In our Boxing Day edition (one day after Christmas for US readers) of the NHL rumors rundown, we’ll focus on rumors that are front and center in another string of hockey markets not mentioned in the Christmas Day edition. This post will focus on the Vancouver Canucks, Toronto Maple Leafs, Arizona Coyotes, and more because each of these clubs has a ton weighing on their mind over the holiday break.
Canucks Get Hot, But Big Changes Might Be Coming
For the Vancouver Canucks, the question of whether or not their hot streak heading into the holiday pause can be maintained is a real maybe. There’s often a boost when a new head coach is brought in and veteran bench boss Bruce Boudreau got this team firing on all cylinders quickly. He’s letting the roster play loose and the stars are starting to pick up their game. Can it last?
All the while, Jim Rutherford was hired as the new Executive Vice President and is expected to hire a new GM in short order, even though he says he’s capable of making moves and doing GM work if he needs to. He’s looking for someone he can work with and mentor and there are a ton of candidates being mentioned. Elliotte Friedman recently noted that research is being done on female candidates and Rutherford is not afraid to go with an unexpected hire.
As per Rick Dhaliwal Rutherford might run into some hurdles as not every candidate he’s interviewing has a lot of interest in the job if Rutherford plans to be a voice in every decision that is made moving forward.
Coyotes Contemplating Jakob Chychrun Trade
The moment Jakob Chychrun’s name was mentioned as a possible trade candidate out of Arizona, names like Jake DeBrusk and Tomas Hertl became background noise. Chychrun would be the big name moved this season if it happens before the NHL trade deadline, but it’s not clear how serious the Coyotes are about a deal.
There are a good 10-12 teams that have been mentioned in connection to the defenseman but the ask could be as many as four pieces. The Edmonton Oilers were considered to be an early favorite until a couple of reports suggested Ken Holland wasn’t keenly interested or willing to move a high-end prospect to get the deal done. The Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins, Canucks, and New York Islanders have all been linked to these rumors.
Maple Leafs Decimated by COVID
Jake Muzzin is the latest player to be added to the COVID protocol list. He was placed there on Sunday. This comes just hours after Morgan Rielly tested positive and was placed on the list as well.
Toronto is now up to 14 players that are currently ineligible to play with Muzzin out for at least the next 10 days. It’s clear the Leafs will not be able to resume games on the 28th of December, when the NHL plans to resume play and unless the league comes up with a better solution for how teams like Toronto are going to put a roster on the ice, it’s hard to imagine how the Maple Leafs will compete, assuming they can even play.
Friedman noted on Sunday that NHL/NHLPA are working on things. He writes:
COVID roster protection, including: Optional use of taxi-squad through All-Star; emergency call-ups as long as player is making no more than $1M; and freedom to add a goalie if a club has less than 2 healthy due to the virus. There are some rules on who is eligible for a taxi squad, including clearing of waivers and time spent on an NHL roster.
The Maple Leafs are expected to get some players back but probably not enough and GM Kyle Dubas has to be wondering what he’s going to do. Just losing Muzzin and Rielly alone is a massive blow.
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.”