NHL Rumor Mill – June 25, 2019
Updates on Joe Pavelski, Tyler Myers, Nikita Zaitsev, Rasmus Ristolainen, Justin Faulk, Jesse Puljujarvi, and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.
LATEST CANUCKS SPECULATION
SPORTSNET: Iain MacIntyre reports the Vancouver Canucks recently met with Winnipeg Jets defenseman Tyler Myers. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. MacIntyre believes he could get a seven-year deal on the open market worth over $50 million. Canucks fans took to social media suggesting Canucks general manager Jim Benning should be fired if he signs Myers for that much.
THE SCORE: Josh Gold-Smith cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said the Canucks don’t intend to sign defenseman Ben Hutton to a qualifying offer. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. If they don’t qualify him, he’ll become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
TSN: Darren Dreger and Jamie McLennan discussed the Toronto Maple Leafs’ efforts to trade defenseman Nikita Zaitsev. They believe it’ll take a “sweetener” like winger Connor Brown as an enticement. They wonder if Benning might consider Zaitsev a more affordable option than Myers, especially if he can get an additional asset in the deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with MacIntyre that paying Myers over $50 million is absurd. The Canucks have been linked to Zaitsev in the rumor mill. He’s earning $4.5 million annually with five years remaining on his contract. That’s much better than what Myers seeks but no guarantee he’ll improve Vancouver’s blueline. Benning should consider other options.
UPDATES ON PAVELSKI AND DONSKOI
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski has UFA interviews set up with a couple of teams this week. Dialogue remains open between Sharks GM Doug Wilson and Pavelski’s agent. It’s believed the 34-year-old forward could visit the Dallas Stars and Tampa Bay Lightning this week. The Buffalo Sabres are also said to be interested but don’t have a visit scheduled with him.
NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Brian Witt cites The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz saying there’s “strong interest” in Sharks UFA winger Joonas Donskoi. While it’s still possible he could re-sign with the Sharks, Kurz believes he’ll be playing elsewhere next season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Arizona Coyotes are also believed to have spoken with Pavelski’s agent. However, it doesn’t sound as though he’ll be visiting them this week. Just because he’s meeting with other clubs don’t make it a certainty he’ll sign with one of them on July 1.
Of the two, I think it’s more likely Pavelski returns. Of course, that depends upon how much he’s seeking and for how long. While he matched a career-high in goals this season (38), he turns 35 next month. The Sharks are likely reluctant to ink him to a long-term deal.
UPDATE ON RISTOLAINEN
WGR 550.COM: Paul Hamilton notes the ongoing debate among Buffalo Sabres fans over trading defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen. After examing the pros and cons, Hamilton feels trading Ristolanen is necessary if it’ll bring back a scoring winger. While that would create a hole on the blueline, Hamilton believes Sabres GM Jason Botterill intends to overhaul the defense anyway.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ristolainen has frequently popped up in trade speculation since April and it’s believed the Sabres are shopping him. However, I think they’ll keep him if they can’t get a scoring forward in return.
OILERS TO QUALIFY PULJUJARVI
THE SCORE: cites Sportsnet’s Mark Spector saying the Edmonton Oilers will qualify Jesse Puljujarvi’s rights. The 21-year-old winger has requested a trade and threatened to play in Europe next season if he’s not moved this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise there. The Oilers don’t intend to let Puljujarvi hit the open market. GM Ken Holland hasn’t ruled out a trade if he gets an offer that helps his club but he’s under no pressure to move the winger.
Caps GM Brian MacLellan said report team was talking to Canes about possible trade for Justin Faulk was not true.
“No. We haven’t had any discussions about him.”
— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) June 22, 2019