NHL Off-Season Rumours: Rick Nash, Erik Karlsson, Devante Smith-Pelly, Slava Voynov

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PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 25: Erik Karlsson #65 of the Ottawa Senators controls the puck in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena on May 25, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

It’s time for another fresh batch of NHL off-season rumours. We’re less than a week away from the July 1 signing day and teams are making their pitches to players. Today we speculate on the futures of Rick Nash, Erik Karlsson, Devante Smith-Pelly and Slava Voynov.

These rumours come from the originating source and are subject to change.

Rick Nash

Rumour: TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that teams are interested in the unrestricted free agent forward. Dreger said at least five teams are interested in the former All-Star.

The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline added the Columbus Blue Jackets might look to bring Nash back home. He played for the club for nine seasons. The Boston Bruins are also in the mix to re-sign him. This is the first time Nash has been a free agent in his career.

Analysis: Nash has been known to struggle in the playoffs but is a solid regular-season scorer. The Brampton, Ontario native registered 21 goals and 13 assists in 71 games this season with the New York Rangers and the B’s.

Erik Karlsson

Rumour: Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek speculated on the 31 Thoughts podcast that the Dallas Stars could be a sleeper in getting the Norris Trophy winner. Credit also goes to Chris Nichols of FRSHockey.com.

Analysis: The Ottawa Senators defenceman would be a big coup for Stars general manager Jim Nill. One of Dallas’ main problems was defence and Karlsson would be a big-time fix. The Stars are also in the mix for John Tavares and would love to find a way to get them both.

Getting one or both would add to Nill’s reputation of making splashy off-season moves.

Devante Smith-Pelly

Rumour: Associated Press hockey writer Stephen Whyno said the Washington Capitals are still trying to negotiate with Smith-Pelly despite not extending him a qualifying offer. No other reports on other teams that might be interested, but its’ still early.

Analysis: Smith-Pelly hitting the open market would be a huge surprise. The Scarborough, Ontario native was a valuable cog in the Caps Stanley Cup run.

He made key plays on both ends of the ice and will be a welcome addition to any club that signs him. Washington may still get him back, but he’ll likely get interest.

Slava Voynov

Rumour: TVA’s L.A. Lariviere confirmed that the Montreal Canadiens and the KHL defenceman have a mutual interest in each other. Voynov’s return to the NHL hinges on a July 2 court date in California and the league would then take steps on reinstating him.

Analysis: This situation is a delicate one based on the domestic abuse conviction on thr former Los Angles Kings‘ defender’s record. Habs general manager Marc Bergevin and the rest of the club are likely to face a huge backlash if they do bring the Russian blueliner back to North America.

The columns telling Voynov to stay in Russia will only pile up the more the speculation grows. Montreal is going to have to weigh this transaction carefully. The club has brought in former KHL players like Alexander Radulov, but his situation is a lot more tenuous.

 

Main Photo: PITTSBURGH, PA – MAY 25: Erik Karlsson #65 of the Ottawa Senators controls the puck in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena on May 25, 2017, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

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