With the salary cap flattening out making it more difficult to up contract offers from a salary standpoint, trade protection is starting to become a little more important. However, some teams are pushing back on that front and one of those appears to be the Blue Jackets. GM Jarmo Kekalainen told Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic (subscription link) that while he’s okay with limited protection, that’s as far as he’s willing to go in contracts now:
As long as we don’t have any no-moves I’m fine with some of the limited no-trade lists, eight teams or 10 teams, you still have 22 teams you can deal with. So I’m not as adamant as David (Poile) maybe but it’s in very limited cases that we give them and we’re not doing any no-moves anymore.’
At the moment, the only Blue Jackets player with any form of trade protection is center Sean Kuraly who has a 10-team list. Defenseman Zach Werenski has a similar 10-team list in his extension which kicks in next season.
Elsewhere in the East:
- The Maple Leafs have signed goaltender Alex Bishop to a one-day amateur tryout deal, David Alter of The Hockey News is among those reporting. The move is necessary with Petr Mrazek out with a groin injury but Toronto can’t make the money work to recall another goalie from the minors. The 24-year-old plays at the USports Level with the University of Toronto. Once they play tonight’s game, they’ll be given approval for an emergency (cap-exempt) recall. Toronto can’t send defenseman Timothy Liljegren down to make room for netminder Michael Hutchinson as he’s needed with blueliner Justin Holl unavailable due to a non-COVID-related illness; Toronto’s electing to play down a backup goalie over only dressing five defensemen.
- Canadiens defenseman Sami Niku has been given the green light to return from his concussion, relays Sportsnet’s Eric Engels (Twitter link). However, he won’t be in the lineup tonight against the Rangers. Niku had his contract terminated by Winnipeg last month and signed with Montreal soon after. The Canadiens have an open roster spot and won’t need to make any moves to activate him off IR.