Welcome back to another edition of NHL rumours. The 2019 NHL Entry Draft weekend is here and trade talk around the league is abundant. Today’s rumours focus on some of the league’s biggest teams including the Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh Penguins and more.
All of our NHL rumours are taken from the original source and are subject to change.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Rumour: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman states the Leafs have investigated the possibility of a trade for Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban.
Analysis: The Leafs are in serious need of help on the right side of their defense. Nashville is looking to shed some cap to make moves in the free agent window. In theory, Subban heading home to Toronto makes some sense for both sides.
What makes the deal difficult is the financial side of things. As Friedman notes, a trade of this magnitude first needs a conclusion in the Mitch Marner contract saga. Similarly, Subban’s $9 million AAV would require the Leafs to free up some cap space, be it through trade or allowing one or more of their free agents to move on. There have been reports that the Predators may take on as much as $3 million of Subban’s salary.
The Preds would be seeking a quality return from Toronto for their star defenceman. With that said, it is unlikely Nashville want to take on any significant contracts from the Leafs. Perhaps draft picks and/or prospects could help the Leafs strike a deal for Subban. Hoping to land Matt Duchene or another coveted free agent forward this summer, moving Subban could be a necessary evil for Preds general manager David Poile.
NHL Rumours: Montreal Canadiens
I do believe the Habs have inquired. Really they need to be looking at all the top 4 LHD options on the market. https://t.co/5R5ZSDSxQR
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) June 21, 2019
Analysis: Much like the Subban to Toronto trade, this transaction could benefit both teams. With one year remaining on a modest contract, this season is likely Brodie’s last in Calgary. For Montreal, the search for a legit top-four defenceman to play alongside Shea Weber could end by acquiring Brodie.
The addition of Noah Hanifin last summer should soften the blow were the Flames to lose Brodie. Perhaps their biggest area of concern now is depth up front. With former Flame Paul Byron and agitator Andrew Shaw both being mentioned in Habs trade talk of late, perhaps Calgary might have some interest in one or both players.
Were the teams able to strike a deal, Montreal would be adding much-needed stability to their blue line. Capable of playing in many situations, Brodie is a big minute defenceman comfortable matching against other team’s top lines. With Jordie Benn expected to test free agency, general manager Marc Bergevin would be wise to take a real shot at landing Brodie.
NHL Rumours: Pittsburgh Penguins
Rumour: The Athletic’s Rob Rossi reports that the Penguins are “entertaining” offers for defenceman Kris Letang.
— Rob Rossi (@Real_RobRossi) June 21, 2019
Analysis: Pens general manager Jim Rutherford is set on shaking things up this summer. After chatter surrounding a Phil Kessel trade has faded of late, Letang is the latest Penguin potentially on the move.
While injuries have hindered his stats in recent seasons, Letang remains one of the best offensive defenceman league-wide. The 32-year-old has hit the 50 point mark in five of the last nine seasons despite only playing all 82 games once. With three more years on a deal carrying an AAV of $7.25 million, teams would surely take a chance on Letang if the Pens are ready to move on.
In trying to find a suitor, we can head back to both Toronto and Montreal. For the Leafs, Letang offers very similar attributes to Subban, while coming at a reduced cost. A top pairing of Morgan Rielly and Letang would be one of the leagues best skating duos.
For Montreal, adding the hometown boy would give them a one-two punch at RD that few around the league could match. While talks of a Letang trade are still preliminary, both the Leafs and Canadiens will be calling should his services be made available.
Vegas Golden Knights
Rumour: TSN’s Pierre LeBrun believes a long term-deal is imminent for pending Vegas RFA William Karlsson.
There's been much progress in talks between William Karlsson's camp and the Golden Knights and barring a last-minute hiccup I think we'll see a long-term deal wrapped up in the next week or two for the top-line forward
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) June 21, 2019
Analysis: Having appeared in every Golden Knights regular season game to date, Karlsson is a huge part of Vegas’ success. With 134 points in 164 games, the 26-year-old Swede is due for a raise after signing a one-year bridge deal last summer.
The issue with getting a deal done is the current cap crunch Vegas finds itself in. In order to re-sign Karlsson, the team will likely have to move out some current contracts. The preferred option is to get David Clarkson and his injury reserve deal off the books. Having submitted a 16 team no-trade list, Clarkson will be shopped to the other 14 teams with hopes of the last year of his deal not becoming a burden for Vegas any longer.
Until at least the 2021-22 season, Vegas has a young core of forwards locked up in Mark Stone, Alex Tuch, Jon Marchessault, and Reilly Smith. Adding Karlsson’s name to that list will help ensure the Golden Knights are a contender once again in the near future.
That’s it for today’s NHL rumours. Check back tomorrow for a new batch of rumours and analysis at Last Word on Hockey.