Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 25, 2019
The latest on Jake Gardiner, Jesse Puljujarvi, Patrick Marleau, and Rasmus Ristolainen in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
UPDATES ON GARDINER
TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons reports Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas wants to re-sign winger Mitch Marner and bring back Jake Gardiner. The former Leafs defenseman remains an unrestricted free agent but his first choice is to return to the Leafs. Salary-cap constraints, however, makes this a difficult task.
Simmons said he was told the only way the Leafs could pull this off is by signing Marner to a bridge contract and then sign Gardiner, resulting in a trade of Kaperi Kapanen or Andreas Johnsson. “And still that might not be doable.” Simmons doubts this can happen but the Leafs could feel otherwise.
MAPLE LEAFS HOT STOVE: cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman’s take on Gardiner’s situation during a recent discussion on Marner’s current contract status. He doesn’t think the blueliner is waiting on the Leafs and believes he’d be skating on the third pairing.
Friedman said he’s heard rumors Gardiner is waiting for a team to make a move. He telt the Arizona Coyotes had some interest and also wondered if the Buffalo Sabres might come calling if they trade Rasmus Ristolainen.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gardiner’s ongoing availability in the UFA market makes him a subject of interest in a quiet NHL rumor mill. I agree with Simmons that the odds are long for a return to the Leafs. But as he also pointed out, Dubas has demonstrated this summer he’s capable pulling off moves to free up cap room to make the deals he wants. Maybe he has one more trick up his sleeve to sign Marner and bring back Gardiner.
Failing that, Gardiner will feel pressure to sign with somebody before training camp opens next month. Cap Friendly indicates the Coyotes are bumping against the $81.5-million salary cap. If they sign Gardiner they’ll have to shed salary to become cap compliant before the season opens in October.
The Sabres could be an intriguing option if they ship out Ristolainen but that’ll depend upon the return and the effect on their cap space. They’re currently sitting just over $1 million above the cap.
LATEST OILERS SPECULATION
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins reports sources claiming Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi is attracting only tepid interest in the trade market. He thinks it’s more likely the unhappy Puljujarvi accepts a one-year, $200K contract in Finland.
Leavins feels the winger’s value is greater in Edmonton than anywhere else, citing their depth issues on the right wing. Oilers GM Ken Holland can’t allow the franchise to walk away from another first-round pick for nothing.
Turning to unrestricted free agent winger Patrick Marleau, Leavins said there are reports the former Leaf and San Jose Shark would be interested in signing with the Oilers. Nevertheless, he feels Marleau is more likely to sign with the Sharks.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont notes Puljujarvi doesn’t yet have a job lined up in Finland or elsewhere. “He just may have to come back hat in hand to new Oilers GM Ken Holland”, said Dupont.
PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski believes the Pittsburgh Penguins should attempt to acquire Puljujarvi. Earlier this summer, the Penguins “made contact with Edmonton but did not like the price, believed to be Bryan Rust.” Kingerski wondered if Holland might be tempted by a prospect or a forward with 40-point potential like Dominik Simon and Dominik Kahun.
THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell wondered if UFA forward Riley Sheahan might be a good fit for the Oilers as their No. 3 center. He suggested Sheahan could be an affordable short-term fix in the faceoff circle and on the penalty kill, plus he’d provide a veteran presence.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like Gardiner, Puljujarvi’s been a fixture in this summer’s rumor mill. From what I’ve read and heard, Holland hasn’t been impressed by the offers he’s received thus far.
Puljujarvi has more value to the Oilers than anyone else right now but he’s also not a core player. His absence won’t significantly hurt the Oilers this season. Holland has stared down other young players in the past who tried to force his hand. He’ll do the same with Puljujarvi. If there’s no trade to be had, Puljujarvi will face playing in Europe or sitting out the season.
As for Marleau and Sheahan, the latter would be a better addition to the Oilers. The decline in Marleau’s performance over the last two seasons will only continue for the soon-to-be 40-year-old. He also skates at left wing and the Oilers need help on the right side. Sheahan could be a good fit centering one of their checking lines but it remains to be seen if Holland is even in the market for a center.
hot stove gets so hot, folks gotta move back, open windows
seein’ stuff about BUF, ristolainen, 5-player deals
REGARDLESS! a constant for 4 years: they want 39 71 72?
they need to bring stuff!
watch athanasiou, larkin & mantha. take two ginger ales. call me in the morning
— gregg krupa (@greggkrupa) August 25, 2019