NHL Rumors: Panthers, Maple Leafs, Knights, Wild, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is good news for Vegas Golden Knights fans as they’ll be getting a key forward back for their series against the Chicago Blackhawks. The Florida Panthers have officially parted ways with Dale Tallon, and there are questions in Toronto about whether or not this is the right offseason to break up the fabulous four.

Panthers Fire Dale Tallon

There were rumors last week after the Florida Panthers were eliminated from the play-ins that Dale Tallon would be parting the organization. That was made official on Monday.

Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon
MONTREAL, QC – NOVEMBER 17: Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon (Photo by Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto/Getty Images)

The Panthers have officially announced that a search for their next GM has begun and in a statement by owner Vinnie Viola, the team said goodbye to Tallon. He said:

For the last decade, Dale raised the team’s profile, attracted key players to South Florida and brought character and class to our franchise. When we purchased the Panthers in 2013, we did so with a singular goal–to win a Stanley Cup. We have not seen our efforts come to fruition. We will now begin an organizational search for the next general manager.

Pacioretty Ready to Join Golden Knights

According to Las Vegas Review-Journal’s David Schoen, Vegas Golden Knights head coach Pete DeBoer revealed that forward Max Pacioretty has arrived “in the bubble,” (out of quarantine) and is expected to be ready to play for Game 1 of their playoff series against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Max Pacioretty #67, Vegas Golden Knights
Max Pacioretty (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Pacioretty missed the round-robin series due to an undisclosed injury, but has officially tested negative through four tests which will allow him to practice with the team today. It will be a key addition for the Golden Knights as he scored 32 goals and 66 points in 71 games this season.

It is presumed he will jump back up on the top line.

Suter Reveals Injury

Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter revealed to The Athletic’s Michael Russo the extent of the injuries that kept him out of the lineup against the Vancouver Canucks. Now that the team is out of the play-ins, he could share that he injured his right foot during Game 3.

Unfortunately, this is the same foot he had operated on back in 2018 when he broke his ankle. The good news is, Suter said he should be fine and is going to the doctor tomorrow to get it checked further.

In other Wild news, Russo also noted that Mikko Koivu is not ready to make a decision on his NHL future yet. Russo quotes Koivu who said:

“I need to be real careful, especially with that game and what do I want with the future and then go from there,” said Koivu, via The Athletic’s Jessi Pierce. “It’s such a big decision, there’s no way I’m ready to do that right now.”

Related: 2020 NHL Lottery Draft: Who Needs the First-Overall Pick Most?

Should Maple Leafs Break Up Big Four?

Now that the Toronto Maple Leafs are officially out of the postseason, the questions about whether or not the team should break up the big four — John Tavares, Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander — will begin.

Toronto Maple Leafs Mitch Marner Toronto Maple Leafs Auston Matthews
Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Mitchell Marner and Toronto Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)

Elliotte Friedman said on Sportsnet: “I do believe in a perfect world Kyle Dubas would give his big 4 one more year…this has been a bit of a strange finish, I think that’s what he would like to do.” That said, he did add that there are major concerns that the team only score three 5v5 goals the entire series. “There’s going to have to be a long conversation whether that still is the plan,” he said.

Chris Johnston of Sportsnet noted that it might be a little early to make such a big decision given the playoff scenario with the pandemic, but there is also a thought within the organization that it may be riskier to do nothing. The team is already going to be making some tough choices with a tight salary cap and perhaps it’s time to make major changes.

Should the Maple Leafs win the draft lottery tonight, that will change everything in terms of the feeling inside the organization to keep their top four offensive weapons in tact.

Bob McKenzie Says Goodbye

TSN Insider Bob McKenzie posted a note on Twitter today thanking fans and saying he’ll be leaving his regular role with the network. He plans to start his semi-retirement after the draft lottery on Monday and will be limited in his role with TSN moving forward.

In part of his statement he wrote:

“This isn’t goodbye as much as it is, see you later. As reported earlier, I have a new five-year contract with TSN. I’ll still be kicking around some but not nearly as much.”

McKenzie was one of the best insiders in the business. A well-respected source for information, he’ll be missed. That he’ll still be offering draft rankings and doing big TSN events is a relief for many.

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