In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is speculation as to what it might cost the Toronto Maple Leafs to retain Morgan Rielly, along with what else they might do on the blue line. In Detroit, there is speculation as to what type of free agents they’ll go for, and why are St. Louis Blues’s scribes starting to question Alex Pietrangelo returning to St. Louis?
How Expensive Will Morgan Rielly Be?
According to Sportsnet’s Luke Fox, it could cost the Toronto Maple Leafs big dollars to re-sign defenseman Morgan Rielly when his contract expires in 2022. Fox suggests a good comparison is the Arizona Coyotes’ Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s eight-year, $66-million deal. He also notes that the Maple Leafs will be closely watching what happens between the Boston Bruins and blueliner Torey Krug.
Considering the uncertainty surrounding the salary cap, it might be wise for the Leafs to try and sign Rielly early if they can convince him the cap won’t bounce back by 2022. Free agents this year may have to take less money because of the drop in league revenue and it would be ideal for the Maple Leafs to get Rielly for less and hope salaries pop back up. If the revenues are up again by the time Rielly goes to re-sign, the Leafs won’t have saved anything.
More Help Coming on Maple Leafs Blue Line?
After signing Mikko Lehtonen, could the Leafs have more up their sleeve when it comes to addressing their blue line? Some have suggested the Leafs acquiring another LTIR contract to free up cap space to pursue St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo. Fox doesn’t see that happening but does note that acquiring a contract like Ryan Kesler’s could help in another way. He writes:
“Paying Ryan Kesler or Marian Hossa to not play hockey won’t help Toronto land Petro. Paying Kesler might, in theory, help Dubas acquire a Josh Manson plus a draft pick from Anaheim in exchange for Kasperi Kapanen.”
Could Red Wings Pitch for Big-Name Free Agent?
Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press took a look at potential free-agent options on the Red Wings’ blue line and discussed possible interest in Pietrangelo. She admits the Blues captain may prefer staying for less in St. Louis or going somewhere more competitive than Detroit.
Other names mentioned include Toronto’s Tyson Barrie, Carolina’s Sami Vatanen, Tampa Bay’s Kevin Shattenkirk, and Calgary’s TJ Brodie.
St. James writes:
Yzerman will have money to spend — and other teams may find themselves budget-challenged, especially if the cap contracts. But he will still have to excel as a salesman to land one of the better free agents available, and will probably have to overpay. Selling free agents on the Wings was not an issue when he was a player (1983-2006) or worked in the front office (2006-2010), nor while general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning (2010-2018), where he led a successful team in a state without income tax.source – ‘The Detroit Red Wings need to upgrade their defense. Here are options’ – Helene St. Jams – Detroit Free Press – 05/02/2020
Related: Do You Know Your Maple Leafs Trivia?
Vancouver Pitches to Host Games
Apparently, Edmonton isn’t the only western Canadian city interested in hosting games should the NHL resume this summer. Ryan Rishaug of TSN reports that Vancouver has also submitted a proposal.
At this point, there is nothing definitive about what the NHL plans to do, but what makes Vancouver an interesting option is how many buildings there are that could potentially host games. Already a hub for international travel, the options for NHL action includes Rogers Arena (Canucks’ home arena), Pacific Coliseum (Canucks’ former home arena), the University of British Columbia (UBC), Langley Events Centre (WHL Vancouver Giants home arena), Abbotsford Centre (Former AHL arena) and a number of BCHL rinks around the lower mainland (Langley, Surrey, Coquitlam, Chilliwack).
Blues Not Confident in a Pietrangelo Return?
Benjamin Hochman of the St. Louis Dispatch recently wrote that he’s surprised so many fans in St. Louis seemed confident Pietrangelo would be back. He asks, “But why does seemingly everyone in St. Louis seem so sure he’s staying?”
The Blues captain and St. Louis sports icon is a free agent when this season is up — whenever this season is up. Or, frighteningly, perhaps there won’t be any more hockey in the 2019-20 season, and the next time the Blues lace ‘em up, it’ll be the 2020-21 season. There is so much uncertainty right now during this pandemic.
But at some point, presumably, in the coming months, the defenseman will have to make a decision. And there are uncertainties involving his decision, some which existed even before the pandemic. Namely, the Blues don’t have enough cap space to currently afford him.source -Hochman: Petro returning to Blues makes sense, but there’s no guarantee he’ll be back’ – Benjamin Hochman – St. Louis Dispatch – 04/27/2020
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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.”