NHL Rumors: Blackhawks, Senators, Islanders, Salary Cap, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is speculation growing about what the Chicago Blackhawks will do with their goaltending situation, the NHL has released information on next season’s projected salary cap and defenseman Johnny Boychuk took a skate to the eye and there is an update on his condition. Finally, what led the Ottawa Senators to fire CEO Jim Little just months after he’d been hired?

Who Will Be the Blackhawks Goaltender?

Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun Time writes that while the Chicago Blackhawks will finish the season with Corey Crawford and Malcolm Subban as their goalie tandem, this isn’t likely the tandem that will start next season for the team.

Corey Crawford Chicago Blackhawks
Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

General manager Stan Bowman said his club will have a proven NHL goalie signed for next season, even if he wouldn’t or couldn’t clarify who he had his sights set on.

Bowman said:

“I wouldn’t say we’ve mapped out who it’s going to be. We have a lot of candidates, and we’ve got to make that choice between now and next season.”

source – ‘Blackhawks’ goalie tandem is Crawford-Subban for now, but outlook is murky] Ben Pope – Chicago Sun Times – 02/27/2020

Bowman deliberately discussed Corey Crawford’s UFA status as well as his injury history which hints that the Blackhawks are opening the door to the idea of not keeping him. He is a pending unrestricted free agent at the end of this season and ending the last of his current deal that pays him $6 million per season.

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Salary Cap Could Jump by $7 Million

And, if the Blackhawks decide not to keep Crawford, they’ll have plenty of money to go sign a top-tier goaltender, as will other teams based on the information that came out today about the projected NHL salary cap increase for next season.

During the NHL GM’s meetings, it was told to GM’s that the cap could jump from the current $81.5 million to anywhere between $84 and $88.2 million for next season. That latter number is a huge bump that would help a lot of teams who are tight against the cap.

Keep in mind, as TSN’s Frank Seravalli points out, that this number is dependent on negotiations with NHLPA.

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun also tweeted:

Daly also revealed that in CBA negotiations with the NHLPA there has been talk of creating a multi year salary cap number(s) in order to provide more stability and allow teams to better plan ahead….

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Johnny Boychuk Ok

After a scary incident where defenseman Johnny Boychuk took a skate to the eye, New York Islanders fans and many in the NHL were waiting on word of Boychuk’s condition.

Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello provided an update on Wednesday and said, “Johnny Boychuk is ok. Fortunately the skate blade just got the eyelid. It took 90 stitches for a plastic surgeon to fix. But he’ll be fine.”

It sounds like Boychuck won’t actually miss that much time, it’s just a matter of the eye opening back up and his vision being good enough to play. That’s incredibly good news considering how serious that injury could have been.

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Senators Fire Jim Little

Just two months after being hired, Jim Little has already been fired by the Ottawa Senators as the club’s CEO. The reason being given is that he violated the team’s “conduct inconsistent with the core values” clause of his contract.

There’s not been a detailed explanation given, only that Gary Bettman noted at the NHL GM’s meetings, “It’s not what you think.” He added, “I generally don’t comment on club personnel decisions. … It has to do more with internal operations.”

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