In today’s NHL rumor rundown, Calgary’s GM clears the air about the rumored conditioning (or lack thereof) of Johnny Gaudreau. In Pittsburgh, the Penguins don’t have room to re-sign everyone so they may have tough decisions ahead. Is Michael Frolik leaving the NHL?
Finally, in Edmonton, Rogers Place suffered extensive damage thanks to a storm. Will it affect the city being a hub for the NHL playoffs?
Gaudreau Is Just Fine, In Tip-Top Shape
After rumors surfaced that the main reason Johnny Gaudreau might not be skating with the top line at the Calgary Flames training camp was his conditioning, a heated Brad Treliving cleared the air on the speculation.
According to Treliving, Gaudreau is in tip-top condition. TSN writes, “He worked out hard during the pause and this is just one of those things and will all be established in a better sense in the next couple of days.” Treliving wouldn’t provide an answer as to why Gaudreau wasn’t on the top line with his usual linemates,
Related: Pittsburgh Penguins You Forgot About
Penguins Don’t Have Cap Space for Free Agents
As per Mike DeFabo of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the flat salary cap for 2020-21 being at $81.5 million means the Penguins don’t have room for all their pending free agents. With over $68 million invested in next season’s payroll, they’ll have tough choices to make.
General manager Jim Rutherford might try to create some cap room via trade. Rutherford could attempt to move one of his goaltenders in Matt Murray or Tristan Jarry and call up Casey DeSmith as a full-time backup next season. If that’s not an option, another possible move would be to let defenseman Justin Schultz walk. That’s not ideal as it would leave a hole on the blue line, but there was speculation after a less-than-extension-worthy season, Schultz might be on his way out anyway.
He’s indicated he’d like to stay so if he’s willing to do so with a lower salary, there might be room there.
Related: Flames’ Top 5 Draft Picks Since 2010
Michael Frolik Getting Overseas Interest
Sport-Express in Russia reports that Avangard Omsk of the KHL has offered former Flames and Sabres forward Michael Frolik a one-year contract. He’s also been talking to Lausanne of the Swiss NLA, according to iSport’s Pavel Barta.
While Frolik ensures that he has options in a very uncertain market, his European agent Josef Machala told Barta that Frolik’s preference is to remain in the NHL. 14 points in 57 games might not help keep him in the league however.
Rogers Place Suffers Damage During Storm
Rogers Place, which is where the Edmonton Oilers play and the venue that is supposed to host to the Western Conference teams in the play-in games, was all over social media on Thursday night. The building suffered damage as a result of a storm that swept through the city.
The entrance foyer area flooded with water but reports are that the water didn’t damage or reach the actual ice surface or anything critical that would stop the players from being able to play or the NHL from moving forward with Edmonton as a hub city. You can see the video below:
“Rogers Place has suffered some water damage to the terminus of Ford Hall, along with some smaller leaks in other parts of the building,” the Oilers Entertainment Group and Rogers Place said in a statement.
“We are assessing the damage and at this time are confident that it will not hamper our planning and preparation and we will be ready to host the return of NHL hockey as hub city. We will share more information as it becomes available.”
The good news is that they believe they’ll be ready to go by the time players arrive on July 26. They’ll just have to keep their fingers crossed the city doesn’t get a whole lot more rain in the next couple of days.
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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.”