Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup (Part Two) – July 3, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup (Part Two) – July 3, 2022

Check out the latest on Ryan McDonagh, Evgeni Malkin, Vincent Trocheck, Sergei Bobrovsky and more in Part Two of the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Minnesota Wild would like to bring back UFA goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury for another season. He hasn’t made his decision yet and there will be competition for his services.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Depends on how much of a pay cut Fleury is willing to accept. Still, he and GM Bill Guerin are old teammates and friends. They could work something out.

Uncertainty over Nicklas Backstrom’s status makes it difficult to determine the Washington Capitals’ cap flexibility. It’s uncertain if they’ll bring back goalies Vitek Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov. They could pursue Colorado’s Darcy Kuemper if he becomes a UFA next week. They could be in on J.T. Miller.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With $8.9 million in cap space and 18 players under contract for next season, the Capitals will have to move Vanecek or Samsonov if they intend to bring in Kuemper. He could prove too expensive to sign. The Canucks’ asking price for Miller could include Connor McMichael or Hendrix Lapierre.

The Pittsburgh Penguins continue to negotiate with defenseman Kris Letang. They’re reportedly not close to a deal with Evgeni Malkin but that could change before July 13.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The cost of signing Letang will determine how much they’re willing to invest in bringing back Malkin. That could depend on how much of a pay cut he’s willing to accept and whether he’ll accept a three-year deal.

Friedman believes the St. Louis Blues could be a good destination for Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh. He admits it might take multiple moves and could affect their efforts to re-sign UFA winger David Perron. He also wondered if they can retain goalie Ville Husso.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues have $9 million in cap space and 18 players under contract for next season. McDonagh carries a $6.75 million cap hit and I don’t see the Lightning retaining part of it. They’ll have to shed some salary to fit him in and still have enough for Perron and perhaps Husso.

Friedman is curious whether Darcy Kuemper would consider signing with the Toronto Maple Leafs if Jack Campbell departs next week as a UFA. Re-signing defenseman Rasmus Sandin is trickier than they expected. He also wondered if Max Domi might be a fit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wouldn’t rule out the Leafs as a suitor for Kuemper but they’ve got to do something first about Petr Mrazek’s contract. They’ll also likely try to move out Justin Holl and his $2 million cap hit for next season.

Edmonton Oilers goalie Mike Smith isn’t expected to play next season while Duncan Keith’s situation could go either way. Trade candidates could include Zack Kassian, Warren Foegele, Jesse Puljujarvi and possibly Tyson Barrie.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Puljujarvi has garnered a lot of attention recently in the rumor mill as a trade candidate. Kassian could be a buyout candidate while there could be some trade interest in Barrie.

The Tampa Bay Lightning are working with Ryan McDonagh to find a suitable trade. Winger Alex Killorn could also become a cost-cutting candidate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDonagh’s full no-trade clause gives him complete control over potential trade destinations. His $6.75 million annual average value through 2025-26 is also a limiting factor. Killorn carries a more affordable contract at $4.45 million through 2022-23. He carries a 16-team no-trade list.

If the Chicago Blackhawks trade Alex DeBrincat it might spur Patrick Kane or Jonathan Toews to request a trade, especially if DeBrincat’s traded for futures. Teams are also inquiring about Kirby Dach.

SPECTOR’ S NOTE: Kane and Toews have identical $10.5 million cap hits through 2022-23 and full no-movement clauses. Moving either guy will involve retaining a healthy chunk of their annual average salary. One would think the Blackhawks would retain the 21-year-old Dach as part of their rebuilding plans. Then again, a lot of us thought the same thing about Brandon Hagel before they shipped him to Tampa Bay.

The cap-strapped Vegas Golden Knights need to shed salary. They could move Laurent Brossoit for cap reasons. “Trading Nic Hague is not a preferred option”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights are over $2 million above the cap with 18 players under contract for next season. Reilly Smith is believed to be signed but it won’t be made official until July 13 for tagging reasons. They’ll have to move more than Brossoit’s $2.325 million cap hit. Maybe they try to shop William Karlsson and his $5.9 million cap hit.

The Los Angeles Kings made their big move by acquiring Kevin Fiala last week. Friedman wondered if Fiala’s arrival might prompt one or two of their forward prospects to seek a trade if they feel he’ll block their efforts to crack the lineup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If so, perhaps they could be packaged to add an experienced defenseman to their blueline.

