NHL Rumors: LTIR Loophole, Blue Jackets, Canadiens, Maple Leafs

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the NHL and their general managers may bring to the table at their next GM meetings the rules about LTIR and the loophole that allows teams to use that cap space during the season. Could there be a change to the way teams operate around the salary cap? The Columbus Blue Jackets plan to make their big changes during the offseason, the Montreal Canadiens expect to try and trade Jeff Petry again and there’s injury news surrounding the Toronto Maple Leafs.

GMs to Remove LTIR Loophole?

Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reports that on the agenda at next week’s NHL general managers’ meeting in Manalapan, Florida, could be a discussion around changing the rules that allows clubs to use the long-term injured reserve rules to build legal, but non-salary-cap-compliant rosters for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Many teams have started to regularly consider putting big-salary players on LTIR as a way to create more cap space at the trade deadline and it raises questions about how legitimate some of the injuries are and the timing of when these players return because their cap hits don’t count if they only come back for the playoffs.

Nikita Kucherov Tampa Bay Lightning
Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

At least one general manager has requested this be discussed with that GM believing “strongly that wasn’t the intended spirit of the CBA when it was written.” Two teams have already taken advantage of the rule to help them win a Stanley Cup: the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2021 with Nikita Kucherov and the Chicago Blackhawks in 2015 with Patrick Kane.

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The proposed change suggests that while the team can be over the cap, the 20-man on-ice playoff roster simply can’t exceed the salary cap limit.

Blue Jackets to Make Offseason Changes

Aaron Portzline of The Athletic writes that Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen said the team didn’t make many moves at the NHL Trade Deadling because their bigger moves are coming during the offseason. He quotes Kekalainen who said:

“Not a lot of teams this time of year, especially the ones who are gearing up for the playoffs, want to give up anything on their roster. We have plenty of prospects who are going to take a little time before they make an impact at the NHL level. So what we’d be looking for is a player who would be ready to make that impact right away.

source: ‘No big trades, no surprise — Blue Jackets move Max Domi and keep eyes focused on the summer’ – Aaron Portzline – The Athletic – 03/21/2022

Related: NHL Rumors: Golden Knights, Senators, Flames, Oilers, Maple Leafs

The Blue Jackets hope to sign winger Patrik Laine to an extension. That would be among their bigger moves and initial talks between the Blue Jackets and Laine’s agent have already begun. As for why Joonas Korpisalo wasn’t traded, the goaltender will undergo hip surgery and is expected to miss the next six months. 

Canadiens Told Petry Not to Get Hopes Up About Trade

New Canadiens’ Kent Hughes said he spoke with Petry about a trade ahead of the deadline and said he would try to accommodate the defenseman’s request to be moved if he could find a deal that worked. Unfortunately, teams were not interested in taking on his contract, one that had a lot of term and a big dollar figure attached to it. Petry will have to play the rest of the season with the Canadiens and there’s no guarantee the Habs will be able to move him in the offseason either.

Jeff Petry, Montreal Canadiens
Jeff Petry, Montreal Canadiens (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

 When asked how Petry might respond to his request not being realized, Hughes said:

“I think he’s been a longtime NHL player, he’s a pro. We’re not playing in the playoffs at this point — I don’t know if we’re mathematically eliminated yet, but we’re comfortable that we’re not going to play. So he’s got whatever it is, five weeks left in the season, and he’ll be able to return and join his family.”

source – ‘Canadiens Notebook: Jeff Petry will have to stick it out with Habs’ – Stu Cowan – Montreal Gazette – 03/21/2022

Maple Leafs Return News

According to Jonas Siegel of The Athletic, there are a few updates on the some of the Maple Leafs missing players. He writes, “Ondrej Kase has yet to rejoin the Leafs at practice since he was hit in the head during a Mar. 19 game against Nashville. He’ll miss his second straight game on Saturday.” As for Jack Campbell, Siegel says the goaltender has yet to practice with the team since his rib injury was first announced on Mar. 10. The earliest he will return is next week. As for Jake Muzzin, he’ll remain out throughout the weekend.

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