NHL Rumors: Canadiens, Rangers, Golden Knights, Canucks, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, Chris Tanev talks about wanting to play alongside Quinn Hughes, while there’s talk about Hughes and Elias Pettersson extension. Meanwhile, the Vegas Golden Knights could be seeking a backup goalie. Where will they find one? For both the Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers, they could be without two key players, and what will the playoff schedule look like when games begin on August 1?

Chris Tanev Wants to Stay With Quinn Hughes

Pete Jensen and David Satriano of NHL.com write that Chris Tanev has said one of the main reasons he wants to stick with the Vancouver Canucks is because he hopes he’s able to continue to play with defense partner Quinn Hughes.

Chris Tanev Vancouver Canucks
Chris Tanev, Vancouver Canucks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Tanev is a pending free agent and has not hid the fact he’s looking to re-sign with the Canucks despite the fact the team will have trouble keeping everyone with a flat salary cap next season. Tanev notes:

“I’d love to stay here and play with Quinn as long as I’m able to,” Tanev said Tuesday. “I think we played great together when we did this year and I think we both enjoyed it. … I think he’s an extremely dynamic player that is only going to get better and better for this organization, and it was pretty special what he did this year.”

As it pertains to Hughes next contract, Elliotte Friedman said on during an appearance Sportsnet 650, the next contracts for Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersson will revolve around whether each respective player wants a shorter-term deal or a longer-term one right away.  “Are Hughes and Pettersson going to come to the Canucks and want big time back-loading? So the AAV remains the same but more of the money is on the back-end.”

Related: The Best Free Agent Signings in NHL History

Golden Knights Looking for Backup Goaltender?

If Robin Lehner departs the Golden Knights organization in free agency, the team will need to find a backup netminder for Marc-Andre Fleury. With over $74.6 million invested in 17 players for 2020-21, Lehner will likely be looking for a long-term deal after spending the past three seasons on one-year contracts, thus losing him is a real possibility.

Robin Lehner Vegas Golden Knights
Robin Lehner, Vegas Golden Knights (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The Golden Knights could put Oscar Dansk in as the backup, or they could look at free agency or a trade.

The Athletic’s Jesse Granger writes:

If they find a way to sign Lehner, then the position is secure for years to come and acquiring another goalie becomes unnecessary. However, if Lehner goes elsewhere in free agency, which is a legit possibility considering Vegas’ lack of cap space, the team could opt to go with a cheaper option at backup goalie, and wait to acquire one at the deadline.

source – ‘Five potential Seattle expansion goalies Vegas could target via trade’ – Jesse Granger – 07/03/2020

The goalies Granger suggests might be targets include players who will be exposed in next summer’s NHL expansion draft. Among the names mentioned were Pittsburgh’s Matt Murray, Arizona’s Antti Raanta, and Toronto’s Frederik Andersen.

Could NHL Deem Players Unfit to Play?

For the Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers, they could be getting bad news thanks to a health protocol from the NHL. According to Bob McKenzie of TSN, the league has the ability to deem players unfit to play if they think they’re higher risk. The clause reads as follows: “Players who are determined to be at substantial risk of developing a serious illness as a result of exposure to the novel coronavirus shall be deemed to be unfit to play and shall not be permitted to participate either in Phase 3 or 4.” 

Kaapo Kakko New York Rangers
Kaapo Kakko, New York Rangers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

That could mean both Max Domi of the Canadiens and Kaapo Kakko of the New York rangers could have to go through extra steps to be cleared for play, possibly not being cleared at all. Both players have celiac disease and are Type 1 diabetics. McKenzie notes that both Domi and Kakko want to play in the Return to Play and they intend to play. 

This is not to assume the NHL will rule either player out, only that they need to go through the extra step, with a doctor signing off during their pre-Phase 3 medicals.

Related: 7 Biggest NHL Players in Today’s Game

Playoffs Game Schedule

Thanks to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, we now have a better idea of how the scheduling of games will work when the NHL season kicks back in. The plan is to play three games a day at each of the hub locations, for a total of six games per day. This will include both qualifying round games and round robin seeding games. 

These games will be scheduled for the same time each day – 12pm, 4pm, and 8pm. On the east coast, this means games will be on at noon, 2pm, 4pm, 6pm, 8pm, and 10pm, while on the west coast things will get started a little earlier with games at 9am, 11am, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm, and 7pm. 

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