In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there are questions about what Tuukka Rask will do long-term and also buzz the Boston Bruins might have tried to move him this offseason. There is a battle brewing in training camp for a couple spots on the Toronto Maple Leafs blue line and there are updates on both Patrik Laine and Pierre-Luc Dubois. Finally, Jack Eichel is back and were the Montreal Canadiens interested in a big-ticket free agent forward?
Bruins Fielded Calls on Tuukka Rask
According to Pierre LeBrun, the Bruins took calls on goaltender Tuukka Rask in the offseason and his future with the team beyond this season is certainly not a given. LeBrun writes that Rask hasn’t shown an interest in playing for another team but it’s not clear if he’ll choose to play past this season.
There were whispers around the league that Bruins GM Don Sweeney was taking calls on Rask in the offseason. The Bruins made a huge decision on Zdeno Chara. Is anyone convinced Patrice Bergeron will play past this season? Where does Rask fit in Boston’s transition? I think the answer lies in how he plays this season and if the Bruins see the goalie who can help shepherd that transition for the next few years.source – ‘LeBrun: 5 high-profile pending UFAs to watch during an uncertain 2021 season’ – Pierre LeBrun – The Athletic – 01/06/2021
The likeliest option is signing a two-year extension or retiring. If he plays well, it’s more likely the relationship continues.
Maple Leafs Still Deciding on Bottom Pair Blue Line
As per a report by Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun, Mikko Lehtonen is performing well in camp and could get the call to pair with Zach Bogosian in the Leafs bottom pair. That said, head coach Sheldon Keefe warns that there are still decisions to be made beyond the Morgan Rielly, TJ Brodie and Jake Muzzin.
“(Lehtonen) is like Bogosian, Justin Holl, Travis Dermott, Rasmus Sandin, all the way to Martin Marincin, Timothy Liljegren and Calle Rosen. We’ve got great depth and haven’t made any determinations. These guys have to bring their absolute best. We love the internal competition. It’s a 56-game season and despite it being short, we’re going to need more than just the top six.”source – ‘Mikko makes move for Maple Leafs job’ – Lance Hornby – Toronto Sun – 01/06/2021
Unfortunately, there’s already been one casualty at camp for the Leafs as centre Alexander Kerfoot suffered a bit of an injury as is “banged up” according to Keefe. He is listed as day-to-day.
Jack Eichel Back Skating
After an injury that took Jack Eichel off the ice and forced the team to label him as day-to-day, Eichel was back and took part in practice with the Sabres for the first time during training camp on Wednesday.
Obviously, this is great news for the Sabres who can’t afford to have Eichel miss any time in an extremely deep division.
Laine Understands He’s a Jet for the Season
Elliotte Friedman reports in his latest “31 Thoughts” column that Patrik Laine arrived to camp with the Winnipeg Jets under the impression he was not going to be moved this season. After the season, there could be a lot more chatter about him being traded and teams like the Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets could be among the interested teams.
Laine to Columbus is interesting but Friedman believes. for that to have a chance of being possible, Laine would need to commit to staying in Columbus long-term.
Blue Jackets Hid Dubois Trade Request
Friedman also notes that the Columbus Blue Jackets have known for months that Dubois wanted to be moved and that explains why they were so paranoid about an offer sheet for the young center. He adds there currently isn’t much optimism in fixing the situation between the organization and the player.
In other Blue Jackets news, the team has signed Oliver Bjorkstrand to a five-year, $27 million contract extension. Bjorkstrand’s new deal includes a 10-team no-trade clause beginning w the 2022-23 season.
Canadiens Were Interested in Hoffman
Friedman also notes — and why should we be surprised considering everything the Montreal Canadiens did this offseason — that the Canadiens really wanted to add Mike Hoffman.
He notes the numbers just didn’t work and that not even Simone Biles could pull off those cap gymnastics.
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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.”