In today’s NHL rumor rundown, the Montreal Canadiens are about to sign an international prospect but got bad news when it comes to players testing positive for COVID-19. Meanwhile, the Toronto Maple Leafs have announced that a couple of players are back and ready to join the team’s training camp which opens today. The Minnesota Wild have officially named their new head coach and are expected to sign a potential star and the New York Islanders have news as well.
Maple Leafs Get Good News
The Toronto Maple Leafs got good news on a number of fronts today. First, there are rumblings that forward Andreas Johnsson might make an appearance in the playoffs, according to Sportsnet’s Luke Fox. Fox reports that the team is “hopeful” that Johnsson will have rehabilitated from his knee injury and join the club for the second round of the playoffs, (if the Leafs make it that far).
Johnsson had what would have been season-ending knee surgery in February, but the NHL pause has given him the extra time to rehabilitate.
In other news, the Leafs have provided an update on star forward Auston Matthews. Toronto journalist Steve Simmons had outed Matthews as a player who had contracted COVID-19 but Leafs GM Kyle Dubas says that Matthews is ready to join the team for training camp. If Matthews did test positive for the virus, it would appear that he has already gone through the necessary testing protocols and has been medically cleared to return to the ice.
Wild Sign Dean Evason As Coach
The Minnesota Wild have announced that Dean Evason is now officially the head coach after removing the interim tag. He signed a two-year extension with the club Monday.
Wild GM Bill Guerin released the following statement:
I am very excited to announce that Dean Evason is our full-time head coach. Dean has done a fantastic job as our interim head coach and deserves this opportunity. I look forward to watching our team under his leadership going forward.
In other Wild news, the team is expected to burn the first year of Russian prospect Kirill Kaprizov’s entry-level contract by signing him to a deal, according to The Athletic’s Michael Russo. Russo writes that Guerin is aware that Kaprizov can’t play in the playoffs but also indicated that this is an important step to get one of the top players playing outside the NHL acclimated as he would be allowed to practice with the team during Phases 3 & 4.
Related: Top 10 Undersized NHL Players
Canadiens to Bring in Romanov, But Get Bad News
Like the Wild, according to a report from Habs insider Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports, the Canadiens are bringing in 20-year-old Russian defenseman Alexander Romanov for Phase 3 and Phase 4.
Again, he won’t be able to play, but the idea behind bringing into camp is to get him to sign his entry-level deal and get him feeling the NHL game and meeting his future teammates.
According to Montreal’s training camp roster, Romanov will be wearing #27 which became available after defenseman Karl Alzner opted out of a return to play.
Unfortunately, the news is not all good in Montreal. As per The Athletic’s Arpon Basu:
At least three Montreal Canadiens players have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent days, league sources told The Athletic on Sunday.
The National Hockey League declined comment, citing its policy regarding COVID-19 disclosure. The Canadiens also declined to comment.source – Sources: Multiple Montreal Canadiens players test positive for COVID-19 – Arpon Basu – The Athletic – 07/12/2020
Islanders to Sign Sorokin
The Athletic’s Arthur Staple noted that the New York Islanders are in the same boat as the Wild and Canadiens and are likely to sign goaltender Ilya Sorokin.
In other good news for the Islanders, head coach Barry Trotz said the team is expecting to get back two injured players for the 24-team tournament. NHL.com’s Sasha Kandrach writes that defenseman Adam Pelech and center Casey Cizikas are healthy enough to join the team for training camp.
Pastrnak Not On Ice for Bruins
As per a report by TSN, Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak was not on the ice Monday for the team’s first practice session of Phase 3. Karson Kuhlman took his spot on the No. 1 line.
It doesn’t sound like this is anything big, just Pastrnak and Ondrej Kase still serving 14-day International Quarantine.
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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.”