NHL Rumor Mill – September 8, 2023
Is an expensive new contract in the works for Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin? What’s the latest on Jets stars Connor Hellebuyck and Mark Scheifele? Will the Maple Leafs add more muscle to their blueline? Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
DAHLIN COULD GET A LUCRATIVE LONG-TERM CONTRACT
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dahlin, 23, is in the final season of a three-year contract with an average annual value of $6 million. He has emerged as one of the NHL’s top defensemen over the last two seasons with 53 points in 2021-22 and a career-best 73 points last season in 78 games. That rumored deal would make him the Sabres’ highest-paid player starting in 2024-25.
THE LATEST ON HELLEBUYCK AND SCHEIFELE
SPORTSNET: Ken Wiebe reports the Winnipeg Jets are keeping their options open regarding goaltender Connor Hellebuyck and center Mark Scheifele. The duo are slated to become unrestricted free agents next summer, making both players the subject of trade speculation since the end of last season.
Wiebe wondered if the Jets would re-sign one of them and trade the other. “Or will one or both players be under consideration to be a self-rental?”
Looking back on previous moves made by Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff, Wiebe suggests that Hellebuyck and Scheifele could start the season with the Jets but there’s no guarantee they’ll finish it in Winnipeg.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cheveldayoff has a well-earned reputation for being patient in the trade market when it comes to moving his better players. The most recent example was his trade of Pierre-Luc Dubois to the Los Angeles Kings after a year of trade speculation. For the most part, Cheveldayoff’s patience paid off in that deal as he got a solid return for Dubois.
However, there’s a risk in waiting for the right return going into the season if one or both players become injured or their performance declines. Cheveldayoff could take that gamble to get the deal he wants.
LEAFS NEED TO BOLSTER THEIR BLUELINE
TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan believes Maple Leafs GM Brad Treliving still has work to do to shape his defense corps into one that can contend for the Stanley Cup. He doesn’t see the Leafs’ current crop of blueliners throwing a physical scare into opposing clubs.
Koshan thinks Treliving will have plenty of time once the season starts to make adjustments to the blueline before the March trade deadline.