NHL Rumors: Maple Leafs, Jets, Kings, NHL Coronavirus Updates

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas clarifies why he didn’t add a defenseman at this year’s NHL Trade Deadline, the Winnipeg Jets might be a big spender in free agency and defenseman Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings talks his struggles with the team’s current rebuild. Finally, what is the NHL doing about the coronavirus concerns affecting sports, especially as the virus enters North America?

Maple Leafs Didn’t See a Long-Term Fix

According to an article on TSN, Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas told The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun the reason he didn’t do anything to his blue line at this year’s trade deadline was because he couldn’t find a long-term fix that would solve the team’s problems.

Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Kyle Dubas
Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Kyle Dubas (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)

Dubas wasn’t interested in rentals or short-term fixes when he believes their issue on defense is not a short-term problem. Dubas said he received calls about defenseman Tyson Barrie, but didn’t get what he needed back as part of the return. As a result, he didn’t move him and has risked losing him for nothing in free agency.

Of course, many will argue Dubas created his own problems in this area by signing so many expensive contracts at forward and that he’ll try to fix those problems by spending more over the summer as the salary cap increases.

Related: Top 3 All-Time Capitals Goalies

Jets to Spend Money In Free Agency?

Speaking of cap increases, Mike McIntyre of the Winnipeg Free Press writes that the projected salary cap increase for next year will entice teams to spend a little more and one of those teams could be the Winnipeg Jets.

Winnipeg Jets Executive Vice President and General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff
Winnipeg Jets Executive Vice President & General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff (THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods)

Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff to go shopping with an extra $4-$6 million to spend and with the termination of Dustin Byfuglien’s contract likely during the summer, the Jets could have as much as $22 million in available funds. Obviously, the Jets have some internal housekeeping items to look after, such as re-signing Jack Roslovic, Mason Appleton, Jansen Harkins, and Sami Niku.

Related: Winnipeg Jets Jersey History

Doughty Struggling With Kings Re-Build

“It’s very hard, but it’s the position I’m in, and I gotta try to stay positive every day, as hard as it is,” Drew Doughty told TSN when asked about the Los Angeles Kings current rebuild, He likes the prospects in the pipeline, but Doughty says it’s often a struggle knowing where they were as a team not just a few short years ago.

“I have to make the best of it and just try to get better every day, both as a team and individually,” he added.

Related: NHL Rumors: Panthers, Canadiens, Senators, Maple Leafs, More

Coronavirus Update for the NHL

There are many in the NHL starting to think the coronavirus issue is going to be a major issue that affects games, meetings and other events related to North American sports, including the NHL. So far, 36 events worldwide have been affected.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

Health officials had actually already requested that the San Jose Sharks cancel Thursday’s game and Sharks Sports and Entertainment issued a statement in which it said it was “aware of the recommendations” made by the county, but that Thursday night’s game against the Minnesota Wild would “go on as scheduled.”

Commissioner Gary Bettman said the NHL has barred League employees from overseas business travel and advised the media that those who make personal trips to affected countries must be quarantined out of the office for two weeks upon their return to see if symptoms arise.

Right now, the virus hasn’t hit the games yet, but the NHL is keeping an extremely close eye on things.

Catch up on all the latest NHL Rumors