Welcome to Inside the Rink’s first news and rumors column. In this series, we will discuss the latest and biggest news and rumors in the NHL.
Maple Leafs’ Michael Bunting Suspended 3 Games
The Toronto Maple Leafs were blown out in Game 1 against the Tampa Bay Lightning, and now they have been dealt another significant blow. Winger Michael Bunting has been suspended for three games for his hit to the head on Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak.
A suspension was expected for Bunting, as his hit was directly to Cernak’s head, and the latter has already been ruled out for Game 2. The Maple Leafs will certainly miss Bunting in the lineup, as he is one of their key contributors offensively. In 82 regular-season games this season, he had 23 goals, 49 points, and a plus-21 rating.
Canucks Wanted A Lot From Penguins for J.T. Miller
One of the biggest rumors leading up to the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline was that the Vancouver Canucks and Pittsburgh Penguins had trade talks centering around star forward J.T. Miller. In a recent 32 Thoughts column, NHL insider Elliotte Friedman wrote that the Canucks wanted two first-round picks and a good prospect for Miller. This proved to be too big of an asking price for the Penguins, and they ultimately steered clear because of it.
Miller is a legitimate star and would have been far more than just a rental for the Penguins, so it makes sense that the Canucks asked for a lot in return for him. We will now need to wait and see if the Canucks listen to offers for Miller during the summer from here.
Insider Suggest John Gibson as Option for Senators
Ottawa Senators general manager (GM) Pierre Dorion has confirmed that they will not re-sign Cam Talbot this offseason. With the Senators looking to finally be a playoff team again in 2023-24, Dorion said that they want to trade for a goalie this offseason. In his same 32 Thoughts column, Friedman said that Anaheim Ducks netminder John Gibson was “the first name” he thought of as a potential option for Ottawa.
When playing at his best, Gibson is an elite netminder who could be exactly what the Senators need to take that next step and become a legitimate playoff team. The Pittsburgh native would also be far more than just a rental, as he carries a $6.4 million cap hit until the end of the 2026-27 season. Thus, he could be an excellent long-term plan for Ottawa.
Lightning’s Ross Colton Becoming Trade Candidate
Friedman also discussed Lightning forward Ross Colton in his recent article. He noted that the center is just one year away from his unrestricted free agency status and noted that the “Lightning’s cap situation is tight, tight, tight.” With Colton being a very effective third-line center, there certainly will teams be interested in him if he’s made available, which Friedman notes.
The Lightning have had to part ways with multiple players over the years due to their limited cap space, and Colton could very well be the next one to follow that trend. In 81 games this season with the Lightning, the 26-year-old had 16 goals and 16 assists.
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