NHL Rumors: Bruins, Canucks, Maple Leafs, Big Salary Cap Jump

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, Elliotte Friedman talks about the status of conversations between David Pastrnak and the Boston Bruins. Meanwhile, the Vancouver Canucks have lost two key forwards from their top six for a few weeks.

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The Toronto Maple Leafs have to shift things around in the absence of John Tavares and NHL teams are being told to prepare for a big salary cap increase starting as soon as the 2024-25 season.

Pastrnak Being Patient

Friedman noted during the latest 32 Thoughts podcast that Pastrnak of the Boston Bruins has no issues continuing to talk to the team during the season about a possible extension to his contract. While many players shut down talks to focus on their game, Friedman explains, “One of the things I heard about Pastrnak is that he’s not afraid to continue discussions into the season. I don’t believe there is a hard deadline here.”

David Pastrnak, Boston Bruins
David Pastrnak, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Friedman added that from everything he’s seen, read, and heard about Pastrnak, “he has a real healthy balance about his life and his competitive nature, and where he is. I don’t think he’s the kind of guy who can be bothered by it too much. So I’ve heard he won’t be afraid of letting the conversations go into the season.”

This is good news for the Bruins, but also a bit nerve-wracking as it means the idea of a contract extension could be hanging over the team and the player for much of the season.

Canucks Lose Mikheyev and Boeser

Newly-signed forward Ilya Mikheyev is out “week-to-week” for the Vancouver Canucks, according to head coach Bruce Boudreau. Mikheyev suffered a lower-body injury in his preseason debut with the team on Sunday and is expected to miss around.

Meanwhile, Brock Boeser underwent successful hand surgery. He will return in 3-4 weeks, according to the Canucks. Boeser got hurt at practice on day three of Canucks Training Camp and when asked what happened, Boudreau says nobody really knows. He noted that Boeser went off the ice after shaking his hand and they were told something was bothering him. All of a sudden they heard he needed surgery.

Related: Canucks’ Injuries Create Opportunities for Klimovich & Karlsson

Boudreau said this creates an opportunity for a player in their top six and general manager Jim Rutherford told Rick Dhaliwal of CHEK TV that Nils Hoglander has impressed him.

Change of Plans in Toronto After Tavares Goes Down

Toronto Maple Leafs forward John Tavares will be out a ‘minimum’ of three weeks due to an oblique (rib cage) strain, notes the organization. Luke Fox of Sportsnet writes, “Ironically, the Maple Leafs’ primary lineup focus during training camp was to find the optimal forward to skate on Tavares’s left wing. Now, they must find the best backup option for Tavares himself.”

Head coach Sheldon Keefe mentioned Alexander Kerfoot and Calle Järnkrok as possible options to get a bump in time and fill that second center spot.

Salary Cap Going Up

Per Friedman, the NHL has been informing and preparing teams for a sharp salary cap increase over the next three seasons. There has been talk that the cap will take a significant jump in 2025-26, and if this remains accurate it changes things for a number of teams and finally points to a strong upward trend post-COVID for the NHL.

In fact, Friedman is reporting the NHL is actually saying their cap jumps will start coming in the season 2024-25. While just a projection, the cap should jump from $83.5 million to $87.5 million. In 2025-26, it will jump again to $92 million. Depending on when teams were notified of this, it could explain many of the big eight-year deals that were given out to players this summer.

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