Can’t get enough NHL rumors? Lyle Richardson’s Rumor Roundup column serves as a one-stop guide to the latest rumblings around the league.
Entering the 2018 NHL Draft, Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson remains the hot topic of trade speculation.
Interest in Karlsson’s future increased after the Senators shipped Mike Hoffman on Tuesday to the Sharks, who subsequently flipped the winger to the Panthers for draft picks. The 27-year-old blueliner has a year remaining on his contract and becomes eligible next July for unrestricted free agent status.
NHL DRAFT 2018: SN’s Mock 3.0 | Prospect rankings
Senators general manager Pierre Dorion intends to offer Karlsson a contract extension. But with the Hoffman trade signaling a potential roster rebuild, the superstar rearguard could be reluctant to sign. That could force Dorion to shop him as early as this weekend.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie believes Dorion is listening to trade offers for Karlsson. Frank Seravalli shares his colleague’s view, suggesting the Golden Knights as a possible destination. They attempted to land Karlsson at last February’s trade deadline and carry plenty of depth in young trade assets and salary-cap room to make it happen.
The Lightning also looked into acquiring Karlsson at the deadline. The Athletic’s Joe Smith wondered if Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman might revisit his earlier interest. While the Lightning also have young assets to tempt Dorion, the cost of re-signing Karlsson to a lucrative long-term extension could be a concern.
TRADE GRADES: Senators get pennies on the dollar for Mike Hoffman
Canadiens, Oilers entertaining offers in top 10
The Canadiens hold the No. 3 overall selection in this year’s draft, but GM Marc Bergevin could peddle it for immediate roster help.
Earlier this month, Bergevin sounded reluctant to part with his pick. Last Saturday, however, he told the Montreal Gazette he’s open to offers.
Trade scuttlebutt has linked the Canadiens to Sabres center Ryan O’Reilly. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports the sticking point could be the Sabres want that third-overall pick as part of the return. Frank Seravalli suggests it could take a package offer of left wing Max Pacioretty, prospects and draft picks (other than the Canadiens’ first-rounder) to bring O’Reilly to Montreal.
TRADE GRADES: Habs cut bait on Alex Galchenyuk — for better or worse
Having already traded forward Alex Galchenyuk last Friday to the Coyotes for left wing Max Domi, Bergevin likely isn’t done making moves. Whether it involves his first-round pick or Pacioretty, the Canadiens GM could be planning a significant deal this weekend.
Meanwhile, Sportsnet’s John Shannon reports Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli is prepared to move his first-round pick (10th overall) for a quality defenseman. Chiarelli said he’s had some discussions with other clubs but didn’t appear close to a deal.
Earlier this month, there was talk Chiarelli might use left wing Milan Lucic as trade bait for a blueliner. Lucic could be willing to waive his no-movement clause but his $6 million annual salary through 2022-23 and declining numbers last season could be a tough sell.
Columbus tests market on Panarin
A year after the Blue Jackets acquired Artemi Panarin from the Blackhawks, there’s talk the Russian star could be on the move again.
Panarin, 26, led the Jackets this season with a career-best 82-point performance. He has one season remaining on his two-year, $12 million contract. Jackets management would like to start contract-extension talks, but the winger has other ideas.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman first reported Panarin doesn’t want to open contract discussions at this time, adding GM Jarmo Kekalainen was testing the trade market heading into the draft. The Columbus Dispatch’s George Richards claims Kekalainen isn’t shopping Panarin, perhaps waiting to see what this summer’s top free agents might bear.
The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline reports Panarin told management he prefers to wait until this fall to talk contract. If Kekalainen decides to trade him, Portzline doubts the Jackets will get a fair return unless interested clubs get assurances Panarin will re-sign with them.
2018 UFA RANKINGS: Forwards | Defensemen | Goalies
Flyers to part ways with Simmonds?
Since joining the Flyers in 2011, left wing Wayne Simmonds developed into a key member of their roster. A physical two-way forward, the 29-year-old had five seasons with 49-plus points. Despite being hampered by injury this season, he still managed 24 goals and 46 points.
Simmonds has a year remaining on his contract and is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July. It’s assumed GM Ron Hextall will attempt to re-sign him, but that might not be a certainty.
Earlier this week, The Athletic’s Michael Russo included Simmonds among a list of potential trade targets for the Wild. He cited multiple sources claiming the Flyers were “gearing up” to potentially move the power forward.
NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Boruk reported Hextall recently said he intends to open contract talks with Simmonds soon. He expressed his confidence the winger would fully recover from recent surgery to repair a tear in his pelvis.
Simmond’s age and how much he’ll seek on his next contract could become sticking points. He turns 30 in August and is due for a significant pay raise over his current $3.975-million annual cap hit. If seeks something comparable to Edmonton’s Milan Lucic (seven years at $6 million annually), Hextall could be reluctant to pay that much. Simmonds also carries a 12-team no-trade list. If the Flyers decide to trade him, interested parties will want to talk to him first about a contract extension.