NHL Rumors: Penguins, Stars, Avs, Oilers, Maple Leafs, More

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Pittsburgh Penguins are getting some players back, while the Avalanche may have lost a key piece. The Edmonton Oilers have a young defenseman who looks strong, while the Toronto Maple Leafs may have to make sacrifices on their blue line. Finally, there is news out of Dallas and Chicago.

Penguins Getting Players Back

The Pittsburgh Penguins have officially announced that the nine players held out to start training camp have been cleared and will re-join the team. The Penguins were hit hard by missing players to start camp and recently lost Sidney Crosby during a practice.

Evgeni Malkin, Sergei Gonchar, Mike Sullivan
Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Sullivan and assistant Sergei Gonchar stand behind their bench (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Unfortunately, the team did not have Crosby at practice again today when they held a full team scrimmage and there’s still no word on what the problem is.

Koekkoek Not Sure Where He Sits With Blackhawks

NHL.com’s Brandon Cain reports that there has been no discussion between the Chicago Blackhawks and restricted free agent Slater Koekkoek as it pertains to a new deal. While it’s not surprising to see deals waiting until the season ends, the defenseman said he wasn’t even sure if his agent has even had a conversation with general manager Stan Bowman. 

Koekkoek said he isn’t looking to leave and noted, “I would obviously love to re-sign here in Chicago.” He just isn’t sure where he sits and if that’s happening based on the salary cap situation.

Stars Uncertain About Khudobin

Dallas Stars backup goaltender Anton Khudobin has made it clear, he’d like to remain with the Stars next season. That said, according to Dallas Morning News’ Matthew DeFranks, there are complications to getting a new deal done.

Anton Khudobin Dallas Stars
Anton Khudobin, Dallas Stars (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

His NHL leading .930 save percentage would likely prompt a raise but he isn’t eligible to performance bonuses on his next contract since he’s 34 years old. He could potentially ask for more than one year on his next deal but the Stars have top goaltending prospect Jake Oettinger ready to backup to Ben Bishop (likely in 2021-22).

Avs Lose Makar

The Colorado Avalanche were without Calder Trophy nominee Cale Makar after he unexpectedly left scrimmage, according to NHL.com’s Rick Sadowski. No word on why he left practice but he was replaced on the special teams skills drills and first power-play unit work he missed by Samuel Girard.

Lightning Get Stamkos Back

Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos was back on the ice for a full practice for a second straight day this past week. The Athletic’s Joe Smith reports that it’s a good sign for the Lightning as it suggests he should be deemed healthy and ready to go for the upcoming tournament.

Broberg Making Noise At Oilers Camp

Apparently, Edmonton Oilers prospect defenseman Philip Broberg is playing well and making some noise at Oilers camp. He has shined with some highlight reel end-to-end runs that resulted in goals during Saturday’s team scrimmage.

Edmonton Oilers Wayne Gretzky Philip Broberg Ken Holland
Edmonton Oilers Wayne Gretzky, Philip Broberg and Ken Holland (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)

The Edmonton Journal’s Kurt Leavins writes expects that Broberg will be on the Oilers final playoff roster and writes:

So don’t be at all surprised if Philip Broberg cracks the post-season roster. In fact…expect it. He shoots left so one of Oscar Klefbom, Darnell Nurse or Kris Russell would have to go down for Broberg to have a shot. And I’d think a now-healthy Caleb Jones would be tiered above him as well. But history teaches hard lessons to teams who carry fewer than 10 usable D-men with them into the playoffs. Just ask Oilers Assistant Coach Jim Playfair.

srouce – ‘A lesson hard-learned by the Flames may be why Philip Broberg stays in the Edmonton Oilers Stanley Cup bubble: 9 Things’ – Kirt Leavins – Edmonton Journal – 07/19/2020

Maple Leafs Could Go Cheap on Defense

According to James Mirtle of The Athletic, he believes the Toronto Maple Leafs won’t move a core player for blueline help and could go cheap on defense for next season because of their lower cap space. They may look for inexpensive contracts like pending UFA veteran Chris Tanev out of Vancouver.

Toronto Maple Leafs Andreas Johnsson
Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Andreas Johnsson (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)

Mirtle was asked if the team can get a decent return if they trade Kasperi Kapanen, Andreas Johnsson, or Alex Kerfoot or if it’ll be a salary dump and he responded he thought the Leafs could get a player or prospect for Kapanen, but injuries and so-so-seasons for Johnsson and Kerfoot will affect their value. Mirtle writes:

One of these three probably has to go to make the cap math work, but with Johnsson especially, it certainly feels like selling low. If that’s the biggest blow the Leafs are dealt from a pandemic that decimates league revenue, however, you can live with it.

source – ‘Mirtle Mailbag: Fixing the Leafs cap crunch, the D question and NHL contraction’ – James Mirtle – The Athletic – 07/17/2020

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