July 12, 2024
Steven Stamkos, Jake Guentzel and the latest around the NHL

Steven Stamkos, Jake Guentzel and the latest around the NHL

Steven Stamkos, Jake Guentzel and the latest around the NHL

Draft day is right here (7 p.m. ET on ESPN), and this yr, greater than in years previous, individuals around the league are getting ready for fireworks. I’ve had 4 normal managers inform me they’re open to transferring their first-round picks, and they don’t seem to be alone, though it appears costs are steep to maneuver into the prime 10. Blockbuster trades involving NHL gamers might go down.

As one GM stated: “I’d be shocked if we got through Friday without something shocking.”

Then free company opens on Monday, July 1, and with the greatest single-season wage cap leap in NHL historical past ($4.5 million), groups are able to spend.

Here’s the latest of what I’m listening to might go down in the NHL this week.

IT’S NEVER EASY to maintain the band collectively after profitable a Stanley Cup. The Lightning struggled with this mightily due to wage cap constraints. Now their in-state rivals, the Panthers, will really feel the similar ache. Florida has 11 unrestricted free brokers, together with half of its protection (Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Brandon Montour, Dmitry Kulikov) and seven forwards, headlined by 57-goal scorer Sam Reinhart.

Talking to individuals around the league, the expectation is that Montour will get an even bigger payday elsewhere. The expectation is that Reinhart will re-sign, but it surely has been a gradual course of. Reinhart’s camp and the Panthers had stayed in communication all season, and there was mutual curiosity to get one thing performed. There wasn’t a rush, I’m instructed, particularly from Reinhart’s facet. That was rooted in belief. Remember, Florida revived Reinhart’s profession when it traded for him from Buffalo and instantly signed him to a three-year deal. Not solely does Reinhart rating, however he is considered one of the finest defensive forwards in hockey.

A rival entrance workplace government projected Reinhart will take a hometown low cost despite the fact that he might’ve commanded extra in free company. Reinhart’s low cost might open the door for Sam Bennett and Carter Verhaeghe extensions.

SPEAKING OF TAMPA BAY, the Lightning try to run it again after reacquiring Ryan McDonagh. But coming into draft day, there’s nonetheless a stalemate on a brand new deal for captain Steven Stamkos. This looks as if a redux of 2016, when Stamkos nearly made it to free company earlier than hanging a last-minute deal in Tampa. That might simply occur once more, but it surely additionally sounds as if this course of has been uncomfortable at occasions. Rival groups I’ve talked to stated they would not be stunned to see Stamkos hit free company. There could be big-time curiosity.

ONE TEAM THAT might make large waves this offseason is the New York Rangers. I’ve been instructed they’ve had conversations with different groups on Kaapo Kakko. While New York was unwilling to half with the 2019 No. 2 choose in the previous, together with this previous commerce deadline, it seems that each side would welcome a change of surroundings now. He simply signed a one-year deal for $2.4 million, which is value certainty.

There are extra tales effervescent about the Rangers, starting from exploring a Jacob Trouba commerce to a doable reunion with Patrick Kane. I heard that GM Chris Drury met with Trouba, whose no-move clause turns into a 15-team no-trade record Monday, lately to debate his future. A commerce is hardly assured, however the staff is exploring choices.

I’m instructed that Drury is telling individuals around the league he is trying to clear cap area.

Ultimately I believe the staff want to give attention to buying youthful gamers, however I do get the sense loads is on the desk proper now.

ON KANE, I used to be instructed he is very a lot nonetheless in touch with Detroit as of this week and might re-sign as a Red Wing. Kane views Detroit as a great staff getting into the proper path.

The two issues which might be most necessary to Kane are match and a reliable probability to win. I additionally suppose he’d like some time period, and was instructed he would not wish to play on a discount contract, corresponding to the veterans minimal. Kane performed for $2.75 million final season, then proved he nonetheless has it now that his surgically repaired hip held up. Depending on the place he indicators and for the way lengthy, I’ve been instructed he might double his wage subsequent season.

