NHL rumor roundup: Kucherov and Lightning cap issues; Free agent movement?
With the NHL announcing plans for the 2020-21 season, it only makes sense for the teams to step up their prep efforts. In some cases, it means finding ways to get below the salary cap, even if rumors from Nikita Kucherov don't seem ideal for the flash. In other cases it means some last minute vacation shopping for free agents.
Check out this roundup of the latest NHL news and rumors.
Potential Kucherov LTIR stays can alleviate Lightning Cap concerns?
Starting with a tweet from Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman, speculation grew that Nikita Kucherov might go on LTIR and how that could help Blitz lower their salary cap.
From there, Pierre LeBrun reports that Kucherov took a syringe in his hip last week. If Kucherov reacts well, he would play. If not, he would go on LTIR. (You may recall some references to Kucherov's hip problems during Lightning's 2020 Stanley Cup run.)
At Athletic, Joe Smith went a little deeper into Kucherov and the Lightning Cap situation (sub required). Smith confirmed that Kucherov's agent and the Blitz declined to comment on various reports.
Kucherov currently has a cap hit of $ 9.5 million. With the Lightning currently about $ 2 million above the $ 81.5 million ceiling, an LTIR stay at Kucherov Tampa Bay would give room to breathe.
Of course, Kucherov is so important to Blitz that it's not really worth it. Instead, it would be a silver lining.
In any case, the lightning bolts are still facing ongoing problems. Anthony Cirelli is the most prominent RFA, but Erik Cernak is also relevant. Perhaps a Kucherov LTIR trip would ease some instant pressure on the salary cap, but the Blitz could still be smart about trading someone like Tyler Johnson.
No doubt $ 9.5 million is a big turnaround.
More NHL news, reports, rumors
Expect the Blues to name Ryan O'Reilly as their next captain, as do reporters like Jeremy Rutherford.
Heading into the 2020-21 NHL season, the Oilers likely didn't expect Oscar Klefbom to be healthy. Perhaps there was still hope for a late recovery? GM Ken Holland put an end to all hope there as the goal is for Klefbom to be ready for 2021-22.
Not all injury news was bad. Flyers believe Oskar Lindblom is "good to go" while Nolan Patrick is optimistic about Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Also on The Athletic (sub required): Pierre LeBrun reports that the UFA market is warming up again. From Mike Hoffman to Mikael Granlund, certain conversations are gaining momentum. Persistent RFAs like Mathew Barzal can also gain momentum. All of this makes sense as there isn't a big turning point between these announcements and training camp time.
Do you remember the talk of advertising on helmets? Hurricanes GM Don Waddell expects this, but not with jerseys, as Chip Alexander reports.
Regarding the hurricanes, they announced that fans will not be attending the games. At least at the start of the 2020-21 NHL season:
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James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk for NBC Sports. Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.
NHL Rumor Summary: Kucherov and Lightning Cap Issues; Free Agent Movement? originally published on NBCSports.com
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