NHL Rumors: Blackhawks, Rangers, Avalanche, Lightning, Maple Leafs

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, should the Chicago Blackhawks rethink their desire to trade Dylan Strome based on the start they’re having? What is the latest update on Vitali Kravtsov and his frustrations with the New York Rangers? Nathan MacKinnon is still out of the Colorado Avalanche lineup and the Tampa Bay Lightning may have lost Nikita Kucherov for a while. Finally, how serious is the recent injury to Nick Robertson of the Toronto Maple Leafs?

Blackhawks Rethinking Dylan Strome Trade?

Mark Lazerus of The Athletic writes that the Blackhawks are listening to offers for Strome, but believes the team might want to retain him in the event something happens with Jonathan Toews or Kirby Dach.  

Dylan Strome Chicago Blackhawks
Dylan Strome, Chicago Blackhawks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

He writes:

I’d rather have Dylan Strome as a $3 million healthy scratch/insurance policy in a playoffs-or-bust year than a third- or fourth-round draft pick with a meager chance of panning out in three or four years. You don’t know how Jonathan Toews will hold up. Kirby Dach has yet to play a full 82 games. MacKenzie Entwistle isn’t better than Strome. You’ll need him — maybe not now, but eventually. As Colliton said, the Blackhawks won’t need 18 forwards and two goalies all year. They’ll need at least 27 or 29 guys.

source: ‘Lazerus: What I believe and what I know about the Blackhawks after 2 games’ – Mark Lazerus – The Athletic – 10/15/2021

When you consider too that the Blackhawks have not gotten out to the start they wanted, lineup changes could be inevitable if they don’t turn the ship around in a hurry. All that said, Lazerus still believes Strome will be traded.

Kravtsov Returns to Russia

Mollie Walker of the New York Post reports that Kravtsov has returned to Russia after not making the NHL club and following his refusal to report to their AHL affiliate in Hartford last week. There’s been talk that the player would like to be traded and that the Rangers are trying to accommodate the 21-year-old forward.

Related: NHL Power Rankings: Avalanche, Kraken, Canadiens Among Surprises

For now, he is back in Chelyabinsk and was at the Traktor-Dynamo game recently. There are around five teams interested in him but the Rangers are also hoping he might be open to reconsidering his willingness to play for the team if a trade can’t be made. Head coach Gerard Gallant said general manager Chris Drury is in regular contact with Kravtsov’s agent. 

Nathan MacKinnon Remains Out with COVID

MacKinnon isn’t traveling with the Avalanche during this current road trip as he tested positive again on Saturday for COVID, according to Mike Chambers of the Denver Post. Defenseman Jack Johnson, who also missed Saturday’s game against the St. Louis Blues because of a positive test, tested negative on Saturday and Sunday. He will rejoin the team and it was announced he was cleared to travel.

Kucherov Injury Could Be Serious

Initial reports on the severity of Nikita Kucherov‘s injury is not positive and surgery could be involved. The Lightning may be forced to place the forward on IR again, a place he spent most of last season.

Nikita Kucherov Tampa Bay Lightning
Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

According to Joe Smith of The Athletic, “No official @TBLightning update on Nikita Kucherov, probably because they don’t know yet. Trying to schedule with a specialist to determine next step, whether surgery is required. Team practicing today and has two games this week.” What the Lightning did worry about was how much pain it seemed Kucherov was in at the time he left the ice.

Head coach Jon Cooper said that the player is going to be out for a little while. “Definitely not a day-to-day thing.”

Maple Leafs’ Nick Robertson Hurt

Maple Leafs’ prospect forward Nick Robertson was injured in a Toronto Marlies game over the weekend and the extent of his injuries is not yet known. As per Greg Moore’s post-game update: “Lower body injury. I don’t know to the extent yet. He’ll get assessed, and we’ll know more tomorrow.”

Morning Skate newsletter Click To Subscribe

Robertson went down hard at the end boards in a crowd and fell awkwardly on his leg. He was unable to put any weight on his leg as he left the ice.