While many NHL teams will begin open up their training facilities on Monday and the league is slowly moving towards getting back into action, there still remains quite a bit to negotiate. One thing that is still being debated is how many players each of the 24 teams will carry once play resumes.
The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun notes that while the NHL has suggested 28 skaters, plus goaltenders, that number still must be negotiated with the NHLPA. However, that number isn’t necessarily needed until either Phase 3 or even Phase 4, which gives the two sides time to come up with a proper number.
- Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News writes that Detroit Red Wings veteran goaltender Jimmy Howard wants to play another one or two seasons before he retires, although he does admit that it might not be with the Red Wings. The 36-year-old would prefer to finish out his career in Detroit, the team that drafted him, but that seems somewhat unlikely to return to a rebuilding team after a career-worst season with a 2-23-2 record with a 4.20 GAA and a .882 save percentage. “I want to keep playing,” said Howard. “This year left such a bitter taste in my mouth. I want to go out there and show people I can still play in this league — I know I’m capable … I personally don’t believe I represent those number (statistics), but I was a big part of the program (losing). I got in my own way a lot instead of letting the play to come. I was overthinking things.”
- The Athetic’s Corey Masisak (subscription required) writes that he believes that with three first-round picks (and two potential lottery picks) in a strong upcoming 2020 draft, the New Jersey Devils are a team that would be strong candidates to grab highly-touted goaltender Yaroslav Askarov with one of those picks. The 17-year-old is one of the highest-rated goaltenders in years, but after a poor showing at the World Juniors this past year, many have watched as his stock has dropped somewhat and with teams generally shying away from taking goaltenders in the first round, there is no clear indication where the young netminder might be taken. Regardless, he has been rated as a lottery pick by many scouts. The scribe adds that even though they have a young netminder in MacKenzie Blackwood, the team should still consider taking the goalie, especially since they have three first-rounders. The Devils already have the sixth-best chance to win the lottery with their own pick, but the team also has the Arizona Coyotes’ first-rounder (acquired in the Taylor Hall trade), but the pick depends on how Arizona fares in the post-season and is top-three protected. New Jersey has a third first-round pick, acquired from Tampa Bay in the Blake Coleman trade (via Vancouver), but that pick is lottery-protected based on Vancouver’s performance in the play-in game.