NHL News & Rumors: Rangers, Capitals, Maple Leafs, Kraken, More

In today’s NHL news and rumors rundown, the chaos that has come out of the Tom Wilson incident in Monday’s game between the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals continues to grow. Two Rangers executives were fired, the team has been fined by the NHL and an ex-Ranger has offered up his hand to help rebuild the franchise rebuild in the ‘right way’. Meanwhile, there is injury news coming out of Toronto and discussion about Morgan Rielly being a tradeable asset. Finally, there’s a wrinkle in the NHL Expansion Draft rules the Seattle Kraken will want to keep in mind.

Rangers Fined $250K For Statement Against NHL

The Rangers were fined $250K for calling out the NHL, specifically the Department of Player Safety and suggesting the league consider firing George Parros. It’s a fine that is 50 times bigger than the one Wilson received for his involvement in the chaos from Monday’s game, but it’s not a huge surprise considering the NHL has a history of severely penalizing teams for speaking out against the league.

Meanwhile, former New York Rangers star Mark Messier has volunteered his services to the Rangers to help put together a more physical and competitive team that can win on the streets or in the alley. Mollie Walker of The New York Post quoted Messier who said, “I’ve made it very clear that I’ve been standing by ready to help out in any way for many years. I don’t really know what else to say.”

When asked if he thought he could coach without any NHL experience, he responded, “One thousand percent.” When asked about his take on the way the team was constructed by the former GM, Messier said, “I particularly would not have built the team that didn’t have answers in this regard.”

Related: Rangers Try to Send Message On and Off the Ice

Maple Leafs Injury Updates

There is injury news on two key players for the Maple Leafs. First, Frederik Andersen took part in a full practice, which was good news for the team. Shawn McKenzie and Chris Johnston of Sportsnet spoke about Andersen’s short-term future and said that Andersen will get in one additional Leafs practice and then head to the American Hockey League on a conditioning stint. He’ll play for the Toronto Marlies at least half the game on Thursday afternoon against the Manitoba Moose and the team will reassess him from there.

Speculation is that the Maple Leafs’ will try to get him into one of their two final games at the end of the regular season before entering the playoffs.

As for Nick Foligno, he will “miss at least these next two games for the Leafs – Thursday and Saturday – (but as of yet there was) no commitment beyond that point.”

Could the Maple Leafs Consider Moving Morgan Rielly?

Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star recently wrote that the play and development of defenseman Rasmus Sandin could pose trouble for fellow Maple Leafs’ defenseman Morgan Rielly. McGran suggests if the club develops faith in Sandin, trading Rielly and his $5 million cap hit for next season to free up money to re-sign Zach Hyman and Frederik Andersen is a distinct possibility.

Morgan Rielly Toronto Maple Leafs
Morgan Rielly, Toronto Maple Leafs (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

McGran writes:

And for a Maple Leafs team with salary-cap restrictions, Sandin at $894,167 (U.S.) through the end of next year would be a gift. If he can play top-four minutes — five-on-five and power play — well, things could get a little uncomfortable if your name is Morgan Rielly.

source – ‘Mailbag: The rise of Rasmus Sandin could be a gift for the Maple Leafs, and change the Morgan Rielly equation’ – Kevin McGran – Toronto Star – 04/30/2021

If the Leafs do decide to shop Rielly, McGran feels Toronto could fetch a return comparable to the first-round pick and prospect the Leafs got for shipping Kaspari Kapanen to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Kraken Will Have to Pay Back Player Bonuses

Elliotte Friedman noted in his recent 31 Thoughts column that if the Seattle Kraken select someone in the expansion draft who had received a bonus on July 1st, they will have to re-pay the players’ previous team. He writes, “Something else to calculate in your mock drafts.”

Friedman also added that the Kraken must draft at $48.9 million in salary cap in the draft. Friedman said his sources believe other teams are thinking they will target the minimum — unless incentivized to do otherwise. This means that teams won’t likely be able to pawn off high-priced contracts to the Kraken without a real sweetener. The Kraken absolutely want to weaponization their space.