NHL Rumor Mill – July 26, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – July 26, 2021

Check out the latest on Jack Eichel, the goaltending market and Evgeny Kuznetsov in today’s NHL rumor mill.

COULD AN EICHEL TRADE HAPPEN THIS WEEK?

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Jack Eichel’s agents believe the 24-year-old center will be traded in the near future, adding all their discussions with the Buffalo Sabres have centered around that issue. Eyebrows were raised when Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams said he’d have no problem if Eichel was still with the club when training camp opens in September.

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (NHL Images).

Friedman listed the Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames and Minnesota Wild among the clubs with some interest in Eichel. The Montreal Canadiens have engaged in talks with the Sabres but they’re not anywhere near a point where the latter would agree to a deal. The New York Rangers and Sabres aren’t close in their conversations.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The sticking point, of course, is the herniated disk in Eichel’s neck. While he’s returned to skating, it’s believed he still prefers surgery. However, the Sabres are reluctant to go that route because the procedure has never been done on a professional hockey player.

Eichel’s $10 million annual cap hit for the next five seasons is another issue. So is the Sabres’ rumored asking price of the equivalent of four first-round draft picks. As I’ve recently speculated, this could drag on throughout the summer before reaching a resolution before the start of training camp.

A LOOK AT THIS SUMMER’S GOALIE MARKET

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman observed the Toronto Maple Leafs have made finding a goaltending partner for Jack Campbell to be their top priority. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Flyers seek an experienced partner for young starter Carter Hart.

He wondered if the Vancouver Canucks will buy out Braden Holtby if unable to trade him and if Martin Jones will get a fresh start elsewhere assuming he’s bought out by the San Jose Sharks.

Other goalie questions include where Arizona Coyotes netminder Darcy Kuemper ends up, what the Vegas Golden Knights will do with their goalie tandem of Marc-Andre Fleury and Robin Lehner, and what the market will be for Sabres UFA Linus Ullmark.

He also mused over what the Colorado Avalanche’s contract limit will be for pending free agent Philipp Grubauer. It’s believed Grubauer’s asking price was close to the six-year, $6 million per season contract of St. Louis’ Jordan Binnington.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Toronto Sun’s Terry Koshan and The Toronto Star’s Damien Cox believe it’s crucial for Leafs GM Kyle Dubas to find the right partner for Campbell. Cox was scathing in his analysis of Dubas’ seeming unwillingness to adequately address the club’s goaltending.

There won’t be any long-term solutions walking through the door via free agency for the Leafs. I doubt they can win any bidding war for Grubauer. The asking price for Kuemper could be a first-round pick but they’ve go just three picks (including their first) in next year’s draft. Acquiring Fleury or Lehner could also cost them a valuable asset.

CAPITALS NOT SHOPPING KUZNETSOV?

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber reports the possibility of the Capitals trading Evgeny Kuznetsov appears less certain after GM Brian MacLellan downplayed that notion over the weekend. “We’ve never said we’re trading Kuznetsov,” he said. “I said we were open to discussions on most of our players in the trade market and if it comes up, it comes up and if it doesn’t make sense, same as always.”

The Capitals face a salary-cap crunch and still have to re-sign captain Alex Ovechkin and goaltender Ilya Samsonov. While clearing Kuznetsov’s $7.8 million AAV would address that issue, MacLellan said decisions to clear cap space will be based on how much they need. He also suggested swinging a blockbuster deal similar to those in recent days isn’t necessarily going to be his team’s strategy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite Kuznetsov’s disappointing season on and off the ice, MacLellan could be reluctant to part with him because of his previous contributions when he’s on his game. He may have also tested the market and found lukewarm interest in the 29-year-old center.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 22, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – July 22, 2021

With the expansion draft over, here’s the latest on the Kraken, Oilers, Islanders, Canadiens, Capitals, Senators, Kings and Sharks in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TIME TO GET KRAKEN IN THE TRADE AND UFA MARKETS?

