NHL Rumours: Montreal Canadiens, Buffalo Sabres and More

NHL Rumours
MONTREAL, QC - FEBRUARY 06: Look on Montreal Canadiens center Max Domi (13) during the Anaheim Ducks versus the Montreal Canadiens game on February 06, 2020, at Bell Centre in Montreal, QC (Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Welcome back to another edition of NHL Rumours from Last Word On Hockey. We got good news as the Commissioner Gary Bettman has announced the leagues return to play plan. However, the league still has some bridges to cross before they are truly set to return. This news has also brought along some new NHL rumours. Today, we will focus on rumours from the Montreal Canadiens, Buffalo Sabres and how the NHL may try to restrict the use of certain players for some teams.

NHL Rumours

Montreal Canadiens

Rumour: In a tweet from Arpon Basu of The Athletic, he states that Marc Bergevin said if the doctors determine it would not be safe for Max Domi to play because he is a diabetic, then he won’t play. 

Analysis: This would be heartbreaking for both Domi and the Canadiens. Max is a heart and soul player who has had to live with being a diabetic since he was a kid. He has managed it well and has been an inspiration to so many kids out there proving that just because you’re a diabetic does not mean you have to give up on your dreams. Unfortunately for Domi, it might stop him from achieving his this season. Domi has yet to be a part of the Stanley Cup Playoffs during his career, so to be within reach and have it taken away would be a crushing blow.

Diabetics have a much higher risk of having complications due to the COVID-19 virus. Which is why players like Domi need to be extra cautious. Surely there are more players than Domi dealing with underlying health issues that have concerns. This is why the NHL and NHLPA need to make sure they provide a safe environment for all players and personnel. At the end of the day, safety has to be the priority. Hockey comes second. And if given the green light, you can bet your bottom dollar Max Domi will be ready to go.

Buffalo Sabres

Rumour: In a tweet from Lance Lysowski of the Buffalo News, he states that the Sabres defenceman Lawrence Pilut has signed with Traktor Chelyabinsk of the KHL. The deal does have an NHL out clause, however, it’s unclear if he can leave Traktor during the season. 

Analysis: Technically, Pilut is not able to sign a contract with another team until July 1. The Sabres will certainly be holding on to his rights and will look to get him under contract themselves. However, if Pilut cannot leave Traktor, it’s a big loss for the Sabres next season. Pilut was outstanding in the AHL last season. The 24-year-old left-shot defenceman put up six goals and 17 assists for 23 points in 37 games. He also appeared in 13 games for the Sabres, however, failed to register a point. Despite this, he is an important part of the Sabres future. Ben Kerr had Pilut ranked third on the Sabres top prospect list last summer and could help solidify the left side along with Rasmus Dahlin and Jake McCabe.

While Pilut may go to the KHL to start next season with the 2020-21 NHL season start date up in the air, our guess is Buffalo will be making sure they can get him back once the 2020-21 season kicks off.

NHL Potentially Restricting Use of Players Signed in 2020

Rumour: In the latest edition of 31 Thoughts, Elliott Friedman states that the NHL may restrict teams from signing any players for the remainder of the 2019-20 season. 

Analysis: This greatly affects some teams like the Minnesota Wild, Montreal Canadiens and New York Islanders. With the league looking at holding playoffs this summer, these teams are hoping to be able to use top prospects like Kirill Kaprizov, Alexander Romanov and Ilya Sorokin. As one of the general managers that Friedman spoke with states “if it is allowed every other year, what in our agreement prevents it this year?”

Touche. Clearly we’re in unprecedented times here, but an agreement is an agreement. It’s signed and documented. So why change the rules? Cale Makar joined the Colorado Avalanche for their post-season run last season, how is this any different? The Canadiens announced that they had come to an agreement with Romanov, however, did not put a date on the contract because of this reason. If the regular season continued, it would not make sense for the Canadiens to risk burning a year off Romanov’s entry-level contract to play the last few games. However, if he’s available for the play-in series, clearly the Canadiens would want to take advantage of using him, especially with the injury to Victor Mete.

Adding a player like Romanov or Kaprizov for the Minnesota Wild would be a huge addition to both clubs and could help their chances immensely. This would be the reason the opposing team would argue it. It’s not the team they ended the year with so why give them any extra help. Valid point. It will be a talking point over the next month, as Friedman says the June 1st entry-level deadline will be pushed back to July 1st to figure it all out.

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