In today’s NHL rumor rundown, comments from Lou Lamoriello reveal his plans for re-signing center Mathew Barzal. Meanwhile, in Boston, Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask talks about his plans after his contract is up. Finally, James Mirtle of The Athletic takes a look at a number of NHL players who might retire as this NHL pause continues on.
Islanders to Match Any Barzal Offer Sheet
New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello recently told fans during a recent Q&A that he doesn’t plan to let the contract talks for Mathew Barzal linger too long and that they shouldn’t worry about an offer sheet from a rival GM.
Any offer the 22-year-old center might receive, Lamoriello said, “It is our intention to not allow it to get to that point, but should that happen, the answer is yes.” It shouldn’t be as large a concern this offseason as many NHL clubs will feel the financial squeeze from this pandemic, and an offer sheet to a player of Barzal’s magnitude is just not an affordable option for most teams.
When it came to fellow restricted free agents Ryan Pulock and Devon Toews re-signed, the GM said, “We have every intention to sign all three.”
Lamoriello also noted that both defenseman Johnny Boychuk and fourth-liner Casey Cizikas should be ready to play whenever the season resumes.
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Bruins’ Rask Hints at Retirement
NBC Sports shares the comments from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe who spoke with Boston Bruins veteran goaltender Tuukka Rask about his NHL future. The netminder hinted that he may play out the final year of his current contract and then retire.
Noting that the addition of goaltender Jaroslav Halak was helpful in him having a lessened workload, he said about calling it quits, “I have one year left in the contract, so we’ll see if I even play.” When asked about going to Europe he said, “No, no, I wouldn’t”, adding that retirement would be about “Family time.”
A Number of Players Set to Retire?
James Mirtle of The Athletic took a look at 15 players who might call it a career and played their last game in the NHL if the regular season doesn’t resume. Among the names were New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, Anaheim Ducks goalie Ryan Miller, and Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu.
In compiling his list, Mirtle explains:
This piece was compiled based on talking to several players and teams, in addition to many of our NHL reporters based in these markets. Also taken into account: a players’ age, where their team is in the standings (non-playoff teams are much less likely to play games even if the season does resume) and their contract status, among other factors.source – ‘Is this the end? 15 NHL players who might have played their last game’ – James Mirtle – The Athletic – 03/19/2020
Rounding out the list of 15 names is:
- Justin Williams
- Jay Bouwmeester
- Brent Seabrook
- David Backes
- Craig Anderson
- Dan Hamhuis
- Ron Hainsey
- Andrew Ladd
- Jimmy Howard
- Trevor Daley
- Roman Polak
- Jonathan Ericsson.
Mirtle also mentioned that NHL players like Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Ilya Kovalchuk, and Jason Spezza have all expressed their desires to return next season and Mirtle believes they will all get contract offers from teams, many of them from the teams they currently play for.
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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.”