NHL Rumors: Oilers, Capitals, Bruins, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, Edmonton’s Caleb Jones confirmed why he missed the start of training camp, while Braden Holtby holds out hope there’s room for him in Washington. Finally, David Pastrnak is back in quarantine. Is he potentially in hot water with the team and the NHL?

Holtby Wants to Squeeze in With Caps

Ilya Samsonov is likely the Capitals’ future No. 1 netminder and the flattened salary cap hasn’t left a lot of room to sign a big-ticket free agent, but that isn’t stopping goaltender Braden Holtby from holding out hope there is room for him in Washington.

Braden Holtby Capitals Washington
Braden Holtby, Capitals Washington (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Holtby told reporters, including J.J. Regan of NBC Sports Washington, that he’d like to return:

My focus right now is to win a championship and moving forward, is to find the next best place to win a championship with. Hopefully, it is here. Hopefully, everything works out but you never know.

He seems to understand that the chances of that happening might not be good. He explained:

“My focus right now is to win a championship and moving forward, is to find the next best place to win a championship with. Hopefully, it is here. Hopefully, everything works out but you never know.”

What kind of deal he’d have to take to stay with the Capitals will be interesting to see. He did not have a strong year statistically and there should be plenty of teams looking for a top-level stopper.

Related: NHL Rumors: Flames, Blackhawks, Bruins, Canucks, Coaches, Lehner, More

Oilers Defenseman Jones Tested Positive for COVID-19

Friday, Caleb Jones of the Edmonton Oilers willingly acknowledged he tested positive for COVID-19. Got tested as soon as he arrived from his off-season home in Dallas and went straight into isolation, explaining his early absences from the main ice at training camp and being labeled “unfit to play.”

Caleb Jones Oilers
Caleb Jones (Photo Credit: Connor Mah/Flickr)

He says he had no symptoms at all and explained to media after practice:

“I had no symptoms — I was asymptomatic. I did my two-week isolation and tried to stay away from everyone. My first day back at the rink was actually Monday, the start of training camp. So, I was just the first few days getting back into it, and I was glad to be back full with the team (on Friday).”

Since Phase 3 began, the only other NHL player to publicly admit to having had the virus is Auston Matthews, but that’s wasn’t exactly a situation under his control. A journalist from the Toronto Sun had previously reported Matthews’ positive test and the Maple Leafs center decided to address the speculation. Matthews said he wasn’t pleased the news got out in that way.

As for Jones, he didn’t want the cloud hanging over him and it will be interesting to see what other players make the same decision.

Related: Kris Russell: Oilers Most Likely Moved Before the 2020-21 Season

Pastrnak Held Out of Practice, Questions About Protocols

David Pastrnak has been missing practices but the news is that he’s not contracted the virus, only been exposed to someone who has. For that reason, the Bruins are holding him out as a precautionary measure. He is back in quarantine, according to The Athletic’s Fluto Shinzawa.

David Pastrnak Boston Bruins
David Pastrnak, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Coach Bruce Cassidy said after hearing the news:

“Am I thinking ahead to being without those guys in the round robin or playoffs? No. That’d be speculating. But yeah, for today. And if I get word later today that the same thing’s going to happen tomorrow, then we start thinking, ‘OK, we’ve looked at a couple of guys. Anything else?’ We’ll meet as a staff to go through that. But there’s only so many guys that will go up to David’s spot.”

source – ‘Agent: David Pastrnak under quarantine, has tested negative for COVID-19’ Fluto Shinzawa – The Athletic – 07/17/2020

There were photos that leaked of Pastrnak and Ondrej Kase skating at a local rink and according to the NHL’s return-to-play protocol, players who participate in Phase 3 are not permitted to work out or skate at any public facility or other location. Since Pastrnak technically hasn’t joined Phase 3 yet, he’s likely not violating any rules and Cassidy doesn’t mind if they work out as long as they’re safe. Still, there are some questions as to whether or not they should be skating.

The NHL has not made a ruling for either player. According to Joe Haggerty, “Cassidy stressed the absence of Pastrnak & Kase had nothing to do w/disciplinary action, or photos of them in North End or working out at other rinks earlier this week. It’s health-related: “This isn’t discipline against those two guys. … We’re not disciplining anybody.”

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