NHL Rumours: Vancouver Canucks, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vegas Golden Knights

NHL Rumours
VANCOUVER, BC - NOVEMBER 16: Brock Boeser #6 of the Vancouver Canucks skates with the puck during NHL action against the Colorado Avalanche at Rogers Arena on November 16, 2019 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)

Since the play was paused and all roster transactions frozen, NHL rumours have been flying off the shelves. General managers and front offices have no clue how they will handle their offseason moves. With the salary cap expected to remain flat, teams find themselves in more of a bind than ever. Everyone is being scrutinized to a higher level than we have seen in recent years. Today’s NHL rumours include the Vancouver Canucks, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Vegas Golden Knights.

NHL Rumours:

Vancouver Canucks

Rumour: Rick Dhaliwal of TSN and the Athletic is reporting that the Vancouver Canucks are exploring the possibility of trading right wing Brock Boeser.

Analysis: The Canucks are a team that is very much on the rise. In a weaker than usual Pacific Division, Vancouver was able to secure the third playoff slot. A young star in the NHL, Brock Boeser has proven himself a capable scorer. He produced an impressive 45 points in 57 games with the Canucks in the shortened season. Over the course of his short career, he has managed to tally 161 points in 197 games for a career average of 0.82 points per game. At only 23 years old, Boeser is a key building block for a team coming out of a long and painful rebuild.

The largest concern surrounding Boeser is his injury history. In his rookie year, he was tormented by a foot injury in October which was reaggravated in mid-December. Boeser missed time with a hand injury in 2018 and was knocked out for the remainder of the year with a back injury that March. 2020 was no better for the talented young forward as he suffered an upper-body injury in February. Boeser has never played more than 69 games in a season.

The Cancuks are also up against the salary cap with pending free agents Tyler Toffoli and Jacob Markstrom. General manager Jim Benning does not want to face the criticism that he let these two players walk especially Toffoli without trying to re-sign them. So he will need to get creative. One way is to trade Boeser. But that will cost the team acquiring Boeser a hefty price. It does not seem like a smart move on Vancouver’s part. Boeser could be instrumental in helping this team become a playoff contender over a long period of time. In order to construct a dynasty, you need to acquire a core full of young talent. Boeser fits the bill. Although he is injury prone, he is far more valuable to Vancouver on the roster than suiting up for another franchise. 

Toronto Maple Leafs

Rumour: Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star writes that the Toronto Maple Leafs need to win now before they lose vital players to the salary cap.

Analysis: The Toronto Maple Leafs have one of the best teams on paper. They have three forwards who all hit the 60 point mark this season. William Nylander fell short of that mark by only one point. The team also has three defencemen who are capable of playing on the top pairing and a goalie who has carried his team to victory on several occasions. The window for this team to win is closing and with the salary cap staying where it is, it will be impossible to keep everyone.

With seven players at the end of their current contract this offseason, Toronto simply does not have the money to resign them. With over $40 million designated to four forwards, they have found themselves in a bind. It is highly unclear as to what the Maple Leafs will be able to do with the limited roster space available. Some free agents will likely not receive contracts in the off-season which include Tyson Barrie, Cody Ceci, and Kyle Clifford.

This team is ready to contend for a title. They have all the pieces necessary to go on a deep playoff run and lift the Stanley Cup. This is Toronto’s best chance in recent memory. For some odd reason, they have not been able to get the job done in the big moments. If they want to take advantage of a golden opportunity, they must strike now.

Vegas Golden Knights

Rumour: David Schoen of the Las Vegas Review-Journal writes that the Vegas Golden Knights may be in a better position to resign Robin Lehner than some other teams.

Analysis: Vastly underappreciated, Robin Lehner has bounced around the league for several years. He was unable to find a long term starting job. After a breakout year with the New York Islanders in 2018-19, Lehner went to the Chicago Blackhawks before he was traded to Vegas. He won all three games he started and posted one shutout. If Vegas wants to hold onto him, they are in a good situation to do so.

There has long been speculation that the salary cap would rise significantly following the conclusion of the 2019-20 season. That is not the case any longer following the break. Lehner could command in the range of $5-6 million per year. With roughly $11.625 million of the cap unallocated for next year, Vegas will likely have the space to re-sign Lehner. It is very possible they make him an offer. The team does not have any major signings they need to make this year. 

That does it for this edition NHL Rumours stay tuned for another edition within the coming days.

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