Senators winger Brady Tkachuk is leaning towards declining an invitation to play for Team USA at the upcoming World Championships, suggests Postmedia’s Bruce Garrioch. While he would undoubtedly be a key player for them, he is a pending restricted free agent, something that he acknowledged could be a factor in him taking a pass if he goes that route:
I haven’t made a full decision yet but it’s always an honour to represent your country and play for the guys who paved the way and USA Hockey. We’ll have to see but it’s definitely a different set of circumstances here, especially with the things going on this summer.
Tkachuk isn’t the only one leaning towards taking a pass for that reason either as Garrioch adds that winger Drake Batherson is doubtful to suit up for Canada with his restricted free agency on the horizon. While Tkachuk is expected to land a substantial raise this summer no matter what, Batherson’s case is a bit murkier as while he has played well this year with 33 points in 53 games, it’s his only full NHL season thus far.
More from the North Division:
- Maple Leafs defenseman Rasmus Sandin isn’t expected to play in Toronto’s remaining three games for salary cap reasons, notes Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston. By moving him back to the taxi squad, they would create enough cap room in order to activate Riley Nash from LTIR, allowing him to potentially get a game or two in before the end of the regular season to get him ready for the playoffs. Nash was ruled out for the rest of the year while in Columbus but Toronto’s schedule runs nearly a week longer as a result of the COVID-related postponements.
- While the Oilers look to be set in second place in the North, don’t expect them to rest anyone down the stretch, relays Postmedia’s Rob Tychkowski. Instead, head coach Dave Tippett wants to try to create some momentum over their final four games, something that could be more difficult with players rotating in and out of the lineup.
- Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme told reporters today, including Sportsnet’s Eric Engels (Twitter link), that center Phillip Danault has been diagnosed with a concussion. He had previously been listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury. He had already been ruled out for tonight’s game against Toronto but with that diagnosis, he will likely miss the final two games against Edmonton as well.