NHL Rumors: Maple Leafs, Panthers, Wild, Penguins, Salary Cap

In t NHL rumors rundown, the Toronto Maple Leafs are going to proceed with caution when it comes to defenseman Jake Muzzin. Meanwhile, the Florida Panthers have lost Aaron Ekblad to LTIR and the Minnesota Wild might be looking to trade blueliners. Finally, are defensemen a commodity most Canadian teams in the NHL are looking for?

Maple Leafs Will Move Slowly on Muzzin

NHL insider Chris Johnston says the Maple Leafs will take their time assessing the severity of Jake Muzzin’s injury. During the latest TSN Insider Trading segment, Johnston listed off the many issues Muzzin has dealt with over the past few seasons and noted they’ll take their time in bringing him back.

Related: NHL Rumors: Maple Leafs, Devils, Canucks, Red Wings

In what might be a connected move, the Toronto Marlies have signed defenseman Danny DeKeyser to an AHL PTO. With injuries hitting the Maple Leafs’ blue line, adding DeKeyser will help the AHL club deal with some potential call-ups that could happen at the position.

Panthers Lose Ekblad

As per Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli, the Florida Panthers ”are indeed expecting to miss D Aaron Ekblad for a chunk of time on LTIR with a lower-body injury, the exact timeline TBD.” He adds, ”But Ekblad is not expected to be out long enough to allow the Panthers to go shopping to replace him on the cap.”

GM Bill Zito updated that report and said that Ekblad will be placed on LTIR, but he says it is not a season-ending situation and looks to be more short-term.

Meanwhile, Anthony Duclair is “tracking as planned” and still looks to potentially return in December/January.

Wild a Longshot to Land Chychrun

According to Adam Proteau of The Hockey News, the Wild may be a long shot, but they could be one of the teams to watch when it comes to the Jakob Chychrun trade talks.

Matt Dumba Minnesota Wild
Matt Dumba, Minnesota Wild (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The Wild have given up number of goals in their first games and they have cap issues. Matt Dumba carries a $6 million cap hit and is in the last year of his deal and could be moved if replaced by a cheap Chychrun.

Canadian Teams Looking for Defensemen

TSN: In Tuesday’s “Insider Trading” segment, Darren Dreger said there’s a “growing list of Canadian teams” that are in the market for a defenseman. He singled out the Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks.

He mentioned Pierre-Olivier Joseph of the Pittsburgh Penguins as a possible option for teams looking for a right-handed blueliner. Dreger notes, “He’s a young player, a first-round draft pick, so he might be a fit with one of those clubs.”

NHL Salary Cap Could Go Up Next Season

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman revealed that revenue projections are strong enough that escrow debt could be retired this season. If that happens, it could lead to a potential $4-4.5 million increase in salary cap next summer. He noted, “We believe that there’s a good probability that the escrow will be paid off this season,” Bettman told the assembled owners, governors, and media. “It may not (happen), but it’s going to be close, we think, which means the flat cap will be replaced by an increase — if not this season then next season.”

This could really change the action that happens this coming offseason as teams that are right up against the cap or teams that would have been previously forced to choose which players to re-sign next year will get the relief they desperately need.

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