In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is good news on the testing front for the NHL as play gets underway Tuesday. The Boston Bruins got perhaps their biggest star back, while the Edmonton Oilers have spoken with one of their top prospects about returning. One scribe looks at the Ottawa free agent situation, and in Montreal, there are questions about Cary Price’s job security if the Canadiens have a bad series.
NHL Has No New Positive Tests
With exhibition games set to begin Tuesday and with teams now in their bubbles and hub cities, there is good news for the NHL in terms of their virus testing. The league has confirmed zero new cases of COVID-19 in the past week.
That means, between last Monday where only two tests were confirmed positive and yesterday’s test results, all 24 teams seemed to successfully get into the isolated areas without issue. Considering MLB is having games canceled with regularity, that’s great news and shows the NHL’s protocols could prove successful.
Pastrnak Joins Bruins
On the topic of players getting into their bubbles, David Pastrnak of the Boston Bruins is finally back with the team and ready to participate.
The Bruins posted a video of Pastrnak skating with the rest of the roster Monday which is his first on-ice skate with his teammates since the NHL went on pause. Head coach Bruce Cassidy said Pastrnak looked great and noted he expects the line of Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron, and Brad Marchand to get up to speed quickly.
The Bruins posted a video of Pastrnak skating with the rest of the roster Monday which is his first on-ice skate with his teammates since the NHL went on pause. Head coach Bruce Cassidy said Pastrnak looked great and noted he expects the line of Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron, and Brad Marchand to get up to speed quickly. Bergeron said of his linemate:
“I don’t know if he really needs that much help. He’s one of those guys that gets back and he’s so talented and always seems effortless. I’m expecting him to get back and obviously he might be rusty a little bit, but we have a little bit of time before we start.”
Price’s Spot With Canadiens Safe
Eric Engels of Sportsnet wrote in recent mailbag segment that even if Carey Price doesn’t have a great playoff series this season, he’s not in jeopardy of being shopped or traded by the Montreal Canadiens.
“… obviously management isn’t going to be particularly thrilled if the team plays exceptionally well and Price proves unreliable. But even something like that could boil down to the uniqueness of this unprecedented situation.
He added that trading price would be difficult, even if the team wanted to do so because of a stagnant cap. He notes trying to get something of value in return would be tricky.
Senators Free Agent Options
Hailey Salvian of The Athletic took a closer look at the Ottawa Senators and their 13 pending unrestricted and restricted free agents. She broke them down into categories as to who might stay and who might go.
On the list of free agents that aren’t going anywhere, Connor Brown (RFA), Anthony Duclair (RFA), and Chris Tierney (RFA) are the top. She writes that Brown has established himself as a reliable shutdown player with an offensive skill set and Duclair seems to have finally found a home. Of Tierney, she writes:
His production dipped slightly this season after two straight campaigns with 40 and 48 points, respectively. But with 11 goals and 37 points, he still was among the team’s top producers this season. He was also one of the best penalty killers on the team and another reliable, two-way option for Smith to use.source – ‘Who stays, who goes: Predictions for the Senators’ pending free agents’ – Hailey Salvian – The Athletic – 07/24/2020
She adds that few Senators centers have proved they are as reliable as Tierney. Colin White and Artem Anisimov struggled and Josh Norris is still a rookie.
Oilers’ Holland Has Spoken to Puljujarvi
According to Bob Stauffer on Oilers Now, general manager for the Edmonton Oilers Ken Holland has been in contact with Jesse Puljujarvi’s agent, Markus Lehto. In fact, reports are they have spoken multiple times over the past few weeks.
Holland also reportedly had a Zoom call with both Puljujarvi and Lehto and the feeling seems to be, more and more, like Puljujarvi, could return to Edmonton at some point in the future. The final word is, “There’s communication, we’ll see where it goes.”
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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.”