In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is news on the Columbus Blue Jackets who are working on a long-term deal for one of their young defensemen, there are more and more insiders estimating trouble for the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Boston Bruins are thinking long-term about a few players and the NHL GM’s are getting together in a conference call Tuesday to discuss a variety of topics.
Blue Jackets To Sign Gavrikov Long-Term
The Columbus Blue Jackets are supposedly working on a new deal for defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov. Gavrikov has only been under contract with the team for less than a year, but because he burned through the first year of his entry-level pact in the playoffs last season, he will be in need of a new deal this summer.
Aaron Portzline of The Athletic reports that the Blue Jackets focus is a long-term extension as the 24-year-old has been a key part of the blue line for Columbus this season. Portzline writes:
“Gavrikov is a restricted free agent this summer, but the Blue Jackets and Millstein have already started working on a long-term contract extension. The Blue Jackets waited long enough for Gavrikov; now they want to keep him.source – ‘No frills’ defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov was worth the wait for Blue Jackets’ – Aaron Portzline – The Athletic – 03/20/2020
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Insiders Believe Maple Leafs Facing Cap Concerns
We’re talked before about the Toronto Maple Leafs and potential issues they might have rounding out their roster if the salary cap doesn’t increase this off-season. More and more insiders are starting to believe the Maple Leafs and GM Kyle Dubas should prepare for big changes.
Sportsnet’s Luke Fox believes improving the blueline remains a pressing need, and if the team can’t land a right-shot blueliner via free agency — like Alex Pietrangelo, Chris Tanev, Travis Hamonic, Justin Schultz, or Radkos Gudas — Dubas could be forced into the trade market for someone like Matt Dumba, Rasmus Ristolainen, Colin Miller and Josh Manson.
Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun is almost certain the Leafs will have to make a trade. He writes:
The likelihood is that one of Kasperi Kapanen, Andreas Johnsson or Alex Kerfoot, each of whom carries a cap hit of at least $3.2 million for multiple seasons, will be traded.Source – ‘ Salary cap issues could become greater problem for Leafs in wake of coronavirus’ – Terry Koshan – Toronto Sun – 03/20/2020
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Long-Term Plans for the Boston Bruins
NBC Sports Adam Gretz examined what be in the long-term plans for the Boston Bruins, focusing mostly on goaltender Tuukka Rask, unrestricted free agent defenseman Torey Krug and restricted free agent winger Jake DeBrusk.
Gretz feels there’s enough salary-cap space to re-sign both Krug and DeBrusk but there are concerns about keeping Krug at a reasonable cap number (around $6.5 million per season). That will lead to questions about how to structure his contract.
And, after Rask mentioned he was contemplating retirement, the Bruins are now forced to make plans around Jaroslav Halak who is a UFA this summer. There’s no guarantee he’ll be back and there are questions about whether or not he’s the long-term answer for the Bruins.
NHL GM’s Holding Conference Call Today
As per Darren Dreger, NHL general managers will participate in a conference call today. Among the topics of discussion, playoff scenarios, the NHL Entry Draft, and pending free agent contracts will take priority. Questions may include how contracts work if the season resumes and shoots past July 1 when a number of players contracts expire. Or, how will the NHL Draft work in relation to the standings, should the season not be completed?
Dreger also reported that what came out of the owner’s meeting Monday was the likelihood of playing NHL regular season games again the league playing into September. That would mean next season would start mid-November.
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Jim Parsons is a freelance writer who covers the Edmonton Oilers and news and rumors posts here at The Hockey Writers.
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