RDS.CA: Francois Gagnon reports the Seattle Kraken’s inaugural roster is thin on scoring punch. However, that could change once the expansion draft roster freeze lifts at 1 pm ET Thursday.

Francis has approximately $29 million in salary-cap space to put toward adding players to help his club over the short and long term. The Kraken GM could target cap-strapped clubs looking to shed salary. He could also try his luck in the free-agent market when it opens on July 28.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trades involving the Kraken could be announced as early as today following the lifting of the roster freeze. It will be interesting to see how Francis navigates the trade and free-agent markets this summer. I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t land one or two quality players before the puck drops in October.

LATEST OILERS RUMORS

TORONTO STAR: Kevin McGran reports Zach Hyman was in Edmonton yesterday discussing a possible long-term contract that could be announced as early as Thursday. The 29-year-old winger’s preference is to remain with the Leafs but his asking price of eight years at $5 million annually could be too much for the cap-strapped Leafs.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Zach Hyman (NHL Images).

If Hyman agrees to terms with the Oilers, his rights could be traded to Edmonton before the free-agent market opens on July 28. It’s believed the Leafs would want draft picks in return. The winger has drawn interest around the league, with one offer (not from the Oilers) said to be as high as $7 million annually. Hyman is only interested in playing for a contender.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The reason for the sign-and-trade is for the Oilers to get an extra year on the contract. Teams can re-sign players to a maximum of eight years. Unrestricted free agents from other teams can be signed for no more than seven years.

Whoever the general manager is that’s offering Hyman $7 million should be fired at once. The winger’s a good player but he’s not worth $7 million per season. With some GMs apparently succumbing to auction fever already, Hyman’s going to make a lot of money on his next contract.

SPORTSNET: Mark Spector reports the Oilers are trying to figure out how to replace Adam Larsson following his signing with the Seattle Kraken yesterday. General manager Ken Holland will look at bringing back Tyson Barrie but they still need a shutdown defenseman on the right side. If Barrie is signed, Ethan Bear could become a trade candidate.

Should Holland pass on Barrie, his options in the free-agent market include Tampa Bay’s David Savard or Vancouver’s Travis Hamonic.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reports yesterday indicated the Oilers were circling back to Barrie. He seeks a long-term deal that could prove more expensive than the four-year, $16 million contract Larsson signed with the Kraken. Savard could cost less than Barrie but perhaps a little more than Larsson.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE ISLANDERS?

THE ATHLETIC: With Jordan Eberle gone, Arthur Staple wondered what the New York Islanders will do with the cap space they’ve freed up. Eberle’s selection by the Kraken in the expansion draft plus the recent trades of Nick Leddy to Detroit and Andrew Ladd to Arizona give the Isles over $17.6 million in cap room.

Restricted free agents Anthony Beauvillier, Adam Pelech and Ilya Sorokin need new contracts. Pending UFA Casey Cizikas could also return. It’s believed former Minnesota Wild winger Zach Parise is on the Isles radar plus they must find a left-side defenseman to replace Leddy.

The Islanders have also been linked to St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko and Colorado Avalanche winger Gabriel Landeskog. Adding one or the other could involve making a cost-cutting move.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Staple also noted the Islanders can put the permanently sidelined Johnny Boychuk ($6 million annual cap hit) on long-term injury reserve if necessary to free up additional cap room. They could go that route depending on what it takes to re-sign those RFAs and Cizikas. Landeskog will cost a fortune as a free agent so I don’t see a fit there. Tarasenko is a possibility in the trade market but making the dollars work will be difficult.

CANADIENS LINKED TO BEAUVILLIER, DVORAK

TVA SPORTS: reports the Montreal Canadiens were linked to New York Islanders winger Anthony Beauvillier and Arizona Coyotes center Christian Dvorak. The Calgary Flames, Ottawa Senators, Vegas Golden Knights and Pittsburgh Penguins are also said to be interested in Dvorak. The 25-year-old forward carries a $4.45 million annual cap hit through 2024-25.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens’ rumored pursuit of both players could depend on what the future holds for Shea Weber and Jonathan Drouin. They have over $14 million in cap space but could get more wiggle room if necessary should Weber ($7.85 million) and/or Drouin ($5.5 million) end up on long-term injury reserve.

