In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is news that Artemi Panarin might skip next season, the Ottawa Senators are looking at what to do with Brady Tkachuk, and one scribe looks at changes coming to the Pacific Division. Finally, the Toronto Maple Leafs are trying to get creative when it comes to using this pause to become a more cohesive team.
Panarin to Skip Next Season?
According to Sport.ru [requires translation] out of Russia, Artemi Panarin of the New York Rangers is under the impression NHL players will have to take major pay cuts and if those pay cuts are too big, he may just sit out the season.
In most industries, workers and employees have taken a financial hit when it comes to the COVID-19 virus. Hockey players may be asked to do so too. When the conversation about pay decreases came up, “100%, they think,” Panarin. He absolutely believes players will be asked to cut salaries.
At that point, it becomes how much is too much? “Ahh. I think we will have less. If 40 to 60 percent, then why am I doing this at all? Then I will probably skip the next year,” he said. He then said he would jump to the KHL if the NHL asked him to take too big a salary cut.
Panarin made other comments about the amount of tax he’d pay, even with a salary cut and how the KHL doesn’t pay nearly that amount of tax.
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Senators and Tkachuk Contract Extension Talk
During a round-table talk on The Athletic, Max Bultman, Lisa Dillman and Hailey Salvian spoke about one of the important question facing the Ottawa Senators this off-season — that being the contract extension for forward Brady Tkachuk.
Tkachuk has one-year left on his deal and will be eligible for an extension once the free agent period opens. They write:
He’ll be in team control when his ELC expires, but the big question is will Tkachuk also take the leap and sign long-term? Will he do it before next summer and avoid offer-sheet drama? Will he ask for a bridge deal? These are the biggest questions. Honestly, I don’t have the answers for them right now, but I hope to address them in a story soon.source -‘ Roundtable: Evaluating and projecting the future for the NHL’s worst teams’ Max Bultman, Lisa Dillman and Hailey Salvian – The Athletic – 04/09/2020
Pacific Division Rumors
The Score’s Sean O’Learly recently looked at a number of questions facing Pacific Division teams. He took a look at each franchise one-by-one and asked one question they’ll be facing heading into next season.
He asked, ‘What is the direction for the Anaheim Ducks?’ and said that the team may look at trading some key pieces as part of their rebuild. Could they consider shopping veterans such as Adam Henrique, Rickard Rakell, Cam Fowler and Josh Manson?
In Calgary, he asked if either T.J. Brodie or Travis Hamonic will be back next season and noted Travis Hamonic shouldn’t be too expensive to retain. He also wondered if recently-acquired Erik Gustafsson might be offered a team-friendly deal.
He believes the Edmonton Oilers will make it a priority to find cheap reinforcements so young players like Kailer Yamamoto, Ethan Bear, and Evan Bouchard can develop even further.
Maple Leafs Using Pause to Get Creative
Auston Matthews said, as per a TSN report, that head coach Sheldon Keefe is trying to find creative ways during the NHL pause to get the Toronto Maple Leafs to gel better as a team. Matthews said:
“I think he kind of pinpointed the fact that he’s been looking to use this moment and find different ways for the team to be better, areas of weaknesses and strengths and stuff like that. I think that shows a commitment to being the best coach that he can be and obviously help the team as much as possible.”
The Maple Leafs haven’t always been accused of having the best team chemistry, especially considering how front-heavy the team has been designed. Part of the problem has been the way the team starts games. “I think for us, just trying to have more of a killer mentality in the way we start games [would be big],” he said.
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Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”