NHL News & Rumors: Predators, Oilers, Canadiens, Maple Leafs, Kraken

In today’s NHL news and rumors rundown, the Nashville Predators have been told if they don’t get an extension done with Mattias Ekholm before the season, it will have to wait until the season is over to negotiate again. Meanwhile, Zack Kassian will get some tests done to see if he’s alright after hitting his head on the ice during a fight. There is more information about Carey Price leaving the Montreal Canadiens and Auston Matthews is still on pace for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Finally, Yanni Gourde is traveling with the Seattle Kraken and should be in their lineup soon.

Predators Either Sign Ekholm Now or Wait to End of Season

As TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, Ekholm has told the team that if a contract extension isn’t in place by the start of the season, he isn’t willing to negotiate an extension during the year. LeBrun noted that the two sides have spoken about a deal all summer but have not been able to work out terms. LeBrun said, “Is it a ploy? Is it a tactic? I don’t know, I’m not in the middle of those talks. But added pressure to get this deal done and they continue to talk before next week.”

Mattias Ekholm Nashville Predators
Mattias Ekholm, Nashville Predators (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Ekholm said he’d like to remain in Nashville and commented on the lack of a new deal.

“I’d rather have it done yesterday. That’s not how it really turned out. This is a new experience for me. I’m just trying to stay focused on what I can control. I know when the season comes around, I’m going to have to be 100 per cent focused on that, otherwise my game will suffer. I’m not really sure (of a timetable), but that’s where my head’s at.”

Kassian Ok After Scary Fighting Incident

Zack Kassian appeared to be knocked unconscious for a second after a fight with Zack MacEwen on Thursday night, one where he fell and hit his head on the ice. He did get up and was able to skate off with help from his teammates. Word from the coach after the game was that he was in good spirits backstage and seemed to be doing alright.

Zack Kassian Edmonton Oilers
Zack Kassian, Edmonton Oilers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Tippett said, “He’s got a pretty good bump on his head from hitting the ice but he was in good spirits and was telling jokes when I came and saw him after the game.” Mike Smith noted that he was hoping Kassian was ok as well and said he seemed to be ok. “Hopefully he’s got as hard a head as it looks,” the goaltender noted.

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Also with the Oilers, Kailer Yamamoto has been cleared to return after a hit into the bench in a game against Calgary. He should be back in the lineup on Saturday as the Oilers play their final preseason game against Vancouver on October 9th.

Few More Details Regarding Carey Price

It was reported yesterday that Price would be leaving the Canadiens and voluntarily enter himself into the NHL/NHLPA player’s assistance program. GM Marc Bergevin spoke about the news during a press conference yesterday and he got emotional speaking about how much Price means to him.

Bergevin said, “Today, I’m not thinking about Carey Price the goaltender. I’m thinking about Carey Price the human being.” He talked about how much life is left after hockey and that it is so important that players like Price and Jonathan Drouin step forward and seek help when they need it. He noted that the league has had people come in and talk to clubs about mental health issues, but it’s not always common for players to admit they’re struggling.

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Bergevin added, “For Jo, and (for) Carey and his family—he’s got kids, he’s got three kids and his wife—I think we need to support them and to respect their privacy and wish them the best. I believe better days are ahead for Carey and his family.”

Matthews Still on Pace, Added to USA Olympic Team

David Alter reports that Maple Leafs’ coach Sheldon Keefe says that Matthews‘ wrist hasn’t suffered any setbacks and that things are looking good as the days go by. Keefe noted:  “Today’s would have been by far the longest session that he’s had, was there right to the end; I saw him doing a little bit extra himself afterward and getting some extra shots off so all that’s very positive.” During a media scrum, Matthews noted, “Still kind of planning and hoping for that first game (of the season)”.

Mattews got more good news on Thursday as he was named to the Men’s USA Olympic team. He joins Seth Jones and Patrick Kane as the first three men selected for that team.

Gourde Almost Ready to Slot in for Kraken

Marisa Ingemi reports that center Yanni Gourde has been traveling with the Kraken and head coach Dave Hakstol said the forward will be with the team during the opening road trip. He is practicing with the team now and it is likely he sees some game action during the Kraken’s first series on the road.

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