Welcome back to the Sunday edition of NHL Rumours! The NHL season continues to roll on. Even as the league rearranges the schedule on the fly, there will be some teams still looking for that one piece or two that can carry them into the playoffs. While other teams will be sellers looking towards the future. The crew at Last Word on Hockey has you covered with the best analysis. In today’s edition of NHL Rumours looks at the Nashville Predators, Philadelphia Flyers, and U.S. National TV Rights.
Friedman on Headlines reports it looks like there will be 3 untouchables for the #Preds: Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis and Pekka Rinne.
Friedman notes it’s interesting Dante Fabbro didn’t make the “untouchable” list for Nashville.
— NHL Watcher (@NHL_Watcher) February 21, 2021
Analysis: This is very interesting to hear that the Predators only have three untouchables and two of them are older players on the team. Rinne is getting up there in years and his time in the NHL is winding down. Roman Josi is the backbone of their defence along with Ryan Ellis. But to hear that Filip Forsberg could be traded is definitely a shocker. Forsberg again leads the team in offence with 14 points this season. He has been their leading scorer since arriving in Nashville. It is difficult to imagine the Predators without Forsberg.
Another surprise name not on that list is Dante Fabbro. The Predators have high hopes for Fabro as they took him in the first round 16th overall in the 2016 NHL Draft. In 16 games this season he has six points for the Predators. Interesting to see that a guy like Fabbro isn’t a piece the Predators want to build around. However, ever since the Predators made the Stanley Cup Final in 2017, everything has been on a downhill trajectory. A major overhaul in Nashville is coming. It is just a matter of time before names start leaving and the team heads towards another rebuild.
Rumour: Charlie O’Connor of The Athletic was asked in his latest mailbag what the Philadelphia Flyers biggest need was and he wrote the Flyers are in need of another defenceman.
Analysis: The Flyers are one of the top teams in the East Division however if they think they are going to be a contender to win the Stanley Cup they will need another defenceman. Ivan Provorov can only do so much back there and carry the Flyers’ defence. However, he is not a lock it down defenceman, he is more of an offensive-minded defenceman. The loss of Matt Niskanen to retirement did not do them any favours. Provorov can certainly eat minutes for the Flyers so they do not need that. What they do need is someone that can compliment Provorov. A guy similar to Zach Bogosian would be ideal for the Flyers to get.
It will be interesting to see if the Flyers make a run on a guy like Mattias Ekholm from Nashville, who is rumoured to be on the trade blocks. Ekholm can bring that lock-down style the Flyers are looking for. The big thing for the Flyers will be the cost to get the player. You know the Predators will not give him away for free. But having a guy like Ekholm could relieve some of the pressure on a guy like Justin Braun. One thing is for sure the Flyers will make a move to enhance their chances once the playoffs come.
U.S. National TV Rights
Rumour: Chris Johnston on Saturday Headlines reports that ESPN will be a part of the next U.S. National TV Deal when the deal announced.
Chris Johnston on Headlines reports ESPN will be a part of the next national U.S. TV deal, won’t be entirely theirs, but they will be a part of it.
— NHL Watcher (@NHL_Watcher) February 21, 2021
Analysis: It is no surprise that ESPN will want to sink its teeth into the next television that will run past the current CBA in the NHL. ESPN had the NHL on its airwaves prior to the 2004-05 lockout. You had to wonder if ESPN was going to find a way to get the NHL back. Considering what is going on at NBC, with them getting rid of NBCSN, the time is now for ESPN to strike. Interestingly enough, ESPN will not have exclusive rights to the league, most likely another TV partner will be involved. Either FOX or NBC will be the other major network involved in broadcasting the NHL through the U.S. Right now, ESPN has hockey games streaming on ESPN+, but it is just them simulcasting games from other networks. They will want to broadcast games from their studios.
And it is a good thing having ESPN back in the fold. The company still has a lot of personalities still there from when ESPN had the NHL the first time. And everyone knows how great NHL 2 Night was on ESPN2. The big thing for ESPN in this deal will be broadcasting playoff games? In an ideal world, that is something the network will want because that is where the money is made. And with NBC moving sporting events to USA Network, if the NHL does stay with NBC, does Wednesday night hockey remain on USA Network or ESPN? Still, a lot of questions to be announced, but one thing is for sure two networks will be involved.
That does it for this edition of NHL Rumours. Stay tuned for another edition on Monday.
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