In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Edmonton Oilers will be without Duncan Keith to start training camp and there may be more changes in goal. Meanwhile, the Toronto Maples have told the team there are big expectations or changes will come, the Vancouver Canucks are not keen on making a trade to free up cap space for their two big RFAs, and the Buffalo Sabres signed Rasmus Dahlin. There is Jack Eichel and Evander Kane news and tons of information coming in when it relates to NHL training camps.
Keith to Miss Start of Oilers Camp, One Player Unvaccinated
A story broken by Ken Campbell and confirmed by the Oilers is that Keith is still quarantining after receiving his second dose of the vaccine and as such, will not be at Oilers camp to start with the rest of the roster. Holland said during his media avail on Wednesday that it was a difficult decision for Keith to get vaccinated but he has done so.
Keith will be on the ice next Friday but will remain in quarantine until then. He will be fully vaccinated at that time, play in the last three preseason games, and be ready to go for the year.
As expected, Oilers fans had a field day with the news, but that lasted only as long as it took for Holland to say that one other player on the team was still not vaccinated and was trying to determine what they would be doing. If they stay unvaccinated, Holland says they could miss up to 30 games of the season.
In other Oilers news, Alex Stalock may not play this season due to further heart complications and Elliotte Friedman said in the first installment of 32 Thoughts: “ I don’t think Edmonton is done in goal. That storyline sticks around for a while. Mike Smith will be there, but what happens around him?”
Sabres to Strip Eichel of Captaincy?
Friedman also offered an update as far as the Eichel situation goes and predicts, “Eichel comes to camp, but does not pass his physical and is not cleared to play. I also think there’s a very good chance Buffalo removes his captaincy. What I don’t know is if they’ve settled the medical path.” In other words, there’s no good news on the Eichel front and things could be worse before they get better.
Also, the Sabres have signed defenseman Rasmus Dahlin to an extension. It is a three-year deal worth $6 million per season. He will remain an RFA when this extension comes to a close.
Issue With Brady Tkachuk Isn’t Actual Dollars
Friedman offered an update on Brady Tkachuk and noted:
“In Ottawa, they’ve talked long-term with Tkachuk and we’ll see if short-term is necessary to get it done. I’m not sure they are far apart in actual dollars, but structure, with the Senators not being a team that gives much in bonuses. I’m also wondering if another skirmish is over no-trade or no-move protection at the end of a long-term deal.”
There has been a ton of chatter surrounding Tkachuk and most of the news seems to suggest there’s no real timetable on an extension. The two sides could figure this out quickly, or they could be a ways apart and he could miss a good chunk of training camp.
Canucks Not Keen to Trade For Cap Room
The Canucks have two big names that still require contracts in Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes. The latest is that the team is leaning towards short-term bridge deals for both players. There was speculation that Canucks might try to move a contract or trade a player to make room for a more expensive long-term deal, but Friedman notes that’s not the case.
He explained, “There’s been pushback to rumours the team might move a player to open room, especially since Tyler Motte is injured. I can understand why the Canucks wouldn’t be crazy about that right now.” The Canucks don’t have the depth to take forwards off the roster.
Maple Leafs Players Warned Changes Could Come, Rielly and Nylander Updates
There is certainly pressure on the Maple Leafs’ roster this season as Friedman writes, ”A few Maple Leafs have said the organization’s made it clear there’s a sense of urgency, that unless there’s some post-season success there will be changes. Matthews said the playoff defeat weighed on him for a few weeks.” In other words, this roster could be significantly different next season than it is this season if things don’t improve.
As for who might go, Morgan Rielly is at the top of the list of players to watch, mainly because of his contract status. He spoke with the media this morning and said, “I think you all know how I feel about being a Leaf. But there’s a business aspect to it. Being a Toronto Maple Leaf is pretty special to me.” When asked about contract negotiations, he responded:
“You just deal with it as it comes. My approach [with the media] is I don’t want to discuss it publicly. I feel great, I’m ready for the season. I understand the question; I think about it too. But I’m just going to go about my business.”
Another name to watch is William Nylander. Friedman noted that representatives were unhappy with how he was portrayed in the upcoming Amazon All or Nothing documentary and fought to have certain parts of the film removed. Chris Johnston also noted that Nylander held his media availability in a mask on Wednesday because he’s not fully vaccinated yet. Says he’ll be fully vaccinated before the season.
Evander Kane Facing More Allegations
Kane is now facing a new set of allegations by ex-wife Anna Kane of sexual assault and multiple instances of domestic battery. After alleging he bet on NHL games, she is now saying there were “numerous other instances of Evander yelling and screaming at me or being physically aggressive toward me during our relationship.”
The allegations are disturbing and neither the NHL nor Kane’s attorney has responded to requests for comment at this time.
Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”