News and notes from around the NHL
- New York Islanders captain John Tavares spoke to Newsday’s Arthur Staple on Monday, stating that he has no reason to leave Long Island when his contract expires. Tavares is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2017-18 season, and rumors are already swirling that he may leave. The comments Tavares made are an attempt to quell the media attention Tampa Bay Lighting Steven Stamkos endured this offseason on whether he would re-sign with the Lightning. Many media members speculated that he would join his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs, and the same media attention looks to descend upon Toronto-native Tavares as well. Proving further speculation was this offseason’s UFA exodus. Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielsen, and Matt Martin all signed elsewhere within the first day of free agency.
- TSN’s Jason Gregor tweeted that goaltender equipment may not be streamlined this season, a move widely expected by the NHL. The new equipment standards would shrink the chest protector, upper pads, and pants, making everything more streamlined and less bulky. Gregor noted that he trained with five NHL goaltenders who said that no new equipment has been ordered yet. The NHL wants to decrease goaltender bulk in an effort to increase scoring, but the league may have to wait another year to implement.
- Toronto Maple Leafs forward Jared Cowen will have a grievance hearing sometime in the future regarding his buyout. The Maple Leafs waived Cowen this offseason with the intention of buying him out, but Cowen states that he was injured. A team cannot buy out an injured player, and the Leafs say that he is not injured—hence the grievance proceeding. A date has not been set yet, but the Leafs ideally want this situation resolved before the season starts as they are currently have only $500K in cap space. Buying Cowen out would not only free up his $3.1MM salary, but will actually create an additional cap credit of $650K for the upcoming season. Next year Cowen’s buyout cap hit would be $750K. So by buying out Cowen, the Leafs instantly go from sub-$500K in cap space to over $4MM.