It’s July 9th and we’re just over a week into the free agency period. There are still a good few quality free agents left on the board as well as a lot of high-end restricted free agents who do not have contracts. Today we look at NHL Rumours from the Montreal Canadiens, Buffalo Sabres, what the Vegas Golden Knights might do with Nikita Gusev as well as take a look at the Pat Maroon situation.
All NHL rumours are taken from the original source and are subject to change.
Rumour: Patrik Laine was interviewed in Finland and was asked about the recent NHL rumours indicating that Montreal might be interested in him. Laine responded by saying “Might be rumours, but you never know.”
Analysis: David Pagnotta of thefourthperiod.com recently mentioned that the Canadiens were interested in Laine. This makes even more sense now that the Hurricanes have matched the offer sheet signed by Sebastian Aho. The Canadiens are aggressively trying to upgrade their forward group and power-play unit. Laine would certainly provide that. He is a bonafide 30-goal scorer. Laine has a lethal shot and would provide the Habs with an extra weapon to go along with Shea Weber on the top power-play unit. Having a scoring threat like Laine would help open up Weber and would certainly lead to more powerplay goals.
The Canadiens were the second-worst team on the powerplay this past season and ended up just missing the playoffs. Adding Laine would greatly increase their percentage and greatly increase the chances that they are a playoff team next season.
Rumour: Lance Lysowski of the Buffalo News takes a look at potential trade targets for the Sabres now that Marcus Johansson has signed with the team.
What will the #Sabres do next with Marcus Johansson under contract? Here are a few players they could trade for and , of course, their needs depend on where Johansson will play:https://t.co/0vlQWQFBcE
— Lance Lysowski (@LLysowski) July 7, 2019
Analysis: Lysowski lists centre and right-wing as the positions of need for the Sabres while having a surplus at left wing and right defence. He thinks the targets for the Sabres are players such as Kyle Turris, Nikolaj Ehlers, Artem Anisimov, Patric Hornqvist and Nikita Gusev. The Sabres have been very busy so far acquiring Jimmy Vesey, Colin Miller and Johansson thus far and are looking to strengthen the team even further to keep up with the rest of the Atlantic Divison.
Rasmus Ristolainen has been mentioned as a player who could possibly be on the way out in order to address the team’s needs. However, none of the players outside of Ehlers would be worth giving up Ristolainen for. A player like Anisimov could be had for much less and fill a hole they currently have. It might be the best option for the Sabres at this point.
Rumour: The Hockey News recently published an article by Steven Ellis listing the top five trade destinations for Nikita Gusev.
Analysis: With Vegas being so tight against the cap and Gusev being a restricted free agent, Vegas has some tough decisions to make. They could either move out some other players to create salary cap room or move Gusev, which at this point seems more likely. It is believed Gusev is asking for around $4 million per season. At this point, that is much too rich for Vegas. However, the return is underwhelming according to a report by Jesse Granger of The Athletic (subscription required), who states that according to league sources preliminary talks are a second-round pick and a later round pick or second-tier prospect. However, with no NHL experience, teams are not going to want to pay a lot for the Russian forward.
Rumour: Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic provided an update on the Pat Maroon situation on Monday. Rutherford stated that Maroon has offers on the table but the belief is they’re all for one year. Maroon is currently seeking at least two years and is willing to be patient waiting for the right offer.
Update on Maroon: a week into free agency, he remains unsigned. He has offers, but the belief is they’re all for one year. He’s looking for a couple years and the right fit and is willing to be patient. Several sources have said the Blues’ interest remains limited. #stlblues
— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) July 8, 2019
Analysis: After going home for a year and winning a Stanley Cup, it looks like Maroon could possibly be moving on. Although it is believed he would like to stay with the Blues, salary cap complications might just force him to sign elsewhere. Rutherford states that the Blues interest in the power forward remains limited. Certainly, this is because of the cap and the number of years he is looking for. Many had hoped he would take a home town discount but seems unlikely at this point. Maroon knows his worth and he will be patient until he gets it.
Main Photo: SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA – MAY 11: Pat Maroon #7 of the St. Louis Blues skates with the puck against Justin Braun #61 of the San Jose Sharks during the third period in Game One of the Western Conference Final during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center on May 11, 2019 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)