It’s believed the Boston Bruins have an interest in Vincent Trocheck if the Carolina Hurricanes center hits the free-agent market next week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman also mentions Patrice Bergeron and perhaps David Krejci could return but that’s not a long-term plan at center. Trocheck could help at least fill the second-line center spot beyond next season. They have $2.3 million in cap space with 22 players signed for next season. Not a lot of room there.

The Calgary Flames are believed to have offered an eight-year deal to Johnny Gaudreau worth $9.5 million annually. They’re still waiting for a decision from the left winger, who feels loyalty toward Calgary but this is as much a family decision as it is a hockey one.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Gaudreau departs I can see the Flames pursuing Filip Forsberg if he doesn’t re-sign with the Nashville Predators.

Friedman wondered if the Carolina Hurricanes might make a pitch to Evgeni Malkin if he doesn’t sign with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wouldn’t put anything past Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon.

The New York Rangers probably can’t afford to sign Andrew Copp or Ryan Strome so they’re testing the trade market for centers. Potential trade partners could ask for Filip Chytil, Kaapo Kakko or even Braden Schneider in return. Friedman wondered if they might look at Adam Henrique if the Ducks absorbed part of his salary.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The New York Post’s Larry Brooks reported the Rangers have spoken to the Winnipeg Jets about Pierre-Luc Dubois. They’re also believed interested in Mark Scheifele. He also mentioned Vancouver’s J.T. Miller and Bo Horvat and Detroit’s Dylan Larkin, though those three have just one year each remaining on their contracts. Brooks mentioned Chicago’s Kirby Dach as an intriguing possibility.

The Florida Panthers denied they were trying to lay the groundwork to trade goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, who has a full no-movement clause for two more seasons. UFA winger Mason Marchment is probably priced out of their market now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers have $3 million in cap space with 17 players under contract for 2022-23. They can get some cap relief by placing sidelined winger Anthony Duclair (Achilles tendon surgery) on LTIR but they’ll have to be compliant when he returns at midseason.

Coming off their Stanley Cup win, the Colorado Avalanche face big decisions regarding UFAs Darcy Kuemper, Nazem Kadri and Valeri Nichushkin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of the three, Nichushkin seems the most likely to be retained. Kuemper and Kadri will be expensive and they’ve got to keep an eye on their long-term cap space with Nathan MacKinnon due for a big raise next summer.










Wild Trade Kevin Fiala To The Kings

Wild Trade Kevin Fiala To The Kings

The Minnesota Wild today traded Kevin Fiala to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for defenseman prospect Brock Faber and the Kings’ first-round pick (19th overall) in the 2022 NHL Draft.

Cap Friendly reports the 25-year-old winger also signed a seven-year contract with the Kings worth an annual average value of $7.875 million. The deal includes a full no-movement clause that begins in 2023-24 through 2025-26, becoming a modified no-trade clause from 2026-27 through the remainder of the deal.

Minnesota Wild trade winger Kevin Fiala to the Los Angeles Kings (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt anyone’s surprised the Wild traded Fiala. Completing a one-year, $5.1 million contract, his career-best 85-point performance put the restricted free agent in line for a significant raise. However, the Wild couldn’t afford it with over $12 million in dead cap space from last year’s buyouts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter biting into their cap room for 2022-23.

Fiala will likely become the Kings’ first-line left wing skating alongside center Anze Kopitar and right wing Adrian Kempe. He could also skate on their second line with center Phillip Danault and right winger Viktor Arvidsson. He’ll be expected to provide a boost to a Kings’ offense whose 2.87 goals-per-game average ranked 20th overall and a powerplay percentage (16.1) that was 27th overall.

Despite Fiala’s impressive stats this season, it remains to be seen if he’s truly elevated his play to the next level. His previous career-best was a 54-point effort in 62 games during the 2019-20 season before it was ended by COVID-19. If his play regresses, the Kings will have an expensive mistake on their hands. On the other hand, it could be money well-spent if he performs up to expectations.

The move leaves the Kings with nearly $12 million in cap space with 16 players under contract for 2022-23. Kempe, Michael Anderson and Sean Durzi are their notable restricted free agents, with Kempe due for a big raise himself after a career-high 35-goal performance this season.

As for the Wild, they now have two picks in the first round (19th and 24th overall) and a promising blueliner in the 19-year-old Faber, who spent this season with the University of Minnesota. The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler ranked him seventh among Kings prospects during his 2022 ranking of their prospect pool. He believed Faber had the makings of “a very effective, three-zone five-on-five player.”