Although Detroit and New York are in the combine, I additionally would not low cost Vegas, which made considered one of the strongest pushes for Kane when he was a free agent this previous fall. The Golden Knights, as normal, are stealthily in on the whole lot. Vegas has continued to have conversations with Jonathan Marchessault (who shares an agent with Kane), though nothing has materialized but.

IT’S HARD TO predict something Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman goes to do. Example: Everyone I talked to around the league appeared stunned the staff gave away a second-round choose to commerce lately prolonged Jake Walman, though it was clearly a transfer to open area on the blue line for prospects and to clear cap area. Yzerman has signaled that he is very a lot in search of goalies. I’d additionally take a look at influence wingers and defensemen for them. Patience has worn out; Detroit is able to roar again into the playoffs.

JUST LIKE AT the commerce deadline, it appears as if everyone seems to be in on Jake Guentzel. Proven playoff performers simply do not come around too usually. I consider the door closed on a Pittsburgh reunion as soon as he was traded. However, Carolina, the place he completed the season, remains to be making an attempt to work one thing out. The Canes are the solely staff in a position to give him an eighth yr — but in addition have instructed groups they might commerce for Guentzel’s rights or do a sign-and-trade to get that eighth contract yr. Interest around the league is so intense that it is laborious to handicap at this level the place he’ll land. I consider Carolina severely upped its provide this week.

THE CANES HAVE a ton of enterprise to take care of apart from Guentzel. Their prime precedence was a Jaccob Slavin extension, which was agreed to in precept. It sounds as if Brett Pesce will signal elsewhere. I used to be instructed Carolina will let Teuvo Teravainen stroll. I would not be stunned to see Jordan Martinook or Brady Skjei re-sign, though I have never heard about progress on both contract. The subsequent domino to drop — probably on draft day — is a Martin Necas commerce. Discussions have intensified, though Carolina’s entrance workplace will maintain a agency asking value.

THE CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS are nonetheless in a rebuild, however GM Kyle Davidson instructed me they’re able to take the subsequent step. They’ve collected sufficient draft picks and prospects. They have an enormous wave of first-year execs hitting their AHL staff subsequent yr. For the NHL roster, it is time to begin making some strides.

As at no cost company, Davidson stated the Blackhawks are prepared to present out contracts with time period. They do not have particular positional wants. “Nothing is set in stone in terms of philosophy,” Davidson stated. “We’re very open to whatever comes our way.”

When I spoke to Davidson two days earlier than the draft, the staff had selected the participant it was going to pick out at No. 2. (Other groups around the league have instructed me Chicago’s determination is probably going between winger Ivan Demidov and defenseman Artyom Levshunov). Davidson stated it wasn’t essentially a transparent determination as a result of the Blackhawks had nice choices. Unlike final yr, when Connor Bedard was the unquestioned selection, it was instructional for the entrance workplace to run the course of. The staff finally will choose the participant who suits finest into its development long run and permits for sustainable success in Chicago.

BUFFALO SABRES GM Kevyn Adams instructed me he has spent loads of time figuring out why the Sabres have been so wildly inconsistent final season. At occasions they regarded super towards prime groups in the league. But too usually, their begins weren’t superb and they chased video games. Their energy play struggled, which annoyed the prime offensive gamers and made it more durable for them to remain in the second.

Entering this season with new coach Lindy Ruff, the Sabres are in search of a reset. I’d anticipate Buffalo naming a brand new captain forward of the season. Big image, Adams likes the defensive core and the way it’s constructed. The staff is about on NHL goaltending however might want to purchase depth netminders (suppose Nos. 3, 4 and 5 in the group).

The Sabres have high-end prospects in the minors, corresponding to Jiri Kulich, however Adams stated he is OK letting these gamers pressure administration’s hand to get on the NHL roster with their play. Adams will proceed to discover commerce potentialities — and has dangled the No. 11 choose to different GMs. In free company, they’re in search of extra physicality and identification. The previous few years, they performed a bit an excessive amount of on the perimeter, counting on ability. Adams and Ruff need the staff to play extra direct, with tempo, and not freelance as a lot.

