NHL Rumors: No playoff games in Canada, Ducks may move Rakell at draft, and Jets tried to acquire Stars Jamie Oleksiak

There’s growing concerns that the NHL will look to move Canadian teams to cities South of the border to play their post season games. Initially it was reported by Pierre LeBrun that the consideration was to just move the division winner after two rounds to a nearby U.S. city to play their home games (i.e. Toronto playing in Buffalo).

No NHL playoff games in Canada?

Now the possibility of moving all four teams to a U.S. bubble is starting to gain some steam. With the pandemic raging in Canada coupled with an inability to get the vaccine and distributed effectively is raising the flag for the NHL.

NHL canadian division
Leafs to battle Canadiens in an all NHL Canadian Division (John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports)

On Sportsnet’s Saturday Headlines Elliotte Friedman noted the plan remains to have the North Division play post-season games in their own building, but it’s not a guarantee.

“We know what the situation is across the country — cases are rising, some places worse than others. From what I can tell right now, the plan is still to have the Canadian teams that make the playoffs play in their own cities,”he explained. “However, if there is a situation where we do need to consider a bubble, it is the likely scenario that the four teams that make the playoffs would go to a bubble in the United States.”

Border issues between the U.S. and Canada continue. If a drastic improvement is not seen the U.S. bubble scenario is probably what is going to happen.

Ducks offseason moves and Rickard Rakell

rickard rakell
Mar 8, 2021; Anaheim, California, USA; Anaheim Ducks center Rickard Rakell (67) celebrates his goal with the bench during the first period against the Los Angeles Kings at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Rickard Rakell was rumored to be on the move at the deadline earlier this season. Then the word got out that the Ducks ask was basically not something many teams were interested in doing. Elliotte Friedman in a 31 Thoughts Podcast noted that the price on Rakell was very high and teams may balk at it. Now the plan could be to move him at the draft. “When you’re looking at making moves right now; I’ve got to be careful how I say this, sometimes making deals for draft picks that aren’t first-rounders doesn’t make a lot of sense for us right now if we’re trying to do things,” GM Bob Murray said per The Athletic. “My goal has been to get players that are already drafted and have a little bit of experience already if possible.”

So what if Murray packages Rakell and a draft pick for the type pf players he’s looking for this summer? A contender who feels they are a top six winger away from getting over the hump may take the bait and make the deal. It certainly isn’t a bad strategy. Rakell can also be moved at the next trade deadline for a first round pick, so it isn’t a must make deal.

Winnipeg Jets took a swing at Dallas Stars Jamie Oleksiak

A little interesting tidbit at the end of Saturday Headlines last night. Elliotte Friedman mentioned Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff was frustrated after not being able to make a deal he was looking for. “I can’t say for sure he was the only target but I do believe one of the deals they tried to make was Jamie Oleksiak in Dallas,” he said. “Who I do believe the Stars are going to do everything they can to keep him long term.”

Oleksiak is a 28 year-old defenseman who will be a UFA this summer.