In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is good news about Chris Kreider and possibly bad news about Kasperi Kapanen’s status with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Plus, what is the asking price for Ilya Kovalchuk? Finally, will there be any discipline handed out to either the Edmonton Oilers or Calgary Flames after the rowdy game on Saturday?
Kreider’s Injury Not As Bad as Feared
The New York Rangers seem to have gotten lucky when it comes to a scary moment out of last night’s New York Rangers versus Detroit Red Wings game. Chris Kreider took a nasty hit to the head from his own teammate Mika Zibanejad early in the second period and did not return. The concern was a concussion or major head injury.
Head coach David Quinn told the media, including The New York Posts’ Brett Cygralis, “He wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I thought he would be. After the game ended, we talked, and it’s a lot better than I anticipated.” Quinn added Kreider did not suffer a concussion and is day-to-day.
Not only is this good news for Kreider but good news for the Rangers who can now make whatever decision is best for the team in terms of keeping or trading Kreider before the deadline. If he’s not seriously injured, other teams will remain interested in adding him before February 24.
The Latest on Kapanen’s Healthy Scratch
When Kasperi Kapanen was scratched from the Toronto Maple Leafs lineup on Saturday, a news of that scratch fell just minutes before the game, speculation ran rampant as to why. Many believed a trade might be coming considering no news was released related to an injury. It was revealed after the game that Kapanen was sitting because of an “internal accountability” issue.
Head coach Sheldon Keefe spoke with the media, including TSN’s Kristen Shilton, and called it a one-time thing and the decision was only made yesterday morning. He would not go into more detail and speculation is that Kapanen was late for practice or some other team meeting. Kapanen will have a media availability on Monday, so there may be more details coming including a hint as to whether or not he’s in the doghouse in Toronto.
There is some speculation that Keefe and his staff are less-than thrilled with Kapanen and while that doesn’t necessarily equate to an upcoming trade, with Kapanen’s name is in the rumor mill so often it will be an interesting story to watch over the next two weeks.
What’s the Kovalchuk Asking Price?
According to Pierre LeBrun, belief from some teams is that the price to rent out Ilya Kovalchuk from the Montreal Canadiens is no less than a second-round draft pick. LeBrun is also hearing the Canadiens have discussed wanting to keep Kovalchuk because they see him as a positive impact both on ice and in the room.
With three weeks to go before Feb. 24, it will be intriguing to watch if any team ponies up that kind of an asset considering they could have had Kovalchuk for free just over a month ago.
Jake Muzzin Negotiations Could Get Tricky
As was pointed out in last night’s rumor update on Jake Muzzin, his early contract negotiations with the Maple Leafs are proving to be a bit tricky. Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston says that it is not as simple as knowing Muzzin would like to stay and the Maple Leafs would like to keep him.
Salary cap constraints and the potential market value of Muzzin around the NHL is slowing things down. Muzzin knows that he could be among the top free agent defensemen in this summer’s crop of blueliners and while he may be willing to take a slight discount to stay in Toronto, that still leaves him in the driver’s seat when it comes to what his salary will be. This is especially accurate if Alex Pietrangelo and Torey Krug sign extensions with the St. Louis Blues and Boston Bruins respectively.
What does the top defenseman get on the UFA market every year? That’s what the Maple Leafs are competing with here.
Oilers and Flames Supplemental Discipline?
Considering the insanely entertaining but rowdy game the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames played in on Saturday, some are wondering if there will be any supplemental discipline by the NHL? Remember, head of the NHL Player Safety Committee, George Parros was in the crowd, still in town from when these two teams last met.
Elliotte Friedman was asked this question last night on Sportsnet and immediately shook his head no. This game, while a donnybrook, is being considered just two teams settling things on the ice. No action or suspensions will come from anything that happened.
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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.”