Settle in for another helping of NHL Rumours! July 1st is approaching fast, and Last Word On Hockey is here to keep you up to date with the latest rumblings from around the league. Today we’re talking Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, Calgary Flames, and Detriot Red Wings rumours.
All NHL rumours are taken from the original source and subject to change.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Analysis: Originally, Gardiner was expected to be out. Enter the Patrick Marleau/Nikita Zaitsev narrative, and suddenly there’s some breathing room in Toronto’s tight cap space. Friedman says Gardiner is open to staying with the Leafs, but to make that happen there’s a lot of other moves to workout first.
Gardiner is a solid puck-moving blue-liner and averaged 21:13 minutes of ice time last season. If the Leafs can make the numbers work, he is an asset they would hope to hold on to. Some Leaf fans have been critical of Gardiner’s tendency to make mistakes at key times. However, when he was injured late in the regular season, it became clear the Leafs struggled without him and he brings a lot to their team.
Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators
Analysis: Karlsson just made his way out of Ottawa before the start of this season. After a brief stint with the San Jose Sharks, it looks like he is considering heading back to Canada. The primary motivation seems to be his homesick wife Melinda, who is an Ottawa native.
The Senators are in the midst of a much-needed retooling and taking on Karlsson again might not be on their radar. Montreal makes sense logistically since it is in close proximity to Canada’s capital. The addition of Karlsson to the Canadiens might be a tight fit, though.
The Habs already have two premium right-handed defencemen in Shea Weber and Jeff Petry, which raises the question of space for Karlsson. Will one of the three move to the left side? Surely Karlsson is weighing his options carefully and won’t be too quick to go running out of San Jose if the fit isn’t right.
Rumour: Bob McKenzie mentioned the Calgary Flames are looking to move a defenceman on his TSN Hockey Bobcast this week.
Analysis: The Flames are open to unloading Travis Hamonic or T.J. Brodie to make space for their crop of upcoming defencemen. Both Hamonic and Brodie are wrapping up their contracts this year. Clearing their contracts would free up cap space for promising defencemen like Rasmus Andersson or Oliver Kylington.
The move would also be beneficial as the Flames look to re-sign Matthew Tkachuk. Dependable defence could be a higher commodity than previously thought come July 1st. If the Flames are genuinely motivated, it should not be hard to make something happen.
Detroit Red Wings
Analysis: Earlier this year the rumour mill churned out reports of a possible reunion between fan favorite Datsyuk and the Red Wings. The reality is there’s a slim chance of any such thing happening.
He has spent three years playing for SKA Saint Petersburgh in the KHL. Datsyuk previously stated his desire to play for his hometown of Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg, where his wife and three children reside. As he approaches his 41st birthday, staying close to family in his homeland seems to be the path he would rather travel.
Main Photo: SAN JOSE, CA – DECEMBER 20: Erik Karlsson #65 of the San Jose Sharks in action against the Winnipeg Jets at SAP Center on December 20, 2018, in San Jose, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)