While many NHL teams will be opening up their practice facilities to players as part of Phase 2 in small groups as soon as Monday, the Vancouver Canucks will not be doing that. Sportsnet’s Iain MacIntyre reports that with just three Canucks’ players in the area, each who has access to their own independent ice rinks, there is no reason to open up their training facilities, at least until Canada’s 14-day quarantine for foreigners is solved.
The three Canucks’ players, defensemen Alexander Edler, Chris Tanev and Troy Stecher all choose to stay in Vancouver during the shutdown along with injured forward Josh Leivo. More than half the roster reside outside of Canada. Of course, Phase 2 is voluntary and the Canucks cannot order their players back at this point, so most of their players aren’t necessarily eager to return to Canada yet.
- The Athletic’s Michael Russo (subscription required) writes that while the NHL has been insistent that unsigned players like Kirill Kaprizov will not be eligible for the upcoming tournament, the NHLPA is working on that issue since the league is technically changing a long-standing collective bargaining rule. That could be a big bonus for the Minnesota Wild if the NHLPA can reverse the NHL’s stance on that. The scribe writes that if the team feels Kaprizov could help immediately, he could push someone like Victor Rask or Ryan Donato out the lineup and make Minnesota’s squad even more interesting. “If we feel that (Kaprizov’s) ready to go then I don’t think it’ll be an issue whatsoever,” interim coach Dean Evason said. “It’s no different than a player popping in and out or sitting out or coming in and taking over for an injured guy. So no, we don’t feel that would be a problem at all and obviously (it’d) be very exciting for us in the organization if we can get him going right away.”
- Kevin Kurz of The Athletic (subscription required) writes that the team has a number of interesting free agents coming up this offseason, but perhaps the most interesting situation to watch will be that of forward Melker Karlsson, who is an unrestricted free agent and hasn’t always been a fan favorite of Sharks’ fans. While he has proven to be a solid fourth-line player and a quality penalty killer, many of his advanced metric statistics aren’t that impressive. However, after already losing a top penalty killer in Barclay Goodrow recently, losing a second player on a top-rated unit might not be the way to go, making it a very interesting scenario. The scribe writes that Karlsson’s agent said there was mutual interest in getting a deal done, but there have been no talks since play was suspended. His $2MM contact for the past three seasons might require him to accept a pay cut if he wants to stay.