NHL Rumors: Sharks, Flames, Oilers, Bruins, Maple Leafs

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the San Jose Sharks will begin the process of terminating Evander Kane’s contract and Kane will become a UFA. What happens next? Could the Calgary Flames be among the interested teams? Meanwhile, one scribe suggests the Edmonton Oilers should go after a power forward on the Montreal Canadiens roster and the Boston Bruins may skip Tuukka Rask playing in the AHL altogether. Finally, what was the plan for Nick Ritchie when he got waived by the Toronto Maple Leafs? So too, what is the plan for Petr Mrazek now that he’s back and ready to play?

Evander Kane Now a UFA

According to sources like Elliotte Friedman, on Sunday, the Sharks officially terminated Kane’s contract. A grievance was filed by the NHLPA late Sunday night and everyone will have to await the next steps in the process. Technically, Kane is a UFA, but Friedman notes, “ground rules need to be set on how that can unfold, too.”

Evander Kane San Jose Sharks
Evander Kane, San Jose Sharks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

There will be questions about which teams show interest in the forward and Steve Macfarlane of Calgary Hockey Now wonders whether the Calgary Flames should consider kicking tires. As most teams know, Kane comes with some well-documented personal baggage but he’s a proven point producer at an affordable price. Macfarlane suggested GM Brad Treliving should poll his players and if they agree, trust that head coach Darryl Sutter can handle Kane.

Should Oilers Try and Acquire Josh Anderson?

There’s no guarantee that Josh Anderson will be available out of Montreal, but with the potential that the Canadiens move a number of pieces before this year’s deadline, Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal suggests the Oilers consider the power forward with a mean streak as a target since the team lacks that element.

Related: Oilers Have Opportunity to Make 4 Blockbuster Pre-NHL Deadline Deals

Matheson acknowledges that Anderson is currently sidelined with an upper-body injury but if his return next month happens as expected, he could be a strong addition. Anderson won’t be an easy add as he’s still early in his contract with the Canadiens and carries a $5.5 million cap hit with an eight-team no-trade list. Matheson writes:

He isn’t cheap, and he has an eight-team no-trade list, but if the Oilers aren’t on Anderson’s no-fly list, and we’re permitted to spit-ball here, would the Habs at least listen to an offer of a first-round pick in 2022, forward Xavier Bourgault and something else? … 

source – ‘Oilers Notes: Ottawa beaten up by Edmonton last season’ – Jim Matheson – Edmonton Journal – 01/10/2022

Rask Could Skip AHL Duty

According to Steve Conroy of The Boston Herald, Boston Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said that it hasn’t been determined if goaltender Tuukka Rask will play in any AHL games or jump straight to the NHL. It was assumed Rask would get some minutes for the Providence Bruins after signing a Professional Tryout Contract (PTO) deal there.

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With the AHL games postponed, the Bruins will need to decide if they should sign him to an NHL contract. Should they, Rask could jump right back into NHL action.

Nick Ritchie Was Never Going to the Marlies

When forward Nick Ritchie cleared waivers, most Toronto fans thought he dodged a bullet and was staying in the NHL because some of the Maple Leafs’ roster tested positive for COVID. Jonas Siegel of The Athletic notes, “It’s my understanding that the Marlies were never in consideration for Nick Ritchie when the Leafs placed the 26-year-old on waivers last week.”

Nick Ritchie Toronto Maple Leafs
Nick Ritchie, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Siegel adds:

As laid out to Ritchie by Leafs GM Kyle Dubas, the plan would always see him assigned to the taxi squad if he passed through waivers untouched. That way, the Leafs could accrue cap space (zapping $1.125 million of Ritchie’s $2.5 million cap hit from the books) and keep Ritchie around in the event he was needed to play. On those days, such as over the weekend in Colorado, the Leafs would slide him from taxi squad to roster. On off-days, they would move him back over to the taxi squad — and build space (when healthy, that is).

source – ‘Monday Morning Leafs Report: Top team tests, Mitch Marner’s role on the power play and more’ – Jonas Siegel – The Athletic – 01/10/2022

It’s not clear what the Maple Leafs would have done if taxi squads would have been dissolved by the All-Star break.

Siegel also notes that even with goaltender Petr Mrazek healthy now, “it sounds like the Leafs will keep the foot on the pedal with Jack Campbell this month.”

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