It was a busy day for rumors and innuendo in hockey, so for today’s second installment of the rumor rundown, we look at updates on Sergei Bobrovsky, Wayne Simmonds and an Auston Matthews offer sheet coming out of Arizona.
Here is part one from Thursday.
Sergei Bobrovsky Suspended by Team? Anything to do With Free Agency?
In a bit of a shocking development on Thursday, the Columbus Blue Jackets have issued a press release indicating that Sergei Bobrovsky will not dress for the team’s game against the Nashville Predators on Thursday, citing an “incident” which has caused the team to pull the star goalie and pending unrestricted free agent from the lineup.
Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen made the following statement on the official team website:
There are certain expectations and values that we have established for our players that define our culture. An incident occurred in which Sergei failed to meet those expectations and values, so we made the decision that he would not be with the team for tonight’s game. This is an internal matter and we will have no further comment at this time.
The team has recalled Jean-Francois Berube and Bobrovsky is expected to return to practice on Friday. The organization made no further comments and coach John Tortorella would not go into any more detail about the situation when asked by media.
As a result, speculation will run wild as to what led to this “suspension” by the team and if any connection can be made to the fact Bobrovsky is a pending free agent, seeking the highest annual salary of any goaltender in the NHL. He’s having a less-than-Bobrovsky-like season which can’t be good for the prospects of him hitting a home run in free agency and there will certainly be rumblings the former two-time Vezina Trophy winner is lashing out or having issues in Columbus.
So this would seem like a one-day thing…. although in the bigger picture, hard to fathom Bobrovsky re-signing at any time with UFA status July 1… https://t.co/mrqRQSavzI
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) January 10, 2019
Update on Status of Wayne Simmonds
Darren Dreger of TSN reports that the Philadelphia Flyers haven’t made a decision on the future of pending unrestricted free agent forward Wayne Simmonds. Should they choose to trade him, there would be plenty of interested teams, including, as Dreger notes, the Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets and Calgary Flames.
Dreger also said he doesn’t believe Simmonds is eager to just sit around and wait to see what happens to him. He might want to have an idea of what direction he’ll be headed and Dreger thinks he could be a name to watch in the coming days and weeks ahead.
Dreger’s TSN fellow panelist, Bob McKenzie said on NBCSN that it’s “more likely than not” that Simmonds is dealt, but it’s not a slam dunk. The Flyers could still look to re-sign him. McKenzie said of the expectations for Simmonds next contract:
“The expectation is if he goes to market he’s going to get at least five years, maybe more, and perhaps $6 million a year or more. And again, it could be a long term for less AAV, or it could be a shorter term for higher AAV. But in any case, it might be difficult for the Flyers to get in on that type of contract.”
Teams are calling the Flyers right now and asking about Simmonds and they’re being told by GM Chuck Fletcher “we’ll get back to you on that.”
Will Auston Matthews Get an Offer Sheet from Arizona?
One of the stories to watch as the rest of the season unfolds and all the way up until July 1, 2019, is what happens with restricted free agents like Auston Matthews and the potential for an offer sheet by another team. One hasn’t been used by an opposing GM in ages, but this could be the year a team gives it some serious thought.
“Now, there’s all sorts of rumors out there. And one of the rumors – and I stress a rumor. If it was a report, if there was any evidence to back this up, I would say it. But he’s an Arizona boy. So there’s all sorts of speculation that the Arizona Coyotes would come in on a one-year max deal, $16 million a year that would make it difficult for the Toronto Maple Leafs to match.”
It would be something if Arizona decided to make a play for Matthews and just how interested Matthews would be in going “home” to Arizona.
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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.”