The Canadiens’ supposed interest in Beauvillier is tied to the small number of Quebec-born players on their roster. Drouin and Phillip Danault were the only two in the lineup this season and Danault is expected to depart via free agency next week. I think Beauvillier will be staying on Long Island. The Coyotes, meanwhile, are rebuilding their roster and believed to be listening to offers for Dvorak.

CAPITALS MUST SHED SALARY

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: J.J. Regan reports the Seattle Kraken’s selection of goaltender Vitek Vanecek leaves the Capitals facing a salary-cap crunch. They have just $8.9 million in cap space with captain Alex Ovechkin and goalie Ilya Samsonov to re-sign. They also have to find a replacement for Vanecek.

With eight defensemen under contract, the Capitals could end up moving one of Dmitry Orlov ($5.1 million cap hit), Brenden Dillon ($3.9 million), Justin Schultz ($4 million) or Nick Jensen ($2.5 million). Depending on the cost of re-signing Ovechkin and Samsonov, that still might not be enough. A bolder move could be trying to trade center Evgeny Kuznetsov and his $7.8 million cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A salary dump or two is in the cards for the Capitals this summer. Kuznetsov’s been a fixture in the rumor mill for weeks but his cap hit and personal baggage could be difficult to move without tossing in a sweetener like a draft pick or prospect.

UPDATES ON THE SENATORS, KINGS AND SHARKS

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Chris Tierney may have played his final game with the Senators. He and forward Evgenii Dadonov and defenseman Josh Brown were exposed in the expansion draft.

Garrioch also reports the Los Angeles Kings are willing to move their first-round pick (eighth overall) in this year’s draft.

THE ATHLETIC’s Kevin Kurz reports the San Jose Sharks are seeking a veteran goaltender to pair with recently acquired Adin Hill. That means Martin Jones has played his final game with the Sharks.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 21, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – July 21, 2021

The NHL expansion draft begins at 8 pm ET tonight. Check out the latest on Carey Price, Vladimir Tarasenko, Gabriel Landeskog, Jack Eichel and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST EXPANSION DRAFT SPECULATION

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports there’s an expectation the Seattle Kraken could make an 11th-hour pitch to the Montreal Canadiens to ask their price to not select Carey Price. LeBrun doubts Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin will pay it since he and Price agreed the latter would be exposed in the draft.

Will the Seattle Kraken select Carey Price in the expansion draft? (NHL Images)

Price, meanwhile, is slated to be examined in New York on Thursday regarding hip and knee ailments. Kraken GM Ron Francis has had a few conversations with Price’s agent.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reports Francis has received the green light from Kraken ownership to select Price if they see fit despite the goalie’s health issues and expensive contract.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan examined Bergevin’s options to replace Price if he’s selected by the Kraken. Free-agent options could include Detroit’s Jonathan Bernier, Toronto’s Frederik Andersen and Boston’s Jaroslav Halak, who began his NHL career in Montreal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’ll learn officially after 8 pm ET tonight if the Kraken snap-up Price. Doing so would free up $10.5 million in cap space for Bergevin to seek a short-term replacement. Possible trade targets could include Arizona’s Darcy Kuemper and Columbus’ Elvis Merzlikins or Joonas Korpisalo.

PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi reports of rumors the Kraken could select St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko and flip him to the Philadelphia Flyers for winger Jakub Voracek and a draft pick. Other reports they could target the  Washington Capitals for center Evgeny Kuznetsov. The New York Rangers have also been mentioned because of Tarasenko’s friendship with Rangers left wing Artemi Panarin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It would be very interesting to see if the Kraken would go that route with Tarasenko. They’ll have to get something worthwhile in the return to consider it.

