Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 21, 2023
Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 21, 2023
Could the Sabres pursue a trade for Connor Hellebuyck? Would the Capitals trade Tom Wilson or attempt to acquire Alex DeBrincat? Could the Kings shop Viktor Arvidsson? Check out the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup to find out.
COULD THE SABRES PURSUE HELLEBUYCK?
THE ATHLETIC: Matthew Fairburn recently noted that colleagues Michael Russo and Eric Duhatschek had reported hearing that the Buffalo Sabres could be interested in Connor Hellebuyck. The 29-year-old Winnipeg Jets goaltender is a year away from unrestricted free-agent eligibility.
Russo and Duhatschek stated that the Sabres believe acquiring a genuine No. 1 goaltender will be the final piece that turns them into contenders. It would also enable them to hold off on passing the reins to promising Devon Levi until he’s NHL-ready.
Fairburn believes Hellebuyck would be the best option compared to who’s available in this summer’s free-agent market and potentially in the trade market. He thinks they should be monitoring the situation but shouldn’t give up top prospects like Matthew Savoie or Jiri Kulich given Hellebuyck’s contract status. If the Jets goalie can be had for less than that, Fairburn thinks he’d be worth it.
THE BUFFALO NEWS’ Lance Lysowki also weighed in on the Sabres’ rumored interest in Hellebuyck. He thinks general manager Kevyn Adams will look into the netminder’s availability. However, he anticipates a high asking cost combined with Hellebuyck being essentially a rental player for next season would make this an unlikely move.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wouldn’t be surprised if Adams reached out to the Jets about Hellebuyck. The Sabres GM is in a good position to acquire the 2019 Vezina Trophy winner (who’s also a finalist this season) with the cap space to absorb his $6.1 million cap hit and the depth in promising young assets to offer up as trade bait.
The only way I think this works for the Sabres is if Hellebuyck is willing to sign a contract extension. Otherwise, it’s a waste of assets for a player who’ll be heading out the door next summer. I understand the impatience to reach the playoffs after 12 seasons but it’s not worth sacrificing too much of their future on just one season.
Adams must also determine what he’s got in promising goalies like Levi and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and how close they could be to handling the full-time starter duties. He could prefer bringing in an affordable veteran on a short-term deal until one of those youngsters is good to go.
LATEST CAPITALS SPECULATION
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Sammi Silber dismissed any talk of the retooling Washington Capitals shopping winger Tom Wilson. The 29-year-old power forward can become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Wilson said he has no intention of leaving the Capitals and won’t play hardball with them when it comes to his next contract. The feeling is mutual with management as GM Brian MacLellan indicated in April that the plan is to sign him to a contract extension.
Silber also examined whether the Capitals could afford to make a pitch for Alex DeBrincat if he proves reluctant to sign a long-term deal with the Ottawa Senators. They could offer up Evgeny Kuznetsov or Anthony Mantha but both forwards are coming off disappointing performances this season.
DeBrincat would be a good fit with a Capitals roster that’s hoping for a quick turnaround. However, it seems unlikely they can acquire him given the expense of doing so.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kuznetsov and Mantha will be very difficult to move this summer given the number of teams (22) with less than $15 million in cap space. Their performances this season did nothing to improve their trade value. I don’t see the Senators having any interest in them if they put DeBrincat on the trade block.
KINGS SHOPPING ARVIDSSON?
SPORTSNET: On Friday’s episode of the “32 Thoughts” podcast, Elliotte Friedman said the Los Angeles Kings are looking to clear some cap space. He’s hearing winger Viktor Arvidsson could be available.
Co-host Jeff Marek suggested moving Arvidsson could clear room for a goaltender. Friedman also speculated it could be done to re-sign defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Arvidsson, 30, is earning $4.25 million per season through 2023-24 and will be eligible for UFA status next summer. He’s played a role in the Kings’ return to playoff contender, scoring 26 goals and 59 points this season.
The Kings, however, need to sort out their goaltending situation. They also thought highly of Gavrikov, who fit in well on their blueline as a trade-deadline acquisition. Arvidsson’s contract status and his lack of no-trade protection could make him a trade candidate.