In this week's NHL rumors, there's buzz around an Auston Matthews offer sheet, Sergei Bobrovsky upset in Columbus and Wayne Simmonds a trade target.
It's been a busy week for rumors and innuendo in the NHL and as the trade deadline approaches for February 25, 2019. Most of the chatter surrounds one of the hottest goalies in hockey, a power forward with a lot to offer a number of teams and the sheer number of restricted free agents targeted for offer sheets.
Bobrovsky Sent Home, Leaving Columbus?
In a bit of a shocking development on Thursday, the Columbus Blue Jackets issued a press release indicating that Sergei Bobrovsky was being sent home and wouldn't be available to the team for their game against the Nashville Predators. The reason? An “incident” that took place after their loss on Wednesday to the Tampa Bay Lighting.
The team didn't comment more than what we told to the media in the initial release but the next day the team had a meeting, things were 'resolved' and everyone suggested they were moving forward. Still, the speculation is that Bobrovsky is frustrated with the team and this was one of the final straws, potentially leading to his exit rrom the team at the end of the season.
When asked if he would stick it out this season, Bobrovsky said, “I am here and I will play here. I will do my best as I have done for this team, for this organization, for these fans, for this city. I’ve been working hard and will continue to do that.”
Update on Status of Wayne Simmonds
Darren Dreger of TSN reports that the Philadelphia Flyers haven’t officially decided on the future of pending unrestricted free agent forward Wayne Simmonds but should they decide to move him, there are plenty of interested teams, including the Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets and Calgary Flames..
Dreger’s TSN fellow panelist, Bob McKenzie said on NBCSN that it’s “more likely than not” that Simmonds is dealt, and said, “The expectation is if he goes to market he’s going to get at least five years, maybe more, and perhaps $6 million a year or more." He believes it will be difficult for the Flyers to meet the price he'll get as a free agent. So too, there are so many teams calling about Simmonds, the Flyers will eventually get a deal that they can't turn down.
Is An Offer Sheet Waiting For Auston Matthews?
At this point, this one is rumor and only a rumor, but hockey insider, Bob McKenzie said on NBCSports, “If it was a report, if there was any evidence to back this up, I would say it. But he’s an Arizona boy. So there’s all sorts of speculation that the Arizona Coyotes would come in on a one-year max deal, $16 million a year that would make it difficult for the Toronto Maple Leafs to match.”
While extremely rare, there is a feeling in the NHL these days that if an RFA offer sheet is going to be offered, it will be this summer. At the top of the list of targets is Matthews and in theory with a tight salary cap problem on their hands in the coming seasons, the Leafs might be ripe for the picking.
The Penguins No Longer Urgent to Make a Move
Reports out of Pittsburgh are that the franchise isn’t as eager to shake things up as they were a year ago. Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette cites that general manager Jim Rutherford said, “I don’t know where things will go on the trade front, but I don’t feel the same urgency as I felt last year to strengthen our center position, which was a big need last year.”
That potentially takes Derick Brassard off the trade block as he was rumored to be moved for much the first half of the season. That said, he’s in the final year of his contract and it’s not looking like he’ll stay with the Penguins beyond this season.