NHL Rumors: Krug, Barzal, NHL Teams Going Out of Business?

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, a hockey scribe looks at five possible destinations for Torey Krug, the New York Islanders may be adding a goaltender from the KHL, and there are updates on talks between the Isles and Mathew Barzal. Finally, is it feasible that a longer NHL pause could force some NHL organizations to go bankrupt and not survive? One NHL insider seems to think so.

Where Will Krug Wind Up?

Matt Larkin of The Hockey News recently looked at the hot topic of Torey Krug potentially leaving the Boston Bruins. Bruins GM Don Sweeney has said he’d like to keep Krug but Krug is hinting that he’s not sure where he stands with the organization or whether or not they can afford to keep him.

Torey Krug
Boston Bruins Torey Krug (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

Larkin lists five potential destinations for the 29-year-old defenseman, who will become an unrestricted free agent in the off-season. Assuming a deal can’t be worked out with the Bruins (who is in Larkin’s top five), he also mentions the Detroit Red Wings, who have lots of cap space to add him. His other three clubs are the Vegas Golden Knights (have a need on the blueline), the Montreal Canadiens (who want to make a splash) and the Florida Panthers.

Of the options available, the Red Wings have the most money to spend but the Bruins still seem like the most likely option.

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Ilya Sorokin Coming Back to NHL?

Sport-Express’ Igor Eronko reports (Twitter link) that Ilya Sorokin has turned down an extension offer from CSKA Moscow of the KHL, potentially setting up his signing with New York Islanders. He can’t sign until his current deal expires at the end of the month but the expectation is he’ll do so.

Ilya Sorokin
(Ilya Sorokin. Photo: Sergei Manzheleyev, www.ak-bars.ru)

Sorokin was a third-round pick (78th overall) back in 2014 but has caught the eye of a number of the Islanders’ scouts with his play and statistics and they are eager to have him come over. He will likely slot in alongside Semyon Varlamov as New York’s tandem for next season, which means Thomas Greiss will not be extended as a pending unrestricted free agent, and will be available on the open market.

A deal between the Islanders and Sorokin may not be announced for some time, as much of what happens will depend on the NHL’s plans for the rest of this season and next.

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Barzal Not Talking Extension

Still with the Islanders, Mathew Barzal recently told reporters, including NHL.com’s Brian Compton, that there are not updates as far as a contract extension goes with the Islanders organization.

Mathew Barzal New York Islanders
Mathew Barzal, New York Islanders (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

He explains:

To be honest with you guys, I don’t think there’s been too much communication, and not because there’s anything negative or anything, it’s just Lou’s getting ready for a playoff run right now, and I’m still worried about this season as well.  I’m not too too worried about it, just because I don’t think the season is over yet. I think we’re still going to be playing.

There’s bigger things we’ve got to worry about right now in terms of heading to the playoffs this year. But at the same time, whenever we’re ready to sit down and get it done, I’d love for that to happen. At the same time, I’m not a person that’s just going to rush this thing or get nervous about it or whatever. I’m just going about my day, and it’ll happen when it happens.

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Could NHL Teams Actually Go Out of Business During COVID-19 Crisis?

Damien Cox of the Toronto Star recently suggested the NHL could see a positive economic impact after the COVID-19 crisis settles itself down, but under the assumption a couple of teams go out of business first.

More expected delays that put this season and next in jeopardy might actually force some NHL organizations to go out of business says Cox. He asks if all 31 teams could survive a shutdown and answered he didn’t think so. Noting the NHL is a gate driven league and can’t rely on their TV deal as much as some other leagues can, he writes:

The majority of NHL teams these days are owned by extremely rich individuals or large corporations. Financial pressures from other businesses may nonetheless put more focus on their NHL holdings if there is no hockey revenue.

source -‘The NHL might come back stronger if the pandemic puts a few teams out of business’ – The Toronto Star – Damien Cox – 04/05/2020

Cox notes that the Ottawa Senators, Arizona Coyotes, and Florida Panthers could be trouble and that teams like the New Jersey Devils, Buffalo Sabres, and the Nashville Predators could have issues. He adds,

Ideally, a best-case scenario emerges in which the league gets to finish the 2019-20 season and begins next year only slightly behind schedule, and all the teams survive.

But this is hardly an ideal situation. For some NHL teams, it could become a question of staying alive.

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