Maybe they’d accept Voracek if they select James van Riemsdyk from the Flyers in the expansion draft. Despite Kuznetsov’s personal baggage, the Kraken could take the chance if they fail to land a quality center in the draft. Perhaps they could pry Pavel Kuchnevich and a draft pick or prospect from the Rangers.

Tarasenko isn’t the only player the Kraken could attempt to flip to another club soon after the draft. NBC Sports Adam Gretz also listed Calgary’s Mark Giordano, New Jersey’s P.K. Subban, Nashville’s Calle Jarnkrok, Anaheim’s Adam Henrique and Philadelphia’s Shayne Gostisbehere as possible trade candidates if selected by the Kraken.

Pierre LeBrun also reported Gabriel Landeskog’s camp had a conversation with the Kraken on Sunday but there’s been nothing further since. Unless things change, he doubts the Kraken will sign the Colorado Avalanche. Landeskog is due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 28.

Darren Dreger reports Francis has had a number of conversations with agent J.P. Barry, who represents pending UFAs Dougie Hamilton and Adam Larsson. They could be preliminary discussions. Francis’ window of exclusivity to negotiate with unprotected free agents expires at 10 am ET today.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Kraken are locked-in on Florida Panthers goalie Chris Driedger. He wondered if they’ll also attempt to add Frank Vatrano or if Driedger becomes their pick from the Panthers. They’re also interested in St. Louis Blues winger Jaden Schwartz. Do they add him now or select Vince Dunn and add the winger later?

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Kraken don’t sign Landeskog, Driedger, Schwartz, Hamilton or Larsson today they can continue contract discussions with them. It just means they’ll be jockeying with other clubs interested in their services as the start of free agency (July 28) draws nearer.

DAILY FACEOFF: Cam Lewis cited a recent report claiming the New Jersey Devils appear interested in moving P.K. Subban. They exposed him in the expansion draft but were also trying to find a taker for the former Norris Trophy winner. Lewis wondered if they can convince the Kraken to take on the final season of Subban’s contract. He carries a $9 million cap hit for 2021-22.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps that will become one of those side deals we heard so much about leading up to today’s draft. It could take a significant sweetener to convince the Kraken to do that.

IN OTHER RUMORS…

THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo reported the Minnesota Wild continues to have discussions with the Buffalo Sabres regarding Jack Eichel. However, the asking price for the 24-year-old center remains very high.

It’s believed Sabres GM Kevin Adams sought all futures from the Wild. That would mean top prospects Marco Rossi and Matt Boldy plus two first-round picks. Given Eichel’s $10 million annual average value, the Sabres would have to take back a significant salary from the Wild or find another club to act as a third-party broker.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Russo doesn’t see a clear path for the Wild to acquire Eichel unless the Sabres lower their prices. He’s previously reported GM Bill Guerin is reluctant to burn through his cap space or deplete his prospect pipeline.

Speaking of Eichel, The Buffalo News’ Lance Lysowski cited Elliotte Friedman saying the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and Calgary Flames are out of the bidding, at least for now. The Wild and Rangers are listed as possibilities.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov received a significant offer from KHL club CSKA Moscow. Guerin is aware of it but he believes they can bridge the cap in contract talks with the 2021 Calder Trophy winner.

LeBrun also reports the Winnipeg Jets and Montreal Canadiens are among the teams believed interested in Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets could lose defenseman Dylan DeMelo in the expansion draft. Canadiens captain Shea Weber could miss all of next season (and perhaps more) due to multiple lingering injuries.

Darren Dreger reports the Arizona Coyotes continue shopping Oliver Ekman-Larsson but his $8.25 million annual cap hit is a tough sell. Perhaps interest will pick up if a team loses a good defenseman in the expansion draft.

