NHL Rumor Mill – August 21, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – August 21, 2019

Updates on Mitch Marner, Torey Krug, Jesse Puljujarvi, and Derick Brassard in today’s NHL rumor mill.

MARNER CAMP TALKS TO SWISS CLUB

TSN: Darren Dreger yesterday reported via Twitter that the representatives for Mitch Marner have spoken with Swiss League club ZSC Lions about training with them next month. There’s been little progress in contract talks between the Marner camp and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Could Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner practice in Switzerland if unsigned before training camp opens? (Photo via NHL Images)

Dreger also said Marner could pay the insurance premium and attend Leafs training camp next month without a contract. “What a circus that would be,” he said. Dreger also suggested trade interest in the 22-year-old winger “will grow as well as days go by.”

The Lions released a statement yesterday confirming Marner’s European agent sought permission to participate in their practices. “Whether and when the player will train with Zurich is not decided yet.”

It’s believed the Leafs have discussed three, six, and seven-year deals with the Marner camp worth between $9 to $11 million annually.

TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby believes all this posturing could come to nothing by the end of Leafs camp. By then, the club will have made another trade to get close to Marner’s $11 million or activate $10.55 million in cap space by placing Nathan Horton and David Clarkson on long-term injury reserve.

SPORT-EXPRESS’ Igor Eronko tweeted Marner wasn’t drafted in the KHL so he could sign with any KHL club he wishes. “Some of them could offer much more than Zurich or any other Swiss team. Avangard did a lot to land William Nylander but he was set to sign with the Leafs. Is Mitch set?”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This looks like an insurance move by Marner’s reps. If there’s no deal in place when camp opens next month, I doubt he’ll attend without a contract. Should it take until the start of the season to get a new contract in place with the Leafs, he’ll need a team to practice with. It ensures he can stay sharp and close to NHL-ready when the season begins.

Some teams could call the Leafs to inquire about Marner’s availability. However, they’ll have to make a significant offer to tempt general manager Kyle Dubas. Any club interested in Marner must also ensure they have sufficient cap space to pay him what he seeks.

I doubt Marner signs with a KHL team. He wants to play in the NHL, preferably with the Leafs, but he also wants to get what he believes is a fair price for his services.

NO CONTRACT TALKS YET BETWEEN BRUINS AND KRUG

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cites an NHL source claiming there have been no new contract extension talks between the Bruins and Torey Krug. The 28-year-old defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July. He’s in the final season of a four-year, $21-million contract.

Murphy speculates the lack of communication could be tied to the Bruins’ ongoing efforts to re-sign blueliners Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo. He thinks Krug could command up to $9 million annually on the open market and wonders if the Bruins can afford to retain him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Krug’s UFA status will make him the subject of some trade speculation throughout this season. If the Bruins are out of playoff contention by the February trade deadline, maybe they’ll consider shopping the rearguard. Otherwise, they could retain Krug for another run at the Stanley Cup next spring and deal with his contract situation afterward.

LATEST ON THE OILERS

TSN: reports Jesse Puljujarvi still seeks a fresh start away from the Edmonton Oilers. He told Finnish TV station Laari he’s hoping for a top-six forward role with a new NHL team. “I want a team where I get a place in one of the first two lines and where I get to play for 15 minutes per game. Then I could show what I’m going for. That is my main goal.”

Puljujarvi also admitted he’s struggled to learn English since coming to North America in 2016. Meanwhile, his agent insists his client isn’t bluffing about wanting a trade out of Edmonton. “Puljujärvi is and has been convinced that he needs a change. He is an NHL player,” said agent Markus Lehto on Monday. “This is about getting an opportunity for a new start. The salary can be almost anything.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt the Puljujarvi camp is sincere about their trade request. However, he’s coming off a disappointing performance throughout his entry-level contract and holds no leverage here. He’s not a core Oilers player and his trade value is low right now. Until Oilers GM Ken Holland finds what he considers a decent return, I doubt he’ll move Puljujarvi.