NHL Rumors: Canadiens, Flyers, Golden Knights, Oilers, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, the Montreal Canadiens will be getting back a top-tier prospect just in time for the play-ins, while the Philadelphia Flyers appear to be losing a possible black ace. There is talk about which goaltender the Golden Knights might want to keep, and the Edmonton Oilers are bringing a high-end defensive prospect to camp.

Kotkaniemi to Return for Canadiens

According to reports from Arpon Basu of The Athletic, Montreal Canadiens center Jesperi Kotkaniemi has been cleared to play in their upcoming play-in series against the Pittsburgh Penguins. This is great news considering there were questions about his availability and this timeline for a return is much earlier than the initial, according to a team source. Kotkaniemi suffered an injury to his spleen on March 6 while on assignment with AHL Laval.

Jesper Kotkaniemi Montreal Canadiens
Jesper Kotkaniemi, Montreal Canadiens (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Whether coach Claude Julien decides to insert him or not is still uncertain. will be up to him, but Kotkaniemi would be available to play.

Basu writes:

It remains unclear whether Kotkaniemi, Artturi Lehkonen, Joel Armia and players returning from the United States would have to submit to the mandatory 14-day quarantine in place for all people entering Canada. Friday would have been the final day a player could arrive and serve that quarantine to be ready for the proposed July 10 start of training camp. Carey Price remains in place in Kennewick, Washington awaiting the conclusion of negotiations on the return to play protocol.

source – ‘Jesperi Kotkaniemi will be at Canadiens training camp as a full participant’ – Arpon Basu – The Athletic – 06/26/2020

Related: Top 5 Canadiens Draft Picks in the Bergevin Era

Flyers to Lose Vorobyev

Philadelphia Flyers forward Mikhail Vorobyev appears to be leaving the NHL and heading back overseas. It was first reported by Gorozbor in Russia that he might be signing in the KHL and it has now been confirmed by Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Daily News and Inquirer Vorobyev is expected to sign a three-year contract with Salavat Yulaev.

Mikhail Vorobyev
Mikhail Vorobyev, Philadelphia Flyers, September 17, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Vorobyev didn’t get a lot done with Flyers, but for the Phantoms he was arguably one of their best players. With 12 goals and 28 points in 45 games, Coach Scott Gordon said he was the team’s most consistent player, to say the least.

Carchidi writes:

NHL teams are allowed to recall extra players as they attempt to restart the season this summer. Vorobyev had been expected to be recalled, but that is not going to happen, a source said.

source – ‘Center Mikhail ‘Misha’ Vorobyev leaving Flyers organization for Russia’s KHL; Wyatt Kalynuk testing market’ – Sam Carchidi – Philadephia Inquierer – 06/26/2020

In other Flyers, news, the window of exclusive negotiating rights with prospect Wyatt Kalynuk has passed. The defenseman will now become a free agent. The Athletic’s Charlie O’Connor tweets:

He’s now free to speak with and sign with other teams. But the Flyers have been told they’re still in consideration. Kalynuk will definitely test the waters, though.

Related: Flyers’ 2020 NHL Draft Targets: Wingers

Oilers Bringing Two Prospects to Camp

According to The Athletics’s Daniel Nugent-Bowman, two of the Oilers main prospects will be attending Phase 3 of the NHL’s ‘Return to Play’ plan. Those players are defenseman Philip Broberg and goaltender Olivier Rodrigue.

Phase 3, which is training camps, is slated to begin on July 10th and it’s unclear if either player will be ready in time since quarantines may still be required for European players returning.

Golden Knights to Move Fleury Instead of Lehner?

Sean O’Leary of The Score wrote an article looking at the top UFA goaltenders of the offseason and listed Vegas’ Robin Lehner at the top spot. Citing Lehner’s better stats, he wonders if the Golden Knights would consider moving Fleury if Lehner outperforms him in the playoffs.

Marc-Andre Fleury Vegas Golden Knights
Marc-Andre Fleury, Vegas Golden Knights (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

That’s not a terribly easy thing to do considering what Lehner will likely be asking for on the open market, Fleury carries two more years on his contract, he’s 35, and has a 10-team no-trade list. A $7 million annual average value deal this offseason might be tricky to move considering news that the cap might stay flat for two more seasons.

No NHL Hub City Announcement

As per John Shannon, “At ease everyone. There will be no announcement of NHL Hub cities this weekend. Hoping it happens before Wednesday, which is a holiday in Canada.”

Catch up on all the latest NHL Rumors