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Jim Parsons The Hockey Writers

Published on Thursday, June 25, 2020

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NHL Rumors: Blues, Flames, Sabres, Vancouver Out As Hub City?

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is an update from the St. Louis Blues Dispatch about the odds Alex Pietrangelo might stay in St. Louis. The Calgary Flames have hired a design team and more information is coming forward with respect to a new arena. The Buffalo Sabres may look to make changes that fit Ralph Krueger’s system, and did Vancouver’s odds of being a hub city just drop dramatically?

Blues 50-50 to Retain Pietrangelo

Tom Timmermann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that he still thinks the Blues retaining defenseman Alex Pietrangelo is a 50-50 bet at best. It’s all about salary questions next season and how many teams can afford Pietrangelo’s likely ask.

Alex Pietrangelo St. Louis Blues
Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Timmermann says:

“I’ve said all along it’s 50-50 because I have no idea what will happen, so I won’t be surprised either way. I think his odds of staying with the Blues have gone up slightly because with the cap staying flat, there probably isn’t a huge, big money, long term contract waiting for him. So if he signs a shorter deal, the Blues have a better shot at keeping him. But it only takes one team with a lot of space that really wants him to end that. It will be harder for the Blues to match that. And with everything going on, that may slightly enhancePietrangelo’s desire to stay put. But who knows?”

source – ‘Tom Timmermann: Read his complete Q-&-A from this week’s Blues chat’ – Tom Timmermann – St. Louis Blues Dispatch – 06/25/2020

The one thing the Blues will have to think about if they re-sign Pietrangelo is what happens to Justin Faulk. He could become an expansion draft candidate and there may not be enough room for both players. And, if the Blues plan to find a way to keep both players, they’ll be forced to clear up salary by trading two players that are well paid.

Related: St. Louis Blues’ Mount Rushmore

Vancouver Out as Hub City Candidate?

According to Pierre LeBrun of TSN, “The NHL has shifted its focus to more detailed conversations with the bids of Edmonton and Toronto after hitting a setback with Vancouver as a hub city.”

The bid with Vancouver hit a health snag and provisional health authorities expressed concerns over an outbreak. Sources have confirmed that the NHL has moved on to more detailed conversations with the Edmonton and Toronto. Vancouver isn’t totally out. Lebrun adds, “LA and Chicago remain on standby if it turns out the NHL can’t put a Hub city in Canada to go along with Vegas.”

Flames New Arena in the Works

The Calgary Flames announced more details about the construction of a new facility. Still more than a year away from construction getting underway, a proposed completion date has been set for May 2024. HOK Network, a global design firm, has been hired to lead the project. They were the same group hired to help with the new arenas for Detroit and Edmonton.

Eric Francis writes:

Great news that the Flames have hired a design team that was involved in building Little Caesar’s Arena in Detroit, where they put a premium on stacking seats at a high pitch, keeping fans close to the action.

Fans were quick to brag about how nice it is to watch a game in Detroit now so it appears Calgary is getting some props for going this direction.

Related: 7 Cool Things About Johnny Gaudreau

Sabres to Shop Montour, Miller, and/or Skinner?

Mike Harrington of The Buffalo News writes that he wouldn’t be shocked to see the Buffalo Sabres and new GM Kevyn Adam move — or at least try to shop — defensemen Brandon Montour and Colin Miller. Neither seemed to fit into coach Ralph Krueger’s system and Krueger and Adams are close, the Pegula’s bragging about how they are on the same page about almost everything.

Jeff Skinner Buffalo Sabres
Jeff Skinner, Buffalo Sabres (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Harrington also noted Krueger really likes Rasmus Ristolainen, suggesting the trade rumors that continue to surround the d-man could quiet down.

And, what about Jeff Skinner? Harrington writes:

In addition, Krueger simply wouldn’t play Jeff Skinner with Jack Eichel, and there’s no way Botterill could have been fine with that, especially as Skinner’s eight-year, $72 million contract with a full no-trade clause looked worse and worse by the day.

source – ‘Sabres’ shakeup means Ralph Krueger is moving up in power structure’ – Mike Harrington – Buffalo News – 06/20/2020

It’s hard to know what that means for Skinner who has a full no-move clause and a $9 million per season contract that runs until the end of the 2026-27 season. Will they find a new role for him? Try to get him to waive his NMC? That’s a lot of money not to get the most out of what he can offer.

Lightning Reopen Facilities

The Tampa Bay Lightning have reopened their practice facilities, according to team reporter Bryan Burns. They had closed everything down on Friday following three players and two staff members testing positive for COVID-19. 

As per the new rules of the NHL’s return-to-play protocol, players can now skate in groups of 12. The next step will be training camps opening on July 10th.

Catch up on all the latest NHL Rumors

The post NHL Rumors: Blues, Flames, Sabres, Vancouver Out As Hub City? appeared first on The Hockey Writers.


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