It’s another edition of our NHL rumours and things are heating up as near the end of the season. Teams are trying to figure out their off-season targets and how to fit under the cap. There could be some big names on the move this off-season.
New York Rangers
Rumour: ESPN’s Greg Wyshinski and Chris Peters both speculated that Erik Karlsson could head to Manhattan in the off-season. The former Norrish Trophy winner does like the Bay Area and the San Jose Sharks, but he could be convinced by fellow countryman Henrik Lundqvist to come back East.
Analysis: The main issue has been the Swede’s health all season. He’s still a dynamic playmaker, but he may not be the solution for the Rangers struggling defence.
He’ll also probably want a deal rivaling that of Drew Doughty, who got eight years and $88 million. The recent health issues and the amount of money could make any team hesitate on such a long commitment.
The Rangers have shown great financial restraint the last couple of seasons. They have cleared out plenty of space and can make a run at some of the other big-ticket free agents.
San Jose Sharks
Rumour: Speaking of Karlsson’s teammate, Joe Thornton is still uncertain on if he’ll be back next season. He’s said to the media that he has to talk to general manager Doug Wilson and owner Hasso Plattner. Thronton added that he plans on being a Shark if he does return.
Joe Thornton: “I’ve got to talk to Pete and Doug and Hasso. But we’ll see. I haven’t made any decision. I feel like I can still play, that’s for sure, but I haven’t made any decision at all yet.” #SJSharks
— Kevin Kurz (@KKurzNHL) May 23, 2019
Analysis: Thornton’s quest for that elusive first Stanley Cup proved to be a big storyline for most of the post-season. There were times he looked like his old self, but he’ll turn 40 on July 2.
He took a discount to stay with the team for their playoff push, but the St. Louis Blues beat the Sharks in six games. Thornton wants that Cup and he may make one last run, but he’ll need to likely take the same discount to stay.
Rumour: Josh Yohe of The Athletic Pittsburgh said that the Pens and the Minnesota Wild are in talks to trade Phil Kessel. Michael Russo of The Athletic also added that Jason Zucker and Victor Rask could be going to Pittsburgh in exchange for Kessel and Jack Johnson.
Penguins, #mnwild in trade talks surrounding Phil Kessel. @JoshYohe_PGH has confirmed what I reported Tuesday about potential Jason Zucker-Victor Rask for Kessel-Jack Johnson swap. Lots of details in this story + other possible landing spots for Zuckerhttps://t.co/TOM2dZhbQk
— Michael Russo (@RussoHockey) May 23, 2019
Analysis: There’s a lot of moving parts to this as Pierre LeBrun added that Kessel would have to waive his no-trade clause. Kessel hasn’t said yes, but that doesn’t mean that he couldn’t change his mind. He is a sought-after commodity.
The Penguins look like they want to clear some space and make some changes. The American does have an eight-team yes list and some of those teams have started to contacting Pittsburgh. It’s interesting that the former University of Minnesota player is not sold on returning there. His sister, Amanda, also played for the Golden Gophers.
Rumour: Pierre LeBrun was on TSN 1200 and said that the Sabres and Tampa Bay Lightning could make a deal to take on Ryan Callahan. There’s no word on what the Lightning would send in order to take that contract.
McGuire on TSN1200 says there is a lot of speculation the Buffalo Sabres would take Ryan Callahan, but the question is what else would Tampa Bay send to Buffalo in order for them to take that contract.
— NHL Prospects Watcher (@Prospects_Watch) May 23, 2019
Analysis: Callahan is a Rochester, New York native. Returning home, through the Sabres AHL system, would resemble what many other veterans have done late in their career. Many have speculated that the deal would be fairly low-brow, simply a swap to help Callahan head home for the last few years of his career.
Tampa Bay needs to find a way to clear out salary to keep the talented Brayden Point. It’s uncertain what Tampa would need to entice Buffalo to take on Callahan’s contract, but picks and prospects could be on the way out from the Sunshine State.
ST LOUIS, MISSOURI – MAY 15: Erik Karlsson #65 of the San Jose Sharks looks on against the St. Louis Blues during the third period in Game Three of the Western Conference Finals during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Enterprise Center on May 15, 2019 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)