NHL Rumors: Maple Leafs, Blackhawks, Senators, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, Kasperi Kapanen of the Toronto Maple Leafs comments on potential trade rumors out of Toronto. In Chicago, is Mike Gillis thinking about taking on the vacant President position with the Blackhawks? Finally, it appears Eugene Melnyk of the Ottawa Senators is going to be battling another PR nightmare, this time over the allocation of charity funds.

That said, in more positive news, the last of 2020 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy nominees was sent out Tuesday.

Kapanen Likely Not Being Trade Just Yet

Jonas Siegel of The Athletic writes that he believes the Toronto Maple Leafs aren’t ready to give up on Kasperi Kapanen just yet. There was some talk about moving him around this past trade deadline — the often dynamic winger even admits as much — but Kapenen claims he tried not to think about it.

Kasperi Kapanen Toronto Maple Leafs
Kasperi Kapanen, Toronto Maple Leafs (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Kapanen says he hadn’t spoken with GM Kyle Dubas about a potential trade and didn’t think the Leafs wanted to move him, but understood anything is possible.

Kapanen said:

“I don’t think he wanted to get rid of me, but I understand that hockey is also a business and if there’s something that he couldn’t really turn down then that’s just the nature of hockey, that’s the nature of business.”

source – ‘Why the Maple Leafs shouldn’t give up on Kasperi Kapanen — yet’ – Jonas Siegel – The Athletic – 06/08/2020

Siegel also writes that Kapanen still remains the one player in Toronto that could be moved out of a group of very talented forwards because he has the most potential and isn’t in the group of untouchables. Siegel explains:

The Leafs will very likely need to trim salary prior to next season, which means removing at least one semi-prominent player from their current roster. The core four of Auston Matthews, John Tavares, William Nylander and Mitch Marner (almost certainly) isn’t going anywhere, and while Alex Kerfoot and Andreas Johnsson figure to have some trade value, it’s Kapanen — a young-ish, chiseled 6-foot-1 roadrunner with scoring ability, upside, and an attractive contract — who’s sure to attract the most interest.

Related: Maple Leafs’ Forgotten Ones: Glen Wesley

Gillis Open to Accepting Job From Blackhawks

Scott Powers of The Athletic writes that while it’s not confirmed the Chicago Blackhawks have offered him the job, moreover even called, should the team be interested in Mike Gillis as the team’s next President, Gillis would be open to the discussion.

Vancouver Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis
VANCOUVER, CANADA – JANUARY 19: Vancouver Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis stands in front of the bench during their season-opening NHL game against the Anaheim Ducks at Rogers Arena January 19, 2013 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

Gillis said of the possibility he might fit there:

“I’ve had teams call and ask what my plans are, and as I’ve said, you know, I’m really interested in a highly collaborative, forward-thinking place. That requires real commitment. So of course I’d have the conversation and see if people are committed to that kind of thinking or that kind of strategy. And if they’re not, they’re not, which is fine. Lots of teams have had success in the past without it.

Since being let go by the Vancouver Canucks, Gillis said he want on a sort of sports discovery. He looked at the inner workings of a number of sports models and franchises and has developed a few theories he thinks could work for an NHL team, including improvements on what he did when he was the Canucks’ president.

Related: Chicago Blackhawks 50-Goal Scorers

2020 Bill Masterton Memorial Nominees Named

The Professional Hockey Writers’ Association announced the nominees for the 2020 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy on Tuesday. The entire list can be found here.

Among the notable names were Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid, St. Louis Blues’ defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, Montreal Canadiens’ Shea Weber, and Ottawa Senators’ Bobby Ryan.

Melnyk Under Fire For Charity Money Allocation

The Organ Project (TOP), a Toronto-based private charitable foundation set up by Eugene Melnyk in 2016, generated $991,708 in revenues in 2018. Unfortunately, of that nearly $1 million, according to CRA filings, the Organ Project invested barely $5,000 into organ donor awareness.

Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk
Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)

While other Senators charities are being attacked for contributing less than 50% of their earnings, this TOP fund donated less than 0.49 percent of their total earnings. Rick Gibbons of the Ottawa Sun writes:

According to CRA,  a whopping $779,464 went to cover fundraising costs. Another $238,118 went to management and administration. I’m told these are the kind of results almost certain to draw the attention of the taxman.

The Organ Project is registered as a “private foundation” and, as such does not require an arm’s length community board of directors overseeing operations as does the Ottawa Senators Foundation. Instead, it appears to have only one director: Eugene Melnyk.

source – ‘GIBBONS: Melnyk’s tussle with Sens Foundation could be a messy one’ – Rick Gibbons- Ottawa Sun – 06/08/2020

While the Senators appear to have a lot going for them on the ice, the off-ice stuff continues to haunt the organization.

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