NHL Rumor Mill – June 9, 2022
UPDATES ON GAUDREAU, GIROUX AND PASTRNAK
TSN: Pierre LeBrun believes Johnny Gaudreau’s sincerity over his public statements that he loves playing in Calgary. He thinks the 28-year-old left winger will give the Flames a chance to sign him. However, LeBrun wouldn’t be surprised if the Gaudreau camp decides to test the unrestricted free agent market on July 13.
The New Jersey Devils have been mentioned as a potential suitor for Gaudreau given their salary-cap room. LeBrun also suggested the Seattle Kraken as a bit of a wild card but they also have the cap space and could be aggressive in the UFA market.
THE ATHLETIC: Hailey Salvian included the Devils among her list of potential destinations for Gaudreau. The Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Islanders and Nashville Predators are other possibilities.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think the Flames will do all they can to keep Gaudreau in the fold. Still, you can’t blame him if he wants to consider all his options.
The Devils are an up-and-coming team in need of an established first-line winger. Gaudreau was born and raised in South Jersey. It’s only natural to assume they’d be among his pursuers.
It’s easy to dismiss the Kraken because they’re a new team still building their roster. However, general manager Ron Francis raised eyebrows by signing Philipp Grubauer and Jaden Schwartz last summer. It’s a long shot but I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Gaudreau landing in Seattle.
I don’t see the Flyers and Islanders signing Gaudreau unless they’re prepared to clear cap space for what could be a seven-year, $70 million contract. The Penguins would have the cap room if Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang depart via free agency The chance to play alongside Sidney Crosby could be tempting.
Predators GM David Poile could be in the market for a new left winger if he fails to get Filip Forsberg under contract. If he balks at signing Forsberg for $8.5 million annually, I don’t see him handing out up to $10 million annually for Gaudreau.
Turning to Claude Giroux, LeBrun said the 34-year-old center’s priority is re-signing with the Florida Panthers. It won’t be easy given their salary-cap limitations but they’ve informed him that they’re interested in signing him.
Failing that, he wants to find a team where he can chase the Stanley Cup but also a place for his young family.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Following Giroux’s trade to Florida, there was speculation he could sign with his hometown Ottawa Senators if he won a Cup this spring. That faded after the Panthers were eliminated in the second round. We’ll see if it gets resurrected if he goes to market in July.
BOSTON HERALD: Steve Conroy reports David Pastrnak’s agent refuted a recent report claiming his client had an issue with Bruins general manager Don Sweeney. The report cited a source close to Pastrnak saying he wouldn’t sign with the Bruins if Sweeney remain GM.
In an email to Conroy, JP Barry said he spoke with the winger and they have no idea where that story came from. “We both have a strong relationship with Don and the plan hasn’t changed one bit. We will sit down in July and begin extension negotiations.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pastrnak is slated next summer to become a UFA. The recent firing of head coach Bruce Cassidy, uncertainty over captain Patrice Bergeron’s future and injuries sidelining Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy from the start of next season contributed to concerns over the club’s ability to sign the talented winger.
Barry’s remarks should alleviate some of the concern about Pastrnak’s future among Bruins fans. However, that speculation will return and grow the longer he goes unsigned over the course of this summer.
LATEST ON THE OILERS
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples listed the highlights of Oilers’ general manager Ken Holland’s season wrap-up press conference on Wednesday.
Holland indicated he’s interested in bringing back Evander Kane. The 30-year-old winger meshed with Oilers captain Connor McDavid after coming to Edmonton in January as a free agent. He doesn’t know if Kane wants to return but intends to meet with him next week.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers got Kane for a bargain at $2 million for this season. He’s going to want much more than that on his next contract. Finding the cap space to keep him will be challenging for Holland.
The Oilers GM appears uncertain about Jesse Puljuarvi’s future. He intends to meet with his agent, admitting he has to sort out where the 24-year-old restricted free agent winger fits into the club’s plans.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s already speculation that Puljujarvi could get traded instead of re-signed this summer.
Staples’ colleague Jim Matheson wondered if the winger could be shipped to the Chicago Blackhawks for Dylan Strome, who was Connor McDavid’s former junior teammate. However, he cautions the Oilers should be careful not to give up too soon on Puljujarvi.
Montreal Hockey Now’s Jimmy Murphy suggested Puljujarvi could be a fit with the rebuilding Canadiens. Sammi Silber of Washington Hockey Now thinks the Capitals should keep an eye on the Oilers winger.
Holland indicated that salary-cap constraints will make it difficult to keep his current roster intact.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, some players who are unrestricted free agents won’t be back. There could also be one or two cost-cutting trades to free up cap room for other additions.