NHL Notebook: Calgary Flames make Tyler Toffoli available for trade as exodus continues, Ontario Jr. B owner suspended two years for placing bounty on player, and more
Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
By Zach Laing2 months ago
The exodus of the Calgary Flames continues.
Early Thursday, Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reported that defenceman Noah Hanifin informed the team he wouldn’t be re-signing with the club when his contract is up after the 2023-24 season. Forwards Mikael Backlund and Elias Lindholm, also UFA’s after the coming campaign, are both leaning towards not wanting to re-up their contracts.
And then on Thursday afternoon, more news broke when Seravalli reported forward Tyler Toffoli had plans to not re-sign. Minutes later, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman added to the report saying that the Flames had made Toffoli available for a trade.
Changes are undoubtedly abound for the Calgary Flames, as all the four players would return good hauls in the trade market. If the Flames are willing to look at trades for all these players through the lens of rebuild-style trades where the returns are draft picks and/or prospects, the retention of salary for any of these players could help improve the return.
Ontario Jr. B owner banned
The owner of the GOJHL London Nationals has been banned for two years after placing a bounty on a player from another team.
News broke Thursday evening that Paul Duarte was set suspended effective immediately from all Hockey Canada-sanctioned activities. The move was announced by the Ontario Hockey Federation, who said it received “allegations of violations of the federation’s harassment, abuse, bullying and misconduct policy and its code of conduct last November,” the London Free Press reported.
A third party investigator was retained by the federation, who’s board of directors received a report ahead of a discipline hearing.
The London Free Press, citing sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to fears of reprisal, alleged that “a bounty allegedly offered for a London player to target a skater on the Komoka Kings in the fall of 2021.”
Duarte has owned the Nationals since April 2020.
NHL removes specialty jerseys from warmups in 2023-24
The NHL has disallowed teams from donning specialty jerseys in per-game warmups for the 2023-24 season.
This past season, multiple controversies arose when players chose not to wear Pride jerseys in warmups. Ivan Provorov, then playing with the Philadelphia Flyers, was the first to sit out as San Jose Sharks goaltender James Reimer was the next. Brothers Eric and Marc Staal did the same, despite the former having worn a similar jersey with the Montreal Canadiens previously. The Chicago Blackhawks, Minnesota Wild and New York Rangers all changed course on plans for their players to wear Pride jerseys.
Announced by commissioner Gary Bettman in an interview with Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, he said the jerseys had become a “distraction.”
“I’ve suggested that it would be appropriate for clubs to not change jerseys in warmups because it’s become a distraction and taking away from the fact that all of our clubs, in some form or another, host nights in honour of various groups or causes,” said Bettman, “and we’d rather they continue to get the appropriate attention that they deserve, and not be a distraction.”
Bettman added that when it comes to Pride jerseys, teams can still create them and auction them off for charity has they had done previously, but insisted the move insisted they weren’t dismissing LGBTQ+ fans.
“I agree that those are legitimate concerns, but in the final analysis, all of the efforts and emphasis on these various causes have been undermined by the distraction in terms of ‘which teams, which players’,” Bettman added. “This way, we’re keeping the focus on the game, and on these specialty nights, we’re going to be focused on the cause.”
The decision to blanket ban warmup jerseys also eliminates nights where teams wore jerseys on Hockey Fights Cancer nights, military appreciation nights, and St. Patrick’s Day, which saw a few teams don green jerseys.
For the Edmonton Oilers, it means they won’t be able to wear warmups jerseys for their Indigenous Celebration Night, as they have done in previous years.
Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at email@example.com.
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