We knew coming into this season that trades would be hard to execute with the different quarantine rules around the continent. Teams would either hold off on making moves since players they acquire could potentially have to sit in quarantine for 14 days or they would have to get creative when bringing in a new player.
We saw a good example of that this week when the Colorado Avalanche sent defenseman Ian Cole to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for Greg Pateryn. Since both teams were in California, the two sides found a way to skirt around quarantine rules by sending Ian Cole on a team bus from LA to Anaheim and then getting Greg Pateryn on that same bus and driving him back to LA.
There was also talk that if the Oilers were going to claim Aaron Dell off waivers, they could have had him just stay in Toronto for a few days and wait for the Oilers to show up in Toronto and he could have played for them immediately.
I also think quarantine rules are why a player like Julius Honka was able to slip through waivers. Both the Vancouver Canucks and Winnipeg Jets would have likely been very interested in him in normal times, but the 14-day quarantine may have scared them off. This year, timing your transactions is going to be important.
Here are some other stories from around the league.
WILL THE NHL CONSIDER RAPID TESTING?
There have now been two teams that have had multiple players test positive during the season. The Dallas Stars have yet to even start their season and now the Carolina Hurricanes have had a pair of games postponed. Most people rightfully expected there to be COVID issues throughout the season, but the fact that two teams have already had their schedules disrupted due to positive tests led some people to question whether or not the NHL needs to change its testing protocols.
That’s not going to happen according to the TSN’s Frank Seravalli.
ICYMI from last night. ⬇️ To this point, #NHL not contemplating a change in testing protocol. League and NHLPA believe rapid testing is fraught with accuracy issues, including false positives and false negatives. Meanwhile, NBA considering upwards of 3x tests per day. https://t.co/E6cI1vDmUN
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) January 20, 2021
I don’t know enough about the numbers behind rapid testing and all that to give an opinion, but it will be interesting to see if more positive tests lead to more cancellations, will the NHL eventually change the way they test players? Hopefully, it doesn’t come to that.
It is worth noting that today the Carolina Hurricanes have added rapid testing machines to their arena and plan to use them.
The Canes now have rapid testing machines installed in PNC Arena for the short term and aren’t sure what the long term plan is with that, the league hasn’t said they want to implement it leaguewide yet.
— Sara Civ (@SaraCivian) January 21, 2021
NUGE EXTENSION TALK
In his yearly ‘Bold Predictions’ article, TSN’s Frank Seravalli predicted that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will become the number one target on the TSN Top Free Agent List in 2021. Seravalli said there’s no question that both sides would like to make a deal, but the numbers just need to make sense.
Seravalli added that the Oilers seem set on not giving Nugent-Hopkins more than $7 million a year. He added in a radio interview with Lowetide on TSN 1260 that he thinks the initial ask from the Oilers side may have been a lot lower than that.
Elliotte Friedman added in this week’s 31 Thoughts that he’s been hearing since the off-season that the two sides are close on an extension and added, “that’s gone on quite a while now”.
Personally, I can’t see a scenario where they don’t make a deal work. The fact we’ve been hearing for a while that they’re close and talking is a good sign.
The Keith Yandle situation looked like it was going to get very ugly a week ago with talk the Panthers might healthy scratch the veteran defenseman and end his lengthy iron man streak. That didn’t happen as Yandle got into the lineup and even found the back of the net in the team’s season opener.
Does the end the saga? Not necessarily.
Elliotte Friedman says that the defenseman’s play will dictate how this situation goes. From reading and listening to the other insiders, it sounds like Florida will keep looking for a fit, which is tough considering Yandle has three years left with a cap hit of $6.35 million.
Friedman brought up the Boston Bruins as a potential fit since there’s been speculation that Yandle would likely waive his no-movement clause to go there but Friedman says that the Bruins tricky cap situation would likely prevent a move.
- I really liked that the NHL didn’t give a warning or anything to the Washington Capitals for their first COVID-19 offence. Hopefully fining them $100k, sends a message to the rest of the league that the protocols in place need to be taken seriously for this season to work. The Capitals had to put Alex Ovechkin, Ilya Samsonov, Dmitry Orlov, and Evgeni Kuznetsov on the COVID list yesterday.
- Friedman reported that Oilers GM Ken Holland reached out the Jimmy Howard about the possibility of him joining the Oilers but the veteran goaltender is happy staying home and will likely retire soon.
- Alex Barkov has had his name pop up in trade rumours recently and that is really surprising considering he’s their best player. Is there a legit chance that he gets moved? TSN’s Darren Dreger says it’s hard to tell. It sounds like other teams are calling the Panthers but they aren’t shopping the star forward.
- The Pierre-Luc Dubois saga is slowly starting to get uglier. His play has been a little up and down. Head Coach John Tortorella is taking away his minutes even though he claims that he never “benched” Dubois. It’s a fascinating story to keep an eye on.