NHL Rumor Roundup: More on season start; Hoffman a fit for Blue Jackets?

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Checking in with some of the latest NHL rumors, including some news on the start of the 2020-21 season..

More On The 2020-21 Season Start

The NHL is still hoping for a full 82-game season that could begin as early as Jan. 1, but there are still a few hurdles that have to be cleared before we can get to that point.

Aside from the logistical questions that include divisional alignment, travel, testing, whether or not fans will be allowed in (a big question) and what sort of bubble (if any) is used, there is also still a lot of financial business to take care of. Even though the both sides agreed to a new CBA in July (that also included the 2019-20 season restart plan) the league has asked players to defer salary and increase escrow. The league and NHLPA continue to talk on the matter, but one player agent — Andy Scott — told Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun that players need to stand firm and set a precedent that they are not willing to negotiate in the middle of a CBA. [Ottawa Sun]

Meanwhile, Nick Kypreos Tweeted on Monday morning that the league and NHLPA had no dialogue this weekend for the first time weeks, and that the players have no choice but to sit and wait. Some believe the league could threaten to push the season back to a February 1 start with a 48-game season. [Nick Kypreos on Twitter]

Blue Jackets Still Looking For Offense

The biggest priority for the Blue Jackets this offseason is still working out a new contract for restricted free agent center Pierre-Luc Dubois. It is expected that will eventually get done, but it is still a very delicate negotiation given the Blue Jackets’ history with restricted free agents and contract negotiations.

Even when that gets done they will still need to add more offense.

This past week Elliotte Friedman appeared on NHL Tonight and speculated that the Blue Jackets have tried to move Brandon Dubinsky‘s contract, and that they could be a team that has looked at Mike Hoffman or Mikael Granlund. Or both.

Either one would be strong addition for what would almost certainly be a cheap price.

Even though they overachieved and exceeded expectations a year ago, they were still only 28th in the league in goals scored. They made some changes this offseason by acquiring Mikko Koivu and trading Josh Anderson for Max Domi. Those moves will help, but they still need more. Hoffman is by far the best free agent still available, and even though his game has some flaws away from the puck he is still a 30-goal scorer. Granlund may not have worked out in Nashville the way the Predators had hoped, but he would also be a solid pickup. [NHL Network]

Khudobin To Be Ready For Training Camp

Stars GM Jim Nill said that Anton Khudobin is back to 100% and will be ready for the start of training camp following surgery to fix a nerve issue in his right arm.

Khudobin had the surgery just two days before signing a new three-year contract extension to remain with the team.

His status is significant because the Stars will be without Ben Bishop until at least March following surgery to repair a torn meniscus. [NHL.com]

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.

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