November 19, 2020
Analysis: If these are the divisions the NHL decides to roll out for the upcoming season, it appears relatively balanced. These divisions each have a rounded pool, consisting of Stanley Cup contenders, playoff locks, playoff hopefuls and bottom feeders. It seems to be an extremely balanced set of divisions given the circumstances and is likely the best option.
Travel wise it can be difficult with some teams being hundreds of miles away from each other, but given travel restrictions, it is a necessary evil. Seeing teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers, or St. Louis Blues and Tampa Bay Lightning being in the same divisions could birth some new rivalries. These couldn’t be born in a normal season, so it will be intriguing to see what storylines arise.
Similarly, we won’t see some classic rivalries that we are used to. The Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadephia Flyers would now in different divisions. Similarly, Toronto and the Boston Bruins won’t be able to play as often. This will be disappointing to see, but again it offers the opportunity to see new rivalries emerge.
Rumour: The Chicago Blackhawks think newly acquired defenceman Nikita Zadorov can be a mentor to some of their younger defencemen while also learning from their veterans.
Analysis: The Blackhawks recently acquired Zadorov from the Colorado Avalanche in hopes that he would help out their defence. With Zadorov at 25 years old, the Blackhawks view him both as an experienced player that can help players like Ian Mitchell or Adam Boqvist grow as players. They also hope he can grow himself, and learn from experienced veterans like Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook.
According to Mark Lazerus, the Blackhawks could see Zadorov being paired with either Boqvist or Mitchell. Assuming Ian Mitchell is on the roster, this could have implications for the seventh defenceman, as that leaves Seabrook, Keith, Calvin de Haan, and Connor Murphy. We saw Seabrook as a healthy scratch recently. This could potentially become a more common occurrence if this is what the Blackhawks have planned.
This concludes the NHL rumours for today!
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