The Wild still has limited salary-cap space, with just $6.6 million remaining and 19 players signed for next season. It’s believed they hope to bring back goalie Marc-Andre Fleury next season but that could require shedding a salary to make it happen. They’ll also have to find someone to replace Fiala’s offense. That won’t be easy given their salary limitations.

This trade could signal the start of a potentially active trade market leading up to the 2022 NHL Draft in Montreal on July 7 and 8. Some clubs could attempt to wheel and deal before the opening round next Thursday.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 16, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 16, 2022

Is it worthwhile for the Blackhawks to trade Alex DeBrincat? Are there any potential trade partners for the Sharks’ Brent Burns? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE PROS AND CONS OF TRADING DEBRINCAT

THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers explains why the Chicago Blackhawks are likely to trade Alex DeBrincat this summer.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat (NHL Images).

One reason is it would be pointless carrying the 24-year-old winger on an expensive long-term contract when their rebuild process could take four or five years to complete. DeBrincat is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer who will cost $9 million just to qualify his rights. Powers believes Blackhawks management would prefer to have cap and roster flexibility at this point.

Powers also suggested that there’s no certainty DeBrincat will sign a long-term extension if the Blackhawks are rebuilding. Moving him now while he still has a year left on his contract could help them fetch the best return.

Mark Lazerus, on the other hand, believes it would be short-sighted madness by the Blackhawks to trade DeBrincat. While acknowledging Powers’ points, he believes it’s worthwhile to retain a player to build around who wants to be in Chicago. Lacking a star like DeBrincat during the rebuilding phase could also hurt the Blackhawks at the gate.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Ben Pope reports the New Jersey Devils have been linked to DeBrincat. They hold the second-overall selection in this year’s draft. So have the Philadelphia Flyers (fifth-overall pick), Ottawa Senators (seventh overall), New York Islanders (13th overall) and Los Angeles Kings (19th overall).

Trading away DeBrincat could also lead to long-time Blackhawks stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews to depart either by requesting a trade or via next summer’s free-agent market. Both have one season remaining on their contracts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson has already indicated the club is undergoing a rebuild. However, that process could take place with DeBrincat as a foundation player.

I don’t think Davidson is actively shopping DeBrincat but could listen to offers. It’ll take a significant one to convince him to part with the two-time 40-goal scorer. If he moves DeBrincat, it’ll likely be in the days or hours leading up to the opening round of this year’s draft on July 7.

POTENTIAL TRADE DESTINATIONS FOR BRENT BURNS

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Sheng Peng recently examined potential trade destinations for Brent Burns if the 37-year-old defenseman and the San Jose Sharks decided to part ways. Peng observed Burns didn’t exactly quash the notion of chasing a Stanley Cup elsewhere during his end-of-season interview last month.

Peng listed the Dallas Stars, Nashville Predators, and New York Islanders as three possible destinations, speaking with reporters and bloggers who cover those clubs if Burns would be a suitable fit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite his age and the three years remaining on his contract, Burns would still be a terrific fit for a team with Stanley Cup aspirations seeking a big puck-moving defenseman.

However, his $8 million annual cap hit and three-team trade list are significant sticking points. Unless the Sharks retain salary or take back a contract of roughly the same value, I don’t see Burns changing teams this summer.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 15, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 15, 2022

The latest on the Avalanche and Lightning ahead of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, the Golden Knights hire former Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy as their new bench boss, Ducks goalie John Gibson denies trade rumors, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Colorado Avalanche coach Jared Bednar hadn’t named his starting goalie for tonight’s Game 1 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final. Darcy Kuemper has fully recovered from the upper-body injury that sidelined him for most of the Western Conference Finals. Backup Pavel Francouz picked up the wins in all four games in that series as the Avs swept the Edmonton Oilers.

THE DENVER POST: Avalanche center Nazem Kadri’s status for Game 1 remains uncertain. He underwent surgery on his right thumb last week and wasn’t seen skating with his teammates in practice. Kadri wasn’t available to the media because of his injury status.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been suggested Kadri could return at some point in the Stanley Cup Final. Given the severity of his injury, I’ll believe it when I see it.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning coach Jon Cooper said all signs indicated Brayden Point (lower-body injury) could return to the lineup for the first time in 31 days in Game 1. However, the final decision will be made on Wednesday.

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brayden Point (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s believed Point will definitely be in the line for Game 2 if he doesn’t play in Game 1 tonight.

