In today’s NHL rumor rundown, Anthony Mantha wants a long-term deal with the Detroit Red Wings, the Montreal Canadiens GM says he won’t rule out offer sheets as part of his re-tooling process and the Oilers are getting their top d-man back. Who sits?
Finally, there are more updates on the coronavirus including it affecting media coverage in NHL dressing rooms.
Mantha Seeking Long-Term Deal
Despite the fact that he could potentially earn more money if he re-signed with the Detroit Red Wings for one season then upped his production in a contract year, Anthony Mantha’s preference is to try and get a long-term deal done now.
According to Ted Kulfan of The Detroit News Mantha said, “I want to be here for the long term. I would love it, that’s for sure. We’ll see what they offer this summer.”
His injury-plagued season could make what he gets on his next deal tricky to estimate. He’s currently a $3.3 million cap hit and should see a raise, but for how much? He currently sits third in team scoring with 15 goals and 18 assists in only 40 games played. Had he stayed healthy, he’d have better numbers to negotiate with.
Mantha, 25, has admitted that he doesn’t think these negotiations will be easy. It will probably be GM Steve Yzerman’s top priority this summer, so the story may get a lot of attention over the summer.
Bergevin to Tend Another Offer Sheet This Summer?
After announcing Claude Julien would be back as head coach next season for the Montreal Canadiens, he also said he’s not closed the door on another offer sheet this summer as part of Montreal re-tooling process.
Pierre LeBrun said he asked specifically about having any regrets about using an offer sheet but failing to land Sebastien Aho, and would he shy away from using that tactic again. Bergevin said no and that if an offer made sense and it was something the club felt like they should pursue, he would do it again.
Who that might include should Bergevin go that route is unclear but Matthew Barzal may be among the biggest names on the restricted free agent market.
The consensus is that Bergevin wants to be busy this offseason despite saying he was confident in the team as is. An offer sheet is just one of the options that could be available to him.
Oilers Get Klefbom Back
The Edmonton Oilers have activated Oscar Klefbom off injured reserve and based on the lines at practice, it looks like defenseman Matt Benning will sit with rookie Caleb Jones getting the nod on the bottom pair.
Klefbom will go back to partnering with Adam Larsson and Jones will skate with Kris Russell. It also appears the Oilers have split up the deadly Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Kailer Yamamoto line trying to find that top line more scoring. Tyler Ennis and Nugent-Hopkins will switch places.
Coronavirus to Affect Media Coverage in Dressing Room
Starting today, the NHL plans to close dressing room access to media. The recommendation to do so comes from the Centers for Disease Control in effort to stop the spread of coronavirus.
It won’t just be the NHL either as the NBA, MLB and MLS are expected to follow suit. Media availabilities will now only be conducted in formal press conference areas.
Sources say the IIHF/Hockey Canada is also expected to announce today the cancellation of the 2020 Women’s World Hockey Championship scheduled to begin later this month in Halifax and Truro.
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Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”