In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the San Jose Sharks aren’t just looking into Evander Kane because of allegations by his ex-wife. Meanwhile, it sounds like defenseman Travis Hamonic is facing a difficult decision. There’s even a chance he might retire from the NHL. Auston Matthews returned to practice with the rest of his teammates and the sticking point in contract talks between the Ottawa Senators and Brady Tkachuk might be the bonus money handed out on an extension.
Kane Being Investigated for Violating COVID Protocol
According to an NHL.com story, Kane isn’t just being investigated because of allegations of serious “past behaviour toward Ms. Kane”, but they are looking at him regarding allegations of inappropriate behaviour potentially jeopardizing the health and safety of Club members.”
Elliotte Friedman reports that the second investigation involves a possible violation of NHL COVID protocols. Friedman notes, the details of any possible violation being investigated are unknown at this time. Neither Kane’s representatives nor the NHL’s or NHLPA’s would comment.
There are no formal league punishments set in place for violations if it is determined Kane did err here. That said, he is already on an indefinite leave from the Sharks and the team may look to the league about options if it is determined he is guilty.
Travis Hamonic Could Sit Out Season or Retire
As reported by Rick Dhaliwal on Monday, Hamonic may decide to opt out of this coming NHL season or even retire and that all options are on the table as the defenseman tries to figure out what to do about this coming season.
Hamonic, 31, did sit out the bubble when the pandemic first hit in 2020. He has an immune-compromised daughter and his desire to stay in Western Canada in order to remain close to his family has affected his decision-making as he navigates his NHL career. It’s not clear if he’s vaccinated or not and it might not matter for him as he makes this decision.
This could be very interesting for the Canucks as Hamonic recently signed a new two-year contract worth $6 million. The Canucks would get that back on their salary cap if he chose to retire and that could go a long ways to helping getting deals done with Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes.
Also intriguing and as is being reported by Vancouver Hockey Now that Hamonic may prefer to play for a U.S. team based on how the travel restrictions would affect his ability to play games. If true, they note the Canucks are considering a trade. Take this one with a grain of salt considering Hamonic was keen to stay in Western Canada and just signed a deal with the Canucks. While things do change, much of the information about travel was available to Hamonic at the time he signed his contract.
Auston Matthews Practicing With Maple Leafs
Matthews continues to work towards an NHL return and seems ahead of schedule. It was reported by multiple media members who were in attendance that the center is now practicing with the team and looks pretty good. This was his first practice with teammates since off-season wrist surgery and he was taking shots from multiple angles and distances.
James Mirtle of The Athletic notes: “I think it’s possible Matthews gets into a preseason game.” Matthews didn’t stay out for the full practice but it was good to see him back and moving at close to full speed.
Bonus Money the Issue Between Senators and Tkachuk
As per the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch, GM Pierre Dorion has been in daily contact with Tkachuk’s agents Craig Oster and Don Meehan. The long-term deal tabled might not be the issue between the two sides (a rumored eight-year, $64 million contract) but the bonus money that comes with the deal. In other words, it’s the structure of the long-term deal that is holding things up.
Garrioch cites TSN’s Darren Dreger when he writes:
TSN Insider Darren Dreger said on the network’s radio station in Toronto on Monday he believes the two sides haven’t been able to come to an agreement over the structure of the deal. He wondered if at some point the talks may turn to a bridge deal like the one Tkachuk’s brother Matthew signed with the Calgary Flames in 2019.
When Dreger talks about structure, he means Tkachuk’s camp is looking for bonus money and the Senators don’t want to go that route.source – ‘GARRIOCH: Ottawa Senators, Brady Tkachuk still trying to bridge gap in contract talks’ – Bruce Garrioch – Ottawa Sun – 09/27/2021