In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is speculation on who the Detroit Red Wings might go after with their additional cap space, news out of Toronto and Ottawa where Ontario has opened up facilities again, and news out of Edmonton as far as working with the government to host NHL games.
Red Wings Have Money to Spend
Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News wondered if the Red Wings will have an advantage due to the struggle of many NHL teams to deal with a changing salary cap. He believes the potential dip could benefit the financially secure Red Wings. If so, it could be a nice late birthday present for GM Steve Yzerman who turns 55 today.
Kulfan admits the Red Wings need to re-sign restricted free-agent forwards Anthony Mantha, Tyler Bertuzzi, and Robby Fabbri, but still thinks the team will have money to spend and there are some big names that could test the market.
He specifically names defensemen Alex Pietrangelo, Torey Krug, and Tyson Barrie, forwards Taylor Hall and Mike Hoffman, and goalies Robin Lehner and Braden Holtby, wondering if they’ll go after any of these players should they hit the market. He explains:
Some of those players will likely find a way to stay with their present teams. But some will hit the market. And the Wings could be one of the teams that benefits.
Few teams will be in better shape than the Wings to take advantage of the constrained market. Long having been riddled with expensive, long-term contracts, those are expiring, giving general manager Steve Yzerman much more financial leeway.source – ‘Salary cap dip could help financially-sound Red Wings in free agency’ – Ted Kulfan – Detroit News – 05/05/2020
Related: Steve Yzerman, The Captain
Devils Options on Defense
The Red Wings won’t likely be the only ones after players like Pietrangelo and Krug. Corey Masisak of The Athletic notes the New Jersey Devils could target one of those two players to improve their blue line.
We don’t know who will be making the decisions, but the Devils should have plenty of cap space if they want to get involved. Interim GM Tom Fitzgerald has stated he’d like to find more young building blocks to grow up with Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes, but his plan would also include adding more “men” to help mentor and support them.source -‘Possible Devils targets in free agency: Looking for help on defense’ – Corety Masisak – The Athletic – 05/06/2020
Maple Leafs and Senators Not Opening Facilities Yet
Despite the OK from Ontario’s Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries Lisa MacLeod, the Maple Leafs and Senators will not go into their respective facilities. MacLeod announced that all professional teams in the province are permitted to open their respective practice facilities but the NHL has not given the go-ahead because the league has not moved to Phase 2 of its return-to-play protocol.
While the league is still hoping that will happen in late May, they need far more teams to get the same approval before they will allow it. Otherwise, things will be extremely unbalanced competitively.
Deputy commissioner Bill Daly notes the NHL has not determined yet what would constitute that “acceptable mass” and reopening facilities for teams will depend on “direct communications with local health authorities.” If given the go-ahead, “alternative plans” may be made for teams located in markets that are not in position to open.
Related: Do You Know Your Maple Leafs Trivia?
Oilers Working Hard to Host Games
Meanwhile, the Edmonton Oilers continue to engage with the government in hopes of re-opening their facility and for hosting games in a potential season restart.
Oilers Entertainment Group spokesman Tim Shipton said on Friday:
“We continue to have very positive and collaborative conversations with the Alberta government, and they are open to working with us to allow the return of NHL players and staff to Edmonton as a part of Phase II, following provincial health protocols,”
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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.”