It’s another edition of our NHL rumours as we get into the first full week of the truncated regular season. Teams are making moves and shuffling their respective rosters on a daily basis. Injuries are also playing a hand in some roster decisions. We’ll have a double dose of Toronto Maple Leafs rumours and one on the Edmonton Oilers goalie situation.
All NHL rumours come from the original source and are subject to change.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Rumour: Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet was on Sportsnet 590 and said Frederik Andersen‘s play will determine his next contract.
LEAD OFF FRIDAY
— Mike Gentile (@mikegentile590) January 15, 2021
Analysis: Friedman was on the Lead Off with Ziggy and Scotty Mac and said that the Swedish netminder will get a big payday with a good year. However, Andersen has been a notoriously slow starter the last few seasons. The 56-game schedule will magnify that more as Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe started Jack Campbell on Saturday.
Andersen will have a problem if he has a down year because the market could still be slow due to the pandemic. Owners will spend money on talent that can give them a big return. (See the Alex Pietrangelo deal with the Vegas Golden Knights.) However, this off-season’s goalie market won’t be as open as the last one that had many spots available.
Toronto did have a chance to trade him last off-season, but decided against that according to Friedman. Andersen hopes to bounce back so he can cash in this coming off-season.
Rumour: More Toronto rumours as Chris Johnston of Sportsnet reports that veteran forward Jason Spezza will retire if claimed off waivers.
Jason Spezza's agent says the veteran centre will retire if claimed off waivers by another NHL team: https://t.co/ytEdlf5yR8
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) January 17, 2021
Analysis: The Leafs are Spezza’s last stop on a long career that has seen him appear in over 1,200 NHL games. Spezza’s agent Rick Curran told Sporstnet that his client has “unfinished business” with the Leafs. The veteran was placed on waivers along with No. 3 goalie Aaron Dell on Sunday. Dell will likely get picked up as goalies have been picked up frequently in the early part of the season.
The moves were needed to stay cap compliant after Nicholas Robertson‘s injury Saturday at the Ottawa Senators. Toronto had to bring up additional players from the taxi squad because the team had only 17 skaters.
Teams have until noon on Monday to claim Spezza if they want. However, it’s likely that he’ll refuse to report and have his contract terminated. This would allow him to sign a new deal with the Leafs.
Spezza has taken players like Robertson and the younger prospects under his wing as a mentor. The 37-year-old has played about eight minutes a night, but is content with his depth role. He, Joe Thornton and Wayne Simmonds are just the type of low-cost veterans the Leafs have relied on over the last few seasons.
Rumour: Johnston said on Saturday’s Hockey Night in Canada’s Headlines that the Oilers may need an emergency amateur third goalie.
Analysis: The news stems after Edmonton picked up Troy Grosenick from the Los Angeles Kings, but he’ll have to quarantine until later in the month. This also applies to Olivier Rodrigue, who is coming over from Austria, and will have to follow the same provincial health regulations.
Mike Smith was placed on long-term injured reserve and they lost Anton Forsberg after being claimed by the Winnipeg Jets. Mikko Koskinen and Stuart Skinner will be the two Oilers goalies, but the team needs to carry three as per roster regulations. The team is looking into amateur goalies in the area that don’t have to quarantine for the long waiting period.
Johnston added that free agent Jimmy Howard was asked to come in, but was refused because he’s leaning towards retirement. An announcement will likely come in the next few days. Edmonton general manager Ken Holland is familiar with Howard from their days with the Detroit Red Wings.