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Weekly Rumours: It’s Officially Silly Season

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Tyler Yaremchuk
1 year ago
Moves are being made and it is officially silly season time in the National Hockey League. Duncan Keith is an Oiler, Pierre McGuire has been hired by the Senators, and the Minnesota Wild made the absolutely bizarre decision to buy out both @Ryan Suter and @Zach Parise. 
The best part? The fun is only beginning and the biggest moves haven’t happened yet.
Let’s start this week’s rumours blog with a quick look at some stories circling around the Edmonton Oilers. First, TSN’s Ryan Rishaug is reporting that @Adam Larsson is considering the Oilers most recent offer as negotiations continue. Rishaug added that there are several contract options still in play.
The interesting thing with Larsson is that it would be incredibly foolish for the Oilers to sign him before the expansion draft. If they did officially sign him before then, they would have to expose one of Ethan Bear or Kailer Yamamoto or Ken Holland would have to make a side deal.
It could get complicated and messy for the Oilers if they opt to sign Larsson in the next 10 days so they would be wise to just not make any extension with Larsson official until after Seattle finishes the expansion draft.
That’s the latest on the blueline situation in Edmonton. What they end up doing with their forward group is much more interesting.
I would fully expect them to be big-time players in free agency. Zach Hyman, @Taylor Hall, @Brandon Saad, and Blake Coleman should all really interest Holland if the price is right. But getting a good player in free agency at a reasonable price doesn’t happen very often.
Ken Holland has made one big move already and he has a few more big decisions to make in the next ten days.
Here are some other notes from around the NHL.

PLAYERS WAVING FOR EXPANSION

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@Jeff Skinner and @Erik Johnson were the two big names that agreed to waive their no-movement clauses for the upcoming expansion draft.
In the case of Skinner, I don’t expect Seattle to take him unless they are given a very good asset in return. He scored just seven goals last season and has one of the worst contracts in the NHL with an AAV $9m for six more seasons. I just don’t see Seattle taking that. He simply did the Sabres a solid here.
As for Johnson, I would imagine that his options were that he could agree to waive his NMC or Colorado would buy him out. Now that Johnson has waived, the Avalanche could potentially keep all four of Makar, Graves, Toews and Girard if they opt to protect eight skaters. Another example of a player doing the organization a solid, which is something that didn’t happen earlier this week when the Minnesota Wild decided to buy out both Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.
There was some talk that @Keith Yandle may waive his NMC for Seattle, but it appears as though he was not asked. George Richards of The Athletic did say there may be a mutual understanding between the two sides that they’ll find a new home for Yandle this summer. He has a $6.35m cap hit for two more seasons.

FREE AGENT MARKET TAKING SHAPE

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Speaking of the Avalanche, I was stunned to read the reports that negotiations have not been going well between them and captain @Gabriel Landeskog. The 28-year-old Swedish forward has been their captain for close to a decade and reports indicate that he is disappointed with how things have gone so far. There is a legitimate chance that he hits the open market and if he does, he will likely be cashing in big time.
St. Louis is one team that is reportedly ready to go after Landeskog but there will be no shortage of suitors if Colorado doesn’t find a way to keep him around.
Pierre LeBrun is reporting that @Zach Hyman will be hitting the UFA market. This isn’t a huge surprise considering the cap crunch that the Maple Leafs are facing. The big question now is whether or not Hyman will chase a big payday or if he’ll potentially take a shorter-term deal to sign with a contender.
Speaking of the Leafs, LeBrun also added that there have been conversations between Kyle Dubas and Freddie Andersen’s camp. Jack Campbell is clearly their number one but the Leafs need a second goaltender. LeBrun added Andersen will likely test the market and a deal wouldn’t happen until after the expansion draft.
Chris Driedger is another UFA goaltender to keep an eye on. Reports say that there are at least a half-dozen teams interested in his services and the Seattle Kraken are one of them. His AAV could come in around $3m or potentially more.

TRADE MARKET QUICK NOTES

  • There will no doubt be some big trades between today and the start of free agency. One name that jumps off the page to me from an Oilers perspective is Pavel Buchnevich. Larry Brooks is reporting that he could be on the move and if there is a 26-year-old winger who consistently scores goals, I would hope Holland is calling. Buchnevich is a pending RFA.
  • Staying out in New York, the Islanders are apparently going to be shopping veteran defenseman Nick Leddy, but the return is expected to be small due to the flat cap and the fact that the Islanders are facing their own cap crunch. Leddy has one more season and carries $5.5 million cap hit. He would be a good addition for a team looking to add some competent leadership to the left side of its blueline.
  • Kevin Kurz of The Athletic has reported that forward Kevin LaBanc could be available. He has three more years remaining of a deal that carries a $4.25m cap hit. He’s never topped 20 goals in his career but at just 25-years-old, there’s reason to think he could in the right situation. 
  • The Philadelphia Flyers will reportedly be trying to move on from Jakob Voracek and his $8.25m cap hit this summer according to Elliotte Friedman.
  • The Nashville Predators could move a defenseman before the expansion draft according to Pierre LeBrun. There is also a chance they leave Matt Duchene unprotected in the expansion draft.
  • The Minnesota Wild are expected to make an offer to Jack Eichel but considering their cap situation, I find that hard to understand. They’ll be in tight starting in 2022-23.

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