In today’s NHL rumors rundown, there’s news on Jujhar Khaira of the Edmonton Oilers who took a big hit in the game against Montreal on Monday. Meanwhile, Carey Price also left that game and didn’t return. The Toronto Maple Leafs will be without William Nylander on Tuesday as he’s being made a healthy scratch, there’s injury news on Zach Hyman, and there’s talk about what comes next for Nick Foligno after this season. Finally, the NHL is closely monitoring teams who have used LTIR this season.
Congratulations to Patrick Marleau
Before we get started, congratulations to Patrick Marleau. The Vegas Golden Knights and San Jose Jose Sharks honored the forward for breaking Gordie Howe’s record for all-time games played on Monday in a wonderful ceremony. It was a touching night for Marleau who said he was all over the place emotionally heading into the game.
The Golden Knights lined up for handshakes with Marleau and gathered on the ice to salute the Sharks forward after he broke the record for NHL games played and former teammates sent touching tributes to their friend for such an incredible achievement.
Onto the news and rumors…
Oilers Lose Khaira
While he braced for a hit from Alexander Romanov, Khaira was rocked by the Canadiens’ defenseman and was on wobbly legs heading into the locker room. He didn’t return to the ice during the game and Tippett said in the post-game media conference that he expects Khaira to miss some time.
Tippett switched up using Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid during the game, but if Khaira misses a handful of games, the Oilers may give new call-up Ryan McLeod a look at center. He’s not ready to play yet based on quarantine rules, but he could come in Thursday. He’s had a fantastic season in the AHL and the Oilers are internally very excited about the prospects of this player.
Carey Price Leaves Game, Status Unclear
Speaking of injuries, when Price left the game and didn’t return for the second period versus the Oilers, it wasn’t clear where he’d injured himself. Reports after the game were that he was hurt on the contact with Alex Chiasson. It was mild contact at best, but enough to call back Connor McDavid’s goal and cause some head and neck issues.
There are no more details as of right now and no reports as to how much time he’ll miss.
Nylander, Foligno and Hyman Updates out of Toronto
Hyman Injury Update
The most recent injury news on Zack Hyman offers a slight change from earlier reports. The latest from Elliotte Friedman quotes head coach Sheldon Keefe who said Hyman has a sprained MCL and will be out at least two weeks. There were also reports from Darren Dreger that the injury wasn’t believed to be serious and another from John Shannon that Hyman reportedly wanted to return to the game that night but the medical staff wouldn’t let him.
Nick Foligno’s Future
While his timing is excellent — Foligno will be joining the Maple Leafs right after Hyman was injured — it doesn’t sound like many believe Foligno is destined to stick with Toronto long-term. The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline expects the forward is only a rental player this season considering the Leafs limited salary-cap space for next season.
There is some talk that Foligno might be interested in signing with the Columbus Blue Jackets again, but the Minnesota Wild are a favorite to land Foligno in the offseason. Portzline writes:
Foligno has spoken openly through the years about his desire to one day play with his brother, Marcus, a winger for the Minnesota Wild. The Folignos are an incredibly close family…. the Wild could make a play for Nick Foligno as a free agent. And if contracts are put forth by Columbus and Minnesota, he’s going to have a very difficult decision to make — play with his brother, or return to the city (Columbus) that’s become his family’s home.source -‘Blue Jackets’ Sunday Gathering: Gustav Nyquist injury was significant; Nick Foligno’s next stop’ Aaron Portzline – The Athletic – 04/18/2021
Nylander to be Healthy Scratch
This is a situation that could change as the day rolls along but reports are that Nylander will not play tonight versus the Vancouver Canucks. He will be a healthy scratch after being late for a team meeting on Monday.
The Leafs put him in a grey sweater for practice, which is used for extras and the lines were shuffled suggesting he was going to be sitting. Reports were that this could be reassessed Tuesday afternoon, but as of now, it sounds like Nylander will not play.
NHL Closely Monitoring Use of LTIR
Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reports that the NHL is closely going to monitor the way NHL teams are using LTIR. Specifically, that some teams were able to add to their salary cap situation because players were deemed as unable to return for the regular season. 17 of the 31 teams are using the LTIR salary cap pool this season which has raise an eyebrow or two.
The Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lighting were two of the most obvious teams who added salary but have players in Frederik Andersen and Nikita Kucherov who could return.
“I think what the league is saying is ‘we’re going to watch you closely. We can request medical records if we think there’s any funny business, cap circumvention, that kind of thing going on here. I think especially any players activated just for Game 1 of the playoffs, there will be Spockian eyebrow raised from the league and that’s something they intend to enforce quite forcefully.”
If players have been sitting and then, all of a sudden, return to their respective teams the moment playoffs start, this isn’t going to go over well with the NHL.
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.”