Everyone knew that COVID-19 would impact the season in some way and cause NHL rumours. Now several weeks into the season, a plethora of games have been postponed. The biggest long-term impact, however, has been the flat salary cap. That flat cap could result in a certain Montreal Canadien wing hitting free agency this offseason. The Toronto Maple Leafs could be looking to make a move in the coming days. Finally, the Columbus Blue Jackets are looking to quiet the media after a few trying weeks. Here are today’s NHL Rumours.
Montreal has been spectacular so far this season. Part of the reason for their success comes from Tatar’s ability to generate offence. Tatar scored at just shy of a point per game pace last season and has 58 points in 80 games during his first season in Montreal. At the rate he has been scoring, he will be due for a raise. His current contract pays him $4.8 million and expires at the end of this season.
The Canadiens have several big decisions to make during the offseason. Other players who are due for contract extensions include Phillip Danault, Joel Armia, Artturi Lehkonen, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, and Victor Mete. The latter two are also still on their entry-level contracts and will be looking for their first real payday. The Canadiens would surely like to bring Tatar back, but it would be an uphill battle financially as they are already spending to the salary cap.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Rumour: Elliotte Friedman reported on Sportsnet that the Toronto Maple Leafs could be looking to add a winger to the roster.
— Tim and Sid (@timandsid) February 11, 2021
The Toronto Maple Leafs are a team in trouble. Joe Thornton and Nicholas Robertson have both suffered injuries that will keep them out of the lineup for a substantial amount of time. In a shortened season, any injury will have a larger impact than it typically would. In order to compensate, the Maple Leafs may be looking to add another forward to the roster.
The Maple Leafs already have a very talented roster. Many consider them to be contenders to win the Stanley Cup this season. That also means this team is right up against the salary cap. They had a difficult time signing the players they already had on the roster, much less adding more names. If Toronto is interested in adding more talent to the roster, they will need to come at a low cost. This team does not have many expensive contracts to send the other way without potentially compromising their ability to contend.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Rumour: Elliotte Friedman is reporting via 31 Thoughts that Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen may need things to start quieting down after a noisy few weeks in Ohio.
31 Thoughts: Enjoy! https://t.co/JgowTjko4N
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) February 10, 2021
The Columbus Blue Jackets have had a tumultuous few weeks. The team had to deal with the headache that was Pierre-Luc Dubois‘ trade request. They finally traded him. Things appeared to be looking up after bringing in superstar scorer Patrik Laine and hometown kid Jack Roslovic. Then head coach John Tortorella benched Laine. More headlines arose. Now veteran forward Mikko Koivu has announced his retirement from the NHL. This has been one of the loudest seasons we have ever seen in Columbus.
One of the trademarks of the Blue Jackets throughout Jarmo Kekalainen’s tenure as general manager is that they are a quiet team. They go about their business and play a defensive style of hockey. The team wins some games. They manage to sneak into the playoffs. Then they cause some trouble and make an exit early in the playoffs. Kekalainen must be hoping that the noise will stop and things go back to the way they were before. National headlines do not come out of Columbus.
That does it for this edition of NHL Rumours. Be sure to check back tomorrow for more.