In today’s NHL rumor rundown, the betting odds for the Hart Trophy have come out and a couple of teams have more than one player in the top 10. The New York Rangers are still try to make a decision on Alexis Lafreniere and his involvement with Team Canada at the WJC, and there are three teams are interested in free agent forward Mikael Granlund. Finally, is the NHL trying to illegally threaten a lockout?
Betting Odds for Hart Trophy Favor Oilers, Lightning and Sabres
Las Vegas online betting outlet Sports Betting Dime released their betting odds for the 2020-21 Hart Trophy candidates. Leading the way was Colorado Avalanche’s Nathan MacKinnon.
What’s interesting about the list is that there are three teams with two players each in the top 10. The Edmonton Oilers have Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, the Tampa Bay Lightning have Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point and the Buffalo Sabres have Jack Eichel and Taylor Hall.
The addition of Hall in the top 10 shows just how much oddsmakers liked the pairing of the left-winger with Eichel in free agency and the assumption that he could have a massive season as a result. It must also mean that oddmakers see the Sabres as a potential playoff teams since they noted that one of the criteria for strong odds is that the Hart Winner comes from a club that makes the postseason.
Rangers to Make Decision on Lafreniere For World Junior Championships
Despite the thinking that the New York Rangers don’t want to risk an injury to their No. 1 overall draft selection Alexis Lafreniere, Hockey Canada Sr VP national teams Scott Salmond says there are still conversations happening when it comes to Alexis Lafrenière’s potential involvement at the World Junior Championships. He said, It’s “not out of the question”.
TSN’s Darren Dreger notes that a decision is still looming. He explains that Team Canada needs to know in the next few days if Lafreniere is in or out. He says:
They’re in a holding pattern right now. The biggest concern from the NHL team’s perspective of course would be injury. Lafreniere got injured last year in the World Junior Championship. The Rangers need to have them available if there is an opening night.”
It seems like the Rangers are waiting as long as they can for the NHL to make a decision or give a more definitive start date. Lafreniere’s involvement would be a huge boost for Team Canada, but it’s understandable the Rangers are hesitant. He’s projected to be a big part of their offense this coming season.
NHL Trying to Illegally Threaten a Lockout?
According to outspoken player agent Allan Walsh, the NHL is trying to threaten a lockout of the NHL players if the NHLPA doesn’t meet the request of the league to change their four-month old CBA agreement. He notes that the NHL is not calling it a lockout, but that they are trying to sneak in the threat of one by saying they have the right to unilaterally invoke Force Majeure and cancel the 2020-21 season.
Walsh notes that if the league actually tries this tactic, it’s actually a lockout of the players and the NHL would be facing several lawsuits and billions in damages if they falsely suggest unforeseeable circumstances prevented them from fulfilling a contract.
Three Teams Interested in Mikael Granlund
As per Andy Strickland of Fox Sports, the Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets and Nashville Predators are all interested in signing unrestricted free agent forward Mikael Granlund.
Where they are at financially and what the offers look like was not released, but Strickland adds that the Predators are interested in both Granlund and Mike Hoffman and Granlund is a distant second in terms of priority for the organization.
Everyone seems to be waiting on the Predators to do something but the Preds seem to be waiting on Hoffman to drop his ask.
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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.”