NHL Rumors: Wild, Coyotes, Maple Leafs, World Juniors, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is lots of news and talk surrounding the Minnesota Wild who have been active in the past few days. Meanwhile, in Arizona, it sounds like the team has the doors wide open in terms of doing business on the trade front. In Toronto, a scribe examined the needs on the Maple Leafs blue line. Finally, there is news on the World Junior Championships.

Maple Leafs Looking for Right-Handed Defenseman First

According to Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun, because only two of the nine current Maple Leafs defenseman are right handed, the team has made it priority to acquire one.

New Jersey Devils Sami Vatanen
New Jersey Devils Sami Vatanen (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Koshan notes that options could include Sami Vatanen, Travis Hamonic, Dylan DeMelo, Justin Schultz and Chris Tanev. He also says that the Maple Leafs were looking at Zach Bogosian until he signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Dubas doesn’t seem willing at this time to move William Nylander but wonders if a trade involving someone else might work.

He writes:

Does a trade involving Andreas Johnsson or Alex Kerfoot get the Leafs much in return? What if Dubas uses the first-round pick he got from Pittsburgh in the Kapanen trade, as he has indicated he could do?

source -‘Blue-line options there for Leafs GM Dubas, who will need to get creative to add D-men’- Terry Koshan – Toronto Sun – 09/14/2020

Among the pieces he might target in trade, he includes Matt Dumba, Colton Parayko, Josh Manson, and Brett Pesce.

Related: Prospects News & Rumors: Podkolzin, Marchenko, Kayumov & Pashin

Galchenyuk Unlikely to Return to Wild, Staal Shocked by Trade

According to Wild insider Michael Russo, forward Alex Galchenyuk won’t be returning to the team next season. The first clue probably came when it was announced that recently acquired Nick Bjugstad would wear Galchenyuk’s old No. 27 jersey number, but when general manager Bill Guerin spoke with Galchenyuk’s agent and said the team would be moving in another direction, it became official.

Alex Galchenyuk
Alex Galchenyuk (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Galchenyuk played only 14 games with the Wild after being acquired in a trade from the Penguins, but scored seven points. He was, at one time, a 40-50 point player for the Montreal Canadiens. It will be interesting to see if a team gives him a shot on a less expensive one-year contract to up his game.

In other Wild news, Eric Staal was moved to the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday but of note regarding the trade, it is being reported he was taken by surprise. Russo reports that when Staal found out about the trade he was “said to be stunned.”

Russo adds that the trade was made possible but a last-minute change to Staal’s trade protection list. Russo explains:

Under the recent CBA memo of understanding, players with modified no-trade lists had until yesterday to revamp their lists. Staal turned in a new one yesterday, I’m told, that did not have the Sabres on it.

Related: Pittsburgh Penguins’ Trade Options for Matt Murray

Coyotes Willing to Trade Anyone Over Age of 25

According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, while a guest on TSN1040 out of Vancouver, he notes that teams aren’t just working with the mandated NHL salary cap, but internal caps set forth by the organizations. He said, “There is a number of teams that have stressed going below that $81.5 million cap and at least a few teams that want to get it into the low 70’s or lower.”

One team that this appears to be greatly affecting is the Arizona Coyotes. Dreger notes, “I heard from a good source today that Arizona has basically said anyone 25 or older, make an offer and they’re willing to listen.”

Phil Kessel Arizona Coyotes
Phil Kessel, Arizona Coyotes (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

If true, that means the list of players the Coyotes will listen to on for trades includes: Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Phil Kessel, Derek Stepan, Michael Grabner, Alex Goligoski, Niklas Hjarlmarsson, Jason Demers, Antti Raanta, and Darcy Kuemper.

One has to wonder what that means for a player like Taylor Hall. He too is over 25 years old, but the team was rumored to be interested in extending him on a new contract.

World Junior Championship to be Hosted in Edmonton Hub

Another story being broken by Dreger is that an announcement is expected from the IIHF as early as this morning that the upcoming World Junior Championship will go ahead as planned and will be played inside the Edmonton hub.

The event (sold out in tickets) will return to Edmonton and Red Deer with crowds the following year.

“This is a tough decision to have to take, but ultimately we did not have a choice,” said IIHF president René Fasel in a statement. He added when confirming the news:

“The health and safety of players, officials, and fans is our top priority. We were impressed with the presentation from the local organizing committee outlining how a potential “bubble” scenario would operate within Edmonton, and we are confident that we can follow the NHL’s great example in creating a safe environment for teams to compete.”

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