Welcome to Daily Faceoff’s daily NHL roundup where we bring you the NHL’s most important news and rumours every day.
Oilers expect to not have Oscar Klefbom for 2020-21
Oilers general manager and president of hockey operations Ken Holland appeared on 630 CHED’s Oilers Now show on Wednesday and said that he’s planning to be without the team’s No. 1 defenceman Oscar Klefbom for the entirety of the 2020-21 season.
Back in late-September, Elliotte Friedman revealed that Klefbom had been dealing with a nagging shoulder issue and that surgery was a likely path forward. Klefbom has played through an array of injuries over the past few years and missed some time in 2019-20 because of the shoulder issue.
This is obviously a huge blow for the Oilers. Darnell Nurse will have to step up and fill Klefbom’s role as the team’s No. 1 defenceman and sophomore Caleb Jones will also likely be expected to take on a larger role on the blueline.
One player that will benefit from Klefbom’s absence is Tyson Barrie, who inked a one-year, show-me deal in Edmonton after a difficult year in Toronto. Barrie will likely fill in on Edmonton’s excellent top power-play unit as the quarterback, which is another key role that Klefbom had been playing for the team.
Leafs and Joe Thornton have a mutual interest
Another off-season, another Joe Thornton comes home rumour.
For years there has been speculation that Thornton will come home and play for the Toronto Maple Leafs and it appears that it might finally happen.
According to James Mirtle, the Leafs and Thornton have a mutual interest and multiple star players on Toronto’s roster have reached out to the veteran personally. The team has already added veterans like Wayne Simmonds, T.J. Brodie, and Zach Bogosian to improve their roster this off-season and the word is that’s a selling point for Thornton.
Thornton turned 41 years old in July but still has something left in the tank. He played 70 games for the Sharks last season and produced 31 points. He’s spent most of his career in San Jose but the Sharks took a steep decline last year and he’s more likely to chase a Stanley Cup elsewhere.
As of right now, Toronto’s top three centres are Auston Matthews, John Tavares, and Alexander Kerfoot, with veteran Jason Spezza pencilled in as the fourth centre. Thornton could fill in as Toronto’s fourth centre while would slide Spezza to a more ideal spot on the wings.
Brendan Gallagher extension talks have broken off
The Montreal Canadiens have had a busy off-season.
They traded for Jake Allen and gave him a two-year extension, they dealt Max Domi for Josh Anderson and gave him a big multi-year deal, and they signed Tyler Toffoli to a four-year deal in free agency.
But the additions of Anderson and Toffoli could signal the beginning of the end of Brendan Gallagher’s time in Montreal. The pesky forward is set to become a free agent at the end of the 2020-21 season and discussions of an extension between the team and the player have reportedly broken off.
Gallagher scored 33 goals in 2018-19 and had 22 goals in 59 games in 2019-20. Another 30-goal season would have him in line for a big contract, one that Montreal might want to avoid. General manager Marc Bergevin might view Toffoli as a cheaper replacement which would make Gallagher a trade candidate this season.
The World Juniors will likely begin on Christmas Day
Though we’ll be without NHL hockey until January at the earliest, we can look forward to the annual tradition of the World Juniors being played over Christmas.
The plan seems to be for teams to bubble up in Edmonton and execute the tournament at Rogers Place. According to Corey Pronman, the tournament will likely start on Dec. 25 rather than the usual date of Dec. 26 in order to accommodate all of the teams playing on the same ice surface.