We’re almost a week past the opening day of free agency, and there are still some NHL Rumours swirling around. With all the big contracts on the line, we’ve still got plenty to talk about! So pull up a chair and let’s shift our focus to the Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks for Saturday’s edition of NHL Rumours.
All NHL Rumours are taken from the original source and subject to change.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Multiple teams have considered pursuing Marner, including the NY Islanders & Montreal. Hearing Islanders are serious about pursuit, while Canadiens may be focused on Laine. Whether Isles, or another team, move forward with an offer sheet remains to be seen.
— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) July 5, 2019
Analysis: Another day, another chapter in the Marner NHL Rumour book. The Leafs aren’t ready to tap out on him, obviously. However, the ever-present cap issues in Toronto might have something to say about that if a large AAV is presented. But that’s a whole separate issue.
Could the Islanders be in Marner’s future? Well, they need to add someone to their top six. After failing to land Artemi Panarin with a hefty $12.5 million offer, the team has made one thing clear: they’re serious about bringing a top name to New York.
They’re not exactly flush with cap space either. We’ve all heard for months that they’re desperate to move Nick Leddy or Thomas Hickey. Ship the two defencemen out, and they’re looking at an additional $8 million breathing room. Pair that with their already available $8.6 million, and suddenly the Isles may have chiselled out a hole for Marner. This would give them an opportunity to present Marner with a deal bigger than the Leafs could afford on their cap.
Analysis: Could the Canadiens be so bold as to send out not just one, but two offer sheets? Word on the ice is, yes. Laine is said to be looking for more of a mid-term deal, while the Winnipeg Jets are airing on the side of the shorter term.
The Jets have an expensive group of players to pay this offseason, including Kyle Connor and Neal Pionk. With just short of $22.9 million in cap space remaining, it’s unclear if there’s room for Laine and the time table he’s looking for.
Montreal struggled on their power play this season. Laine has a lethal shot, and his ability to put pucks on the net could help ignite the team. He struggles at even strength, but the Habs might be the team to turn that around for him. After all, they were nothing less than impressive at 5-on-5.
Rumour: We end NHL Rumours in Vancouver. Rick Dhaliwal reported that the Canucks and Brock Boeser are still working on finalizing a contract.
— Rick Dhaliwal (@DhaliwalSports) July 4, 2019
Analysis: The Canucks would like to wrap these contract discussions with Boeser up and put a bow on it already. Both sides seem to want to get to a long-term deal. Pounding out the exact details appears to be the stalling point.
Vancouver doesn’t seem to be in much of a rush, as Boeser has no arbitration rights and isn’t eligible for an offer sheet. But the Canucks aren’t sitting worry-free in all of this. They’ve brought on three new defencemen, and now the club is looking at $5.5 million in leftover cap space. Boeser could easily swallow the rest of that.
Analysis: While the Canucks aren’t swimming in cap money, they are flush in the forward department. At this point, it looks like Adam Gaudette and Sutter are battling for the third-line center spot. The veteran had a low season last year due to injury, posting just six points over 26 games.
Moving Sutter makes more sense for Vancouver. His contract is significantly more expensive than Gaudette’s. Gaudette is exempt from waivers, but he’d need to mature to make the crossover to the NHL level permanently. That risk could be worth the reward of removing Sutter’s cap hit from the books as well as his largely ineffective play.
The best thing the Canucks could do is label Sutter as a depth piece and offer to retain some of his salary.