In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is lots of information out there as it pertains to the Montreal Canadiens, more specifically Max Domi and Karl Alzner. Mike Green has opted out from the Edmonton Oilers camp, as has Sven Baertschi from the Vancouver Canucks. Romak Polak makes an expected decision in Dallas and there is talk about the Maple Leafs plans for a flat salary cap.
Domi To Wait, Alzner Opts Out
The Montreal Canadiens have announced that forward Max Domi has decided to wait 7-10 days before making a decision on whether he intends to return to the team for Phase 3. With players now starting to notify teams of their intentions not to return, Domi was a player already under a microscope because of his Type-1 Diabetes. Contracting the virus would put him more at risk.
The team released a statement:
Considering Max’s health condition (Type 1 diabetes), both parties have agreed to take this responsible approach and to take this time to evaluate the ongoing situation, in order to make the best decision for Max’s health at the end of this period.
Still with the Canadiens, defenseman Karl Alzner has opted out. Alzner, 31, played only four games for the Canadiens this season. No specifics regarding Alzner’s decision were immediately available but one assumption could be that his status with the team and not being a regular in the lineup wasn’t worth the health risks associated with a return.
Oilers’ Mike Green Opts Out
Defenseman Mike Green is out for Edmonton as well. He said in a statement.:
“Due to the uncertainties surrounding COVID-19 and after much consideration, I’ve decided for deeply personal family health reasons, not to participate in the return to play. This has been a hard decision knowing I’m going to miss the opportunity to compete in the playoffs with a Stanley Cup contender. I wish the best of luck to the guys and I appreciate the Edmonton Oilers support.”
For the Oilers, this isn’t great news but it isn’t devastating news either. There was talk Green might have gotten the nod as a defenseman because of his veteran experience but that wasn’t a given. Potentially in and out of the lineup, it might not have been worth the risk.
What’s more interesting is what it means for him after this season. Green didn’t get much of a chance thanks to an injury to show the Oilers what he could do. Now, as an unrestricted free agent, he won’t have the luxury of a strong playoff season behind him as he negotiates a new contract.
Of note, his decision not to play completes his Feb. 24 trade, with Detroit getting a 2020 fourth-round pick from Edmonton. That could have upgraded to a 2021 third-rounder if the Oilers reached the conference finals and Green played in 50% of the games.
Baertschi Elects to Sit As Well
Vancouver forward Sven Baertschi was also added to the list of players not returning. Canucks general manager Jim Benning said, “Sven informed us late yesterday that he has chosen to opt out of the NHL return to play program,” “It was a difficult decision but ultimately one we respect and understand.”
Maple Leafs Plans for a Flat Cap
Rory Boylen of Sportsnet took at a look at the Toronto Maple Leafs and their salary cap situation, noting they have $76.908 million already committed to salaries next season. Among their notable UFA’s are Jason Spezza, Kyle Clifford, Tyson Barrie, and Cody Ceci. RFAs include Travis Dermott and Ilya Mikheyev.
The consensus seems to be that Barrie and Ceci are likely gone. Frederik Andersen will be a UFA after next season and is not a shoo-in for a long-term extension. For whatever reason, Andersen has a history of starting seasons slowly. This long break could hurt him and any contract talks is that trend continues.
It is expected that Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas will make cost-cutting moves, especially knowing they’ need to replace the outgoing contracts of Barrie and Ceci. The Toronto Sun’s Michael Traikos writes:
Chances are, the Leafs will have to let someone go when the playoffs end this year. It could be Kasperi Kapanen or Andreas Johnsson. It might be Nylander and his $6.9-million salary.source – ‘NHL teams to feel crunch if the salary cap remains stagnant’ – Michael Traikos – Toronto Sun – 07/08/2020
Stars Not Surprised Roman Polak Didn’t Return
Matthew DeFranks of the Dallas Morning News notes that Dallas Stars defenseman Roman Polak will not be on the Stars training camp roster. This isn’t a huge surprise considering Polak voiced concern about returning and announced his new deal with HC Vitkovice of the Czech Extraliga.
Thomas Harley and Ty Dellandrea will be brought to camp, but DeFranks notes, “We’ll see how much of a role they’ll have in postseason games.”
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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.”