NHL Rumors Weekly: Blue Jackets, Caps, Penguins, Oilers, and Rangers
NHL Rumors Weekly is our newest feature thanks to The Daily Goal Horn. Every Sunday we will bring you the latest rumors and update some of the bigger stories from the week before. In this edition, we kick off with BIG news on Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman, Seth Jones.
Seth Jones will test the free agency
Two weeks ago on TSN’s Insider Trading, Pierre LeBrun pointed out comments from Seth Jones during his exit meetings about weighing his options. LeBrun stressed to Blue Jackets fans to not panic, but notes that Jones will be a free agent next summer. He also noted that the two sides were scheduled to meet soon.
According to Elliotte Friedman it appears Jones has informed the Columbus Blue Jackets he will be testing the Free Agent Market next summer. “In the last week or so, Seth Jones informed the Columbus Blue Jackets that he will not be re-signing,” Friedman said on Saturday Headlines. “I am saying for now because I don’t like to deal in absolutes, but it does appear as if he is prepared to test free agency and we’ll see how Columbus decides to handle this over the next little while.”
The Blue Jackets can ill afford to lose another superstar but that’s where this is heading. Trading Jones as a rental at the next NHL Trade Deadline will result in the lowest return possible. However, a move at the Draft would maximize the package. This news certainly will make Jones a focus for our rumors section for weeks to come.
Pittsburgh Penguins Rumors
There’s been a lot of talk surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins this week. Mike Sullivan has been rumored to possibly be on the hot seat as head coach. Elliotte Friedman dispelled that notion last night.
“There’s been rumors here and there [about Mike Sullivan],” he said on Saturday Headlines. “I don’t think that’s going to happen. He’s a heck of a coach, he’s under contract for three more years, I’d expect him to be back behind the bench if anyone had any questions.”
Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan has had an incredible run in Pittsburgh. Over the course of the last six seasons he’s amassed a record of 251-131-43 with two Stanley Cup Championships. It makes sense for them to keep him.
Pittsburgh will need to decide this summer if they are going to trade at least one of either Malkin or Letang to start to rebuild the roster. The captain would rather they stay. “I’ve never been one to try to be GM,” Crosby said after the series loss to the Isles. “I think those guys want to win. And I know that we’ve been together a long time. I’ve seen how much they care, their commitment; I don’t ever doubt or question that. There’s so many parts. And it is a business, so that’s up to other people.”
Washington Capitals Rumors
The Capitals were also bounced early in the playoffs and there’s chatter that they may trade Evgeny Kuznetsov this summer. “I think we’re always open to trading people if it makes sense for what’s going on,” GM Brian MacLellan said about the possibility of moving him. “If it’s going to make our team better, I think we’re open to it.”
Fallout for this latest first round ouster will be centered around retooling the Caps for one more run but with an eye on the future. The 29 year-old pivot has three years remaining at $7.8 million AAV with a 15 team no move clause. He’s their best tradable asset and will fetch a decent return.
There were also a lot of rumors prior to this season that Chara may opt out or even retire. He obviously found the right fit in Washington but it appears the Caps may be looking to get younger for next season. Caps brass felt the team ran out of gas and they will try and address that this summer as well.
That may have Chara looking for a new team again. We learned that the Rangers were on his final checklist and they are said to be in the market for a veteran defender. There could be something there for him as the Rangers aim to make the playoffs next season.
Edmonton Oilers Rumors
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins appears to be heading to free agency. Although he wants to stay in Edmonton, the latest talk is that Ken Holland does not want to give him a penny over $7 million. The Oilers have converted him to a winger, but some teams looking for help down the middle may give the former center what he wants.
Elliotte Friedman appeared on Sportsnet 960 radio in Calgary this week and said that things have gone sideways between the two parties. “Something happened here. I believe it was always the plan that Nugent-Hopkins was going to stay and they wanted to keep him,” he said. “I think anyone who is familiar with this situation will tell you they thought it was going to happen and it got mangled. And now I don’t know.”
The Edmonton Oilers need to stop pretending they don’t have serious goaltending problems. Mike Smith played admirably and GM Ken Holland would like to re-sign the pending UFA, but he can’t be the starter. There is talk they will buy out Mikko Koskinen and his $4.5 million cap hit this summer.
If the Oilers want to be a serious playoff threat they need to bring in a goaltender. This summer, Holland should pick up the phone and ask Blue Jackets GM, Jarmo Kekalainen which goaltender he wants to move. They also better do so before the Penguins get on the horn after Tristan’s Jarry’s performance against the Islanders.
New York Rangers Rumors
The Avalanche might move on from Nazem Kadri this summer, Larry Brooks suggests the Rangers should consider trading for him. He is 30 years-old and has one more season on his contract with an AAV of $4.5 million. This season he recorded 11 goals and 32 points in 56 games, and will certainly garner some interest if he’s available. One such team would be the New York Rangers according to one top beat writer.
Kadri has the type of unsavory on-ice reputation the Rangers seem to make a business of staying away from at least since Daniel Carcillo’s brief 2013-14 run. He may not be of the Tom Wilson grade when it comes to lack of conscience, but each one of Kadri’s six suspensions relate to some sort of an illegal blow to the head. That includes this current one for when he blasted St. Louis’ defenseless Justin Faulk into smithereens.Larry Brooks, NY Post
The Blueshirts certainly could use a gritty third line center, and the cost of acquiring Kadri would br reasonable if he became available. His age is a concern, as is his penchant for getting suspended at the worse times. But his edgy play and 52% face-off winning percentage makes sense for the Rangers.
– Originally Published at The Daily Goal Horn