Extended labor peace may be at hand, reports ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski. Wyshynski has been told by sources that the NHL and NHLPA are closing in on an agreement to extend the collective bargaining agreement. This new deal would also answer questions as to how the losses incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pause will be remedied. The players are expected to vote soon on both the new CBA and the league’s return-to-play proposal, with both requiring a majority vote from all players. Wyshynski writes that some believe that this vote could occur this weekend, but that other believe that is too optimistic. Regardless, the current CBA’s September 2022 expiration date no longer seems to be much of an issue and the new agreement is expected to be six years in length, maintaining labor peace through the 2025-26 season.
- Bryan Little will not be back with the Winnipeg Jets this season, writes Paul Friesen of The Winnipeg Sun. The Jets have stated that Little will not return to action even after the league’s pause comes to an end and the postseason tournament begins. Little has been out since November with a concussion and punctured eardrum suffered from a shot to the head. Concussion symptoms had lingered and Little underwent surgery on his ear in March, so under normal conditions he was unlikely to play again this season. However, any hope that this extended pause in the season would allow him to return for the playoffs has been shot down. The good news is that Little tells Friesen that he is “feeling pretty good” and the veteran Jet should be ready to return for the start of next season.
- The AHL’s Rockford Ice Hogs have made a notable splash, signing University of Maine star Mitchell Fossier to a one-year contract. Fossier, 23, was expected to have some NHL interest but apparently will have to do some more work to get to the top level. At Maine this season, Fossier led the team and set a personal best with 42 points in 34 games as the Black Bears pushed for NCAA Tournament inclusion before the season was shut down. Fossier showed ample scoring ability in his four collegiate seasons and should be able to translate that ability to the pros.