In today’s NHL rumor rundown, Donald Trump held a call with the NHL, Justin Williams talked about possibly retiring and Bill Peters’ new KHL team is already having drama. Plus, there is news on this year’s crop of free agents having a hard time settling into the idea they may have to take a pay cut over last year’s free agent class.
Trump Has Phone Call With NHL About Season
TSN’s Darren Dreger is reporting that President Donald Trump held a call with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and discussed the season, getting games back and more.
President Trump’s call today with several sports leaders, including NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is believed to have focused in number of issues/possibilities. 1) restarting with no fans. 2) availability of testing. 3) travel concerns. Obviously, everyone agreed they want to bring sports back as soon as possible and as soon as it’s safe to do so. No timelines, yet. Bettman, Silver, Manfred and Goodell all on the call today as were owners Mark Cuban, Robert Kraft and Jerry Jones.
Unfortunately, that call doesn’t tell fans much and it appears there is just more of the same, which is no real news at this point.
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Nigel Dawes Leaving Team After Peters Hiring
We reported yesterday that former Calgary Flames coach Bill Peters was hired again, this time in the KHL with Avtomobilist. Well, the hiring is already having an effect on the team as reports are surfacing that Avtomobilist leading scorer and captain Nigel Dawes (A Canadian of Jamaican descent) will be leaving the team because of the Peters hiring.
A Spittin’ Chiclets writer Rear Admiral has noted that Dawes contract was set to expire in two weeks and the Peters hiring has ruled out any chance that he will re-sign with the club, Dawes stating that this hiring is the reason he’ll be moving on.
That said, speculation is that the Peters hiring comes after star forward Pavel Datsyuk — who also plays for the team — recommended him as the team’s next coach. It is expected Datsyuk will stay with the team based on the hiring.
Justin Williams Set to Retire?
Justin Williams spoke with Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic about whether or not he’s going to retire if the season doesn’t resume. Unlike Joe Thornton who said he’s got many years left, Williams didn’t sound as confident.
“If that was my last game, which I really don’t want to think about it, then that was my last game and I’ll deal with it. It would be awful, but there’s a lot worse things out there. Life will go on.
Four Teams In On Melnichuk
Darren Dreger of TSN reports that, as of last week, KHL Goaltender Alexei Melnichuk had his list of teams he’s willing to sign with down to four U.S. based NHL teams. Russian Prospects reports that those four teams are the San Jose Sharks, Vegas Golden Knights, Carolina Hurricanes, and the Colorado Avalanche.
Free Agents to Go Backwards in Pay?
Frank Seravalli of TSN has posted his latest UFA free agency list and rankings and Seravalli reports that players, specifically the pending unrestricted class of free agents, hasn’t quite grasped the severity of financial losses possibly facing the NHL this and next season.
“I don’t think players truly grasp just how much the world has changed,” one prominent agent said Tuesday. “One thing I’ve learned working with players is that they have a hard time accepting going backward financially, but that’s what is going to happen.”
Should the salary cap remain at $81.5 million next season, which many believe will happen, not only will free agents not get what they’re looking for, many will have to settle with getting less than last year’s free agents made.
Seravalli reports that one agent said:
It’s the bottom feeders that will have the most money to spend, but they usually aren’t attractive to top free agents, and their owners don’t like to spend dumb money anyway. How many teams are going to be able to give you what you want? So many players are kicking themselves, wishing they had signed last year.”
That means Taylor Hall likely won’t get anywhere near the $10 million per season he might be asking for, at least not by a team he’d want to play with. What about names like Alex Pietrangelo in St. Louis, defenceman Torey Krug in Boston and goaltender Jacob Markstrom in Vancouver? Their own teams may have trouble keeping them.
It may wind up that players will have to trade term for dollars, risking security in the event they get injured.
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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.”