NHL Rumors Weekly: Canadiens; Rangers; Sabres; Blues; and Wild

NHL Trade Bait Vladimir Tarasenko
Mar 29, 2019; New York, NY, USA; St. Louis Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko (91) plays the puck against New York Rangers defenseman Brady Skjei (76) during the first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

NHL Rumors Weekly is back and bringing you the top rumors of the week and the latest buzz of the day. Our goal is to have the most comprehensive update available.

In this edition, we start with the fallout from the Jesperi Kotkaniemi offer sheet and Jack Eichel.

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NHL Rumors Weekly: Canadiens looking at trade options

The word is out that the Montreal Canadiens are already looking at all possible options now that the Hurricanes have given Jesperi Kotkaniemi an offer sheet.

Apparently prior to the offer, the Canes were trying to trade for the 21 year-old Finnish center. That’s because there were rumblings coming out of Montreal that Kotkaniemi wanted out after being scratched in the Stanley Cup Final.

Montreal is rumored to be weighing several options:

  • Letting Kotkaniemi go and try to find a way to acquire Jack Eichel (Elliotte Friedman)
  • Letting Kotkaniemi go and using the compensation to acquire Christian Dvorak (Eric Engels)
  • Let Kotkaniemi go and offer sheet Elias Pettersson (Engels)

More on Jack Eichel in the next section.

Correction: A matched offer sheet means player can’t be traded for a year.

Latest on Sabres Jack Eichel

Speaking of Jack Eichel, he has been in the news a lot this week. First, for switching agents from Peter Fish to Pat Brisson. Then it was learned that Eichel and the Sabres pleaded their cases to the NHL and NHLPA about 10 days ago.

Elliotte Friedman who reported the story said that no resolution was found as the NHL sided with Sabres and PA with Eichel. I know – totally shocking.

According to Jimmy Muprhy of Boston Hockey Now, the Bruins were one of several teams keeping tabs on the 24 year-old injured star. However, the switch to Pat Brisson may hurt their chances. Murphy also claims a source says the Rangers are still in it, and that no one should be counted out. The Ducks have also resurfaced in the rumor mill.

rangers trade rumors
Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Eichel is in Montreal to take part in the BioSteel Camp. NHLers from around the league use it to gauge where they are before the head to their team’s official training camp.

A buzz was created over the weekend when reporter Eric Engels said that Eichel was jumping on a plane with his hockey sticks heading to Montreal. Elliotte Friedman confirmed that it was to attend the BioSteel Camp but speculation is starting to grow that the Canadiens could be players again.

On his last podcast, Elliotte Friedman started to speculate that the Canadiens may not match the Jesperi Kotkaniemi offer sheet from the Hurricanes. Instead, they will take the first round pick and third round pick as compensation and use it in a package for Eichel.

“I’m not sure Montreal is big in the Jack Eichel sweepstakes,” Friedman began. “There’s a long history between Pat Brisson and Marc Bergevin. I just wonder if this changes the dynamic between the Sabres and the Canadiens at all.”

The relationship between Brisson and Bergevin could be a small factor, but the key here is the additional picks the Habs could get as compensation to add to their previous package.

Rangers and Blues’ Tarasenko?

The 29 year-old Tarasenko has two years left on a deal worth $7.5 million AAV and a no trade clause which comes with a 10 team list. He scored 14 points in 24 games last season.

Jeremy Rutherford provided an update on the Blues and Tarasenko in his latest mailbag for The Athletic. When asked about who may still be interested he noted the Hurricanes; Rangers, and Islanders as the top teams.

With regards to the Rangers, Rutherford states that they are still considering Tarasenko as an option.

“I also think the New York Rangers have not moved on from the idea of adding Tarasenko,” Rutherford writes. “The Rangers have a few players they’ll have to re-up in the next couple of years, but that might not prevent them from acquiring Tarasenko for the final two years of his deal.”

Earlier I noted that this sounds more like an in-season move if Chris Drury can’t acquire a top center like Jack Eichel and Kaapo Kakko fails to produce in the top six.

When will Kirill Kaprizov sign?

Kirill Kaprizov lost a little leverage when CSKA Moscow of the KHL made it known that he will not be playing there this past week.

The reigning Calder Trophy winner reportedly had a one-year deal in place for September 1 with the club should he be unable to come to terms with the Minnesota Wild. Many called it the worst bluff in sports history, and they appear now to be proven right.

Kirill Kaprizov led all rookies in goals (27), points (51) and power-play goals (eight) in 55 games this past season. His totals in goals, assists (24) and points served as records by a rookie in franchise history.

The two sides continue to negotiate and although the long term deal the Wild is not an option, they should come to terms before the start of camp.

Expect something in the 3 to 5 year range.

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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