NHL Rumors: Maple Leafs, Canadiens, Kings, NHL Rule Changes, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, Sportsnet took a look at a player from each team likely to get traded, the Toronto Maple Leafs feel there is a spot for a certain defenseman on the roster and there’s speculation about what type of rule changes or precautions will be in the place if the game resumes. The Los Angeles Kings are saying goodbye to their assistant GM and the Montreal Canadiens signed another prospect.

Each Team’s Likely Trade Candidate

Sportsnet’s Rory Boylen compiled a list naming one player still under contract from all 31 NHL teams that are likely to get traded. Among some of the more notable names, he included Rasmus Ristolainen of the Buffalo Sabres, Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames, Matt Dumba of the Minnesota Wild, Max Domi of the Montreal Canadiens, Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers, Alex Kerfoot of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and Marc-Andre Fleury of the Vegas Golden Knights.

Johnny Gaudreau Calgary Flames
Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

While a buyout seems more likely for Lundqvist and it’s hard to imagine the Flames moving Gaudreau, there will certainly be a lot of talk surrounding potential NHL moves this offseason, especially as teams try to manage their respective salary cap situations.

Related: A Royal Celebration: All-Time LA Kings by Country

Possible Changes to Game Action if Play Resumes

Ryan Rishaug of TSN was reporting some potential rule, equipment or game changes that might be necessary if the game resumes. Among them, the NHL would introduce full face shields, no fighting allowed, no scrums after whistles, coaches social distanced and wearing face masks, wingers would have to maintain two feet of distance on faceoffs, no spitting on the ice or the bench.

When asked about the possible rule changes, NHL Deputy Commissioner said the NHL would entertain any ideas recommended to them by by infectious disease experts but wasn’t sure it would be required.

As for how close the NHL is to a possible return, Pierre LeBrun noted that he spoke with Daly about a number of rumors regarding the season. Daly responded:

“I’d be careful about cementing anything in your mind at this point. I think, you know, there’s been a lot of discussion about a lot of different formats. A lot of different variations. Because we haven’t made any decisions.

source – ‘LeBrun: Bill Daly provides update on NHL’s progress toward a resumed season’ – Pierre LeBrun – The Athletic – 05/12/2020

On news of an NHL Draft, the league is taking its time and talking to teams about the pros and cons. In regard to vetting potential host cities, Daly says they are have far more cities putting in bids than they’ll need to use. And, as for a date to drop the puck, Daly cautions anyone to get too ahead of themselves as the NHL is focused on finalizing Phase 2 of their return to play initiative (opening team facilities for players).

Related: Do You Know Your Maple Leafs Trivia?

Maple Leafs Have Spot for Liljegren

According to Kristen Shilton of TSN, Maple Leafs assistant general manager Laurence Gilman said he would be “very surprised” if defenseman Timothy Liljegren isn’t with the Maple Leafs going forward as a 7-8 defenceman. That spot would likely go to him over rookie Rasmus Sandin.

Marlies defenseman Timothy Liljegren
HERSHEY, PA – MARCH 15: Toronto Marlies defenseman Timothy Liljegren (7) skates to the puck during the Toronto Marlies vs. the Hershey Bears AHL hockey game March 15, 2019 at the Giant Center in Hershey, PA. (Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Gilman did say that “he’s got to hold up his end of the bargain” in respect to Liljegren but that he’s done a good job getting himself prepared for the jump to the NHL.

In respect to other prospects looking to get a shot with the team, now that the AHL has been canceled, Gilman said a certain number of Marlies have been told they’re on standby to join Leafs if NHL returns. The organization has conducted exit interviews with all players.

Kings Say Goodbye to Futa

The Los Angeles Kings are parting ways with assistant general manager Mike Futa, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports. The team said they will not be renewing Futa’s contract, per a statement to Friedman:

“The LA Kings will not be renewing the expiring contract of Mike Futa. We appreciate his contributions to our organization and are thankful for his effort and dedication.”

Canadiens Sign Another Forward

The Montreal Canadiens have signed another top prospect, agreeing to terms with Cameron Hillis on a three-year entry-level contract. Hillis finished this season as captain of the Guelph Storm, his third season in the OHL.

After posting 83 points in 62 games, the Canadiens became quite interested in seeing what Hillis could do when he makes the jump to the Laval Rocket of the AHL.

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