The latest on Jake DeBrusk, the Stars are shopping Anton Khudobin, plus some recent Islanders and Rangers speculation in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Boston Bruins are continuing to shop Jake DeBrusk, who requested a trade last weekend. They’ve informed teams that they’re going to do this on their timeline and seek a defenseman or forward of equal value to the 25-year-old winger.
Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk (NHL Images)
VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Owen Krepps wondered if the Golden Knights might be interested in DeBrusk, noting he carries a reasonable $3.675 million cap hit. However, he doubted they have anything the Bruins would be interested in. Krepps also pondered other possible trade targets such as the San Jose Sharks’ Evander Kane, the St. Louis Blues’ Vladimir Tarasenko, New York Rangers’ Vitali Kravtsov and the Chicago Blackhawks’ Dylan Strome.
PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski mused over whether DeBrusk would be a fit with the Penguins. While his style of game could be enticing, his consistency and the fact the Penguins are jockeying with the Bruins for a playoff spot makes a trade between those two clubs unlikely. Kingerski also dismissed suggestions the Penguins would be a good destination for Evander Kane.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights will have to shed salary when Jack Eichel comes off long-term injury reserve so I doubt they’ll be a suitor for DeBrusk. The Penguins also face the same situation once Evgeni Malkin comes off LTIR in the coming weeks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres could be out of the goalie market for now following last week’s acquisition of Malcolm Subban from the Chicago Blackhawks. Khudobin also has a four-team no-trade list and the Sabres could be on it.
THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Arthur Staple was asked if New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello will make a move to bolster the club’s blueline depth and flagging offense.
Staple suggested Montreal Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot or Chicago Blackhawks (and former Isle) Calvin de Haan could help the Islanders blueline. He mentioned the Bruins’ Jake DeBrusk but feels that could cost the Islanders a forward in return.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks recently reported the Rangers opened contract extension talks with center Ryan Strome. Brooks pointed out the difficulty of re-signing Strome when the Rangers face a salary-cap crunch for the next two seasons with Kaapo Kakka and Alexis Lafreniere due for new contracts.
Fox could be eyeing a deal comparable to the $9 million AAV Cale Makar signed this summer with the Colorado Avalanche. Promising winger Kaapo Kakko is also slated for RFA status next summer.
NEW YORK POST: Before the Zibanejad signing, Larry Brooks was skeptical of the Rangers acquiring Eichel. On Oct. 9, he suggested the only way the Blueshirts could afford Eichel and Zibanejad was if the Buffalo Sabres absorbed 40 to 50 percent of the 24-year-old center’s $10 million annual cap hit.
Brooks dismissed the likelihood of Sabres owner Terry Pegula agreeing to that. He believed Pegula would prefer shipping Eichel anywhere else but the Rangers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers aren’t acquiring Jack Eichel unless Zibanejad’s new contract is part of some elaborate “sign-and-trade” deal by general manager Chris Drury. Otherwise, they’ll have to shed $10 million in cap space to fit Eichel’s cap hit within their payroll. Doing that would weaken their depth.
Cap Friendly shows the Rangers with over $62 million invested in 16 players for 2022-23 with Fox, Kakko, Alexandar Georgiev and Ryan Strome among their notable free agents. Fox and Kakko are coming off their entry-level contracts and lack arbitration rights. Georgiev has arbitration rights while Strome is a UFA.
I don’t see the Rangers taking the hard-line with Fox. He’ll get at least $9 million, maybe more after winning the Norris Trophy last season. That will push the Rangers’ cap payroll to over $71 million with $11 million remaining for the others. They can likely afford most of them but it could be expensive to find a suitable replacement for Strome if he hits the open market.
OTTAWA SUN: Ken Warren believes Senators GM Pierre Dorion will take a close look at the waiver wire to see if he can add another center with Colin White on injured reserve.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: He could also go the trade route for help, perhaps by targeting a cap-strapped club.
THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers reports the Chicago Blackhawks don’t have to worry about losing Alex Nylander through waivers. He’d been previously designated as waiver-eligible but Cap Friendly now indicates he’s exempt because he was sidelined throughout last season. He still needs another pro season or 53 NHL games to be waiver-eligible.
Could the Ducks end up moving players like John Gibson and Josh Manson this season? Could the Senators seek another center? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.
THE ATHLETIC: In his latest mailbag segment, Eric Stephens was asked about the speculation linking the Anaheim Ducks to Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel. He believes Ducks general manager Bob Murray had some level of talks with the Sabres but doubts he would part with Trevor Zegras or Jamie Drysdale as part of the return. The Sabres asking price of four top assets for an injured player is another obstacle. Waiting could drive that price down.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eichel’s ongoing issues with the Sabres over treatment for a herniated disc in his neck and his hefty contract are also significant sticking points in any trade discussions. Murray would be wise not to part with Zegras or Drysdale if he’s planning to rebuild.
Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson (NHL Images).
Stephens believes Ducks goaltender John Gibson has been frustrated by the club’s lack of progress over the past three seasons. It’s impossible to know, however, if Gibson will request a trade.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gibson would draw plenty of interest in the trade market if he did ask to be moved or if Murray decided to shop him for a return of young assets. The 28-year-old’s contract could be a stumbling block. His annual average salary is $6.4 million through 2026-27 and he now has a 10-team no-trade list.
Stephens believes the Ducks have fielded offers for Rickard Rakell, Hampus Lindholm, Josh Manson, Kevin Shattenkirk and Adam Henrique or attempted to move some of them. A deal that would’ve sent Manson to the Winnipeg Jets was reportedly scuttled by Manson, who has a 12-team no-trade list. It’s believed teams were offering a first-round pick or a top prospect for Manson or Rakell, but the Ducks want both pieces.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Keep an eye on Manson, Lindholm and Rakell this season. They’re slated to become unrestricted free agents next summer. The trio could draw plenty of attention as the trade deadline approaches. Manson is the only one of the three with no-trade protection.
NHL.COM: Mike Zeisberger believes the Ottawa Senators still need some veteran depth at center for the coming season. The departures of Artem Anisimov and Derek Stepan leave the club thin at center. Promising Shane Pinto could help but he’d be another young center on the roster.
Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg (NHL Images).
Vingan expects Ekholm to get a four-year deal worth around $6 million annually. He doesn’t anticipate the 32-year-old defenseman will drag out the process.
Forsberg’s negotiations, on the other hand, could get more complicated. The 27-year-old winger is in his playing prime as the Predators engage in a “competitive rebuild”. General manager David Poile will have to sell Forsberg on his short- and long-term plans for the Predators.
Poile must also decide Forsberg’s worth. He’s currently earning an annual cap hit of $6 million. While he’s the Preds’ most talented forward, he’s inconsistent and injury-prone.
Vingan believes Forsberg could get up to $8 million annually on the open market. He feels the Predators should avoid paying that much but it’s hard to see Forsberg accepting less than the $8 million annually being paid to teammates Ryan Johansen and Matt Duchene.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Forsberg’s contract situation will be worth following if he’s unsigned when the season begins. Vingan may be right about not paying him more than $8 million annually. However, having Johansen and Duchene each earning that much makes it difficult for Poile to justify paying Forsberg less.
I wouldn’t be surprised if we start hearing Forsberg’s name surface in this season’s rumor mill the longer he goes unsigned. That speculation could go into overdrive if the Predators are out of playoff contention as the trade deadline approaches.
Ekholm was the subject of intense trade chatter last season but that quickly died off as the Predators surged into a playoff spot in the weeks leading up to the April trade deadline. He seems keen to stay and Poile wants to keep him. I’ll be surprised if a new deal isn’t worked out before the season begins in October.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: With the Blackhawks bringing in additional depth and flexibility to their roster for this season, Ben Pope examined which players could become trade candidates.
Among the forwards, Dylan Strome could be shopped but that might not happen if captain Jonathan Toews isn’t ready to return to action in September and October. If that happens, Strome could get a second chance as a second-line center.
The Senators are linked to several notable centers, the Hurricanes could be looking for another top-six forward, and the Jets are eyeing a former Red Wing. Details in this edition of the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators are still trying to add a center or winger via trade or free agency. Defenseman Erik Brannstrom could be used as a trade chip to add a winger or another center in order to move someone to the wing.
San Jose Sharks forward Tomas Hertl (NHL Images).
The Senators kicked tires on Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel but the asking price and contract are expensive. Internet rumors claim they’ve had talks with the San Jose Sharks about Tomas Hertl, who’s a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility.
New York Rangers center Ryan Strome could be a good fit if they acquire Eichel. The Chicago Blackhawks are trying to move Dylan Strome and the Senators are mildly interested. The Sens would like to move center Logan Brown as it hasn’t worked out for the two sides. They’d prefer to get a player in return rather than a future asset.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks could shop Hertl if he intends to test the market next summer. A rebuilding club like the Senators could seek assurances he’ll re-sign with them. Unless you’re a playoff contender interested in Hertl as a rental player it makes little sense for the Senators to waste assets on a player who could depart as a free agent soon afterward.
A deal for Dylan Strome seems possible. Earlier this month, Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun-Times speculated Strome could be a cost-cutting candidate to free up cap space for new contracts for Brandon Hagel and Alex Nylander. They’re already over the cap by $2.1 million. With Brent Seabrook off their books, they can only draw upon the $3.9 million of Andrew Shaw as long-term injury reserve cap relief.
THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Sara Civian was asked if the Carolina Hurricanes still need another top-six forward. She believes they do, adding they seem to be looking for one.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes currently have over $12 million remaining. Assuming they spend up to $7 million on Svechnikov, there’s enough wiggle room to add another top-six forward. That depends, of course, on ownership’s willingness to spend toward the ceiling and which forward they target.
Tarasenko’s $7.5 million annual average value is a lot to take on. They’ll have to ship out a salary in that deal, swing a separate cost-cutting move or convince the Blues to pick up part of his cap hit.
Hearing there is mutual interest between #NHLJets and former @DetroitRedWings F Evgeny Svechnikov. @spinohockey was on this earlier today. Svechnikov, who turns 25 in October, was the 19th overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft and has 5 G, 12 P in 41 NHL games. He’s a RW, shoots L.
Could the St. Louis Blues be closer to trading Vladimir Tarasenko? (NHL Images)
Having signed Saad for less than expected, perhaps Blues general manager Doug Armstrong will be more willing to retain part of Tarasenko’s $7.5 million annual cap hit. That could be enticing for the Islanders, who have $17.6 million in cap space but must also re-sign restricted free agents Anthony Beauvillier, Adam Pelech and Ilya Sorokin. Beauvillier, 24, has also been mentioned as a trade candidate. The Islanders remain on Tarasenko’s list of preferred destinations.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been quiet on the Islanders’ front. As usual, GM Lou Lamoriello has yet to tip his hand as to his plans for his RFAs or for UFAs Kyle Palmieri and Casey Cizikas, though there’s plenty of conjecture suggesting he intends to re-sign them or already has them under contract but hasn’t officially announced them yet. There’s also talk he’s signing Zach Parise.
If the Isles are in the mix for Tarasenko the Blues must retain some salary and/or take back a contract as part of the return. Parting with an RFA like Beauvillier would also work but we don’t know if Armstrong has any interest in him.
The Hurricanes have almost $14 million in cap space but they must re-sign RFA winger Andrei Svechnikov. Owner Tom Dundon could prefer keeping the payroll as far below the $81.5 million cap as possible. With over $22 million in cap room and five more roster spots to fill, the Devils are best positioned to swing a deal for Tarasenko. However, they could be on his no-trade list.
THE LATEST ON EICHEL
THE ATHLETIC: John Vogl reports Buffalo Sabres GM Kevyn Adams feels no pressure to trade Jack Eichel. He explained he’ll make that move if he gets an offer that makes sense for his club but won’t ship out the 24-year-old center simply for the sake of doing so.
However, Vogl points out Eichel wants out and his agents’ only discussions with Adams center on trade requests. He feels Eichel can’t show up in training camp as captain as it would damage the fresh start with a young core. The Sabres GM still believes there’s a market for his captain.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks wonders if Mika Zibanejad would accept a six-year contract extension from the Rangers worth between $9 million and $9.5 million annually. “Wouldn’t that be enough to put an end to the Jack Eichel narrative as relates to the Rangers?”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of course Adams is going to publicly say he feels no pressure to move Eichel. He’s not going to admit that it could get difficult to move the unhappy center with the NHL Draft and the start of free agency behind them.
While Eichel’s $10 million annual cap hit for the next five years and the Sabres’ high asking price are sticking points, his neck injury remains the main issue. If he was healthy, he’d probably be with another team (like the Rangers?) by now. But interested parties are understandably reluctant to part with assets for a player who might not be able to participate in a full schedule next season.
Stars GM Jim Nill said Bishop’s status for next season remains uncertain as he continues to recover from last fall’s knee surgery. The Stars could send Oettinger back to the AHL as he remains waiver-exempt but that might not be best for potentially the best healthy goalie in the organization. DeFranks speculates they could also shop Khudobin, who’s under contract for two more seasons at $3.33 million per season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nill told DeFranks his club would wait to figure out their situation before opting to move one of their surplus goalies. Bishop’s career could be over if his surgically repaired knee isn’t up to the rigors of NHL action.
Oettinger is their goalie of the future coming off a solid NHL debut (11-8-7, 2.36 GAA, .911 SP) last season. Khudobin could be the odd man out here. There will be teams on the lookout for a goalie during training camp.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators could still try to add a center and a winger through a trade. They’re still in the mix for New York Rangers center Ryan Strome. They kicked tires on Jack Eichel but his contract and the asking price make that prohibitive. They could draw upon their blueline depth for trade bait. Victor Mete or Erik Brannstrom could become trade candidates if GM Pierre Dorion decides to go that route.