NHL Rumours: Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, Carolina Hurricanes

NHL Rumours
TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 17: Ilya Mikheyev #65 of the Toronto Maple Leafs waits for a faceoff against the Buffalo Sabres during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on December 17, 2019 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Maple Leafs defeated the Sabres 5-3.(Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Thursday is here as we welcome you back to another edition of NHL Rumours. Every day, our site provides a recap and detailed analysis of trade and signing rumours from around the league. January 1st is just around the corner as teams begin to look at solidifying their roster for a playoff run and re-sign existing pieces. Keep reading on to find out what’s surrounding the Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, and Carolina Hurricanes today.

NHL Rumours

Toronto Maple Leafs

Rumour: Per TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, Toronto rookie Ilya Mikheyev may not sign an extension with the Leafs mid-season and file for arbitration during the summer.

Analysis: We begin with a fresh face in NHL Rumours. Mikheyev has seen his stock rise fast in North America after a great start in Toronto. He’s seen solid offensive production with 19 points in 35 games, penalty killing time, good possession numbers, and more takeaways than giveaways. At 25 years old, he was anything but a sure thing coming over from Russia.

However, at 25 years old, he is beginning to enter the prime of his career already. While skilled, Mikheyev is a great-to-have but not crucial to the core of this team. General manager Kyle Dubas has to be careful with term on an extension here. That’s negated if Mikheyev goes to arbitration, as the contract can only be one or two years long.

Honestly, arbitration sounds scary but it may be the best option for Toronto. Arbitrators are generally not willing to dole out large sums of cash to a player with one NHL season under their belt, and Mikheyev’s short track record may help the Maple Leafs out in a cash-strapped situation, allowing them to retain the services of ‘Souperman’ for another season.

Vancouver Canucks

Rumour: Elliotte Friedman states, via Sportsnet 650, that Vancouver Canucks coach Travis Green‘s job is certainly stable, shutting down rumours that he may be on the hot seat.

Analysis: Many didn’t know what to expect from the Canucks this season. As they begin to exit their rebuild, many could see them making a surprise run or completely flopping.

So Friedman brings up an interesting point — why fire your coach for doing exactly what he’s supposed to?

Vancouver wasn’t supposed to turn heads this year, and they’re not. While they’re not soundly in a playoff spot, either, they’ve made strides this year and sit only four points out of a playoff spot. There have been good runs and significant improvements from last season, which is all one could expect from Green. Vancouver isn’t built to contend right now, but their young stars are making progress under Green and few have stated that the Canucks are underachieving. Green has helped progress this roster along, and certainly shouldn’t be in a position to lose his job before his contract has expired at the moment.

Carolina Hurricanes

Rumour: LeBrun is back with another tidbit, stating that former Hurricanes captain Justin Williams has been skating over the past month, and Carolina may opt to sign him in the next month if he decides to return.

Analysis: Carolina’s gotten off to a great start again this year, looking to put themselves right back into the conversation to advance to at least the Eastern Conference Final. Williams was the captain of that squad last year and showed he could still produce with 53 points in 82 games. Even with some regression, Williams could produce for the team at a pace of 0.50 points per game. That’s a great pickup, especially considering Carolina gives up nothing but money.

Williams’ leadership skills were evident last year in guiding the Hurricanes on a long playoff run, and his relationship with coach Rod Brind’Amour helped make the Hurricanes even better. A comeback from Williams would only boost the morale of this team. This forces them right into the middle of the Cup contention conversation. Williams has the chance to help bring another trophy back to the heart of Raleigh. Signing a contract and suiting up again would certainly bring them right along.

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