NHL Rumors: Kings, Maple Leafs, Spengler Cup, Wild, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is an update on Ilya Kovalchuk’s situation, there are notes about the Toronto Maple Leafs search for a goaltender, and did Wayne Gretzky take the job as coach for Team Canada at the Spengler Cup? Finally, are the Minnesota Wild thinking about trading Ryan Donato or are teams hoping the Wild don’t know what they have?

More on Kovalchuk

Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet wrote in his latest 31 Thoughts article that both Los Angeles Kings GM Rob Blake and Ilya Kovalchuk‘s agent JP Barry are keeping quiet about what was said to Kovalchuk before he was pulled from the Kings lineup. Speculation is that multiple options were presented to the player including: “working on a trade; leaving the team; staying until his bonus is paid in December, then leaving; mutually terminate.”

Ilya Kovalchuk, Drew Doughty
Los Angeles Kings Drew Doughty and Ilya Kovalchuk (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh)

The Kings have been trying to move Kovalchuk for some time but his contract and salary make him nearly impossible to trade. As he sits, he’s not increasing his value, thus both Blake and head coach Todd McLellan said he might not sit for long. Both called him nothing more than a healthy scratch.

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reported the Kings and Kovalchuk haven’t made any firm decisions yet and that the team will revisit the idea of trading him after the December 15th bonus is paid.

Friedman adds that this could be nothing more than the Kings showing everyone, including those on the team they mean business. They’ve scratched Tyler Toffoli too.

Related: Five NHL Records That Will Be Broken

Maple Leafs Not Fretting Over Goaltending

While speculation surround the Toronto Maple Leafs and many are reporting they’re in the market for a goaltender, Friedman notes that the Maple Leafs themselves don’t seem too stressed about it.

He writes:

“The Maple Leafs appear less worried than everyone else about the position. They didn’t win any of Michael Hutchinson’s starts, but don’t appear hell-bent on chasing outside the organization. 

Friedman did mention that there are still some names connected to the Maple Leafs possibly looking for a backup. Those names are Eric Comrie, Alex Stalock, and Tristan Jarry or Casey DeSmith out of Pittsburgh.

Related: Wayne Gretzky: The Great One’s 10 Most Unbreakable Records

Gretzky Turns Down Spengler Cup

We reported yesterday that Wayne Gretzky was offered the head coaching position for Canada at the upcoming Spengler Cup. It appears he has turned that offer down.

According to Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic saying, “Clearly a decision that wasn’t easy for Gretzky who says he was very much honoured to be asked. So Burke, the GM of Canada’s Spengler Cup team, now moves on to Plan B.”

Craig MacTavish
Former General Manager Craig MacTavish speaks about the state of the Edmonton Oilers, December 5, 2014. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson)

It appears one option is another former Edmonton Oiler forward in Craig MacTavish. This comes from a report by Darren Dreger of TSN who says Shane Doan is also helping Burke and the Hockey Canada group put the staff and team together.

Ryan Donato on the Trade Block?

Friedman reported that a couple of sources have said they heard Ryan Donato’s name out there on the trade block, but Friedman isn’t sure about how accurate that is.

Minnesota Wild Ryan Donato
Minnesota Wild forward Ryan Donato (Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports)

He notes that there may have been some conversation about Donato but that Minnesota plans are to be patient. These reports could reflect more a sense of teams trying to see if a new GM would give up a player he didn’t acquire and has fewer ties to. GM’s will do that if they think they can sneak in and grab someone that might be overlooked by new management.

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