NHL Rumors: Hall, Barrie, Lehtonen, Phase 2, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is news on whether or not the Colorado Avalanche are interested in either Taylor Hall or Alex Pietrangelo, buzz about one of the KHL’s best defensemen jumping to the NHL, and speculation about where Tyson Barrie might wind up. There is also talk about the NHL’s ‘Phase 2’ plan and how likely it is to work.

Avs Not Interested in Hall or Pietrangelo

According to Mike Chambers of The Denver Post, the Colorado Avalanche are not interested in two of the biggest pending free agents on the market this offseason.

Alex Pietrangelo St. Louis Blues
Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

During a recent mailbag segment, when asked about the Avalanche pursuing Arizona Coyotes forward Taylor Hall versus pursuing St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, Chambers chose neither. He explained:

“The Avs will continue to build from their prospects, not free agency. They love their top-six forwards and don’t have room for another right-shot defenseman, with Connor Timmins set to come up and join Cale Makar and Erik Johnson on the right side.”

source – ‘Avs Mailbag: Colorado continues to build from prospects, injured players getting healthy, NHL season update and more’ – Mark Chambers – Denver Post – 04/30/2020

There were rumors connecting Hall to the Avs earlier this season but if Chambers is correct, that doesn’t seem likely. Hall has said he’d like a long-term deal so his story will be interesting to watch.

Related: St. Louis Blues’ History: Kevin O’Shea’s 1972 Game 7 OT-Winner

Barrie Back to British Columbia?

Sportsnet’s Luke Fox addressed rumors in a recent mailbag segment, that Tyson Barrie could end up leaving the Toronto Maple Leafs and heading home to British Columbia. Fox didn’t think the Vancouver Canucks made for the right fit, especially with Quinn Hughes on the team.

Tyson Barrie Toronto Maple Leafs
Tyson Barrie, Toronto Maple Leafs (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Fox suggests instead, “Detroit, Chicago, New Jersey, and Los Angeles make for interesting fits on paper.” Fox also notes that the Winnipeg Jets would be a more compelling destination and considering they’ll be re-building their blue line, there’s a fit there.

KHL’s Mikko Lehtonen Coming to the NHL?

He may just be the best defenseman in the KHL and he may be coming to the NHL if a recent report is accurate. According to the Complete Hockey News, blue liner Mikko Lehtonen has reportedly informed his team, Helsinki Jokerit, that he won’t return and doesn’t want to extend his contract with the club. 

The belief is that he’d like to pursue his options in the NHL but there is no clarification on which teams he’s spoken to, if any.

Lehtonen, 26, is a 5’11 and almost 200-pound left-handed defenseman. He recorded 17 goals and 32 assists for a total of 49 points in 60 games.

Related: Top 10 Mennonites in NHL History

NHL’s Phase 2 Return to Play Not Mandatory

TSN Senior Hockey Writer Frank Seravalli wrote Wednesday the NHL is targeting mid-to-late May for its ‘Phase 2’ protocols. For thost that don’t know, ‘Phase 2’ is essentially the opening of team practice facilities for small group workouts.

Darren Dreger has noted that this phase is not mandatory for NHL players. He said, “what is mandatory – assuming there is a go-ahead – is that NHL players report to their NHL cities for the start of training camp.” That training camp could be around June 1.

Dreger also noted there are some close to the situation that says Phase 2 may not be initiated at all and that there will be no agreement on an NHL resumption unless players have an allowance to visit with their families. 

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