NHL Rumors: Flames, Stars, Maple Leafs, Oilers, NHL Out of Olympics

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Calgary Flames have pulled the plug on their new arena deal and will be staying in the Scotia Bank Saddledome. Why? Meanwhile, there is talk the Dallas Stars may be making big changes if their win/loss record doesn’t improve. The Edmonton Oilers went through quite a process to get Jesse Puljujarvi back to Edmonton and NHL players have officially pulled out of participation in the 2022 Beijing Olympics. Could any of the players still go if they wanted to?

Flames “Walk Away” From New Arena Deal

According to Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek, the Flames have withdrawn from a deal with the city on a new arena deal over a relatively small amount of climate change cost issues. She writes:

Today, I spoke with Murray Edwards, primary shareholder of Calgary Sports & Entertainment Corp (CSEC), about the future of the Event Centre project. He informed me of the Flames intention to pull the plug on the Event Centre deal.

She goes on to say that a deal was struck in the summer of 2019 and the $550 million in costs were to be split equally between CSEC & the City. The city provided land and were to cover 90% of the cost to demolish the Dome. In 2021, the deal was amended and costs went up.

Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Voit, Dahlstrom, Clifford, Biega & Boxing Day

When she was elected Mayor, she started trying to mitigate additional costs and pitched a new version of the deal that would leave $9.4 million for the Flames to cover, and because of it, CSEC is walking away. She notes:

“On a project worth over $650m, to have one party walk away for 1.5% of the value of the deal is staggering. I wanted Calgarians to be the first to know. I am as disappointed as all of you that this is the way things are ending.”

The Flames are suggesting continued increase escalation costs — some that were not originally disclosed — and uncertainty over additional cost increases over the length of the deal was a big concern.

Big Changes Coming in Dallas If Team Doesn’t Improve

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, there could be changes in Dallas if the Stars don’t improve their record after the break. He uses Tyler Seguin’s relief when he scored in the team’s 7-4 win over the Minnesota Wild on Monday as an example of how stressful things are in Dallas right now. He writes, “Change is coming if the Stars don’t surge over the second half of the season.

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The Stars currently sit sixth in the Central Division with 32 points and are outside the playoff picture looking in. There are a few names on the list of potential trade assets including pending UFAs John Klingberg, Alexander Radulov, Joe Pavelski, and Braden Holtby.

Oilers Turned Over Every Rock to Get Puljujarvi Back to Edmonton

We’ve been documenting the challenges the Oilers faced in getting Jesse Puljujarvi back in Edmonton after testing positive for COVID while in Seattle. Because he couldn’t charter with the team, the Oilers have to find another way of getting him home. Mark Spector detailed the process in a recent article.

Jesse Puljujarvi Connor McDavid Edmonton Oilers
Jesse Puljujarvi, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Saying the Oilers were never going to leave him behind, teammates reached out to Oilers Chairman Bob Nicholson and begged the team to find a way to get him home for the holidays. It took getting the C.E.O. of LIFESUPPORT Air Medical Services, Inc., a company that operates five medivac planes, to let Puljujarvi hitch a ride with two agreeable pilots who knew Puljujarvi had COVID. From there, the charter had to reach out to Canadian customs agents to ensure a non-Canadian resident could come back over the border.

It was a process but the Oilers were able to make sure Puljujarvi wasn’t spending the holidays alone. One thing is clear, if Puljujarvi didn’t feel like he was a beloved part of this team before, he should now.

NHL Players Will Not Participate in 2022 Olympics

The NHL has announced that there will not be an Olympic break as scheduled this season. The NHL Players will not be able to participate in 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing due to COVID outbreaks. The time originally allotted for the break will be used to reschedule NHL games that were postponed.

Friedman reports that some NHL players were curious as to whether or not they could still go on their own accord and assume the risks on an individual basis. He writes, “That was possible if the decision was left to the players. But, because this was the NHL’s call, that option is closed.”

Could Ho Sang of the Toronto Marlies Go?

There is some talk that maybe Hockey Canada will consider Josh Ho Sang for the Olympic team since he isn’t restricted by an NHL contract. Ho Sang is part of the Maple Leafs AHL Toronto Marlies team but isn’t signed to an NHL deal. He has not been called up by the Leafs this season and there was some question about whether or not he would be. It’s not clear if Olympic consideration would change how the Maple Leafs feel about their AHL deal with him.

In other Maple Leafs news, the team announced on Sunday that they had signed Ty Voit to a three-year, entry-level contract, while re-assigning Carl Dahlstrom, Kyle Clifford, and Alex Biega – back to the AHL’s Toronto Marlies. The club did not give a bonus to Voit in an attempt to protect cap space. They often tell draftees it gives them the fastest opportunity to reach the NHL.

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