LAS VEGAS SUN: The Vegas Golden Knights confirmed they’ve hired former Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy as their new bench boss.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fired by the Bruins on June 6, Cassidy wasn’t unemployed for long. That’s because of his solid resume during his six seasons in Boston, guiding the Bruins to the 2019 Stanley Cup Final and winning the Presidents’ Trophy the following season, earning himself the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year for 2019-20.

The Golden Knights will be counting on Cassidy to get them back on the winning track after missing the playoffs this season for the first time in franchise history.

THE ATHLETIC: John Gibson denied a recent rumor claiming he would welcome a trade from the Anaheim Ducks. The 28-year-old goaltender said he first learned of the speculation in a call with his agent, Kurt Overhardt.

All of the rumors that I got in a call from Kurt yesterday are false because I haven’t had a conversation with anybody there, “ said Gibson. “None of that is true.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Eric Stephens suggested Gibson, who has a 10-team no-trade clause, could be traded if Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek gets a “blow-me-away” offer. That appears unlikely if the goalie wants to stay put.

NHL.COM: The Vancouver Canucks intend to qualify Brock Boeser’s rights, according to president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford. “No, we’re not going to let him walk,” said Rutherford. “We recognize he’s a good player. We can figure out a way to fit him in next season with him taking his qualifying offer. Everything gets tricky and difficult, but we can figure it out.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It will cost the Canucks $7.5 million to qualify Boeser’s rights. With limited cap space, they’ll like have to make a cost-cutting trade or two to work it out.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: cited ESPN’s Kevin Weeks reporting the Flyers are in “late-stage negotiations” with John Tortorella regarding their head-coaching job.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As of early this morning a deal has not yet been reached. There could be an announcement coming soon. Stay tuned…

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: The Red Wings signed Juho “Jussi” Olkinuora to a one-year, two-way contract. The 31-year-old goaltender helped Finland win gold at the 2022 Beijing Olympics. He also backstopped them to gold at the 2022 World Championship, earning MVP honors.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins promoted Chris Pryor to assistant general manager.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars signed forward Fredrik Karlstrom to a one-year, two-way contract extension. He appeared in three games with the Stars this season.

NHL.COM: Al Morganti and Bill Clement will be honored this year by the Hockey Hall of Fame. Morganti will receive the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award for excellence in hockey journalism while Clement will receive the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for outstanding contributions as a hockey broadcaster.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Morganti and Clement on winning these prestigious awards honoring their many years in their respective fields.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes are hopeful of reaching an agreement on a new arena with the city of Tempe by the end of this year.

IDNES.CZ: Czech goaltender Patrik Bartosak is under investigation by police after his father accused him of assault. He’s a former prospect of the Los Angeles Kings, selected in the fifth round of the 2013 NHL Draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stick tap to Alexander Wirdzek for the link.

TSN: Carter Hutton announced his retirement on Tuesday. The 36-year-old goaltender spent 10 seasons in the NHL with the Chicago Blackhawks, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, Buffalo Sabres and Arizona Coyotes. In 235 games, he had a record of 94 wins, 90 losses and 27 overtime losses, with a career goals-against average of 2.76, a save percentage of .908 and 13 shutouts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Hutton and his family in their future endeavors.

CALGARY SUN: Jim “Bearcat” Murray passed away Tuesday at age 89. He was the trainer for Flames from 1980 until 1996, transitioning into retirement in a community ambassador role. Murray became one of the most popular and colorful characters in Flames’ history.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I saw Murray’s popularity in Calgary during the four years I lived there in the mid-1990s. He took part in many community and charity activities and was among the city’s most recognizable local celebrities. My condolences to his family, friends, and the Flames’ organization.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 26, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 26, 2022

Could the Panthers try to trade Sergei Bobrovsky? Can the Canucks afford Brock Boeser? Which LA Kings could become trade candidates? Are the Senators still willing to trade their 2022 first-round pick? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

COULD THE PANTHERS SHOP BOBROVSKY?

NHL WATCHER: On a recent “32 Thoughts” podcast, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman suspected the Florida Panthers tried hard to trade Sergei Bobrovsky during the season or lay the groundwork to do so. He doesn’t know if it’s possible to move the goaltender but he heard the Panthers really worked on it to see if it was possible.

Florida Panther goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Good luck with that. Bobrovsky, 33, carries a $10 million annual salary-cap hit through 2025-26. He also has a full no-movement clause until 2024-25 when the no-trade portion is modified to a 16-team no-trade list.

