NHL Rumors: Sabres trade parade about to begin, will the Rangers be in on it? And much more

It was a busy day around the NHL yesterday. From a multitude of RFA signings to the New York Rangers hiring Gerard Gallant, news came in fast. Another big story in the thick of all the day’s happenings was the Hurricanes granting permission to Dougie Hamilton to speak with other teams.

Today, a lot of rumors are centered around the Buffalo Sabres. General Manager Kevyn Adams is looking to change the culture in Buffalo and he doesn’t want people who don’t want to be there any longer. That means Rasmus Ristolainen, Jack Eichel, and Sam Reinhart could all be on the move.

Sabres could trade Jack Eichel or Sam Reinhart

The Jack Eichel saga rages on, with his neck injury being a major roadblock. One team that was attached to Eichel’s hip were the Rangers. After speaking with a knowledgeable source on May 21st, I was informed that the Rangers interest had cooled. This fact seems to be gaining more traction after a report in The Athletic today.

In terms of rebuilding the roster, the biggest potential step has had water thrown on it recently. I’m also hearing the Rangers are not likely, or much less likely now, to be taking a big leap into the injured and expensive Jack Eichel pool.

Rick Carpiniello

Another team’s interest in Eichel that may have been misread were the Kings. As I noted recently (and confirmed by Elliotte Friedman today), it may be Reinhart they wanted all along. On his most recent podcast, he said that the Kings may be looking to trade for Reinhart and use their first round pick to get him.

nhl rumors
Jan 11, 2020; Buffalo, New York, USA; Fans greet Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (9) as he makes his way to the ice before a game against the Vancouver Canucks at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

He followed that up with his new blog suggesting that a source informed him that come the draft the Sabres would have two high first round picks. Whether that comes from dealing Eichel or Reinhart we will soon find out.

I did ask around to see if the Sabres gave anyone permission to talk to Jack Eichel, but don’t believe that’s the case. Everyone’s gone into the cone of silence. From what I can tell, the team and its captain are negotiating the next steps of his recovery. Multiple sources indicate that if there’s any deal involving either Eichel or Sam Reinhart, do not be surprised if the Sabres end up with a second high first-round selection in July’s draft.

31 Thoughts

So are the Rangers out on Eichel?

I will go back to what I said dating back to my report from May 21st – the answer is yes and no. Here’s exactly what I wrote weeks ago:

Unless there is a lot more clarity surrounding the injury and the Sabres price comes down, they are moving on. As for the money, that is a roadblock in and of itself but maybe there’s something that can be done there. How about a three-way type of deal? I’m not saying it is likely, but teams around the NHL have been very creative over the last year. Would the Sabres eat even a small portion of his cap hit?

Bottom line is this, despite all the talk about the Sabres not wanting to trade Eichel to the Rangers, it may be the Rangers that have moved on from him

Is Mark Scheifele on the trade block

Mark Scheifele is the Winnipeg Jets leading scorer this past season with 63 points in 56 games. The 28 year-old pivot plays a big and tough game. Unfortunately for him and the Jets, too big and too tough. In Game 1 of their second round series with the Canadiens, Scheifele made a critical mistake by blasting Jake Evans to prevent an empty net goal. He failed at that, and was then suspended for 4 games. The Jets were swept and he never played another playoff game this postseason.

mark Scheifele
Feb 9, 2021; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele (55) warms up before the game against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Up until his suspension, Scheifele had five points in five playoff games. He has 3 years left on a deal that pays $6.125 million per season. So why am I bringing up Scheifele? Well that’s because Larry Brooks randomly inserted his name into the rumor mill with his latest Slap Shots column.

Though it goes without saying, it will be said anyway: If Mark Scheifele somehow becomes available out of Winnipeg, he is the player for whom the Rangers empty the cupboard, and the guy in Buffalo becomes Jack Who?

NY Post

While Brooks could be speculating, it’s also very possible that Scheifele’s name was whispered into his ear. Of course, the Rangers wouldn’t be the only team interested in landing Scheifele. You could easily add the Columbus Blue Jackets into the mix, who could send Seth Jones the other way if he were to agree to an extension beforehand. There’s also the Buffalo Sabres who could trade Jack Eichel for a potential new captain in Scheifele.

NHL Rumors: Devils interested in Rasmus Ristolainen

Lance Lysowski of The Buffalo News is reporting that multiple sources indicate the New Jersey Devils are interested in Rasmus Ristolainen.

During his exit interview on breakup day, it was noted that the 26 year-old defender would be open to a trade. He has one more year left on his contract which comes with an AAV of $5.4 million. It’s likely that Adams is aware that Ristolainen may be looking to hit free agency in 2022 so it would be best to get assets for him now.

Rick Tocchet should get the Kraken job

Gerard Gallant’s hiring but the Rangers and subsequent four year-deal worth $3.5 million per season is exactly what Rod Brind’Amour wanted. He can now go back to the Hurricanes and ask for five years at $4 million per year. If Carolina play’s hardball, Brind’Amour could be in Seattle. However, I firmly believe he stays with the Canes.

This will open the door for Tocchet who has interviewed to become Seattle’s first coach. The 57 year-old former NHL power forward took the reins as head coach of the Coyotes back in the 2017-2018 season and did an admirable job. He is widely considered an up and coming coach who knows how to relate to his players.

One final thought, if Brind’Amour leaves for the Kraken it wouldn’t shock me to see Tocchet behind the bench of the Hurricanes.

According to both Elliotte Friedman and Darren Dreger this opens up the possibility for a sign and trade. The acquiring team would have the ability to offer an 8th year. It’s also been noted that there is no rush by either side at this point.

Dougie Hamilton a Seattle Kraken?

nhl rumors dougie hamilton
Jun 8, 2021; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton (19) looks on against the Tampa Bay Lightning in game five of the second round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

When the news hit the wire, Hamilton’s phone started ringing. Two teams have been reported to have called the 27 year-old defender. Both the Seattle Kraken and Philadelphia Flyers reached out to start conversations with him.

Hamilton is seeking an $8 million deal and finished the season with 42 points in 55 games. The right handed shot will be sought after, but with the flat-cap still in place, he may not have many teams willing to give him the contract he’s looking for.

I thought Philadelphia might be among the more aggressive pursuers, but the Flyers’ defensive targets seem to be elsewhere…the key to all of this could be the Kraken. The surest predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour, and when Ron Francis was GM of the Hurricanes he was a compulsive hoarder of defencemen. Seattle will have an exclusive negotiating window with free agents prior to the expansion draft. That window (or the draft itself) is an excellent opportunity for Francis to build his own unit, or do what Vegas did — acquire assets to be flipped elsewhere.

31 Thoughts

I believe Hamilton will either re-up with the Hurricanes or hit the open market this summer. However, the Seattle Kraken could be laying the ground work for signing Hamilton before that. Seattle will have a small exclusive window to negotiate with free agents before the opening bell on July 28th.