In today’s NHL rumor rundown, the first NHL player has informed their team that they will not take part in the play-in round. Who else might be next? The Tampa Bay Lightning potentially got some bad news as Steve Stamkos suffered an injury. Finally, there could be some interest in Taylor Hall from the Montreal Canadiens and Calgary Flames, plus trade talk out of Vancouver for Brock Boeser.
Stamkos Injured During Phase 2
Tampa Bay Lightning insider Erik Erlendsson has revealed that Lightning star forward Steven Stamkos suffered an injury at some point during Phase 2 of the NHL’s Return to Play. He is now expected to miss the start of training camp. Joe Smith of The Athletic added that Stamkos is getting treatment and doing land work right now.
The injury is being described as a “lower-body injury” and there aren’t additional details regarding severity of it. Lightning general manager Julien Brisebois has however confirmed that Stamkos is still skating and should join the Lightning prior to the start of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
For now, the Lightning will bring Alex Barre-Boulet to training camp, which will have give the team 10 d-men, 18 forwards and four goalies.
Taylor Hall to Flames or Canadiens?
Among the few teams that will have some salary cap space and room to make a pitch to higher-end free agents is the Montreal Canadiens and the Calgary Flames. Maybe for exclusively that reason, there are some connections being made to winger Taylor Hall.
NHL insider John Shannon stated, “I think there will be a small market and I think the two places that are obvious for Hall to go, other than staying in Arizona, would be Montreal and Calgary.”
Montreal could certainly use the extra scoring help and there was talk at the trade deadline the Flames would try and improve their scoring punch, with links to Tyler Toffoli. There’s also buzz that Calgary could be in for a shakeup if they have a poor playoff series. Perhaps Hall could trigger the start of that change.
Travis Hamonic Opts Out of Return to Play
Not helping the Flames play-in chances, defenseman Travis Hamonic has decided not to join the team for training camp that starts Monday or return for the play-in series against the Winnipeg Jets. He informed the team of his decision Friday.
“Earlier this evening Travis called me to inform us that he has decided to opt out of the NHL Return to Play Program,” Flames GM Brad Treliving said in a statement. “Travis explained that due to family considerations, he has made the difficult decision not to participate in the Stanley Cup Qualifier and Playoffs.”
Obviously, we wish the best for Hamonic and his family and there will be no punishment or consequence from the team or the league for choosing not to participate. What will be a question is how much this opens the door to other players opting out?
There was talk, just a couple of weeks ago, that a survey of players suggested as many as 75% of those eligible to return were uncomfortable doing so. Are more players going to take Hamonic’s lead and inform their teams of their desire to exclude themselves?
Could Canucks Trade Brock Boeser?
TSN 1040’s Rick Dhaliwal cites colleague Matt Sekeres saying he was told the Vancouver Canucks are exploring the possibility of trading Brock Boeser. Sekeres wasn’t suggesting Boeser is being shopped, instead, the Canucks are looking at ways to fit everyone into a flat salary cap and Boeser’s $6 million cap hit could be worrisome if the team wants to retain Tyler Toffoli.
If the Canucks can get a sold return for Boeser and keep Toffoli, there could be potential for a trade. The potential asking price would be a first-round pick and a good young defenseman.
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Jim Parsons is a freelance writer who covers the Edmonton Oilers and news and rumors posts here at The Hockey Writers.
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