The NHL season is in full swing, and there are lots of moves being made still while each team figures out what is working and what isn’t for their roster. With lots of moving parts in the background, there are numerous NHL rumours as a result. Today we will be looking at NHL rumours surrounding the Calgary Flames, the New York Rangers, and the NHL Draft Lottery.
Analysis: We’ve known that Sam Bennett wants out of Calgary for quite some time. The rumours have been moving, and it seems a number of teams have inquired. The three teams that Friedman listed are all teams in the USA. This means a similar quarantine process will be required for Bennett and whoever the return is as it was for Pierre-Luc Dubois and Laine. The Flames would have to be able to make due without their return for a while. The Flames are currently on the outside looking in for the playoffs in the North. If they want immediate help from their return, they’d have to look within Canada for that.
The Colorado Avalanche inquiring would certainly indicate that they’re looking at Bennett as a depth piece to take a deep run this year. He would also fill as a stop-gap with some injuries they’ve had. The Ducks inquiring would be looking at Bennett as a still-young player that they can hopefully turn around. And Columbus at this point needs to round out their forward group after the loss of Mikko Koivu. Each of the teams that have inquired makes sense, it’s just a matter of will it happen.
New York Rangers
Rumour: According to Dave Pagnotta, the NHL could be forced to replace the participating teams at Lake Tahoe next week. If they were to replace a team, it appears the New York Rangers are the leading option to step in.
The NHL hopes to keep next week's 'NHL Outdoors at Lake Tahoe' games scheduled as is, but they have options should they be forced to replace teams. I'm told the NY Rangers are one option, and while there has been no decision yet, a team source tells me "we are willing if needed."
— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) February 11, 2021
Analysis: There have been lots of teams going into COVID-19 protocol lately. With the Philadelphia Flyers having their games postponed, it certainly seems like the safest route would to be replace the participating teams. According to Pagnotta, if the NHL subs out on of the teams, they would switch out both. Meaning if the Flyers cannot play, it would seem like the Boston Bruins could be out as well. That leaves a second spot available for participation at Lake Tahoe.
The team suggested as the second alternative is the Washington Capitals, as the Rangers and Caps play on the 20th and 21st of February. While no one has reached out from the league to the Capitals organization, a new plan of Rangers vs Capitals makes sense. Another alternative could be to include the New York Islanders. It would create more hype around a special outdoor game for a battle of New York.
NHL Draft Lottery
Rumour: According to Pierre Lebrun on Insider Trading, the NHL is working on changing the NHL Draft Lottery format moving forward.
LeBrun on Insider Trading: "NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly confirming to me that the league is working on changing the format for the draft lottery and something's going to be presented to the Board of Governors sooner rather than later."
— NHL Watcher (@NHL_Watcher) February 12, 2021
Analysis: This makes sense, as there have been far too many teams making the jump in the lottery lately. We look at the Detroit Red Wings falling to 4th overall in 2020 despite being far and away the worst team in the league. We’ve seen the Dallas Stars make a massive jump over the Colorado Avalanche in 2017, and numerous others. Far too many last-place teams have missed out on the 1st overall pick of late.
A change to make the lottery odds more in favour of the bottom teams would be desirable, as tanking is one of the few reliable options to rebuild. The low chances at first overall for the last place team make tanking become a guessing game, as someone who nearly made the playoffs can jump you. It should be interesting to see the new odds that will come out from this and to see how much more they favour last-place teams.
Embed from Getty Images