In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there are updates on the status of KHL stars Ilya Sorokin and Kirill Kaprizov, there is buzz about which nine players will make up the Toronto Maple Leafs’ taxi squad, and the Detroit Red Wings talks offseason plans.
Sorokin and Kaprizov Won’t be Staying in the KHL
With reports that the NHL was going to deny the right for NHL clubs to let signed players from the KHL play in this year’s postseason, there was speculation names like Ilya Sorokin and Kirill Kaprizov might choose to stay in the KHL versus signing a deal with the NHL teams that were rumored to have landed them. That’s not accurate.
According to Aivis Kalnins of Full Press NHL and a KHL insider, both Sorokin (New York Islanders) and Kaprizov (Minnesota Wild) intend to sign their entry-level contracts.
Maple Leafs’ Taxi Squad
NHL teams will be allowed to carry an extra seven skaters — to bring the total to 28 — and an unlimited number of goalies when the season resumes. Because the AHL has officially shut down and with potential injuries or call-ups, all 24 teams needed some kind of assurances.
For the Maple Leafs, speculation is that their additional skaters will include Nick Robertson, Egor Korshkov, and Kenny Agostino at left wing, Nic Petan and Adam Brooks, at centre, Timothy Liljegren, Martin Marincin on defence, and Kasimir Kaskisuo and Joseph Woll, in goal. Missing the cut will be Pontus Aberg, Kevin Gravel, Kristians Rubins, and Jeremy Bracco.
James Mirtle and Joshua Kloke of The Athletic write:
The only NHL regular missing is Andreas Johnsson, who continues to rehab from knee surgery and likely isn’t available until deep into the summer. These players will all be part of the Leafs play-in roster when games resume against the Blue Jackets.source – ‘Who will make the Maple Leafs taxi squad and 32-player postseason roster?’ James Mirtle / Joshua Kloke – The Athletic – 05/29/2020
This will give the Maple Leafs a final roster of 32.
Trades Not Expected Yet
Luke Fox of Sportsnet writes, “Just because the seven eliminated teams are free to make trades with each other, I’d be stunned to see any transaction of significance.”
The seven eliminated teams can make trades start immediately, and while that might seem like an advantage, most insiders don’t really think it will be. Fox asks why any team would want to pitch to just 20 percent of the market? He adds:
“that most deals involve movement of draft picks, and we don’t even know the draft order let alone the draft date, and I wouldn’t be refreshing your Twitter feed searching for that Rasmus Ristolainen blockbuster just yet.
He refers to Ristolainen, likely because the Sabres defenseman mentioned he thought he’d be one of the first players moved out of the organization.
Red Wings Won’t Sign Big Free Agents
There’s been talk about how GM Steve Yzerman will reshape the Detroit Red Wings this offseason and whether he opts for a slow rebuild or uses free agency in a summer where he might have more money than some clubs to add good players.
Yzerman told Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News that he will use free agency but stressed he won’t go into the free-agent market to make a splash. He’ll instead focus on “sensible signings”. Yzerman explained:
“We’re prepared to do anything we can in free-agency, but it’s not get a player at all cost, that’s not the plan. We’re not trying to do everything overnight because that can really handcuff you. The reality is, I think it’s very difficult to do that with free-agency, to get those elite players. You’ve got to spend a lot of money for a long time, and I don’t know if we’re a market for those type of players at this time. That’s the reality.”source -‘Wojo: Amid Wings’ pain and pandemic, Steve Yzerman has lots to consider’ – Bob Wojnowski – Detroit News – 05/27/2020
He also said of Tyler Bertuzzi and Anthony Mantha, he expects to re-sign both players. “We’re not gonna let them go anywhere, we’ll get deals done.”
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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.”