Meanwhile, there’s no progress in contract talks between the Coyotes and winger Conor Garland. Several clubs are keeping an eye on the restricted free agent’s situation.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 25, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – June 25, 2021

In today’s NHL rumor mill: Looking ahead at possible offseason moves by the Golden Knights and the Blue Jackets appear to be out of the Jack Eichel sweepstakes.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS?

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski believes the Vegas Golden Knights need to open up some salary-cap flexibility during the offseason. They’ve only got $3 million in cap room for 2021-22 with Alec Martinez and Tomas Nosek hitting free agency. Reilly Smith, Ryan Reaves, Brayden McNabb and Nick Holden will be UFAs next summer.

Could the Vegas Golden Knights attempt to trade Marc-Andre Fleury later this summer? (NHL Images).

They have over $12 million tied up in goaltenders Marc-Andre Fleury and Robin Lehner. Wyshynski wonders if Fleury might be easier to move with a year remaining on his contract as a Vezina Trophy finalist.

Wyshynski believes they need to find a star center. With players like Jack Eichel, Evgeni Malkin, Aleksander Barkov and Evgeny Kuznetsov potentially available and the Golden Knights considered high-stakes gamblers, it wouldn’t be surprising if they made a major move this summer.

The Golden Knights are exempt from the expansion draft. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t swing a cost-cutting deal with the Seattle Kraken.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Ed Graney believes offseason changes are needed for the Golden Knights after failing to advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the second straight season. Pointing to a power-play that went scoreless in 15 attempts against the Montreal Canadiens in the semifinal, he feels it needs a “massive overhaul, be it schematically or personnel.”

Graney also thinks the Golden Knights must move on from one of their two goaltenders. “You figure it would be Fleury,” he said.

He also pointed out the need for high-end talent up front. The lack of depth at center, including Cody Glass’ inability to develop as hoped, also needs to be addressed. He recommended putting together a package offer for Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel or contacting the Columbus Blue Jackets about winger Patrik Laine.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights aren’t likely to just stand pat this summer. They’re unafraid to make bold moves and could so again this summer, perhaps with one or two cost-cutting trades to free up room for an impact center.

Fleury carries a $7 million cap hit for next season ($6 million in actual salary) and a 10-team no-trade list. Still, the Golden Knights could gauge his value in the trade market, especially if he ends up winning the Vezina Trophy.

Landing an expensive talent like Eichel or Kuznetsov would be a complex move. The Sabres reportedly want between four-to-six assets for Eichel. Kuznetsov will cost less but the Capitals will still want to get back something decent. Laine could be available but the Golden Knights lack the quality center the Blue Jackets would probably want in return.

Forget about Malkin or Barkov, they’re not going anywhere. The former reportedly will only waive his no-movement clause to go to Florida, while the Panthers intend to sign the latter to a contract extension.

BLUE JACKETS OUT OF THE EICHEL SWEEPSTAKES?

THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reports of rumors the Columbus Blue Jackets are heavily involved in trade discussions with the Buffalo Sabres for Jack Eichel. However, his sources claim it doesn’t appear they’re in hot pursuit of the 24-year-old center.

Eichel’s health (herniated disc), the Sabres’ asking price, and the Blue Jackets’ position as a rebuilding club are the main issues here. Portzline speculates it could cost them their first-round pick (fifth overall) in this year’s draft, goaltender Elvis Merzlkins, forward Alexandre Texier or defenseman Andrew Peeke, and a top prospect. Even that probably wouldn’t be enough to get a deal done.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I assumed the Blue Jackets’ depth in first-round picks in this year’s draft and in tradeable goaltenders (Merzlikins or Joonas Korpisalo) could give them an edge in the potential Eichel bidding war. Portzline’s report took the air out of that balloon.

Maybe the Jackets’ interest changes if the Sabres can’t find a suitable trade partner for Eichel and lower their rumored asking price. As Portzline pointed out, however, giving up a lot of promising young players for a superstar with injury concerns would be a risky move for a rebuilding club.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 24, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – June 24, 2021

A look at some of this summer’s notable trade candidates in today’s NHL rumor mill.

