Welcome to another edition of Full Press Hockey’s NHL Rumors! The 2022-23 NHL regular season games have started and players will be evaluated. Now, with free agency moves mostly made, the rumors are still there. Clubs are still working to improve their rosters for next season. Some teams struggle to create enough ceiling space to make moves. Others suffer serious injuries to star players. Trade/signing rumors are still prevalent. In Wednesday’s edition of NHL Rumors, we’ll take a look at the Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks and the NHL salary cap.
Toronto Maple Leafs – Michael Bunting
Rumor: Per – Pierre LeBrun – theathletic.com. Is an eight-year contract extension planned for Michael Bunting?
The Maple Leafs almost always seem to be in salary cap purgatory, and extending Bunting for eight years is one way to solve that dilemma. He is 27 years old and it would be a secure contract for him that would bring him to the end of his NHL career.
He’s definitely doing well on the Auston Matthews–Mitch Marner line where he had 23 goals and 40 assists in 79 games last season. Bunting then added a goal and two assists in six playoff games.
A more conservative three-to-five-year deal would equate to a higher AAV, which the Leafs really can’t afford. The team will want to see how Bunting progresses before making the important decision to offer him a long pact. As of this writing, he has already added one goal, one assist in four games for the 2022-23 season.
Vancouver Canucks – Bad start
Rumor: Per – Rob Williams – dailyhive.com. The “mentally weak” Canucks hold a players-only meeting after collapsing again.
Blowing three leads in their first three contests and losing the games is not an ideal approach to starting a new season.
The Canucks are the first team in NHL history to lose each of their first 3 games of a season while losing a multi-goal lead every game
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) October 18, 2022
The early drop was enough for players to hold a players-only meeting to resolve the issue.
“We have to hold each other accountable for what is happening right now,” Canucks captain Bo Horvat told reporters in Washington.
Describing his team’s efforts…or lack thereof, head coach Bruce Boudreau said: “We have to hold each other accountable for what is happening right now.” He also described his team as “mentally weak”.
Boudreau came on last season to help the Canucks make an unsuccessful run for the playoffs and can now wonder what’s wrong with his team. We all know that when a team is struggling, the first to blame is usually the head coach.
Don’t forget that he signed a one-year extension worth $2.5 million so he could be fired. At this point, it’s still early days and Boudreau has done a good job behind the bench. One area that needs improvement is the penalty kill where they have a horrible 50% success rate. That could change with Ilya Mikheyev, who was brought in to kill on penalties and is set to make his regular season debut with the Canucks.
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NHL Salary Cap – Salary Cap Increase
Rumor: Per – Lyle Richardson – bleacherreport.com. At least eight NHL teams will benefit the most from a projected salary cap increase.
The cap has been set at $81.5 million for the past two seasons, rising to $82.5 million for 2022-23 and expected to increase to $83.5 million for 2023-24. With the increase in potential revenue projections, the cap could reach between $87.5 and $88 million for 2024-2025. For 2025-26, it could jump another estimated $4 million to $92 million.
For salary-strapped teams, this is great news. Teams have gotten very creative on LTIR and with the raises, NHL GMs might not have any extra gray hairs in cap management.
For the Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs and Vegas Golden Knights, some relief is in store.
And not too soon with all the huge contracts awarded to players lately.
That wraps up this edition of NHL Rumors. Be sure to read our next article and thanks for reading!
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