NHL Rumors: Wild Card changes being discussed, Avalanche need Erik Johnson to waive no move clause, and more

The NHL is looking at possible changes to the Wild Card system likely in 2022-23. As the league looks to return to normal, there is some chatter about how many wild card teams should make the playoffs or if a league wild card system would be better.

NHL to look at Wild Card system

According to Darren Dreger on the latest TSN Insider Trading, there’s been a lot of discussion on what the playoff format should look like. “The Wild Card system is a debatable issue,” he explained. “There are teams that think four wild card spots making the Stanley Cup Playoffs is too many. There are some that believe there should be more than two wild card spots in each conference.”

The logic behind the thinking is that they believe there should be more emphasis on winning the division. One potential thought is having a league wide wild card system that way the top team could play the 16th seed team in the first round.

Avalanche likely to ask Erik Johnson to waive his no move clause

erik johnson
Aug 12, 2020; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson (6) skates during the warmup period against the Arizona Coyotes in game one of the first round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Avalanche are a team that needs to figure out what they need to do in preparation for the Seattle Kraken expansion draft. Yesterday I wrote about using free agency as a tool to protect more players. One big name stands out here is UFA Gabriel Landeskog. However they also have Brandon Saad and Phillip Grubauer heading towards free agency.

Joe Sakic is likely to resign all three come post expansion draft. Let’s face it, signing Grubauer now means they need to protect him and risk losing Pavel Francouz. Not signing Landeskog and Saad also lets them protect Joonas Donskoi and Valeri Nichushkin.

Still the Avs need Erik Johnson to waive his no move clause in order to protect either Ryan Graves, Sam Girardi, or Devon Toews. Even if he does, Sakic may have to work out a side deal in order to not lose one of those defensemen.

A great read in The Athletic yesterday by Daniel Kaplan as he notes the league paid $18.49 million dollars in legal fees fighting concussion lawsuits.

Two years ago, the NHL paid $18.49 million to settle a concussion lawsuit brought by more than 100 former players.  Compared to a previous NFL concussion settlement of more than $1 billion, the consensus was the NHL won.

The NHL paid handsomely, however, for the legal counsel that led to the outcome. The league paid legal bills of $70.6 million between the time of the first case in 2013 through shortly before the settlement in November 2018, according to a series of letters from 2017 and 2018 presented in new court documents. That means for every dollar the league agreed to pay the injured players, it spent nearly $4 in legal fees (and possibly more), covering hundreds of individual lawyers who worked on the case.

The Athletic