NHL Rumors: Maple Leafs, Blackhawks, Canucks, Flyers, Oilers

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, Jason Spezza of the Toronto Maple Leafs was hit with a hefty suspension. It appears he is going to appeal the ruling, but will the NHL make a change? Forward Jujhar Khaira took a nasty hit from Jacob Trouba in Tuesday’s Chicago Blackhawks vs. New York Rangers game. What is his status and will Trouba face a hearing? Who are the latest names connected to the vacant Vancouver Canucks executive positions and could Tyson Barrie be a trade candidate out of Edmonton?

Spezza to Appeal Suspension By NHL DoPS

Spezza’s punishment came down on Tuesday and the forward received a six-game suspension for what the NHL Department of Player Safety deemed a “reckless and retaliatory knee to the head” to Winnipeg Jets defenseman Neal Pionk. According to multiple reports, including one from Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, Spezza planned to appeal the suspension. If commissioner Gary Bettman doesn’t change the ruling (which he rarely does) Spezza and his camp could take their case to an independent arbitrator.

Head coach Sheldon Keefe said, “Look. I think everybody in this room, everybody in the game knows the character and integrity that Jason Spezza has through his entire career. We do and always will support him. He’s going to weigh his options that he has in this process.”

Khiara Released from Hospital

Tuesday evening, Khaira was sent to the ice unconscious after being hit hard by Trouba as he was trying to locate a puck in between his skates. Khaira was taken to a nearby hospital and monitored overnight. He was released on Wednesday. The Blackhawks did announce that Khaira was significantly injured, but should make a full recovery, which is good news considering his concussion history. There is no timeline for his return to play.

Trouba didn’t speak with the media after the game regarding the hit but head coach Gerard Gallant said, “You just hate to see somebody get hit that hurt. In my eyes, it was all fairly clean. But he had his head down big time, looking at the puck, and Troubs stepped in.”

Related: Ducks News & Rumors, Zegras, Robinson & More

It’s not clear if the league will take a look at this hit. Some say the head was the original point of contact while others suggest it only looks that way because the shoulder to shoulder contact made Khaira’s head snap back so quickly that it only looks like a head hit.

Bergevin a Candidate for Canucks GM Job?

According to Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic, there’s some talk the Sedins may take on a larger role inside the Canucks organization. LeBrun also noted that former Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin quickly surfaced as a possible candidate for the general manager’s job.

Marc Bergevin
Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz)

LeBrun writes:

For Bergevin right now, I would argue taking the rest of the season off before his next gig would seem to make the most sense. But there’s no question if the Canucks called, he would at the very least listen.

source – ‘LeBrun: Will Sedins take on expanded role with Canucks? Will Rick Tocchet land with Flyers?’ – Pierre LeBrun – The Athletic – 12/06/2021

LeBrun also wondered if the Canucks might consider bringing back former GM Mike Gillis and former assistant GM Laurence Gilman with Gillis as team president and Gilman as the general manager.

Flyers to Hire Defense Coach

According to Elliotte Friedman in his 32 Thoughts article from Tuesday evening, “The Flyers are expected to quickly hire someone to coach the defence.” He adds that Ivan Provorov‘s struggles are a real concern to the Flyers Friedman adds, “One rumored possibility: Adam Foote, who certainly maximized his own ability.”

Could the Oilers Look to Trade Tyson Barrie

According to Allan Mitchell of The Athletic, watch for Tyson Barrie‘s name when it comes to possible trades out of the Oilers organization.

Tyson Barrie Edmonton Oilers
Tyson Barrie, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

He writes:

The possible issues for him as an Oilers player are twofold: A less expensive player (Evan Bouchard) duplicates his skill set and Barrie’s cap hit ($4.5 million) may be needed elsewhere on the roster beginning next year.

A third factor, and a key one, is that Barrie is one of the very few roster players in Edmonton who has trade value, in part because he can be replaced internally and doesn’t own a no-trade or no-movement clause in his contract.

source – ‘Lowetide: Tyson Barrie’s contract and skill set make his Oilers future uncertain’ – Allan Mitchell – The Athletic – 12/08/2021
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