In today’s NHL rumor rundown, how long will Evgeni Malkin be out after undergoing elbow surgery? In Toronto, will the Maple Leafs extend Frederik Andersen? There is uncertainty as far as his future with the team is concerned. The Nashville Predators are likely to use a key free agent and will the NHL consider an expanded playoff format moving forward?
Malkin Has Elbow Surgery, Out a Month
The Pittsburgh Penguins have announced that Evgeni Malkin underwent successful surgery on his left elbow and has been given a recovery timeline of three to four weeks.
Malkin took some heat for his lack of production in this most play-in series against the Montreal Canadiens, but if he was dealing with an injury, it could explain part of the problem.
Frederik Andersen Likely Won’t Be Extended
Luke Fox of Sportsnet reports Frederik Andersen could face an uncertain future with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He’ll become an unrestricted free agent next summer and there doesn’t seem to be a sense of urgency to extend him prior to his contract coming due.
Elliotte Friedman tends to agree, but unlike Fox who doesn’t believe there is a suitable replacement in the market for Andersen, Friedman notes on his latest 31 Thoughts podcast that the goalie market is flush with players who the Leafs could try while using Jack Campbell more often. Friedman mentions, Braden Holtby, Corey Crawford, Robin Lehner, Cam Talbot, Thomas Greiss, or Anton Khudobin as names the Maple Leafs could look at.
James Mirtle of The Athletic writes, “The most likely outcome for the Leafs starter is he gets JVR’d: He comes back for the final year of his contract and is allowed to walk as a UFA in 2021.”
Mirtle does admit that there might not be a better starter out there but also notes the risk in re-signing him early is too great. He explains:
But the risk in keeping him is he doesn’t rebound from a trying fourth season in 2019-20. And that being in the final year of his contract is a season-long distraction. The Leafs are going to need to fill this hole at some point; I don’t mind starting that search a year early.source -‘Mirtle: Who’s staying and who’s going? The Maple Leafs most-likely-to-leave list’ – James Mirtle – The Athletic – 08-17-2020
Boudreau an Assistant With the Leafs?
In other Maple Leafs news, Lance Horby reports the Maple Leafs are looking for two assistants this off-season, announcing Andrew Brewer is not coming back along with Paul McFarland who is heading to Kingston (OHL).
Hornby reports that there’s talk Bruce Boudreau wouldn’t normally want to be an assistant but might consider the job if it meant working with his hometown Maple Leafs. His preference is to explore potential NHL head coach options first before “giving himself a demotion.”
Predators Unsure Regarding Two Biggest Free Agents
There is already talk that the Nashville Predators could look to make some pretty big changes this offseason and NHL.com’s Brooks Bratten reports that general manager David Poile said he isn’t sure what will happen with their top two unrestricted free-agent forwards in Craig Smith and Mikael Granlund.
Poile is expected to talk to both player’s agents in the next couple of weeks but the team’s cap situation means that bringing both back is not likely. Smith finished with 18 goals and 31 points, while Granlund finished with 17 goals and 30 points.
Expanded Playoff Format Moving Forward?
Elliotte Friedman. of Sportsnet notes that fans shouldn’t expect the NHL to adopt this expanded playoff format moving forward. While the league has done a sufficient job of making the most of a bad situation, this isn’t how they foresee the playoffs working permanently.
Friedman said during Saturday’s Headlines report:
“We’ve all enjoyed watching this and I was hoping it would create the momentum for the possibility of seeing this in the future… but this is not looking like it’s going to happen. There doesn’t appear to be the momentum for it and it doesn’t look it’s something that’s going to be tacked on to future NHL seasons.”
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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.”