NHL Rumors: Braden Holtby, Nicklas Backstrom, and the 2021 NHL Winter Classic
No in-season talks for the Holtby and the Capitals

Sportsnet: The Washington Capitals won’t be signing pending free agent goaltender Braden Holtby to a contract extension in-season.

“The Capitals and Holtby’s agent, David Kaye, have decided that they will not talk contract during the season,” said Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman during the Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday. “They will wait until after the year. The focus will be on trying to win the Stanley Cup.”

That doesn’t mean that they aren’t considering locking him before free agency opens.

“I’ve been told ‘don’t panic necessarily,’ Capitals fans, about that,” Friedman continued. “If you look at their history, they have signed Carlson and Oshie after the season, before free agency. So just because it’s not happening now, it doesn’t mean it still possibly can’t happen.”

Term an issue and not money for Backstrom

Samantha Pell of the Washington Post: Niklas Backstrom is handling his own contract negotiations with the Washington Capitals.

Backstrom said that he hasn’t done a lot of research for comparables as he doesn’t think he needs to be that specific about others.

A source said that contract length is the sticking point and not money. Both the Capitals and Backstrom have said they want to get a deal done.

The Capitals may be thinking three years and Backstrom may prefer a five-year deal.

“Either it is going to be done or they will be going the other direction, I don’t know,” said Backstrom, who has 27 points (eight goals, 19 assists) through 28 games this season.

The Wild may be hoping to the play the Jets in the 2021 NHL Winter Classic

Sportsnet: The Minnesota Wild will be hosting the 2021 NHL Winter Classic at Target Field next year, but their opponent has yet to be determined. Chris Johnston said that Winnipeg Jets are one of the teams that is under consideration.

“There’s also talk about the Chicago Blackhawks potentially seeing yet another outdoor game, maybe the St. Louis Blues,” Johnston said. “But I think if the Wild get their way, it will be a Minnesota-Winnipeg game on New Year’s Day in 2021.”