The season is heating up, and there’s plenty to talk about across the league! We’re rounding up the hottest NHL Rumours for your convenience every day of the week. Tuesday’s edition brings the focus to the Toronto Maple Leafs, New Jersey Devils and Edmonton Oilers.
Toronto Maple Leafs
The Maple Leafs have been exploring the goalie market recently, as we reported. Among their search, told they reached out to Scott Darling, who opted to go to Austria. For now, barring a change, appears Kasimir Kaskisuo will get the call up.
— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) November 11, 2019
Rumour: David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period tweeted that the Leafs are searching for a new netminder. He mentions the team reached out to Scott Darling. As it stands, Kasimir Kaskisuo will get called up.
Analysis: Toronto fans were more than happy to hear the news that the Leafs waived Michael Hutchinson. After a less than stellar performance from Hutchinson, the club is sending up flares for a new backup goalie.
Five starts gave Hutchinson five losses, ending his streak with a .879 save percentage. The Leafs need a netminder they can depend on for the second game of a back-to-back. And whoever they ultimately use to fill that role needs the Leafs defence to be just as dependable.
Kaskisuo has been with the Toronto Marlies since 2016. That being said, his first full season was just last year. After eight games in the AHL, he’s carrying a .928 save percentage. When you look at a bigger pool, the picture changes a bit.
In 30 games with the Marlies last year, Kaskisuo came away with a .896 save percentage. Before that, he posted a .914 save percentage with the Chicago Wolves. His inconsistency is not the answer to the Leafs lack of backup goaltending. With no projected cap space and an immature prospect pool, the team should cross their fingers and hope for the best.
New Jersey Devils
Analysis: Hall has been a lightning rod for NHL Rumours for quite some time now. After an injury-ridden 2018-19 season, he dressed for just 33 games and collected 37 points. This year the Devils star has 15 points in 16 games. His team, however, is sitting at the bottom of the Metropolitan division with a meagre 14 points.
Hall made it clear he wants to play for a contending team. New Jersey, despite their best efforts, might not be the breakout team he was hoping they’d be. They secured P.K. Subban. They landed Jack Hughes. They have Nico Hischier. And everyone is still asking “what’s wrong in Jersey?”.
Lucky for the Devils, moving on from Hall wouldn’t sink the ship the way you would expect. Again, this is a team that has Subban, Hughes, and Hischier. Goaltender MacKenzie Blackwood is starting to find his rhythm between the pipes. Not to mention the return Taylor Hall would fetch.
It’s clear that Hall is unlikely to sign a contract during the season. The big question now is: will he resign with the Devils at all? He’s in no rush and seems to be focusing on staying healthy. New Jersey doesn’t seem to be pushing to get anything done, so perhaps they realized that losing Hall won’t be the end of their franchise.
#Oilers RFA Jesse Puljujarvi tells @shoffren that the plan is to remain in Finland for the entire season: "The one hundred percent focus is on playing in Oulu until the end of the season and being able to play a great season there."https://t.co/7irNUImEs9
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) November 11, 2019
Rumour: Frank Seravalli tweeted that Jesse Puljujarvi will remain in Finland for the entirety of the year. His entire focus is on his season with Oulu.
Analysis: Puljujarvi is the never-ending rumour pot of the year. The end could be near, finally, as he recently confirmed to the Finnish media that he intends to spend the whole season playing in the countries top men’s league. If that does prove to be the case, it’s probably the best decision he could have made.
The threats of going to play abroad seemed like a scare tactic by Puljujarvi. In reality, it always sounded like the most likely result. Edmonton was rumoured to have a hefty, possibly unrealistic, price tag attached to the winger. After a major surgery led to a minor comeback last season, Puljujarvi simply wasn’t commanding what the Oilers were asking.
The harsh reality for Puljujarvi is that he needs to gain his confidence back. The only way he can achieve that is by not playing at the NHL level for a season. The club does still own his rights so they could trade him, but the possibility of that happening is much less now for this season.
Puljujarvi needs to be in Finland. The Oilers needed him to be in Finland. Maybe he spends the season with Oulu, gets his groove back, and returns to the NHL and Edmonton a completely renewed player. Stranger things have happened.
Embed from Getty Images