NHL Rumors: Toronto Maple Leafs, Arizona Coyotes, Vegas Golden Knights

TORONTO, ON – MAY 06: Montreal Canadiens Goalie Jake Allen (34) makes a save against Toronto Maple Leafs Left Wing Ilya Mikheyev (65) during the regular season NHL game between the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs on May 6, 2021 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, ON. (Photo by Gerry Angus/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

In CSM’s NHL Rumors: the Ilya Mikheyev injury, the prediction of the Coyotes relocation, and how the Marc-Andre Fleury trade was handled.

Toronto Maple Leafs – Ilya Mikheyev, Auston Matthews

Rumor: Per Jonas Seigel of The Athletic. Who will the Toronto Maple Leafs be able to keep on their roster due to the Ilya Mikheyev injury?

Per Seigel: The silver lining of Mikheyev’s injury — depending on how long he’s out — is that it creates the potential for more roster flexibility. If Mikheyev is placed on long-term injured reserve, which seems likely (and would require him to miss at least 10 games and 24 days), the Leafs will be able to protect an extra player on their opening night roster — 22 players instead of 21.

Analysis: That means that in addition to Pierre Engvall, the Leafs can hold onto Adam Brooks if they want (keeping him off waivers), and even keep Timothy Liljegren (or Kirill Semyonov) around in the NHL.

It also will give Engvall a shot to grab a regular roster spot if he steps up. Mikheyev is expected to miss at least eight weeks with a broken thumb according to Mark Masters of TSN. Engvall has only managed 15 goals and 12 assists. That’s over the last two seasons while participating in 90 games.

In other news, Auston Matthews will miss the first three games of the new season due to his wrist injury.

Arizona Coyotes – Move To Houston?

Rumor: Per Frank Seravalli dailyfaceoff.com. He made 32 bold predictions for the 2021-22 season. One of them is that the Arizona Coyotes will move to Houston.

Analysis: This a story that has been told numerous times and has been the topic of NHL rumors. Seravalli has a point that the team has no place to play next season. The City of Glendale has advised the team that their year-to-year lease will end on June 30, 2022.

To additionally back up his prediction, it must be noted that Houston is the fourth largest city now, and has an acceptable NHL arena (Toyota Center) and a potential owner in place in the form of Tilman Fertitta, who is worth $4.5 billion. He owns the Houston Rockets and is very interested in bringing NHL hockey to Houston.

Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo has stated that the Coyotes will remain in Arizona. They have yet to state where they will play while waiting for a new arena project in Tempe, AZ to come to fruition. If the project gets approved, it still could take two-three years to build the arena.

Keep in mind this is a prediction by Seravalli, and nothing more. Here’s his comments on the Coyotes.

Vegas Golden Knights – Marc-Andre Fleury

Rumor: Per David Schoen Las Vegas Review-Journal. Marc-Andre Fleury discovered he was traded via social instead of receiving a call from the team, according to his agent, Allan Walsh.

The Knights do not dispute that assertion, but counter that general manager Kelly McCrimmon was in contact with Fleury and his camp leading up to the deal.

That communication stopped when president of hockey operations George McPhee said Walsh started working behind the scenes to “sabotage the trade” by telling teams Fleury would retire.

Analysis: It is a sad commentary that NHL players discover they are traded via social media. A player who was a fan favorite like Fleury should not be treated in such a way. He gave his all to the Golden Knights. He even won the Vezina Trophy, awarded to the best goalie for his performance in the 2020-21 season.

For a team who likes to state they are a “world class” organization, this behavior was totally unwarranted.

Yet, Golden Knights owner Bill Foley’s comments have a different take.

“Our job is to win. And the team comes first, and the players are a close second,” owner Bill Foley said. “I believe people will start to understand that as we start moving through the season. And there will be tough decisions in the future, too. This is not the last of them.

“That’s the reality. We’re here to do anything we can to improve the team. It’s not always going to be perfect, but that was our pact when we got together five years ago was we’re going to do what it takes to win and bring a Cup to Vegas.”

That’s it for this edition of NHL rumors, as a result our next edition will on Sunday!

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