It’s another edition of our NHL rumours as we’re getting ready to start our first full week of 2020. Some general managers have that 2020 vision for the Stanley Cup Playoffs while other NHL rumours talk about teams planning for the future. Today’s NHL rumours focus on the Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets.
All NHL rumours are taken from the original source and are subject to change.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Rumour: Chris Johnston of Sportsnet said during the Hockey Night in Canada Headlines segment that said that Rasmus Sandin may have chance to return to the Leafs “sooner rather than later.” The young Swede was top-scoring defenceman for his country at the World Junior Championships.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) January 5, 2020
Sandin has already played six games and there’s concern about reaching the 10-game NHL threshold. He’ll be eligible for restricted free agency after the 2021-22 season if he plays more than nine games. However, he can slide an extra year and his nearly $900,000 cap hit to next season if he plays in nine or fewer games.
Analysis: The 19-year-old had a great tournament for Sweden despite the loss to Russia in the semifinals. He showed glimpses of the player Toronto drafted 29th overall in the 2018 NHL Draft. The Uppsala, Sweden native had two assists and played over 12 minutes a game in those six contests with the Leafs.
“I don’t believe the Leafs believe that’s a priority,” Johnston said regarding Sandin playing fewer than 10 NHL games and preserving a year of his entry-level contract.
There’s also added concern with Jake Muzzin being out weeks with a broken foot. Sandin has 12 points in 19 games with the AHL Toronto Marlies and has been solid at that level. General manager Kyle Dubas has been trying to patch the defence group together, but Sandin is a tempting option for him to bring up.
There’s always a bit of a dance when it comes to the salary cap and the Maple Leafs. Dubas may try to hold out, but a player with a high ceiling of Sandin may be too big of a temptation for him to resist.
Rumour: Elliotte Friedman in the same Headlines segment said that general manager Brad Treliving is not interested in short-term rentals to help the Flames playoff push. Sportsnet’s Eric Francis listed Evgenii Dadonov as a possible target.
“From what I understand, they’re not really that interested in rentals.”
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) January 5, 2020
Calgary has $4.8 million of space to use before the deadline according to Cap Friendly. Treliving said the team plans to use to use that space before this year’s trade deadline.
Potential targets may also come down to where Elias Lindholm slots into the lineup. Lindholm could stay at centre and the Flames would look for wingers. However, Lindholm could move to wing and open up other targets.
Analysis: The Flames are looking to add other depth scoring behind Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Lindholm, Players like the ones Francis listed would be reasonable options that wouldn’t cost too much.
Calgary sits one point behind the second wild card spot in the Western Conference and want to keep last season’s momentum going. The Flames have been inconsistent and survived the firing of Bill Peters. However, this team has plenty of potential and could cause headaches in the post-season.
Lindholm has been versatile and willing to play wherever he’s told. Maximizing his place in the lineup is critical for the Flames’ playoff hopes. A well-timed trade may give Lindholm a further boost this season.
Rumour: Ken Wiebe of The Athletic said that general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff wouldn’t be afraid to do another rental like he has the last two seasons. Winnipeg’s GM said that he’s not going to give up all his draft picks. However, he would make a move if the deal is right.
Even though the Kevin Hayes deal didn't work out the way the Paul Stastny move did a year earlier, the #NHLJets won't be scared to try again…"If the circumstances are right." – according to GM Kevin Cheveldayoff. That doesn't mean it's likely, but it remains an option
— Ken Wiebe (@WiebeAthletic) December 30, 2019
Analysis: Winnipeg has been willing to take risks the last couple of seasons. There’s always been concern with giving away this many picks when the Jets sturggle to retain players in free agency.
Cheveldayoff has been tinkering with the roster to try and make it work. Winnipeg has $22 million deadline cap space, but there’s the spectre of the Dustin Byfuglien suspension. The Jets are getting a savings of $7.6 million with the defenceman being suspended without pay.
Winnipeg has some tough decisions to make when it comes to their roster, but they may be a player that pushes their chips “all in” at the poker table.
TORONTO, ON – SEPTEMBER 25: Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Rasmus Sandin (38) skates with the puck during the NHL Preseason game between the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs on September 25, 2019, at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, ON, Canada. (Photo by Julian Avram/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)