In today’s NHL rumors rundown, Alex Ovechkin left Sunday’s game with an upper-body injury. How bad is it and will he miss any significant time? Meanwhile, what is the latest on the rebuild plans for the Chicago Blackhawks?
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Will the Toronto Maple Leafs put Jake Muzzin into their rotation if he’s ready to return and will the Carolina Hurricanes figure out a way to keep Vincent Trocheck past this season?
Ovechkin Injury Update
Ovechkin sustained an upper-body injury on Sunday versus the Toronto Maple Leafs and is listed as day-to-day. He did not return to the game after going awkwardly into the boards after goaltender Erik Kallgren stuck his stick in Ovechkin’s feet. The netminder says he didn’t mean to trip Ovechkin or cause injury.
Ovechkin was on the ice for team photos Monday morning. It appears he has avoided serious injury.
Blackhawks Rebuild Could Hinge on This Year’s Draft
As per Scott Powers of The Athletic, rebuilding plans out of Chicago might be affected by the moves general manager Kyle Davidson can pull off in this year’s NHL Entry Draft. If the Blackhawks get a top pick and send their 2023 first-round to Columbus as part of the Seth Jones trade, Davidson might try to make the team better for next season. If Chicago doesn’t land in the top two, they might tear everything down.
So, if that is Davidson’s goal, you can expect him to further weaken his NHL roster. It’s possible Dominik Kubalik and Dylan Strome will be allowed to walk as free agents, and they wouldn’t likely be replaced by any top-six-caliber forwards. It doesn’t sound like Davidson is going to pursue Andrei Kuzmenko, the top European forward free agent, and it’s a guarantee he won’t be active with the top players in NHL free agency.source – ‘The Blackhawks are getting a taste of what an actual rebuild feels like’ – Soctt Powers – The Athletic – 04/18/2022
Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Kase, Spezza, Mikheyev & More
Once Davidson sits down with Pat Brisson, the agent for Patrick Kane and team captain Jonathan Toews, the organization will have a better idea if those two will want to stick with the Blackhawks during a potential rebuild. If not, Chicago might shop both players, even Alex DeBrincat this summer.
Will Maple Leafs Play Muzzin?
According to Jonas Siegel of The Athletic, there are some questions about whether the Toronto Maple Leafs will use defenseman Jake Muzzin, even if he’s ready to play. Siegel writes, “The Leafs say Muzzin is close to returning. The problem? There are only two games remaining before the start of the playoffs.”
Leafs management wanted Muzzin to have the opportunity to get rolling before the playoffs. It’s why they opted not to stick him on LTIR for the remainder of the regular season and spend his money elsewhere. This more recent injury has mostly robbed Muzzin of that opportunity.source: ‘Monday Morning Leafs Report: The Jake Muzzin conundrum and what now with no Michael Bunting’ – Jonas Siegel – The Athletic – 04/25/2022
In other Maple Leafs news, when it comes to Michael Bunting, the Leafs weren’t detailed on how long he’ll be out with an injury. It sounds like more than a day-to-day issue, which means Bunting could be sidelined when the playoffs get underway.
Trocheck Wants to Stay in Carolina
One player insiders expect to move on as a UFA this summer is Vincent Trocheck. The belief is that Carolina has Jesperi Kotkaniemi pegged to move up and that Trocheck just won’t be an affordable option for the Hurricanes moving forward. That said, during an interview with Matt Larkin of Daily Faceoff, Trocheck reiterated his desire to stay in Carolina.
He said, “That’s still the goal, to be here. I love being a Hurricane and having a chance to win every year is where you want to be. So hopefully we can figure something out.”