NHL Rumor Roundup: More on season start and free agent market

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Our NHL Rumor Roundup takes a look at some of the rumblings taking place across the league. Today we look at reports on the start of the 2020-21 NHL season and the latest on what is happening on the free agent front. 

NHL still looking for January 1 start

With the NBA going full steam ahead for a December 22 start for its 2020-21 season, the obvious question for the NHL is what the league has planned for its start.

At this point the NHL and the Return To Play committee has not really had any official discussions, but deputy commissioner Bill Daly told The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun this past week that January 1 still remains the primary objective.

Assuming the league is able to begin on that date there is still no set plan for what the season will look like. The number of games, whether or not fans will be allowed to attend, or if it will be some sort of hybrid bubble are all questions that need to be answered. Daly has previously said that the league has 10-12 scenarios in mind, and that none are more likely than others.

Via: Pierre LeBrun on Twitter

Non-playoff teams with an early start in training camp?

Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman said last week that it is expected that the seven teams that did not qualify for the 2019-20 postseason in the season restart are likely to get a head start on training camp when the league is set to begin play.

It makes sense, because they would be going around 10 months between games.

How much extra time will they get to prepare?

Yzerman estimated that it could be about a week.

Via: Mlive

Still all quiet on the free agent market

The news really has not changed for the top remaining free agents as things remain quiet around the likes of Mike Hoffman, Anthony Duclair, and Mikael Granlund. Those three remain the top unsigned free agents on the open market, and nobody really seems close to finding a new team.

At this point it is starting to look like any of them will end up being a bargain.

Hoffman’s agent said earlier this offseason that as many as 13 teams have expressed interest in his client, but at this point no one has presented an offer that Hoffman could refuse.

While Hoffman is the biggest name still available, Duclair is also quite intriguing given his agent, talent level, and the fact he is a 20-goal scorer that could be had for cheap.

The folks at Stanley Cup Of Chowder took a deep dive into Duclair’s career and whether or not he would be a fit in Boston.

The Bruins, Nashville Predators, New Jersey Devils, and Columbus Blue Jackets should all be in the market for Hoffman and Duclair (well … maybe that ship has sailed with Duclair).

Islanders have to shed some salary

After signing defenseman Ryan Pulock this past week the Islanders have to shed some significant salary to re-sign Mathew Barzal and move forward with the remainder of the offseason.

Arthur Staple at The Athletic went through some of their salary shedding options, from trades (Johnny Boychuk?) to utilizing their second buyout window on somebody drastic (Jordan Eberle?).

No matter who they decide to move, they are probably going to need to shed at least $5 or $6 million in salary to re-sign Barzal and to move on some pending free agent moves (Matt Martin, Andy Greene, and Cory Schneider).

Via: The Athletic

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.