In today’s NHL rumors and news update, there is word about Dustin Byfuglien’s summer, why the Ottawa Senators traded for Vladislav Namestnikov, and the possibility of the Toronto Maple Leafs trading newcomer defenseman Cody Ceci.
Item One: Dustin Byfuglien Didn’t Work Out All Summer Long
One of the issues surrounding the Winnipeg Jets’ semi-retired (I’m still thinking about it) defenseman is the fact that, even if he wanted to return to the ice with the Jets, he might not be able to do so – quite yet. There have been rumors that Byfuglien didn’t engage in any offseason training.
In a tweet, Neal McHale noted that hockey insider Bob McKenzie had reported that the Jets defenseman “reportedly did not skate or train all summer.”
In his 31 Thoughts Sportsnet column on October 8, Elliotte Friedman noted (#18) that Ben Hankinson, who represents Byfuglien, warns people “not to jump to any conclusions” about the defenseman’s future. Friedman noted that he’s heard the Jets have been working to convince him to return, but Hankinson said it would take time before the team (and, of course, everyone else) knew one way or the other.
Friedman noted that the Jets were “clearly hoping” Byfuglien gets bitten by the hockey bug and would decide to return. The health of his ankle likely determines all of this.
Item Two: The Ottawa Senators Wanted to Trade for Vladislav Namestnikov Sooner
A rumor from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun suggested that the Senators thought the deal they made for Namestnikov would have happened sooner.
Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said clearly that trading for Namestnikov was part of the team’s rebuild plan. “We have a plan and we want to make sure we stick to the plan,” he said.
He added, “The reason we made this trade, and we personally thought it was going to happen before the season and the two losses haven’t affected anything we’ve done here, because our long-term vision is to make sure our younger players develop properly in Belleville.”
In addition, because Namestnikov is a pending UFA, he should be motivated for this season and will have plenty of ice time to prove his value to another team. From the New York Rangers’ perspective, general manager Jeff Gorton reported that moving Namestnikov’s salary-cap hit (the Rangers retained $750,000 of his $4 million cap hit) gives them the potential to make another move later on this season.
Item Three: Ottawa Senators Rebuild Is Going Well
Speaking of the Ottawa Senators, it’s reported that the team’s rebuild is on schedule. Garrioch, again, reported that there was some relief from the Senators’ organization that the team showed so well against the Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues. (from Rebuilding Senators believe they’re taking the right road to success,’ Ottawa Sun, 10/10/2019)
As Senators’ fans well know, the Senators went all in rebuilding their team. They traded key players such as stalwart defenseman Erik Karlsson to the San Jose Sharks, left-winger Mike Hoffman to the Florida Panthers, and right-winger Mark Stone to the Vegas Golden Knights. Trading away such key players is evidence there’s a long-term plan in place.
Currently, the Senators’ roster is made up of a great group of talented young prospects, but they are not yet ready to carry the team to a successful season. Players, such as Brady Tkachuk, Colin White, Thomas Chabot, and Erik Brannstrom, are a core a team could build around.
Item Four: Will the Maple Leafs Trade Cody Ceci?
There was a rumor that the Winnipeg Jets’ assistant general manager was seen scouting the Maple Leafs’ game. And, with Travis Dermott soon returning to the line-up, might the Maple Leafs might look to trade someone “like” Cody Ceci to manufacture some salary-cap space?
Given that the Jets need defense and their season has had a tough start, that rumor might make sense. However, Ceci is playing better than many believed he could and, as a result, the Maple Leafs might not be interested in trading him.
Although the jury is still out on Ceci’s play, Dermott still needs time to get healthy and the Maple Leafs think the team can make a run at the Stanley Cup. They might see Ceci as more important than the salary-cap space.
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