NHL Rumors Roundup: Olympic pitfalls, Blackhawks, Stars, Canadiens, and who scouted Evander Kane

NHL olympics
Feb 24, 2018; Gangneung, South Korea; Canada and Czech Republic players shake hands after the men's ice hockey bronze medal match during the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games at Gangneung Hockey Centre. Mandatory Credit: David E. Klutho-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL’s participation in the Olympics is going to be a hot button topic from here until January 10. That’s the soft-deadline for the league and the NHLPA to opt-out of participating.

At the Board of Governors meetings, commissioner Gary Bettman addressed the Olympics.

“We (NHL) made a promise to the players to participate in the Olympics,” Bettman explains. “If the players want to go, subject to if our own season is in trouble because of COVID, not to go would be a joint decision with the Players’ Association. The players for the most part seem to be saying they want to go.”

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NHL Rumors: Olympic Pitfalls

According to multiple reports the players, who are the ones that pushed for participation, were awaiting the protocols to make a decision. What’s come out is likely to make several of them reconsider.

Last night on Sportsnet’s 32 Thoughts segment the Olympic protocols were revealed:

  • Positive tests mean you can’t leave China until cleared by authorities and 3-5 weeks quarantine period
  • Symptomatic cases must be free of symptoms and pass two COVID tests 24 hours apart
  • Asymptomatic cases must pass two COVID tests 24 hours apart

They are also awaiting the athlete’s handbook on Tuesday, which could mean being stuck in hotel rooms for the duration of the tournament.

Finally, NHL teams don’t have to pay players who miss time with COVID contracted at the Olympics. Per Elliotte Friedman, the IIHF has a $5,000,000 fund for that situation but could run out of money depending on the number of cases and missed time.

Remember, Vegas Golden Knights goalie Robin Lehner already opted out and he wasn’t even fully aware of these strict protocols. Expect more to follow.

Blackhawks Rumors

blackhawks rumors
Dec 4, 2021; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers goalie Alexander Georgiev (40) looks for the puck after a shot on goal attempt by Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) in the first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL rumor mill has already placed Blackhawks players’ Dylan Strome and Marc-Andre Fleury as trade bait candidates. Recently, David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period added another name to the mix.

“In addition to Strome, there is a defenseman on this club who’s in the final year of his contract in Calvin de Haan,” Pagnotta said. “For teams looking to shore up their blueline and bring in somebody that can stabilize that backend, Calvin de Haan is going to be a player that a lot of teams are going to be looking at closer to that deadline.”

The 30 year-old rearguard makes $4.45M against the cap and will be a UFA at season’s end. He has no points in 23 games and a -10 rating, so I’m not sure how big the market will be for him.

Speculation wise, both Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are being bandied about if there’s a decision by the new management team (yet to be hired) to rebuild.

Kane in particular, has been a hot topic of conversation ever since NY Post beat writer discussed the possibility of a Rangers trade to reunite him with Artemi Panarin.

Stars Rumors

The Dallas Stars have three goalies with Braden Holtby’s contract being the most attractive one to move. However, the 32 year-old netminder has been great this season with a 5-6-1 record, .923 SV%, and a 2.39 GAA.

Apparently, the Stars are looking to move 2020 playoff hero Anton Khudobin instead. That will keep Holtby with the young, Jake Oettinger.

“They have started to test the market and see what they can get for Anton Khudobin,” Jeff Marek reported on Sportsnet. “They spoke to one team last week and that was the Buffalo Sabres.”

Khudobin, 35, is 3-3-1 this year with a 3.73 GAA and a paltry .873 SV%. He has one year remaining at $3.33M.

Canadiens Rumors

Jeff Gorton has now taken control of the Montreal Canadiens as VP of Hockey Operations. Owner, Geoff Molson holds the title of President but it’s clear Gorton is now leading the way.

As he searches for a new GM, he and ownership are not opposed to a rebuild. Brendan Gallagher already went on record that he isn’t crazy about the idea, and other veterans are likely to follow suit.

Tyler Toffoli is a name that fits the bill and will be a valuable trade chip for Gorton to rebuild (or retool) the Habs. Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek noted Toffoli, Gallagher, Mike Hoffman, and Ben Chariot as all top candidates to be traded by Montreal.

Who scouted Evander Kane?

evander kane rumors
May 7, 2021; San Jose, California, USA; San Jose Sharks left wing Evander Kane (9) skates during the third period against the Arizona Coyotes at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Evander Kane finally made his AHL debut and several NHL hockey clubs were there to scout him. Per multiple reports the following teams were in attendance:

  • Boston Bruins
  • Dallas Stars
  • Detroit Red Wings
  • Nashville Predators
  • Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Toronto Maple Leafs

Kane, 30, is in the fourth year of a seven-year, $49 million contract he signed with the Sharks in May 2018. Last season, he led the Sharks in goals (22) and assists (27) while appearing in all 56 games.