In today’s NHL rumors rundown, how bad is the trade looking for the New York Islanders that brought Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac to the club? What does it mean for their respective futures? Conversely, how good are things looking in Boston where new Bruins’ forward Taylor Hall looks pretty good? The Toronto Maple Leafs may have found a winning trio and the Seattle Kraken are scouting the Minnesota Wild for NHL Expansion. Is Ryan Hartman a target?
Maple Leafs Top Line Sticking Together?
Head coach Sheldon Keefe stuck new arrival Nick Foligno on the Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner line Thursday night and the trio performed well, Matthews and Marner with three points each and Foligno with one assist and three hits in just over 16 minutes of ice-time.
Obviously, the difference in ice time was significant between the two stars and the former Columbus Blue Jackets forward, but Foligno earned the trust of Keefe in a hurry and now that the coach knows the top line can shut down some of the top scorers on the opposition, this trio could see some significant time together in preparation for the playoffs.
In a cool moment, Marner grabbed the puck for Foligno’s first point as a Leaf when Toronto scored an empty net goal. Look for Foligno and Marner to become a regular penalty-killing duo.
Flames Cancel Morning Skate
The Flames announced that the team has canceled their morning skate today as a precaution measure. One player tested positive and that player is in isolation. All other staff/players have tested negative.
As for tonight’s game versus the Montreal Canadiens, no announcement has been made to cancel the game and it is still scheduled for 7:00 PM MT/9:00 PM ET.
Islanders Acquisitions Struggling
The way things are going, don’t expect the Islanders to consider extensions for either Palmieri or Zajac. The Islanders gave up multiple draft picks including a first-rounder for the two forwards at the NHL Trade Deadline and both have struggled mightily since coming over.
In seven games Zajac has record two points and in eight games, Palmieri has just one goal and one assist. There was talk that the Islanders were interested in acquiring Zajac last season but he declined waiving his no-trade clause. Zajac was made a healthy scratch on Thursday and both players are set to become unrestricted free-agents. It’s hard to imagine Lou Lamoriello has interest in retaining either player the way this is going to date.
Good Chance Hall Re-Signs With Bruins
Tom Gulitti of NHL.com writes in a recent mailbag segment, that with four points in six games and with Taylor Hall looking much more competent than he did in Buffalo, there’s a good chance the Bruins extend the forward to another contract in the summer. Gulitti does admit that how Hall plays down the stretch and during the playoffs may determine how long he’s with the organization and how long an extension he gets.
Hall tried to sign with the Bruins during this most recent offseason but he was told the team needed to move money around before they could commit to him. Because he didn’t want to wait to get a deal, he signed with the Sabres. Ultimately, Hall used his no-movement clause to direct himself towards the Bruins at the deadline. The Bruins have pending UFAs in David Krejci and Tuukka Rask to take care of this offseason as well.
Kraken Now Scouting Wild Players
The Seattle Kraken can now officially start working on trades with other NHL teams and the process of scouting players has already begun for GM Ron Francis. Francis was listed on the press-box seating chart for the past two games between the Minnesota Wild and Arizona Coyotes.
Michael Russo of The Athletic suggests Francis might have his eyes on Matt Dumba, Carson Soucy, Cam Talbot, Nico Sturm, Jordan Greenway, Ryan Hartman, and Marcus Foligno. Hartman just signed a Hartman to a three-year deal that will see him make $1.7 million per season on the salary cap. Hartman becomes more attractive to the Kraken on an affordable, multi-year contract as opposed to being a pending RFA.
NHL Wants Winter Olympics Decision by May
According to Frank Seravalli of TSN, the NHL and NHLPA are trying to sort out the details when it comes to participating in the 2022 Winter Olympics. That said, the IOC has not made the NHL’s inclusion a priority. The NHL wants to know if they are in by the end of May because they need to start working on next season’s schedule.
“The NHL schedule for next season is usually announced in June and they need to know whether they’re going to have a three-week break for the NHL players to go to the Olympics. But the problem is this isn’t exactly priority No. 1 for the IOC at the moment. They’re trying to get this summer’s Olympics in Tokyo off the ground before they can then handle what’s left with the NHL, so, at this point though, all indications are – because I think a lot of people are curious – that the NHL and the NHLPA are working in lockstep in order to try and get this done.”
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.”