NHL Rumors: Maple Leafs, Blue Jackets, Canucks, Reaves, More

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Toronto Maple Leafs got bad news as defenseman Jake Muzzin has an injury that will keep him out for some time. Meanwhile, rumors as to why former Blue Jackets forward Pierre-Luc Dubois wanted to be traded have surfaced. There’s an update as to what’s really going on behind the scenes with Seth Jones, the Vancouver Canucks are open to trading defenseman Nate Schmidt and Vegas Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves is going to be suspended.

Maple Leafs Lose Muzzin, Tavares Update

The Maple Leafs will not only be without defenceman Jake Muzzin for Monday’s Game 7 versus the Montreal Canadiens, but Muzzin will miss at least three weeks, revealed head coach Sheldon Keefe on Monday. The defenseman suffered a lower-body injury and on Monday and Rasmus Sandin will dress in Muzzin’s place.

This is not good news for the Leafs who don’t have a strong history of winning series-clinching games and the Canadiens have all the momentum. Keefe said he’s really looking for players like Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner to have a big game.

John Tavares was skating in a blue jersey at the optional practice Monday morning, but Keefe said there’s no timeline on his return. He noted he was progressing very well, his recovery has been remarkable and he’s had no issues since the injury.

Ryan Reaves Will Be Suspended

Vegas Golden Knights tough guy Ryan Reaves was given a match penalty, not a misconduct, for his actions in this scrum in front of Colorado Avalanche net. He cross-checked Philipp Grubauer in the back of the head and then threw down defenseman Ryan Graves. The series will result in a suspension, pending a hearing.

Ryan Reaves Vegas Golden Knights
Ryan Reaves, Vegas Golden Knights (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

That Reaves had his knee on Ryan Graves is one thing, but Elliotte Friedman is reporting that the referee must have really seen something he didn’t like and that the report coming from the official will be telling as to the length of any suspension.

Related: Canadiens News & Rumours: Suzuki, Kotkaniemi, Playoffs and More

More on Seth Jones Possible Trade

Friedman expanded on his report that defenseman Seth Jones will test free agency and not sign with the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Sportsnet analyst noted that he wasn’t comfortable saying Jones would never sign back with the team, but did think it’s unlikely. While GM Jarmo Kekalinen said that the team is willing to keep Jones without a contract, Friedman said, “I think the team is going to trade him.”

The NHL insider noted that a trade will be interesting because the team who acquires him not only has to work out a deal with Columbus, but knows they’ll have to immediately work out a deal with the player to sign an extension.

Pierre-Luc Dubois Wanted Out Because of Jones

When asked about why there’s such an exodus of players that have been looking to leave the organization, Friedman responded it’s a combination of a number of factors. From living in a better city to the way the GM negotiates contracts, it’s not just one thing. What Friedman did say was that Pierre-Luc Dubois knew the Jones situation was coming and that might have been a key reason he wanted to be traded.

Pierre-Luc Dubois Columbus Blue Jackets
Pierre-Luc Dubois, Columbus Blue Jackets (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Friedman noted: “When it comes to Dubois, I really think that one of the reasons he wanted to be traded and wouldn’t say it, is because I think he knew that this was going to happen with Jones, and maybe others.” He added, “I think he looked at it and said, my peer group is going.”

Canucks Willing to Trade Nate Schmidt?

There’s some talk out of Vancouver that the Canucks, specifically from The Province’s Patrick Johnston, that notes the team is willing to trade and will probably shop defenseman Nate Schmidt. Noting that his season didn’t turn out the way the Canucks expected it might have, GM Jim Benning will look to move Schmidt’s contract, which has four more years at $5.95 million per season.

Johnston writes:

“Nate Schmidt, if he is still a Canuck next season, will be looking to prove he can be the true two-way presence the Canucks hoped he’d be, but mostly wasn’t. Assuming he stays, he’s a quality player to build the second pair around.”

source – ‘Canucks shopping list: That gaping hole on the blue-line’ – Patrick Johnston – The Province – 05/30/2021

He added that the Canucks don’t have a lot of salary cap space to work with and the team will have to make decisions on Alex Edler and Travis Hamonic.