After Toronto Maple Leafs’ Auston Matthews changed agencies last week, the Maple Leafs are suddenly wondering what that means for them? After a turbulent offseason so far with their star player, which includes a poor playoff showing, two meetings with head coach Mike Babcock and an impending extension either this summer of next, there are suddenly more questions than ever, according to Toronto Sun’s Steve Simmons.
Matthews switched from CAA to Orr Hockey Group, leaving behind super-agent Pat Brisson, who the Toronto franchise has had a great relationship with. While most franchises wouldn’t bat an eye when a player changes agencies, Matthews situation is different. Among those questions is whether the 20-year-old plans to stay loyal to the franchise. There have been plenty of questions raised about his rocky relationship with Babcock, which forced the coach to make two trips to Arizona to see Matthews this offseason. There are still questions about his future role as captain of the team and of course, how much money will his extension eventually get him? Will he demand the same money as Connor McDavid’s eight year, $100MM deal?
- Brian Hedger of NHL.com interviewed Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen about the shoulder injury and subsequent surgery that defenseman Zach Werenski went through this season. Evidently, Werenski suffered the shoulder injury on Oct. 30 and played through the pain all season. The 20-year-old blueliner played with a brace that seriously affected his movement all season and affected his season significantly. “When your arm moves, like, this much, it’s pretty hard, battling for loose pucks in the corner,” Kekalainen said. “It affects everything, and he didn’t ever complain or use it as an excuse. He just kept playing through it and playing through it, and now he’ll be healthy for next year.” Despite the injury, Werenski still had a career high 16 goals, although his total points dropped by 10 from his rookie campaign. After undergoing surgery in early May, Werenski is expected to be ready for the regular season, but could miss all or part of training camp.
- While there has been quite a bit of speculation surrounding Carolina Hurricanes winger Jeff Skinner this offseason already, don’t expect a trade too quickly, according to The News & Observer’s Chip Alexander. General manager Don Waddell said neither Skinner, nor his agent Don Meehan, has been asked to waive Skinner’s no-movement clause, nor have they been asked to tell them what team he would be willing to accept a trade to. Skinner, who is entering his final year of his six-year, $34.4MM deal he signed back in 2012 with a no-movement clause that kicked in last season, has tallied 204 goals for Carolina in eight seasons, but hasn’t taken them to the playoffs yet.