NHL Rumours: Joe Thornton, Arizona Coyotes, New York Rangers

NHL Rumours
SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 03: Joe Thornton #19 of the San Jose Sharks skates on the ice during their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at SAP Center on March 03, 2020 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Hockey that counts is finally back on the ice. However, we still have plenty of NHL rumours for you. The current COVID-19 pandemic will still have far-reaching effects even after the season is completed. Players and general managers both face tough decisions going forward. Today’s NHL rumours talk about Joe Thornton, the Arizona Coyotes and New York Rangers.

All NHL rumours are taken from the original source and subject to change.

NHL Rumours

Joe Thornton

Rumour: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman revealed that the San Jose Sharks forward may play in Switzerland. This was revealed during the Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada.

Analysis: Thornton normally spends his summers in Switzerland and trains there to prepare for upcoming seasons. He has played with HC Davos in the past during the NHL’s work stoppages. Friedman added that Thornton would have an out clause built into his contract once the NHL season resumes.

The current coronavirus situation has thrown the start of the 2020-21 season into uncertainty. Plans say the league will try to start in December, but things are still up in the air. Veterans like Thornton may consider playing in Europe to stay sharp until they get a definite start date. The veteran only scored seven goals and 31 points in 70 games this season. Thornton will likely want to do all he can to give it one last go before he retires.

Teams like the Detroit Red Wings may also send young players over to Europe to get some experience while the health crisis puts North American leagues in limbo. Joe Veleno and Filip Zadina may be given a soccer-style loan to the Czech Republic. The AHL doesn’t plan to start until December and there’s no date for the major junior leagues of the CHL. This move would give both young forwards some playing time. The quality of play in European leagues could be getting a boost.

Arizona Coyotes

Rumour: Friedman also added that the dispute between the Coyotes and former general manager John Chayka is in Commissioner Gary Bettman’s hands. He’s looking to find a time to hear the case.

Analysis: Last Sunday’s NHL rumours warned of a messy divorce and it happened. Chayka “quit” the organization and the club was disappointed by the decision. The former GM told Coyotes insider Craig Morgan that he left due to a “situation created by ownership.”

Friedman added that team owner Alex Meruelo asked Bettman to rule on the matter. The issue seemingly stems from if the Coyotes allowed Chayka to pursue another opportunity. The Sportsnet reporter added that another NHL team asked for permission to speak to Chayka. Arizona permitted the interview after initially balking.

“The Coyotes were stunned and enormously disappointed,” Friedman wrote in July. “However — and this will be another key part of the dispute — they made it very clear the titles “general manager” and/or “president of hockey operations” could not be involved, to prove that Chayka was not making a lateral move. They are prepared to argue that is written into Chayka’s contract.”

New York Rangers

Rumour: Larry Brooks of the New York Post recently said that the Rangers may not be able to bring back Jesper Fast due to salary cap issues.

Analysis: Fast has flourished with centre Ryan Strome and winger Artemi Panarin on the second line. He was voted the club’s Players’ Player for the fifth straight year. The Swede did well on both ends of the ice but does better in the middle-six spot in the lineup.

New York also has to worry about re-signing Strome and Filip Chytil, who are both restricted free agents. The Rangers also have to make a decision on Anthony DeAngelo and if he’ll be back. Fast makes $1.85 million per season and is deserving of a raise. General manager Jeff Gorton has done well to make the numbers work, but he may not be able to keep a key part of his young core together.

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