NHL News and Rumors: Decentralized Draft, Patrick Kane, Shane Pinto, and more

NHL: NHL Draft
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

NHL News and Rumors for October 26, 2023.

The NHL announced that they’ve suspended Shane Pinto, a restricted free agent of the Ottawa Senators, for 41 games for gambling-related actions.

This is one of the first significant gambling incidents in NHL history, as the league recently embraced partnerships with high-profile gambling companies for sponsorship. Although these incidents are more common in other North American sports, Pinto’s suspension is embarrassing for the league, which has never had a problem of this magnitude becoming public knowledge. Considering it is still breaking news, more updates will come.

NHL plans to decentralize the Draft in 2025

Additionally, at the recent NHL Board of Governors meeting, they voted to decentralize the NHL Draft starting in 2025.

Any sports fan who watches the NFL, NBA, or MLB knows those draft events do not operate in the same format as the NHL draft, with all the teams huddled together at their respective tables in the same building. Although the NHL has a unique way of conducting business for one of its marquee events, altering the format could reap benefits unseen by the other leagues. Considering the NHL ranks as the least popular sport out of the top four in the United States, this upcoming change could be a new way to get fans reinvested in the game.

NHL rescinds Pride Tape ban

Meanwhile, the NHL recently faced a ton of criticism for banning pride tape as players opted to use it on their sticks for warmups a couple of weeks ago. Eventually, after backlash, the league reversed course and will now allow players to use pride tape without facing consequences.

As the NHL tries to promote itself to fans everywhere, banning the tape was not a popular decision. Instead of embracing change, something the other professional leagues do, the NHL needs to catch up in promoting the game and their superstars. Even though this is a step in the right direction, this recent pride tape ban was another example of the league creating a problem and then changing course only after catching bad press for itself.

NHL superstars progressing in injury rebab stints

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-New York Rangers at New Jersey Devils
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Finally, no rumors post would be complete without mentioning future Hall of Famer Patrick Kane, who is still rehabbing from hip resurfacing surgery earlier this year and remains an unrestricted free agent. Furthermore, Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog is also rehabbing from knee cartilage replacement surgery and has no timetable for a return in 2023-24.

Interestingly, in Emily Kaplan’s latest at ESPN, she points out how quickly the Detroit Red Wings have turned their rebuild around, and thus far, in 2023-24, they are one of the top teams in the league. Since Kane has often spoken of playing with Alex DeBrincat again, the Red Wings are now an intriguing team to watch as the eventual sweepstakes for the three-time Stanley Cup winner heats up. Although the New York Rangers were once considered a front-runner, the Dallas Stars are reportedly heavily invested in bringing Kane to town. It will be fun to see which team lands his services and the potential impact he will have after so much time off.

Meanwhile, the Avalanche still won the Central Division last year without Landeskog and have not replaced him as captain yet. However, he is recovering from a unique operation and may never be at full strength again. Even though he’s signed until the end of the decade, if he can’t return for another year or possibly two, the Avalanche will have to restructure their lineup and leadership group with hopes of staying in contention without one of their best players.

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