As if the Toronto Maple Leafs and William Nylander negotiations weren’t getting enough attention, NHL.com’s Igor Eronko reports that KHL Avangard Omsk head coach Bob Hartley, whose team owns the KHL rights to Nylander, would love to have the winger come play for them.
“I would like to see William in my team,” Hartley said. “I know his father. That would be great.”
Negotiations between the two sides have not fared well with rumors that Nylander’s camp is asking for $8MM per season, while the Maple Leafs refuse to offer a record-breaking deal and are rumored to be closer to $6MM per season. An earlier report even suggests that Toronto’s latest offer was a four-year deal worth well under $20MM and the team is not interested in trading the 22-year-old.
Nylander could opt to sign a deal with Avangard Omsk, although that seems unlikely as he’d prefer to play in the NHL, but obviously Nylander’s camp is hoping the possible threat of sitting out the season might bring up Toronto’s offer.
- The Ottawa Senators got another impressive performance from one of their young players Saturday when defenseman Ben Harpur finally made his season debut. The 23-year-old had been a healthy scratch up to now, but made an immediate physical impact to the game when he put a major hit on Los Angeles Kings winger Alex Iafallo early in the game. The 6-foot-6, 222-pound blueliner didn’t register a point in their 5-1 win over the Kings, but played so well, he led the team in ice time, playing 22:37, according to Don Brennan of The Ottawa Sun. Harpur was teamed with veteran Mark Borowiecki on a pairing assigned to shutdown the Kings’ top line of Anze Kopitar, Ilya Kovalchuk and Iafallo. That line finished with no points and just six shots on goal.
- The Athletic’s Jonas Siegel (subscription required) gives credit to general manager Kyle Dubas and the Toronto Maple Leafs for the signings of center Par Lindholm and defenseman Igor Ozhiganov, who both have made quite an impact on the Maple Leafs already loaded roster, giving them another two “free” additions on a team that needs as many cheap options as possible. Lindholm potted his first career NHL goal Saturday, while Ozhiganov had his best game yet, according to head coach Mike Babcock. The team has already done a good job in past years, bringing in foreign players on cheap deals, including defenseman Nikita Zaitsev as well as Calle Rosen and Andreas Borgman.
- The Montreal Canadiens feel they have found an answer to who will eventually play alongside Shea Weber when he returns later this year. The team has been really impressed with the play of Mike Reilly, who has been a big part of the team’s 2-1-1 start so far this season, according to The Athletic’s Arpon Basu (subscription required). He has done a good job moving the puck with his speed. He faced up against Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby twice and while the numbers don’t support it, Crosby wasn’t a major factor in either game. “It’s a good challenge, but I love it,” Reilly said after the Canadiens’ 4-3 shootout win Saturday. “I like to compete, I have high expectations, so it’s always fun to go out against guys like that.”