On Saturday, the Philadelphia Flyers were headlining the Rick Nash rumor mill. Just one day later, the speculation has centered around Toronto. According to Sportsnet, Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson met with Leafs GM Brian Burke Sunday morning in New York, and the question is if Nash’s name came up.
Unlike the Nash-to-Philadelphia rumors, which didn’t really make a ton of sense on any level, the concept of Nash heading to Toronto at least has some weight to it. For one thing Toronto is in a somewhat better position to absorb Rick Nash’s massive $7,800,000 annual cap hit. Toronto is also a team that would benefit from another scoring winger, although that isn’t their biggest need.
Still, the main question is if the Leafs want Nash enough to make it worth meeting Howson’s demands. As previously reported, Howson is believed to be seeking an impact player, two prospects, and a first round draft pick. In Toronto’s case, Sportsnet believes that a combination of Nikolai Kulemin, Luke Schenn, Nazem Kadri, and maybe James Reimer would need to be in the trade. With that in mind, pulling the trigger on a Nash deal might not be in Toronto’s best interests.
Zack Kassian may have avoided major injuries stemming from his Sunday car accident, but it likely sent the signal that he may need help.
The response: he was placed in Stage Two of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (SABH) of the NHL and NHLPA on Monday.
According to the league’s release, Kassian “will be suspended without pay until cleared for on-ice competition by the program administrators.”
Speaking of being suspended without pay, here’s a key detail:
The 24-year-old ended up with a broken nose and broken foot from that accident. The 2015-16 season was set to be his first campaign in the Montreal Canadiens organization after a tumultuous time with the Vancouver Canucks.
Kassian spoke of becoming more mature heading to Montreal, but the Canadiens were critical of his actions, wondering how many wake-up calls someone can get.
In case you’re wondering about the difference between stage one and two:
Are the Philadelphia Flyers aiming for some sort of record when it comes to expensive (potential) healthy scratches?
While lineups are obviously subject to change, CSNPhilly.com notes that Vincent Lecavalier appears to be among a rather rich group of Flyers who are expected to sit during their season-opener.
Also likely to be in street clothes: Sam Gagner and Luke Schenn.
That’s $11.3 million in cap space rotting on the bench.
“I really don’t know what to say,” Lecavalier said. “I’ll practice hard and be ready when they call me up.”
The CSNPhilly.com quotes from Lecavalier, Gagner and Schenn only get sadder from there, a reminder that there are human beings attached to these numbers – whether you focus on disappointing stats or bloated salaries.
Flyers fans with the urge to reach for an Alka-Setzler can at least take some comfort in knowing that the team will see $6.8 million in savings after this season, as both Gagner and Schenn are on expiring deals.
It could be a long season, though, and this Lecavalier headache may not truly end until his contract expires following the 2017-18 campaign.