Hello and welcome to a Monday edition of NHL Rumours! News is a little slow, but the season is approaching. Hopefully, that means activity around the league will start to increase. Last Word on Hockey will bring you the best news and analysis each day as soon as things are announced. Today’s NHL rumours feature the Calgary Flames, the NHL restart plans, and discussions about selling advertisements on uniforms.
All NHL rumours come from the original source.
Rumour: Sportsnet had a recent podcast where it provided some thoughts on how Calgary could approach the upcoming expansion draft.
The Daily #Flames Roundtable give their take on how the #Flames could approach the Kraken's Expansion Drafthttps://t.co/JVEdKkkJNG
— Sportsnet 960 (@Sportsnet960) December 11, 2020
Analysis: Calgary has a fairly easy decision on its hands when it comes to which protection strategy it will use. It makes far more sense, given the Flames’ forward depth, to protect seven forwards, three defenders, and one goaltender. That choice will lead to other, more challenging, decisions before the critical draft.
A lot will hinge on Milan Lucic‘s decision to waive his no-movement clause. The team would love it if he did since they can protect one more young skater and possibly remove Lucic’s cap hit of $5.25 million. If he doesn’t, Calgary risks Seattle taking a skater under the age of 28 like Sam Bennett or Andrew Mangiapane. Lucic not waiving his clause could force the Calgary front office to make an advance deal with the Seattle Kraken to protect one of the potentially available assets they can’t protect. It’s safe to say the NHL’s newest franchise will extract some value from Calgary prior to the draft in exchange for not picking someone the Flames would prefer to retain.
The Flames also have to make decisions on defence, but those are much simpler. Noah Hanifin and Rasmus Andersson are the only Flames who are still young and critical when it comes to protection. That leaves just one more choice under the 7-3-1 strategy. That third should absolutely be Chris Tanev or Oliver Kylington and not Mark Giordano. The Flames captain is old and wouldn’t be someone Seattle targets as it builds a young, competitive roster that can compete right away.
Rumour: The TSN staff recently discussed how the NHL and Player’s Association will approach a start that is only five weeks away.
Analysis: It is certainly hard to imagine how everything can come together between now and January 13th. That is roughly 30 days from today. It’s not impossible, but parties need to consider how quickly players overseas can return to North America, quarantine, and then start an abbreviated training camp so everyone is mostly ready to drop the puck as soon as possible.
That isn’t to say it’s impossible, however. The league and players have apparently agreed on a modification regarding salaries and finances that was first discussed earlier this year. That is the sort of discussion that weighed professional baseball down for almost four months, but hockey seems to have overcome that far more quickly. Getting everything organized in five weeks is simply a matter of logistics.
There are still obvious concerns about health and safety protocols. Teams may have to play outside or in arenas other than their traditional homes if local circumstances dictate. The more quickly the league can determine its timeline, the faster it can begin negotiating with authorities to ensure its intended start date actually happens.
More from the NHL
Rumour: Sportsnet also revealed that the NHL was looking into placing ads on uniforms late last week.
Analysis: Ads on uniforms are far from uncommon outside of North America. European hockey teams and football clubs often have uniforms with enough ads to qualify as “busy”. Nascar is the sport most people might identify with large advertisements, but the NBA authorized small ads on jerseys in the last several seasons. The NHL will follow eventually. It’s just a matter of time.
The most important things to consider with uniform ads are how the money is split and where they will be located. It’s likely that the revenue from uniform ads is split evenly, but new sources of money aren’t simple discussions in professional sports. It could be a contentious modification to collective bargaining. It’s not even clear how much money the league would make with this idea. The pandemic has affected finances all across North America. Finding someone willing to take a chance with uniform ads could be a significant challenge.
As far as placement is concerned, the helmet or shorts are the logical places to begin. They are the largest pieces of gear that players wear that don’t have large logos like the jersey. Players will certainly want to avoid the loudness of European hockey jerseys if they can. North American sports are very much about the logo on the jersey and very little else. The few exceptions are usually in support of a cause, honouring an important figure, or celebrating a postseason or international event. Anything beyond that is largely uncharted territory.