DAILY FACEOFF: Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel and Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones top Frank Seravalli’s list of 20 names in play in this summer’s trade market.

Seravalli encapsulates the previous reports explaining the broken relationship between Eichel and the Sabres. He also reports concerns have been voiced by multiple teams about Jones’ two seasons of declining production.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jones has 30 and 28 points respectively in 56 games each. That could be due to playing fewer games in two pandemic-shortened seasons. It could also be attributed to playing for one of the NHL’s lowest-scoring teams during that period. His two best offensive seasons (2017-18 and 2018-19) occurred when winger Artemi Panarin was his teammate.

The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun cited sources claiming the Philadelphia Flyers are among the clubs with an interest in the Jackets blueliner. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman expects a Jones trade to take place around next month’s NHL Draft.

The Washington Capitals are tired of Evgeny Kuznetsov’s off-ice antics. A talented but inconsistent player, his contract could be difficult to move but maybe less so after the Capitals pay his $5 million signing bonus in July.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: He’ll still carrying a $7.8 million annual average value through 2024-25 with a 15-team no-trade clause. The Capitals will either have to pick up part of that cap hit or take back an expensive contract.

There’s been no contract discussions between the Arizona Coyotes and restricted free agent winger Conor Garland since his agent submitted two contract proposals on May 20. Seravalli points out the Coyotes nearly moved Garland leading up to this season’s trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Garland has arbitration rights and is completing a two-year, $1.55 million contract. He’ll attract plenty of attention if the Coyotes decide to move him.

Seravalli cites sources claiming there was friction this season between Evander Kane and some of his San Jose Sharks teammates. He’s also coming off his best season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane was the Sharks’ leading scorer this season with 22 goals and 49 points in 56 games. He’s also signed through 2024-25 with a $7 million cap hit and a three-team trade list. As Seravalli suggests, general manager Doug Wilson could face choppy waters here.

It’s believed the Arizona Coyotes seek a draft pick, prospect, roster player and perhaps a smaller, less desirable contract in exchange for defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt the Coyotes get that much for OEL. Their goal is to shed the remaining six years (at $8.25 million annually) of his contract so they’ll probably have to settle for much less because of the flattened salary cap. Heck, it’ll be a win if they can move him without absorbing part of his cap hit.

Others appearing on Seravalli’s list include Carolina Hurricanes winger Warren Foegele, Philadelphia Flyers winger Jakub Voracek and Florida Panthers defenseman Anton Stralman.

He speculated the Hurricanes might be unable to give Foegele the extra playing time he seeks. Clearing out Voracek’s contract could give the Flyers the cap flexibility they need, perhaps by enticing the Seattle Kraken with a draft pick. Cap flexibility for the Panthers would also be behind moving Stralman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Foegele’s stuck behind Andrei Svechnikov and Nino Niederreiter on the Hurricanes depth chart at left wing. It will be interesting to see how they handle this situation.

Voracek lacks no-trade protection but carries an $8.25 million annual cap hit through 2023-24. Maybe the Kraken would be interested but it could take a significant pick to tempt them.

Stralman turns 35 in August, carries a $5.5 million cap hit for next season with a 16-team no-trade list. Two words to Panthers GM Bill Zito: good luck.

Seravalli also listed the rights to Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton, Buffalo Sabres center Sam Reinhart, Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau, Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk, Anaheim Ducks winger Rickard Rakell, Buffalo Sabres blueliner Rasmus Ristolainen, St. Louis Blues rearguard Vince Dunn, the rights to Panthers goaltender Chris Driedger, Toronto Maple Leafs rearguard Travis Dermott and Winnipeg Jets defender Sami Niku.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As with Eichel, Seravalli summarizes why those players could be shopped this summer. Those factors have been previously documented here in the Rumor Mill based on various media sources, including Seravalli during his TSN tenure.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 28, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – May 28, 2021

Are offseason changes coming for the Predators? Has Evgeny Kuznetsov played his final game with the Capitals? Are the Senators interested in Flyers captain Claude Giroux? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE PREDATORS?

