NHL Rumors: Maple Leafs, Red Wings, Chara, Ward, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is speculation the Toronto Maple Leafs will be parting with players they like and possibly looking at their goaltending situation. Speaking of goaltenders, the Detroit Red Wings appear to be saying goodbye to Jimmy Howard. In other news, Zdeno Chara comments on retirement rumors and Joel Ward actually did retire from the NHL on Monday.

Maple Leafs Thinking Long-Term Game?

James O’Brien of NBC Sports writes that in order for the Maple Leafs to hang onto goaltender Frederik Andersen and defenseman Morgan Rielly long-term, they’ll likely need to move contracts they like but don’t need. Limited salary cap space means reliance upon newcomers like Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren while letting veterans like winger Kyle Clifford leave.

Toronto Maple Leafs' Frederik Andersen
Toronto Maple Leafs’ Frederik Andersen (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Slocum)

But, there are questions as to whether or not the Maple Leafs and Frederik Andersen make sense together long-term. James Mirtle of The Athletic notes that the Maple Leafs might want to consider upgrading their goaltender. He pointed out Robin Lehner could be available in this summer’s UFA market an provide better value for the money. Meanwhile, Jonas Siegel of The Athletic wonders if trying to trade for Pittsburgh’s Matt Murray is an option.

Siegel writes:

One name that might that’s piqued my interest: Matt Murray.

He’s a restricted free agent after this season, and while there was talk of Murray cashing in on his next contract with the Penguins, I wonder if the landscape has changed. For one thing, Murray had a down year (.899 SV%). That led to Tristan Jarry gradually putting a hold on the Penguins’ No. 1 job. Jarry is also a RFA this summer and Pittsburgh has Casey DeSmith around as a potential backup.

source – ‘Mirtle and Siegel: Should the Leafs seek an upgrade on Frederik Andersen?’ James Mirtle and Jonas Siegel – The Athletic – 0424/2020

Related: Maple Leafs’ Forgotten Ones: Mikael Renberg

Red Wings and Jimmy Howard to Part Ways?

On Sunday, Helene St. James of The Detroit Free Press revealed that Jimmy Howard would not be back for another season following what was one of the worst seasons for the Red Wings in the history of NHL seasons.

Detroit Red Wings Jimmy Howard Andreas Athanasiou
Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard and Andreas Athanasiou celebrate (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

St. James writes:

Howard, 36, was signed to a one-year extension last season by then-general manager Ken Holland with the mindset that if Howard played well, he’d be back for another season. That won’t happen – Howard, 36, struggled in 2019-20: 2-23-2 with a 4.20 GAA and .882 save percentage. 

source – ‘The Detroit Red Wings need a new goaltender. Here are top candidates’ – Helene St. James – Detroit Free Press – 04/26/2020

The plan now is that GM Steve Yzerman could look at trading for a goaltender, but a more likely option is to use free agency with a few good names available.

Chara Comments on Possible Retirement

While saying he’s still in the group of people hopeful this season somehow resumes, Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara says he’s not going to get ahead of himself when it comes to talking or thinking about retirement from the NHL.

Speaking with Scott Oake and Louie Debrusk on the Sportsnet broadcast After Hours, Chara said, “I’m still in the present and I still believe that we’re going to play some sort of hockey this season.” He added:

“That’s where I’m at. I’m not getting too ahead of myself. Obviously I still love the game, I still love going out there and competing, and if everything is right I still want to play.”

It appears Chara has no desire to call it quits just yet and will continue to sign one-year deals with the Bruins until that feeling changes.

Related: What’s In a Name? The NHL’s “Original Six”

Joel Ward Retires from the NHL

After 11 seasons in the NHL, forward Joel Ward has announced his retirement from professional hockey. Ward made the announcement in the Player’s Tribune in a piece titled 726.

Joel Ward Sharks
Joel Ward, San Jose Sharks, Nov. 28, 2017 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

726 is how many games Ward played in, most recently with the San Jose Sharks. He attended the Montreal Canadiens training camp this past season on a professional tryout, but did not make the team.

”I know I didn’t play the last two years, but I tried. I did. I wish I could have gone out in a bit of a different way,” Ward wrote Monday. ”But, you know, just thinking about it all — all 726 games — I realized something. Who am I to wish for any more time? I got what I wanted. I’m one of the lucky ones.”

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