In today’s NHL rumors rundown, Toronto Maple Leafs’ forward Zach Hyman has been slapped with a fine. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Flyers are facing tough difficult decisions and the Canucks seem to have a plan to shed salary during the offseason. Finally, there are injury updates on Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning, plus a couple of players out of the Dallas Stars organization.
Hyman and Foligno Updates
NHL Player Safety has fined Hyman $5,000, the maximum allowable under the CBA, for high-sticking Winnipeg Jets defenseman Neal Pionk. Hyman got caught up in a net-front battle with Pionk and after taking a nasty slash, turned around a delivered a high slash of his own, catching Pionk in the face.
Still with the Leafs, expect more three-team trades like the one involving Nick Foligno to be a part of the Maple Leafs future. A team that is tight against the salary cap, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun is reporting that the NHL had no issue with the three-team trades leading up to the recent trade deadline and this is likely a new trend that teams like Toronto will utilize.
There was reportedly some kickback from other NHL executives about two other teams retaining salary on a player before that player wound up at their final destination, but because there is no money outside the system and all the salary-cap money is accounted for, the NHL is completely ok with these types of deals.
Sportsnet also quotes Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas who said the team has had an interest in defenseman Ben Hutton since 2019. He said, “…we watched him last year in LA and then this year in Anaheim. Just think he’s able to play up and down the lineup. Last year in LA a strong run of games with Drew Doughty. Able to come in, kill penalties and play that sort of role.”
Flyers Facing Some Tough Decisions
A report by Jordan Hall of NBC Sports Philadelphia suggests that Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher faces some tough decisions in the offseason. He needs to address a number of issues following a disappointing 2020-21 season and Hall believes the Flyers will look to the trade market because of salary-cap limitations.
Hall pegged a top-pairing defenseman as the team’s greatest need and suggests they’ll try to move a forward to acquire one. That could be easier said than done. Claude Giroux and Kevin Hayes have big cap hits and no-movement clauses, while Jakub Voracek and James van Riemsdyk have expensive contracts with few teams able to take on those types of salary cap commitments.
The one player the Flyers could dangle is Sean Couturier, but it seems ludicrous to think they’d be willing to move him.
Canucks to Clear Cap Space This Summer
The Canucks have some big contracts to attend to this offseason and not a ton of cap space to do so. As a result, the team might be looking at ways to clear salary off the books. Patrick Johnston of The Province writes that GM Jim Benning has said, “I don’t foresee any cap problems this summer.”
“That suggests he has other shoes he hopes to drop. Jake Virtanen was on the trading block earlier this season, so might he find a suitor for the wayward winger? Jay Beagle’s injury is unknown, but there have been suggestions he might be out long-term, perhaps even all of next season. If so, his absence would create more cap space.source – ‘Canucks GM Jim Benning not concerned about salary cap issues, quiet on the Travis Green front’ – The Province – Patrick Johnston – 04/09/2021
Forward Antoine Roussel could be bought out.
Stamkos Out Until May
The Lightning are one of the favorites to win the Stanley Cup this year and their playoff position isn’t in jeopardy, but the team will have to play their way to the finish line without the services of Steven Stamkos. Stamkos is out for at least the next seven games as the forward was put on Long-Term Injured Reserve with a lower-body injury. Tampa made the transaction retroactive to April 9th and Joe Smith of The Athletic is reporting that he won’t be eligible to return to the lineup until May 5th.
Stamkos has had some incredibly bad luck when it comes to injuries over the past couple of seasons. Until this point, he’d been relatively healthy during the 2020-21 campaign, scoring 34 points in 38 games.
Radulov and Bishop Out Remainder of Season
In other injury news, both Alexander Radulov and goaltender Ben Bishop have been ruled out for the remainder of this season for the Stars. As per a team announcement on Thursday, neither player will be ready to return before the start of the 2021-22 season.
Bishop needs more time to rehabilitate an injured knee, while Radulov will require surgery to repair a core muscle injury.
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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.”