Including the NHL playoffs, Klim Kostin, the Carolina Hurricanes
Hello and welcome to a regular Sunday edition of the NHL Rumors with the playoffs and offseason just around the corner! Teams are busy preparing for the playoffs or what to do when the offseason begins. Keep checking back with Last Word on Hockey for the best news and analysis over time. Today’s NHL rumors are about the NHL playoffs, Klim Kostin and the Carolina Hurricanes.
Rumor: Sportsnet recently announced that the NHL is making plans in case cross-border travel is not possible for the 2020-2021 playoffs.
Analysis: This will continue to be a hot topic until the Canadian government clarifies future travel rules. Something will have to happen if Canadian vaccination rates do not improve before one team is forced to play against another from the United States. No one wants to see a bubble situation like last year, but it is still possible.
The smarter move could be the second scenario, the article describes. This would mean a hub in the United States that includes a Canadian team. However, this likely excludes Canadian amateurs who are not vaccinated from participating. They would have to cross the border, watch a game, and then stay in the United States until the Canadian government allows them to return. It might not bother the teams themselves who have played without fans this year, but it would diminish the overall experience.
The good thing is that even though the playoffs start soon, a Canadian team wouldn’t play against an American team until June. Of course, unless a bubble forms. This would give the country much more time to either vaccinate an appropriate number of players or determine a good alternative. It is clear that this is a very fluid situation with no obvious solution at the moment.
Rumor: Final word on hockey, Gabriel Foley recently spoke with sources close to Klim Kostin about the possibility of returning to Russia if he is sent to the American Hockey League.
Analysis: Kostin would have serious reasons to return to his home country if the St. Louis Blues did not see a future with him in his NHL roster. The team failed to call their 2017 first-round pick to the NHL team despite several forward injuries during the 2020-21 season.
It’s a bit odd considering Kostin has been pretty solid in the KHL this year. He scored seven goals and 18 points in 43 games during the regular season. Then he contributed five and nine in 24 playoff games as Avangard Omsk won the league’s Gagarin Cup. It would appear, based on this solid production, that Kostin does not need AHL to readjust to North America.
There should also be at least one open wing spot on the wing in 2021-2022 that Kostin could claim at training camp. Several players, including Mike Hoffman, will achieve free agency. It could mean Saint-Louis shuffles their roster enough to create an opening for Kostin. It would be unfortunate for the promising Russian to return home, but he would have many more opportunities if he did.
Rumor: Sportsnet’s Saturday headlines have information about Rod Brind’Amour’s future with the ‘Canes.
Analysis: Carolina would have no reason not to acknowledge Brind’Amour’s wish to see the rest of her staff receive new contracts. The staff collectively turned Carolina into a very dangerous team. This is a team that currently runs the Central Division and poses a serious threat to winning the Stanley Cup. It doesn’t make sense to separate this group at the moment.
However, the 31 thoughts from last week indicated that some ownership groups want to address coaching salaries this offseason. It could mean a stalemate between a coach deeply concerned about the people who help him succeed and a profit-conscious owner. It seems like a messy situation where the real losers are the Carolina fans.
It seems unlikely that Brind’Amour will not secure new contracts for its staff. But it’s getting late in the year for a new extension. Several teams would pay big bucks if the Ottawa native enters the coaching market. Both his hometown Senators and the Montreal Canadiens would love him to lead their team from 2021-22. Hurricane leaders need to be very careful. They could derail a budding power plant if they are unwilling to spend the money asked.
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