As we start the first round of the playoffs, the offseason has started for nearly half the league. We’ve seen free agents start to take their talents overseas, prospects loaned to European leagues to get their development back on track and the draft lottery determining the order of the top picks this fall. There could be even more moves coming down the pipe, as Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic has confirmed with the league that the 15 eliminated teams are now eligible to make trades.
LeBrun wonders if they will wait for a full 31-team market before pulling the trigger, but there is a difference in how teams can operate during these playoffs. The salary cap, which is usually not set for the following season until after the playoffs end, is fixed and known for 2020-21. That means if teams want to get a headstart on their financials, they could potentially start to pull off some trades and reshape their lineup before the Stanley Cup is handed out.
- Bryan Little ended up playing just seven games for the Winnipeg Jets this season. After playing in all 82 for each of the last two seasons, Little took a slapshot from Nikolaj Ehlers directly to the head just a few weeks into 2019-20. He suffered a brain injury that kept him out for the rest of the season and even kept him from performing basic physical activity. Little spoke with reporters including Murat Ates of The Athletic today, explaining that for six weeks after the injury he wasn’t even allowed to pick his young daughter up. Little did return to practice at one point before being shut down again, and now just hopes that he’ll be able to play hockey again one day. He’s “not shutting the door” but also needs to be told there’s no risk before returning. Little signed a six-year extension in 2017, which has four years remaining at a $5.29MM cap hit.
- Jake Muzzin, another player who suffered a scary injury, is feeling much better and is expected to make a full recovery. The Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman was stretchered off the ice last week after an awkward fall and lost feeling in his extremities. After being taken to the hospital he was discharged later that night but did not play again for Toronto. Muzzin was part of the Maple Leafs’ media availability today, a good sign he’s on the road back.