NHL Rumor Mill – March 23, 2020
Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask ponders retirement at the end of his current contract, plus a look at several potential compliance buyout candidates in today’s NHL rumor mill.
COULD RASK RETIRE AT THE END OF HIS CONTRACT?
THE SCORE: Brandon Maron reports Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask isn’t ruling out retirement at the end of his current contract. In an interview with the Boston Globe’s Matt Porter, Rask hinted at hanging up his pads when his contract expires in 2021. “I have one year left in the contract, so we’ll see if I even play,” Rask said. “We’ll see. Always a possibility.”
The 33-year-old netminder ruled out returning to play in his native Finland, citing family reasons. “Just be home. The wear and tear of the travel with two, almost three kids now, makes you think. I love to do it. But it’s tough.” Maron indicates Rask leads the league in goals-against average (2.12) and sits second with a .929 save percentage.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: While that report will likely cause the collective hearts of Bruins fans to skip a beat, Rask isn’t saying for certain that he’s packing it in after next season. It could just be some early posturing on his part to perhaps encourage Bruins management to open contract extension talks following the end of this season, whenever that might be.
Nevertheless, it’s an indication that Rask re-signing with Boston isn’t a sure thing. If he does retire, the Bruins will be scrambling to find a suitable replacement next year.
POSSIBLE COMPLIANCE BUYOUT CANDIDATES
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples recently examined which players could receive compliance buyouts if the NHL implements that policy to help cap-strapped club shed salary next season. He cited Sportsnet analyst Brian Burke floating that possibility in a recent interview with Bob Stauffer on Oilers Now: “I’ve heard discussion of compliance buyouts to help teams get to this new cap, to solve some of their problems. Which they gave in the last CBA, each team got two cap-compliance buyouts which were exempt from the cap. I’ve heard talk of that, said Burke.
Staples considers “Detroit’s Justin Abdelkader and Frans Nielson…Andrew Ladd of the New York Islanders, Milan Lucic of the Flames, Kyle Okposo of the Sabres, and Loui Eriksson of Vancouver” as the most obvious possibilities among NHL forwards.
Defensemen could include New Jersey’s P.K. Subban and St. Louis’ Justin Faulk, while Florida’s Sergei Bobrovsky, Nashville’s Pekka Rinne, the New York Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist and New Jersey’s Cory Schneider (provided his injury status would allow it) are his likely goalie candidates.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Interesting compilation from Staples. I agree with his assessment of those most likely to receive compliance (amnesty) buyouts.
For now, of course, there’s no certainty the NHL and NHL Players Association will implement that buyout scheme. Much will depend upon whether the league can finish this season and how much of their lost revenue they can recoup.
The two sides could also agree to an artificial cap that could be higher than the current $81.5 million. That would eliminate the need for such buyouts.