ESPN.COM: Emily Kaplan believes it’s time for the Nashville Predators to start incorporating more young players into their lineup. She also anticipates they’ll prioritize re-signing defenseman Mattias Ekholm if he seeks a long-term extension before his contract expires next summer.

Could the Nashville Predators attempt to trade Matt Duchene this summer? (NHL Images).

Free-agent goaltender Pekka Rinne won’t be back as Juuse Saros has taken over the starter’s job. Kaplan proposed trying to entice the Seattle Kraken into selecting Ryan Johansen or Matt Duchene in this summer’s expansion draft.

THE ATHLETIC: Joe Rexrode believes the Predators must figure out where they are and how to get to the next level. Assuming long-time general manager David Poile isn’t asked to leave or doesn’t step down, he’ll have to figure out what to do with Johansen, Duchene and pending free agent Mikael Granlund.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Attempting to unload overpaid underachievers Johansen and Duchene won’t be easy. Both have several seasons remaining on their respective contracts with each carrying an $8 million annual average value. They lack no-trade protection but those contracts will be tough to move with the salary cap remaining flat at $81.5 million next season.

Poile will have to get creative to find a way to move one or both. Getting the Kraken to select one of them will mean offering up a sweetener in the form of a draft pick, a top prospect or a good young player. That still might not be enough to get it done. Maybe Poile finds a club will to be a third-party broker by taking on part of the cap hit in return for a pick or prospect.

HAS KUZNETSOV PLAYED HIS FINAL GAME WITH THE CAPITALS?

THE ATHLETIC: Tarik El-Bashir reported Washington Capitals GM Brian MacLellan addressed the recent trade rumors about Evgeny Kuznetsov during his end-of-season press conference on Wednesday. “We’re always open to trading people if it makes sense,” he said. “If it’s going to make our team better, we’re open to it. “

SPECTOR’S NOTE: MacLellan also said they need Kuznetsov to play at his highest ability. If that wasn’t possible, they wouldn’t be a good team and they’ll have to make some other decisions.

The Capitals GM could entertain trade offers for Kuznetsov this summer. Then again, this could be his public way of reminding the center that his tenure in Washington is in jeopardy unless he cleans up his act on and off the ice.

Kuznetsov’s play has declined over the last couple of years. He received a three-game suspension by the league in 2019 for “inappropriate conduct” less than a month following a four-year ban from international competition following a positive test for cocaine. He tested positive twice this year for COVID-19 and was benched for one game earlier this month after he and goalie Ilya Samsonov missed a team function.

Those factors could impede MacLellan’s efforts to trade Kuznetsov. So could his $7.8 million annual average value over the remaining four years of his contract and his 15-team no-trade clause.

ARE THE SENATORS INTERESTED IN GIROUX?

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports there’s speculation among Senators followers over Claude Giroux’s future with the Philadelphia Flyers. He becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer. Garrioch considers it doubtful he’ll be traded because of his no-move clause and his desire to stay in Philadelphia.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That speculation linking Giroux to the Senators wasn’t generated by media sources. The Athletic’s Ian Mendes recently observed the “Giroux-to-Ottawa” talk that appeared among Senators fans on social media in recent weeks. The Flyers captain spends his offseasons in the Ottawa area but Mendes doubted that would be a factor in his future plans. If Giroux and the Flyers part company, the 33-year-old center will likely want to join a Stanley Cup contender.

Garrioch believes there are other possibilities in the trade and free-agent markets if the Senators decide to bring in an experienced center. His list included Sean Monahan of the Calgary Flames, Nazem Kadri of the Colorado Avalanche, and Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

He also mentioned Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel but doesn’t believe that move makes much sense for the Senators. He also dismissed Washington’s Evgeny Kuznetsov because of his hefty contract.