NHL Rumors: Bruins, Capitals, Rangers, Jets, Flames, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is news on David Pastrnak not being available for the Boston Bruins and Nicklas Backstrom being out for the Washington Capitals. Matthew Tkachuk may have suffered an injury in Game 2 versus the Stars and the Jets are looking to beef up their blue line. Finally, the New York Rangers are talking with goaltender Henrik Lundqvist about next season.

Pastrnak Ruled Unfit to Play

The Boston Bruins got some unfortunate news Thursday night and just prior to their game against the Carolina Hurricanes. They announced that star forward David Pastrnak had been deemed “unfit to play” and would miss Game 2 of the best-of-seven series.

There is no official word on Pastrnak’s condition and whether he will miss any future games but this is not good news for the Bruins who lost the game with him out of the lineup.

Pastrnak didn’t practice on Monday so this could be something that he’s been dealing with and there was a video of a goal celebration during the overtime winner of Game 1 where it seemed clear he was in discomfort and might have aggravated whatever this issue is.

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Capitals Will Be Without Nicklas Backstrom

It has been announced that Washington Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom is concussion protocol. Capitals coach Todd Reirden said Backstrom was injured on a hit by New York Islanders forward Anders Lee 2:33 into the first period of Game 1.

Nicklas Backstrom Washington Capitals
Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Lee received an interference penalty on the play and had to fight Tom Wilson later in the game for what the Capitals believed was a dirty and late hit. Backstrom played through the period in which he got hurt but did not return for the second and third periods. There is no word on how long Backstrom may be out of the lineup. 

Center Lars Eller will return to the Capitals lineup and replace Backstrom on the second line. Eller sat out Game 1 following the birth of his son, Alexander, on Aug. 4. Upon returning to Toronto, he was required to quarantine in his hotel room for four days.

Rangers Have Discussion With Lundqvist

As per a report by Dan Rosen of NHL.com, the New York Rangers and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist have already begun discussions about his role with the team for next season.

Henrik Lundqvist New York Rangers
Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

There is plenty of speculation the team would like to move on from the 38-year old netminder who has one year left on his contract at an $8.5 million salary cap hit. New York Rangers president John Davidson said he spoke with Lundqvist and explained:

“Knowing the professional individual that ‘Hank’ is, I can tell you that when we got off the plane back from Toronto, I did have a discussion with him. It was a personal discussion; we’ll leave it at that. We will continue having our discussions to figure out what avenues we’re going to take as we move forward. We’ll handle things the right way and just move forward with this.”

The Rangers could keep Lundqvist for the final year and look to trade someone else. Or, they could try to trade Lundqvist but would have to retain salary in the deal. They could buy out his contract or Lundqvist could also decide to retire (which would take him completely off the books.)

GM Jeff Gorton said:

“We can all look at our cap and wonder what’s next, what we’re going to do? That’s what we’re going to go through. Usually we’ll have our meetings, we’ll talk to our scouts, we’ll talk to our coaches. We’re in the process of talking, going through our exit meetings via Zoom. We’re doing all these things now and the cap is certainly on our mind. We’ll work through it. Reasonable questions but answers we don’t have right now.”

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Jets Could Look to Beef Up Blue Line

According to Elliotte Friedman in his latest 31 Thoughts article, he believes the Winnipeg Jets will look “for some beef on the blue line.”

He notes that not having Dustin Byfuglien and Tyler Myers caught up with them against the Calgary Flames during the play-ins and that the team will want to be prepared for post-season hockey that ratchets up the physicality.

Matthew Tkachuk Hurt in Game 2

Geoff Ward said he’ll have an update on Matthew Tkachuk’s health Friday. Immediately following Game 2 of the Calgary Flames vs. Dallas Stars series, there wasn’t much information available after Tkachuk took a stick in the groin from Jamie Benn. Then in the third period, he got sandwiched between Benn and Jamie Oleksiak. He left after that hit and did not return.

Calgary Flames' Matthew Tkachuk
Calgary Flames’ Matthew Tkachuk (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh)

The Flames lost Game 2 by a score of 5-4. The series is now tied 1-1. Calgary and Dallas are playing back-to-back nights, with Game 3 set for Friday at 10:30 p.m. ET. 

Dan Hamhuis Officially Retires

Thursday afternoon on TSN radio in Vancouver, defenseman Dan Hamhuis announced his retirement from the NHL. His final games came with the Nashville Predators and he played 60 games for the Preds this season notching 8 points.

Hamhuis said he had been considering playing in Europe for a year just for the experience, but the COVID-19 pandemic changed those plans.

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