The only way I see this happening is for the Panthers to retain between $3 million to $5 million of that annual cap hit. That’s assuming Bobrovsky is willing to accept a trade. If he does, it’ll be to a limited number of clubs.

Anything can happen, of course, but I wouldn’t hold my breath anticipating a Bobrovsky trade this summer.

CANUCKS CAN AFFORD BOESER, SAYS RUTHERFORD

VANCOUVER HOCKEY NOW: Rob Simpson reports Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford dismissed speculation his club would have to trade Brock Boeser or negotiate off his $7.5 million qualifying offer. Rutherford indicated they can afford to fit the 25-year-old winger’s QO within their budget for 2022-23. “We are definitely not pressured to trade him for financial reasons,” he said.

Simpson said that doesn’t suggest the Canucks will qualify Boeser by the July 11 deadline or that any decisions have been reached about the winger’s future in Vancouver. Rutherford said they’ll see how things work out and see if a fair deal can be reached for Boeser and the team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boeser is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer. His performance was below expectations this season in part because of injuries and concern over his father’s battle with dementia. The two sides could require arbitration to resolve the issue but I daresay they’ll try to avoid that possibility.

Cap Friendly indicates the Canucks have $69.4 million invested in just 13 players for 2022-23. If necessary, they can exceed the $82.5 million cap by $3.5 million with all-but-retired Micheal Ferland on long-term injury reserve.

Nevertheless, fitting in Boeser’s $7.5 million qualifying offer could mean Rutherford ends up shipping out a salaried player to free up cap space. Maybe he parts with J.T. Miller ($5.25 million cap hit) if the two sides fail to agree to a contract extension. Perhaps he puts Bo Horvat or Conor Garland on the trade block. Maybe he tries to move defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

On the other hand, he and Boeser could agree to a new contract at a lower cap hit than his qualifying offer. Depending on how much of a reduction it is, Rutherford might not have to employ a drastic measure like moving Miller or Horvat.

LATEST ON THE KINGS

THE ATHLETIC: Lisa Dillman included Gabriel Vilardi, Alex Iafallo and Sean Durzi on her list of potential Los Angeles Kings trade candidates. She also didn’t rule out the possibility of general manager Rob Blake listening to trade offers for Quinton Byfield or Arthur Kaliyev but doubted either guy will be moved.

There’s been speculation Blake might consider using his 2022 first-round pick to add an experienced player to the roster. However, Dillman doesn’t see him going that route, pointing out the Kings prefer to hang onto their high draft picks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blake was rumored to be interested in Arizona Coyotes blueliner Jakob Chychrun this season. He has the depth in promising young players and prospects to make a decent offer and the cap space to take on his $4.6 million cap hit.

The Coyotes reportedly want a first-round pick as part of the return. Maybe Blake decides to part with his pick (which sits outside the top-16) if it’ll bring Chychrun to Los Angeles.

SENATORS STILL WILLING TO SHOP THEIR FIRST-ROUNDER

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators GM Pierre Dorion told TSN 1200 is willing to move his 2022 first-round pick if it’ll fetch an impact player to help the club. He’d like to add a top-four defenseman and some depth up front, though the latter could be addressed internally. Dorion also indicated he’s not interested in acquiring a player who could depart via the UFA market in a year or two.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 15, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 15, 2022

What next for the Leafs, Bruins and Kings following their first-round playoff exits? Check out the latest in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

ARE CHANGES COMING FOR THE LEAFS?

SPORTSNET: Despite another first-round playoff exit by the Toronto Maple Leafs, Elliotte Friedman didn’t think there needs to be a shakeup in the front office, behind the bench or on the roster. He cited their fourth-overall Eastern Conference finish in the regular season and losing to the defending Stanley Cup champions by one goal in Game 7. He felt there needs to be some tweaks but no one should be fired.

Kelly Hrudey agreed that no one deserves to be fired but there must be changes on the ice. He felt the Tampa Bay Lightning were beatable but the Leafs failed to take a 3-1 series lead in Game 4 and couldn’t finish off the Lightning with a 3-2 series lead. Hrudey isn’t buying excuses such as bad calls.

Jennifer Botterill felt the Leafs did well this season. However, she believes they couldn’t adjust in certain games to find a way to win in the playoffs.

ESPN.COM: Kristen Shilton suggested a lack of killer instinct remains a problem for the Leafs. She thinks there must be changes, likely starting in the front office as team president Brendan Shanahan and general manager Kyle Dubas have to answer for yet another first-round failure.

