NHL Rumors Weekly: Sabres, Kings, Oilers, Maple Leafs, and Penguins

By Anthony Scultore
Jack Eichel on Broadway? (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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 the latest on Jack Eichel and the Sabres disconnect.

Sabres moving on from Jack Eichel

After the Sabres won the NHL Draft Lottery, GM Kevyn Adams discussed the latest on the situation with Jack Eichel. “It’s hard for me to answer that question because I need to speak with Jack’s agents and Jack himself and just kind of understand where they’re at,” he said. “Everybody agreed that the 12-week rehab was the first step in this process, so now I don’t have the information to say to you, ‘Here’s where we go from here.’”

“It’s clear there is a clear lack of trust between Eichel and the Sabres right now,” Elliotte Friedman said on his 31 Thoughts podcast. “Again, this is me talking, nobody is telling me this, I wonder if this is a deal that happens sooner rather than later for that reason.”

The teams interested in Eichel reached out to Friedman to ask if there was more info not yet public. He told them there wasn’t. “It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Sabres answer to this is to potentially is to punt the situation to another team,” Friedman concluded.

What has yet to come out of this saga is that Jack Eichel has asked to be traded. That may still become public, but it’s hard not to take his exit day comments as a form of that request. “The most important thing now is to get healthy and be ready to play hockey next year,” he stated. “Wherever that might be.”

Toronto Maple Leafs Rumors Roundup

nhl roundup
Mitch Marner (Getty Images)

Mitch Marner was the subject of trade rumors once the final buzzer sounded in Game 7 against the Habs. Auston Matthews scoffed at the idea of trading Marner and GM Kyle Dubas called it “foolish.”

Maple Leafs President, Brendan Shanahan also weighed in on the notion of breaking up their top four (Tavares, Matthews, Marner, Nylander).

“I’ll say this about our top four: I think any team would love to have any one of them,” Shanahan said. “But we like them, we want them here. They’re special players. They’re all deeply, deeply committed here to win in Toronto.”

NHL.com

Toronto will certainly have some potential changes with players like Joe Thornton and Wayne Simmonds on expiring deals. Same for Frederik Andersen and Zach Hyman who may leave via free agency. With regards to Hyman, re-signing him with their cap crunch will be difficult, plus he’s aware that many teams are ready to give him top dollar this offseason.

“This is his big opportunity in his career (to get paid), and he knows that,” a source told the Toronto Sun. “There’s going to be no shortage of interest in him.”

Pittsburg Penguins Rumors Roundup

Penguins GM Ron Hextall put to rest the notion that he would be looking to trade Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang, just a day after Sidney Crosby urged the organization to keep the core together. Rob Rossi of The Athletic shed a little more light on the situation this weekend.

“Sid isn’t playing GM,” one of the sources said. “Mario (Lemieux) knows how strongly Sid feels about this. Mario feels pretty damn strong about it, from what I know. The stuff about Malkin and Letang being traded — I don’t know where it came from, but it’s not something ownership ever said needs to happen. It’s not something Mario wants.”

The Athletic

Los Angeles Kings targeting Seth Jones

kings targeting seth jones
Apr 22, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones (3) is congratulated after he scored a goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Seth Jones will have no shortage of suitors this summer. I noted that the Flyers and Stars were two teams that will likely make offers for him at the draft. However, Aaron Portzline of The Athletic is putting the Kings at the top of the list.

Spent part of Sunday asking around the NHL about the anticipated level of interest in Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones, who has reportedly informed the club that he has no intention of re-signing with Columbus and is likely to be traded this summer. Most clubs will let the dust settle for a day or so after big news breaks, but two clubs reached out to Kekalainen on Sunday. A flood of calls is expected beginning Monday or Tuesday after the holiday weekend. If you’re the betting sort — and isn’t everybody these days? — the early favorite appears to the Los Angeles Kings, given their stable of prospects and their pile of draft picks. Chicago and Montreal are expected to be major players, too.

The Athletic

The question for me is simple, if the Kings are going to use a majority of their assets (Alex Turcotte) on trying to land Seth Jones, does that take them out of the running for Jack Eichel? If so, does that leave the Rangers in a prime position to land an elite, but injured player for a great price? An interesting offseason is shaping up no matter what happens.

Edmonton Oilers may target Lightning forward

oilers targeting lightning forward
Jun 1, 2021; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Alex Killorn (17) celebrates his second period goal against the Carolina Hurricanes in game two of the second round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

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 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 Oilers may opt to use the money they would’ve spent on RNH and target a playoff proven winger that they could put on a line with Connor McDavid for a different dynamic.

In the playoffs this year, Killorn is excelling on the attack, while Palat and Gourde are struggling somewhat to put up points. Teams usually like to keep veteran players who do well in the playoffs, so I’d suggest Killorn might be the least likely to be moved. In any case, all this is speculative, but if you’re watching Tampa in the playoffs it might well be a good idea to keep your eye on these four players

David Staples, Edmonton Journal