NHL Rumors: Wild, Maple Leafs, Stanley Cup Deadline, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, the Minnesota Wild are hoping the NHLPA can get a long-standing rule changed and that Kirill Kaprizov will end up playing. In Toronto, one scribe suggests two possible trade targets for the Maple Leafs. Finally, has the NHL set a deadline to award the Stanely Cup?

Wild Still Hoping Kaprizov Is Allowed to Play

The Athletic’s Michael Russo noted that even though the NHL has said that unsigned players like Kirill Kaprizov will not be eligible for the upcoming play-in rounds or the playoffs, the NHLPA is working on getting them to change their minds.

Kirill Kaprizov
Kirill Kaprizov during a 2018 KHL playoffs game (Photo: Elena Rusko, www.cska-hockey.ru)

Russo writes:

… the NHLPA has picked up this fight because the league is technically changing a long-standing, collectively bargained rule.

So, there is a chance that the league may change its mind and allow the Wild to sign Kaprizov and debut him this summer.

source – ‘Wild notes: Dean Evason on Kahkonen, Kaprizov potential; Foligno talks future’ – MIchael Russo – The Athletic – 06/05/2020

If it works, Russo writes the Wild have high hopes for Kaprizov and he believes he could push someone like Victor Rask or Ryan Donato out the lineup. “If we feel that (Kaprizov’s) ready to go then I don’t think it’ll be an issue whatsoever,” interim coach Dean Evason said.

In other Wild news, there could be a different starting goaltender in the net for the Wild when play resumes. “I think whoever’s here in our training camp is in the mix,” admitted Evason. That leaves open the possibility Kaapo Kahkonen would technically be allowed to enter Minnesota’s qualifying round as the starter.

Related: 2015 NHL Draft Top 10: Where Are They Now?

Maple Leafs Trade Target on Defense

Luke Fox of Sportsnet writes that right-handed defensemen David Savard (Columbus) and Rasmus Ristolainen (Buffalo) could be potential trade targets for the Toronto Maple Leafs this offseason. Ristolainen has two years left on his deal at a $5.4 million salary cap hit. Savard has one-year left on his deal at a $4.25 million cap hit.

David Savard Blue Jackets
David Savard, Columbus Blue Jackets, Feb. 22, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Both the Blue Jackets and Sabres need offence, which is something the Maple Leafs have a lot of. But, only certain forwards would be available. Fox writes that it appears to be highly unlikely that the Maple Leafs trade William Nylander, whether that be a deal to land a d-man or to simply create salary cap space to sign other pending free agents. Fox believes the Leafs will move forward with his group of higher-priced forwards.

Related: The Good & the Bad: The Columbus Blue Jackets Under GM Scott Howson

Deadline to Award the Stanley Cup?

Toronto Maple Leafs insider James Mirtle revealed in a recent article that his sources have noted the NHL has a deadline in mind for the latest possible moment at which the Stanley Cup could be awarded.

Mirtle writes:

I’m told at this point that the latest the NHL believes it can give out the Stanley Cup is Oct. 8, four days before Canadian Thanksgiving. (The NBA’s current projected end date is Oct. 12.)

The NHL would then begin the draft and free agency in mid-October, followed by a two-month offseason that would carry into December.

source – ‘Mirtle: Why the NHL’s summer playoff schedule may become hockey’s new normal’ – James Mirtle – The Athletic – 06/04/2020

Like other reports, Mirtle says the NHL seems to think that moving the season to later in the year on a permanent basis has merit. Among other reasons, he notes, “Media rights consultants have told (commissioner) Gary (Bettman) that it would increase the value of broadcast rights,” if the NHL starts later. 

Still, even if the Stanely Cup can be awarded later and the NHL might be thinking that a later start to the regular season is workable moving forward, the league is pushing ahead as if there will be games beginning sometime in late July. Mirtle states there is still optimism at the league office, at this point, that the Stanley Cup will be awarded and some of the revenues lost can be recouped.

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