ONE TEAM I do not anticipate to make a giant splash in free company is the Minnesota Wild. They are of their final yr of wage cap stress, because of the Zach Parise and Ryan Suter buyouts. That stated, GM Bill Guerin instructed me he expects his staff to push for the playoffs, so long as it would not have the similar poor harm luck as final yr. Guerin stated that come Monday he’ll be in search of middle-six/bottom-six forwards who match the Wild’s bodily and hard-to-play-against identification.

The core gamers Guerin is constructing around: Kirill Kaprizov, Matt Boldy, Brock Faber and Joel Eriksson Ek, all aged 21-27. With goalie Marc-Andre Fleury returning for a ultimate season, I’ve heard Minnesota has explored buying and selling Filip Gustavsson. The staff drafted Jesper Wallstedt in the first spherical in 2021. Guerin stated the most important aim for Wallstedt is an even bigger workload in 2024-25 (the 21-year-old performed in 45 video games in the AHL final season and simply three in the NHL).

PHILADELPHIA FLYERS GM Danny Briere is aware of his staff is prone to take a step again this season after unexpectedly pushing for a playoff spot by means of mid-April.

The aim, Briere stated, is to melt the blow. “We don’t have the money to do much,” he stated. “All we can afford at the moment is depth guys that are good leaders.”

To that finish, I consider there may be momentum to carry again defenseman Erik Johnson, a participant Briere complimented as “excellent for the room” after he was acquired at the deadline.

The staff will proceed to discover hockey trades, realizing it has gamers on the roster who won’t match Philadelphia’s timeline for profitable. Although the Flyers stated they have been open to any choices with their first-round picks (No. 12, plus No. 32 — initially Florida’s choose, from the Claude Giroux commerce), Briere predicted any motion would come on draft day. He added that in the event that they do keep, they are going to choose the finest participant obtainable, particularly in the first spherical, though their greatest organizational want is at heart.

THE SAN JOSE SHARKS are past excited to pick out Macklin Celebrini at No. 1, particularly with their different prime prospect, Will Smith, set to hitch the NHL roster subsequent season. Although nothing is about in stone for Celebrini subsequent season, I’d be stunned if he did not flip professional instantly.

Big image, GM Mike Grier would not suppose the staff is as distant because it regarded for a lot of final season. The Sharks will add free brokers however shall be cautious on the time period, probably providing just one to 4 years. A giant precedence is turning into harder to play towards, and they’ve already begun to handle that by buying Barclay Goodrow and Ty Dellandrea.

I ASKED ANAHEIM GM Pat Verbeek the place he noticed his staff proper now. “Not sure,” he stated. “Depends on what I can do the next few days.”

The Ducks are in on loads. Verbeek is trying so as to add a right-shot defenseman and a top-six ahead. Last yr was a little bit of a tradition shock for the staff, with new coach Greg Cronin introducing a totally totally different fashion. As the season went on, consistency and consolation adopted. Verbeek feels the staff confirmed sufficient basis to take the subsequent step, and he needs the Ducks to be enjoying significant video games late into subsequent season.

At the No. 3 choose, Verbeek has stayed constant on his philosophy: He needs high-drive opponents with hockey sense who can skate.

There are different questions on the roster. Goalie Lukas Dostal took a giant step ahead final yr, whereas veteran John Gibson finds himself in commerce rumors but once more. When I requested Verbeek the place he noticed his goaltending, he stated it will be aggressive. Whoever performs finest takes the internet.

As with Gibson — or anybody on the roster, together with Trevor Zegras, whose identify additionally stays in the rumor mill — Verbeek shall be affected person and the lengthy view. “I always say, ‘Wayne Gretzky got traded,'” Verbeek stated. “I’m always looking to improve the team. And if it’s something to improve the team, I’ll do it. I’m not afraid to do that.”