NHL Rumor Mill – June 12, 2023
OILERS CONTACT FLYERS ABOUT KONECNY
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins cited a source connected to Travis Konecny claiming the Oilers are among the clubs that have reached out to the Philadelphia Flyers about the availability of the 26-year-old winger.
Konecny has a year remaining on his contract with an average annual value of $5.5 million. Leavins speculates the London, Ontario native would not be averse to signing a long-term deal with a Canadian team.
THE ATHLETIC: Charlie O’Connor cited colleague Pierre LeBrun’s report last week claiming the rebuilding Flyers would listen if any teams “stepped up” regarding Konecny. However, he doesn’t think that the Flyers particularly want to trade him. O’Connor noted that general manager Daniel Briere is a big fan of the winger as a player and a person.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Briere’s surprising trade of Ivan Provorov last week signaled that the Flyers are open for business. He also indicated following that move that he would listen to offers on everyone. That doesn’t mean he’s having a fire sale but is conducting due diligence by evaluating the trade value of his players.
Briere could trade Konecny for the right offer, which would likely be a return containing at least a high draft pick and/or a top prospect as part of the package. However, he’s not under any pressure to move the winger this summer. Konecny is a year away from unrestricted free-agent eligibility but it wouldn’t be shocking if he and the Flyers agreed to a contract extension if he’s willing to buy into the rebuild and if they see him as a key piece in that process.
It’s also understandable why the Oilers are inquiring about Konecny, whose performance was among the few bright spots in the Flyers’ season. They’ll have to jockey with several other clubs as he could draw plenty of interest if he’s available.
NO CONTRACT TALKS SO FAR BETWEEN THE LEAFS AND BUNTING
THE HOCKEY NEWS: David Alter reports there have been no contract negotiations between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Michael Bunting. The 27-year-old winger is slated to become a UFA on July 1. Bunting’s agent, Paul Capizzano, said Friday that he hasn’t had any discussions yet with Brad Treliving, the Leafs new general manager.
Cap space could be a factor in whether Bunting has a future with the Leafs. Alter observed they have just over $9 million available for 2023-24 with 15 of 23 active roster players under contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Toronto Star’s Nick Kypreos suggested Bunting could get between $4.5 million and $5 million on the open market. That’s based on the two-year, $8.5 million contract signed by Andreas Athanasiou last week with the Chicago Blackhawks. Like Alter, Kypreos believes Toronto could be priced out of re-signing Bunting.
ANOTHER LIST OF BUYOUT CANDIDATES
THE ATHLETIC: Thomas Drance and Harman Dayal recently compiled a list of potential buyout candidates. The annual contract buyout window opens on June 15 or 48 hours following the completion of the last game of the Stanley Cup Final, whichever is later. The end date is June 30 at 5 pm ET.
Players 26 and older can be bought out during that period at two-thirds of the remaining value of their contract over twice the remaining term. For those under 26, it’s one-third of the remaining value.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If those names sound familiar, they also turned up on Daily Faceoff’s listing of potential buyout candidates. We duly noted that list on June 5.
Others included Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Matt Murray, Washington Capitals winger Anthony Mantha, Seattle Kraken goalie Chris Driedger, St. Louis Blues defenseman Marco Scandella, Arizona Coyotes defenseman Patrik Nemeth and Vancouver Canucks blueliner Oliver Ekman-Larsson and wingers Brock Boeser and Conor Garland.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with most of these selections except for those three Canucks. Drance and Dayal acknowledged Canucks GM Patrik Allvin’s stated preference not to buy out contracts as well as the unwieldy cap issues in buying out Ekman-Larsson based on the structure of his lengthy contract.
Boeser or Garland is more likely to be traded. Trade rumors about Boeser have cooled in recent weeks as the Canucks appear keen to keep him. Garland appears to be the Canuck most likely to become a cost-cutting trade candidate.
Nevertheless, Drance and Dayal suggest the Canucks could have little choice but to go the buyout route if they run out of options to gain cap flexibility before June 30.
Disgraced Bruins minor leaguer Mitchell Miller also appeared on their list. The less said about him, the better.