NHL Rumor Mill – July 11, 2023
KARLSSON REMAINS LINKED TO THE PENGUINS AND HURRICANES
NHL NETWORK: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes it’s down to the Pittsburgh Penguins and Carolina Hurricanes as the front-runners to acquire San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson. He thinks it’s a bit of a poker game with the Sharks knowing what the Penguins and Hurricanes want to do and those clubs knowing what the Sharks want to do.
Friedman feels that this will get done with Karlsson “most likely” going to the Penguins or Hurricanes. The question is, which club is willing to bend to make it happen?
SPECTOR’S NOTE: For the Penguins and Hurricanes, it’s how much they’re willing to give up in return to acquire the three-time Norris Trophy winner. For the Sharks, it’s how much of his $11.5 million average annual value they’re willing to retain.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Nick Horwat believes Penguins president of hockey ops Kyle Dubas needs a backup plan in case they fail to land Karlsson. He noted a report claiming Boston Bruins blueliner Matt Grzelcyk could be on Dubas’ list. Horwat suggested UFAs such as Matt Dumba and Ethan Bear as potential targets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bruins general manager Don Sweeney recently dismissed speculation that he was shopping Grzelcyk. It’s believed he’s received calls about the 29-year-old defenseman but he isn’t shopping him.
LATEST ON TARASENKO
The Senators and Hurricanes were believed to be among the front-runners for the 31-year-old winger until he fired his agent last week. Both clubs have remained interested.
NHL NETWORK (stick tap to NHL Watcher): Elliotte Friedman told NHL Network that he believes it’s more likely that Tarasenko will take a one-year contract and bet on himself to play well and see what happens when the salary cap rises next summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s rumored that Tarasenko had a multi-year deal with one club worth around $5.5 million but rejected all offers and changed agents. While Friedman thinks he’ll take a one-year deal in the hope of cashing in next summer under a higher cap, some observers believe the veteran winger is still trying to score a lucrative long-term contract now.
SABRES COULD WAIT TO MOVE OLOFSSON
BUFFALO HOCKEY NOW: Michael Augello recently speculated that the Sabres might have to wait “until a few more dominoes fall” before moving Victor Olofsson. It was reported last month that the 28-year-old winger expected to be traded at some point this summer.
Olofsson is a year away from UFA eligibility and carries a $4.75 million cap hit for 2023-24. With the Sabres deep at forward and unlikely to re-sign the winger, it was thought the Sabres might shop him for a goaltender or a defenseman on a short-term contract.
Those plans may have been held up by the availability of Alex DeBrincat in the trade market (Note: this report was written prior to DeBrincat getting traded to Detroit) as well as Vladimir Tarasenko’s ongoing quest to find a new club.
Winger Jack Quinn’s recent Achilles’ tendon injury could also have held up plans to move Olofsson this summer. With Quinn out for four-to-six months, the Sabres could retain Olofsson for the coming season and attempt to move him at the trade deadline once Quinn returns to action.