NHL Rumors: Bruins, Capitals, Sabres, Maple Leafs, Flames, More

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Boston Bruins are reportedly open to re-signing both of their goaltenders. Meanwhile, Tom Wilson is looking at sitting five or more games since the NHL Department of Player Safety appears ready to come down hard on his boarding play against Brandon Carlo. Jack Eichel has apparently not asked for a trade and Calgary Flames’ GM Brad Treliving tells his players it’s time to show a sense of urgency. Finally, what are the Toronto Maple Leafs really targeting at this year’s NHL Trade Deadline?

Wilson Offered In-Person Hearing by NHL

It appears the Department of NHL Player Safety is ready to levy a serious suspension for a Wilson play. The forward has been offered an in-person hearing, which means he could get more than five games. If accepted, the call will take place via Zoom.

Wilson was not assessed a penalty on the play and reports are the NHL is not going after him for an illegal hit so much as they are a boarding play where the head was targeted and an injury may have occurred.

What’s interesting about all of this is that the NHL might need to find a workaround to really go after Wilson. TSN’s Frank Seravalli writes, “Tom Wilson’s hit on Carlo is not illegal.” and says Wilson is no longer considered a repeat offender in the eyes of the NHL rule book. Seravalli adds, “His last suspension (20 games reduced to 14) was on Sept. 30, 2018. Wilson has played 166 consecutive games (including playoffs) since then without incident.”

Bruins Prepared to Keep Rask and Halak Beyond This Season

NBC Sports analyst Bob McKenzie reports that the Bruins are open to extending both Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak, “if they get the sense from the goaltenders that’s what they want to do.” More than that, McKenzie notes that the Bruins would be willing to sign those extensions in-season.

That’s interesting, not only because re-signing both goaltenders will cost the Bruins a decent amount of money, but because the NHL Expansion Draft is playing a big role in team decisions when it comes to pending unrestricted free agents (which both goalies are).

Related: Flames News and Rumors: Ward, Sutter, Markstrom, Bennett, New Culture

Eichel Has Not Asked for a Trade

Sabres’ GM Kevyn Adams spoke with media on Friday and while he acknowledged he is looking to make moves and finds the play by his team unacceptable, he noted that there is no truth to any speculation that Eichel may have asked for or requested a trade out of Buffalo.

Adams didn’t rule out ever trading the center and did say that he’s active in trying to improve the team. He noted: ”I’m waking up every day looking for solutions… I’m on the phone every team, and I think what’s interesting, with all the protocols and quarantine, it’s going to be a challenging year. . . Teams clearly know where we’re at.”

Maple Leafs Looking for Grit Over Skill?

The Toronto Sun’s Michael Traikos feels the Maple Leafs will look to add to their roster sooner than later but doesn’t believe the club will be targeting skilled players like Buffalo’s Taylor Hall. Wanting to be a team that goes far in the playoffs but is already among the most skilled groups in the NHL, sandpaper is more of what the Maple Leafs need.

Mattias Ekholm Nashville Predators
Mattias Ekholm, Nashville Predators (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Traikos writes:

“It needs more blue-collar players like (Zach) Bogosian and (Wayne) Simmonds. Guys like Nashville defenceman Mattias Ekholm and Calgary forward Sam Bennett. It needs guys that can push back against Boston and Tampa and Vegas. Guys that can help the Leaf go the distance.”

source – ‘TRAIK-EOTOMY: Who should the Maple Leafs target at April’s trade deadline? – Michael Traikos – Toronto Sun – 03/03/2021

Despite what Toronto is looking for, they’ll need to make the dollars work and it’s not likely GM Kyle Dubas is looking to remove pieces from his current roster. It means the Leafs will have to convince another team to retain salary as they have just $130K in projected trade deadline salary-cap space. 

Flames to Make Additional Changes?

On Friday, Treliving spoke with media about his decision to hire Darryl Sutter and noted the Flames needed a change and, more specifically, they needed this particular head coach. He sent a message to his players that Sutter isn’t going anywhere and that “Churning coaches is not something that leads to success”. He added, “It’s now on the players to perform.”

Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving
Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal)

Treliving knows trades won’t be easy but he’s going to continue exploring ways to improve the team and spoke of emphasizing a new level of urgency. Scott Burnside wrote in a recent article for The Athletic that perhaps the Flames might be looking to make additional moves. He cited sources that said, “Change seems inevitable, and not just peripheral change but change at the very heart of the roster.”

The name mentioned was Johnny Gaudreau and if Treliving is looking to sell high on the player, this might be the time to do so. Burnside writes:

Gaudreau is off to an impressive start and has another year on his deal, so an acquiring team would get two playoff runs if they can get a deal together (even if Gaudreau’s playoff performances in recent years have left much to be desired). Maybe a move of this significance makes more sense in the offseason, but with uncertainty surrounding the 2021 draft, it would seem GM Brad Treliving has to keep all his options open if he’s going to undertake the kind of critical roster moves we’ve seen teams like St. Louis and Washington make prior to winning Stanley Cups.

source – ‘NHL trade deadline: 12 more players not on our trade board who could move’ Scott Burnside – The Athletic – 03/05/2021

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