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NHL Notebook: The NHL could still return to Arizona, Ryan Johansen unlikely to play in the NHL again, and more

Arizona Coyotes Mullett Arena
Photo credit:Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
14 days ago
We’re just one day away from real hockey, as the 2024 National Hockey League playoffs start on Saturday.
However, there’s still a ton of news from around the league, as it appears that hockey may be back in Arizona in a few years, a player may not return to hockey, and the Toronto Maple Leafs may be without two key players.
Let’s dig in!

Hockey very well could return to Arizona

National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman and former Arizona Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo answered questions from the media.
One very notable quote from Bettman: “It became clear to me that Alex was never going to agree to this if he didn’t have an opportunity to re-activate the franchise. That’s where the concept of building a building in five years and we will reactivate the Coyotes.”
While Meruelo has sold the franchise, there is a clause that would allow the team to be reactivated once land is purchased and a building is built. In late June, Meruelo and his team will bid in an auction for land to build a new state-of-the-art stadium for the Arizona Coyotes 2.0 to play.
Bettman ended the presser by saying “We shall return”, and it seems like Arizona could very well be the next expansion team. Imagine if they put in this amount of effort to keep the Québec Nordiques in Québec City!

Flyers will make a trade if it makes sense

The Philadelphia Flyers were expected to rebuild in 2023-24, but they maintained a playoff position for most of the season before losing nine of their last 11 games.
On the final day of their season, they needed to win in regulation and needed the Detroit Red Wings and the Pittsburgh Penguins to lose in regulation, but their playoff hopes were dashed when the Red Wings tied the game with the Montréal Canadiens with just 3.3 seconds left.
In his end-of-season interview, Flyers’ general manager Daniel Brière (a former Coyote) noted that despite the overachieving season, they’ll stick to the timeline of their rebuild: “If there is a trade, a hockey trade that makes sense, then we are open for business.”
Can the John Tortorella-led Flyers capture the magic in the bottle once again during the 2024-25 season and push for a playoff spot? Something tells me that it’s unlikely that they’ll come close to doing what they did in 2023-24. However, if moves are made, especially for a starting goaltender, who knows?

Ryan Johansen “is unlikely to play in the NHL again”

Speaking of the Flyers and Brière, the general manager had this to say about Ryan Johansen, who the Flyers acquired at the trade deadline in exchange for Sean Walker.
“All I can tell you is I don’t expect him to be back. I don’t know, exactly, the situation. We’re dealing on the medical side with him. The thing for him is getting him back to be able to play at this time. He doesn’t think he can play hockey. I wish I had a better answer for you. We need to get him better to figure out if there’s even a remote chance of him dressing for the organization.”
This is pretty sad, as Johansen is just 31 years old. The Canadian right-shot centre was selected fourth overall during the 2010 draft and spent his first five seasons with the Columbus Blue Jackets, scoring 79 goals and 192 points in 309 games.
In the middle of the 2015-16 season, the Blue Jackets traded him to the Nashville Predators in exchange for Seth Jones. With the Tennessee team, he scored 110 goals and 362 points in 533 games. During the Predators’ Stanley Cup playoff run in 2017, Johansen scored three goals and 13 points in 14 games.
He was traded to the Colorado Avalanche before the start of the 2023-24 season, scoring 13 goals and 23 points, before a trade with the Flyers brought him to Philadelphia at the 2024 trade deadline. He was waived, but never appeared in a game for the Flyers organization.
If this is truly the end of his career, nothing but the best for Johansen.

Leafs could be without Nylander and McMann in Game 1

Here’s some playoff news! It was reported by TSN’s Mark Masters that Sheldon Keefe noted that William Nylander and Bobby McMann weren’t on the ice on Friday. However, he noted that both are possibilities to play in Game 1 against the Boston Bruins.
Nylander is a pretty important part of the Leafs, as he scored 40 goals and 98 points in 2023-24. McMann, on the other hand, had 15 goals and 24 points in 56 games with the Leafs, picking up 52 penalty minutes along the way.
Something tells me both of these guys will be in the lineup, especially Nylander, as he played a full 82-game schedule this past season.

Sean Monahan makes history

According to our very own Zach Laing, when Sean Monahan suited up for his 83rd game on Thursday, he became just the 38th player to do so. 
Interestingly, Tyson Barrie tied the record last season, playing 61 games with the Edmonton Oilers and 24 games with the Nashville Predators, for a total of 85. Once again, what a fantastic trade, and thank you for Mattias Ekholm, Nashville.
In fact, each of the three players with 85 games played were all Oilers at one point, as Bill Guerin played 211 games with the Oilers (traded in 2000-01) and Rem Murray played seven years with the Oilers, but this feat was done in 2002-03 with the New York Rangers and Predators.

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