Holland’s Future, Little Returns & More News

Holland’s Future With Maple Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs and forward Peter Holland may be parting ways sooner than later. Holland’s agent, Joe Resnick, reportedly met with general manager Lou Lamoriello over the phone and a decision was made for Holland not to accompany the Maple Leafs out west for their three-game road trip.

Holland, 25, has skated in eight games in 2016-17, registering an assist and averaging just 10:43 of ice time — oftentimes a healthy scratch from the team’s lineup. It’s not the start to the season he wanted after signing a one-year, $1.3 million contract to stay in Toronto on July 25, 2016.

Despite signing the contract, however, this situation wasn’t outside of the realm of possibility, given the events that occurred this offseason.

Peter Holland (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
Peter Holland (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

A restricted free agent after posting an NHL career-high 27 points in 65 games in 2015-16, the Maple Leafs put Holland on waivers on July 22, just days before his scheduled arbitration hearing on July 25.

At that point, the Maple Leafs looked at losing Holland altogether or being in a more favorable position to re-sign him at a cheaper price if he cleared, by using it as leverage in contract negotiations.

Holland cleared waivers and signed a one-year deal just before arbitration. At the time, he figured to slot into a regular roster spot and build upon last year’s success. That, however, has not been the case in the early going of the new season and things seem to be reaching a head in Toronto for both player and club.

Jets’ Little Returns

The Winnipeg Jets will receive some much needed offense with Bryan Little set to make his return to the lineup when the team hosts the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday.

Little has been out with a lower-body injury he suffered in a collision with Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Bryan Bickell in the Jets’ season opening 5-4 overtime victory on Oct. 13.

Little, 29, registered 17 goals and 42 points in 57 games with the Jets in 2016-17 and figures to provide offensive punch for a Jets team that enters Tuesday’s contest having lost five of their last six games, while tallying just nine goals.

The Jets are currently 16th in league scoring, averaging just 2.6 goals per game, despite boasting the NHL’s third leading scorer in center Mark Scheifele (12 goals, 24 points).

Blackhawks’ Toews Out

The Chicago Blackhawks will be without captain Jonathan Toews for the third straight game when they face the Florida Panthers on Tuesday.

Toews was injured during the Blackhawks’ 2-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Nov. 23 and has not returned to the lineup. He has registered 12 points in 21 games in 2016-17 and was leading the league with 292 faceoff wins at the time of his injury.

Head coach Joel Quenneville spoke about Toews’ status before the team’s morning skate on Tuesday.

Odds and Ends

— The Edmonton Oilers host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday, marking the second matchup in the young careers of Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews. Their first meeting on Nov. 1 resulted in both players being held scoreless in the Maple Leafs’ 3-2 overtime victory. Tuesday’s game will also be the first one played in front of a nationally televised audience in the United States, as NBC Sports Network will show the game at 9 pm ET.

— Interim head coach Tom Rowe will make his debut behind the bench for the Panthers when they take on the Blackhawks on Tuesday. It will be the team’s first game action since head coach Gerard Gallant was fired by the organization on Nov. 27.

— The New Jersey Devils will be without forward Beau Bennett during Tuesday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets and he is considered day-to-day, according to an announcement by the team.

— Devils goaltending prospect Scott Wedgewood underwent successful surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder on Tuesday. Wedgewood, 24, is expected to miss six months as he recovers.

— Colorado Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, according to the Denver Post’s Mike Chambers. He’s been ‘generally shut down’ right now, Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar said on Tuesday.

— Oilers defenseman Mark Fayne cleared waivers on Tuesday, according to Hockey Night in Canada’s Elliotte Friedman.

— Dallas Stars play-by-play announcer Dave Strader joined the team in Detroit on Tuesday before they faced the Red Wings. Strader, one of hockey’s most respected personalities off the ice, has received an outpouring of support from the hockey community this season after announcing he was undergoing treatment in his battle against cholangiocarcinoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer.

— The University of Nevada – Las Vegas Rebels men’s hockey team has been approved for membership in the American Collegiate Hockey Association’s Division I beginning in the 2017-18 season. The Rebels become the most westward Division I club hockey team — a major accomplishment for hockey in Nevada as the state prepares for NHL hockey the same season.

— The Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference has suspended St. Lawrence junior Nolan Gluchowski and Quinnipiac senior Connor Clifton each for one game after hits to the head that took place in separate incidents.

— The Western Hockey League’s Saskatoon Blades have banned cell phones at the rink for practices and games, according to a new rule by head coach Dean Brockman. The decision was made in order to minimize distraction and increase mental focus.