NHL Rumors Roundup: Avalanche, Rangers, Islanders, LTIR and Salary Cap

NHL Rumors Artturi Lehkonen
Dec 5, 2019; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Colorado Avalanche goaltender Pavel Francouz (39) makes a save against Montreal Canadiens left wing Artturi Lehkonen (62) as Colorado defenseman Ryan Graves (27) looks on during the second period at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Avalanche paid a premium price to the Montreal Canadiens at the NHL Trade Deadline to land pending RFA Artturi Lehkonen. GM Joe Sakic sent over a top prospect in Justin Barron and a second-round draft pick in 2024 to consummate the deal.

Unfortunately, they have yet to enjoy a single minute of their new acquisition thanks to a visa issue.

NHL Rumors: Colorado Avalanche

Lehkonen, 26, has 29 points (13 goals, 16 assists) in 58 games this season. He was selected in the second round of the 2013 draft by Montreal and has 74 career goals to go with 75 assists in five-plus seasons with the franchise.

He arrived in Colorado beaming with excitement telling the media: “I’m looking forward to getting another chance.”

However, his debut is still on hold as the team is trying to straighten out paperwork. Lehkonen can practice with the team but is unable to play in any games.

“We’re still in a holding pattern,” Avs head coach Jared Bednar said on Friday.

Colorado’s next game is Sunday against the Minnesota Wild.

Insights into the New York Rangers trade deadline

nhl rumors rangers
Mar 25, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers center Andrew Copp (18) celebrates his goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins with defenseman K’Andre Miller (79) and center Ryan Strome (16) and left wing Artemi Panarin (10) and defenseman Jacob Trouba (8) during the third period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

While many contenders were chasing the biggest fish in the pond and using as much bait as possible to get them, Chris Drury remained focused on addressing his team’s need for a little more scoring and depth.

The Rangers acquired Andrew Copp, Tyler Motte, and Justin Braun at the deadline after previously trading for Frank Vatrano days before. However, it’s come to light that Drury went after Rickard Rakell, Calle Jarnkrok, and Mark Giordano before being outbid or looking elsewhere.

You can now add two more names they went after on defense before deciding on Braun.

Rangers GM Chris Drury, we’re told, was in on Nick Leddy before the Red Wings sent the one-time Islanders defenseman to the Blues in a five-asset deal.

And Lamoriello, honoring the pledge he made at Zdeno Chara’s free-agent signing in September that he would not trade the 45-year-old defenseman, ended talks with the Blueshirts before they could even begin. 

NY Post

New York Islanders offseason

Aside from honoring Zdeno Chara’s request to stay, the Islanders extended forwards Cal Clutterbuck and Zach Parise on deadline day.

There is also a lot of talk about what the Islanders may do this summer in tweaking the lineup.

“Lou Lamoriello coming out saying ‘we’ve got to make hockey trades’ that means he’s going to be doing something,” Elliotte Friedman said on his latest podcast. “That’s a sign that they are open for business.”

One name that the Isles had interest in last summer was Jakob Chychrun of the Arizona Coyotes. If it’s a hockey trade they are looking for that is one they will likely revisit.

GM Meetings on LTIR and Salary Cap

The NHL will be holding meetings next with general managers and one of the topics that will be discussed is the LTIR loophole. Since there is no salary cap in the playoffs, this has allowed teams like the Tampa Bay Lightning to spend over the cap while Nikita Kucherov was placed on LTIR.

Once the playoffs started, Kucherov was able to return and added to the lineup that would’ve been well over the cap during the regular season.

“There were a lot of teams sour at the Nikita Kucherov situation last season and specifically when he openly mocked it by wearing a 18 Million Over the Cap tee-shirt,” Jeff Marek said on HNIC.

According to multiple reports, there’s a suggestion for a playoff cap where the 20 players dressed could not exceed a specified limit, most likely that year’s cap ceiling.

In addition to the LTIR issue, there’s been multiple reports that the salary cap will indeed go from $81.5 million to $82.5 million as previously projected. There were concerns that it could remain flat due to all the postponements this season.