We’re getting closer to the projected start date of January 13th and the NHL rumours are picking up. There are still major questions to be asked involving salary cap space and trades. Activity will pick up in one of the most unique off-seasons in league history. Today’s NHL rumours focus on how international trades will work, the Tampa Bay Lightning and New Jersey Devils.
All NHL rumours come from the original source and are subject to change.
Rumour: TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reported that there will be no restrictions on trades between teams in the United States and Canada. However, local health laws will be enforced.
INSIDER TRADING: #TSNHockey Insiders discuss…
– NHL/NHLPA expecting votes next week
– Why some are skeptical of mid-Jan. start
– Season may start with hybrid hubs
– No trade restrictions between 🇺🇸 & 🇨🇦 teams
– Coaches may be wearing masks
— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) December 10, 2020
Analysis: COVID-19 has put up plenty of road blocks and the international border issue was close to be a being a major headache. However, players will have to quarantine based on local health laws. Some states like New York and California have stricter protocols while Florida and Texas are more relaxed with regulations.
General managers will have to think about these regulations when making deals at the still undecided trade deadline. A team may be forced to plan ahead if they want to make a deal for a player to stay in contention. However, the league will be in communication with local health departments to make sure they’re following regulations.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Rumour: Elliotte Friedman said on Sportsnet 960 that rumour started in Europe said the Lightning may trade for Henrik Zetterberg‘s long-term injured reserve spot. The Detroit Red Wings will likely take the contract of Tyler Johnson, but Friedman is skeptical on the report.
— Sportsnet 960 (@Sportsnet960) December 11, 2020
Analysis: Tampa Bay does need to get under the salary cap and getting Johnson’s $5 million off the books would be huge. The Lightning forward carries that cap number through the 2023-24 season. Tampa has to find a way to sign re-sign restricted free agents Erik Cernak and Anthony Cirelli. The Lightning are currently over the cap of $81.5 million. Dealing Johnson and acquiring Zetterberg’s contract would be a big boost to signing the young duo.
Detroit holds the power as they have over $9.5 million in cap space and could ask for a draft choice as a sweetener. Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman is also familiar with the Tampa Bay organization. He was general manager of the Lightning. Detroit does have to sign RFAs Tyler Bertuzzi and Filip Hronek next season.
New Jersey Devils
Weaponizing cap space and remaining patient should be the Devils' strategy right now.
Our staff chimes in how New Jersey navigate the next few seasons ⤵️https://t.co/kiBpgK5EG0
— The Athletic NHL (@TheAthleticNHL) December 12, 2020
Analysis: Lots of teams are up against the cap and New Jersey has extra cap space to make them a player. The Ryan Murray trade is something the staff would like to see more of. They took advantage of the Columbus Blue Jackets cap situation to get a solid player.
New Jersey does need help on its bottom-six and the article recommended the Devils should take shots at getting Mike Hoffman or Mikael Granlund. That could put the Devils in the mix for a playoff spot if they get off to a good start. However, they could be used as trade bait if things go south. New Jersey will try to stay on schedule in its rebuild as they have solid young players like Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes.
The Devils do have $4 million in dead space due to buyouts and recapture fees for Cory Schneider, Mike Cammalleri and Ilya Kovalchuk. New Jersey also has the albatross contract of $9 million thanks to getting P.K. Subban last off-season. However, the Devils do have flexibility this season and can fill some of their lineup holes.