The NHL trade deadline is usually going down this time of the year, but this is a season unlike any other. There are still plenty of NHL rumours as we close in on April 12. Teams are trying to load up for a playoff run or lockdown critical assets for the future. There are also questions on whether the NHL Draft will go off in July. Today’s NHL rumours focus on the Toronto Maple Leafs, St. Louis Blues and the 2021 NHL Draft.
All NHL rumours come from the original source and are subject to change.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Rumour: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman appeared on Sportsnet 590 and discussed their trade deadline plans.
Analysis: Friedman added that the team is looking for someone to play with John Tavares and William Nylander. Toronto is hoping they can have that line get to another level. Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews have been playing well, but the club would like another line to expand its scoring options.
He equated the Leafs situation to a poker player going all in when they have a good hand. Toronto is looking to get its first playoff series win since the 2003-04 post-season and first Stanley Cup Final since they won in 1967.
A previous edition or NHL rumours talked about some prospective winger choices like Mikael Granlund of the Nashville Predators. He would require a second or third-round pick, but he’s been woeful on the penalty kill. Other candidates may shake out before the deadline, but Kyle Dubas may be willing to roll the dice this season.
St. Louis Blues
Rumour: The Athletic’s Sarah Goldstein examined what Jordan Binnington‘s next contract will look like.
Binnington leads the #stlblues onto the ice for pre-game warmups.
The 27-year-old goaltender will be an unrestricted free agent next offseason. How much will it cost to keep him? The Blues are about to find out.https://t.co/8XkDzLvj0W
— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) February 19, 2021
Analysis: Goldstein mentioned colleague Jeremy Rutherford’s recent article on what Binnington will get on the market. The Blues netminder draws comparisons to Jacob Markstrom‘s six-year, $36 million deal with the Calgary Flames. A new prospective deal would also be similar to what the Vegas Golden Knights gave Robin Lehner at five years and $25 million.
Binnington gambled on himself with a two-year bridge contract that runs out at the of the season. He’ll be looking to cash and has an 8-4-2 mark with .913 save percentage and 2.53 goals-against-average. His play has impressed his general manager Doug Armstrong to call him one of the better goalies in the league.
Armstrong assured that Binnington will likely get his payday this coming off-season. It’s a matter of the Blues being able to make the space they need to give him the deal he needs.
2021 NHL Draft
Rumour: Friedman discussed the possibility of moving the NHL Draft back from July 23-24.
Headlines: Lake Tahoe/US TV deal/Predators/2021 Draft/ Mike Babcock….w/@reporterchris https://t.co/k4aKpTXuOM
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) February 21, 2021
Analysis: He added that teams are for the idea of moving the draft back due to the lack of junior hockey seasons. However, there is uncertainty on if the draft will get pushed back.
The players are worried that they’ll still have to wait seven years before hitting unrestricted free agency. Some are hoping that that time can get knocked down to six seasons. Other issues are about players that get drafted from the CHL. The normal time frame is two years before they can re-enter the draft, but some are wanting it to drop down to one due to the circumstances. Freidman added these roadblocks will be a big challenge to overcome.