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell (NHL Images).

Turning to the roster, Shilton points out goaltender Jack Campbell is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. He’s in line for a big payday but the cap-strapped Leafs could have difficulty accommodating him. She also wondered about veteran defenseman Jake Muzzin’s status as the Leafs continue to get younger on the blueline.

TORONTO STAR: Mark Zwolinski also pointed out the Leafs have over $77 million invested in their 2022-23 roster with over $40 million going to core forwards such as Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares and William Nylander. That will complicate efforts to re-sign Campbell, who could seek maybe $12 million over three years. Other UFAs include Mark Giordano, Jason Spezza and Ilya Mikheyev.

THE ATHLETIC: Jonas Siegel is among those who believe the Leafs only need to tweak their roster for next season. He doesn’t see their core forwards being moved, though it may be time to question Tavares’ role with the club given his line’s defensive struggles. Defensemen Morgan Rielly and T.J. Brodie aren’t going anywhere.

They’ll have to find a suitable backup goalie if they bring back Campbell as expected. That would mean trying to move oft-injured Petr Mrazek and his $3.8 million cap hit over the next two years. Siegel is also curious about the 33-year-old Muzzin’s future and wondered if the Leafs will try to bring back Giordano.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shanahan, Dubas or head coach Sheldon Keefe could lose their jobs over this but I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re back next season. Leafs ownership has been very patient with them and their improvement this season could give that trio one more opportunity to turn this club into a Cup contender.

I’ll be shocked if the Leafs peddle any of their core players. Their hefty contracts would make them difficult to move anyway with the salary cap only rising by $1 million for next season. Nylander is the more affordable at $6.9 million but he’s also been their most reliable playoff performer going back to last year.

The Leafs will try to bring back Campbell but I expect he’ll be seeking more than $4 million per season. Try between $5 million and $6 million annually on a five-year deal.

Even if the Leafs convince Campbell to accept $4 million per season, they must shed salary to sign restricted free agents such as Rasmus Sandin, Timothy Liljegren and Pierre Engvall. Moving Mrazek will help but they’ll need to find a suitable backup. They’ll also have to free up more space if they hope to keep Giordano.

WHAT NEXT FOR BERGERON AND THE BRUINS?

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss reports Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron wasn’t ready to discuss his future during his post-game press conference following his club’s first-round elimination by the Carolina Hurricanes. The 36-year-old center is slated to become a UFA in July but said it was too early to talk about it following a heartbreaking end to the season.

Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said he didn’t know which way Bergeron was leaning regarding his future. He said everyone on the team wants him back.

Goss points out a potential departure by Bergeron would create a huge hole at center for the Bruins, leaving Charlie Coyle and Erik Haula as their top-two centers. There aren’t a plethora of potential replacements via free agency or within the organization while the club lacks sufficient assets to use as trade bait to address that issue.

THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa considers getting an answer on Bergeron’s future as the club’s top priority. He also believes they must make a decision on Jake DeBrusk’s trade request, which he didn’t withdraw despite signing a two-year contract extension in March. They could also shop a left-shot defenseman like Matt Grzelcyk, who became the odd man out during the playoffs.

ESPN.COM: Kristen Shilton also believes the Bruins need a decision on Bergeron’s fate and DeBrusk’s trade request. She also felt they need to improve their scoring depth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergeron’s status and DeBrusk’s trade request will be the dominant issues for the Bruins. His return will buy some time to start building up their depth at center. Perhaps trading DeBrusk, who’s signed through 2023-24 at $4 million per season, could address that issue.

WHAT IN STORE FOR THE KINGS?

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski wondered if Los Angeles Kings GM Rob Blake will be aggressive in adding to his roster this summer as he was when he brought in Phillip Danault and Viktor Arvidsson last summer. He mused over whether Blake will revisit his interest in Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun.

The Kings will have over $20 million in salary-cap space with Dustin Brown’s contract coming off their books. However, they only have 14 players under contract for next season with Adrian Kempe, Gabe Vilardi, Carl Grundstrom and Sean Durzi among their restricted free agents.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blake must give priority to his key RFAs as well as re-sign or replace UFAs like Andreas Athanasiou and Alex Edler. Depending on how those negotiations go, he might have enough room to make another significant veteran acquisition.

Chychrun and his $4.6 million annual cap hit through 2024-25 would be an affordable pickup cap-wise. However, the Coyotes seek a significant return including high draft picks and top prospects.