We’re almost two weeks into free agency, but we still have plenty of NHL rumours. Teams still have plenty of time to set the rosters and will look to make some more moves. Today we look at rumours surrounding the New York Rangers, Vancouver Canucks and Buffalo Sabres.
All NHL rumours are taken from the original source and are subject to change.
New York Rangers
Rumour: Shayna Goldman of The Athletic (subscription required) said the Rangers will have to decide on the future of forward Chris Kreider. The veteran forward is in the last year of his contract at a $4.625 million rate.
What’s next for the New York Rangers and Chris Kreider? While he has a year left on his contract, the #NYR may want it figured out this summer. So will they keep him or trade him? Let’s dive in and assess each option https://t.co/QD07HVbMac
— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) July 11, 2019
However, he could stay if the Rangers find themselves in contention for a post-season spot.
Analysis: New York has made some drastic changes in the off-season and gotten their superstar in Artemi Panarin. However, the team needs another centre to help first-line pivot Mika Zibanejad. Filip Chytil is currently slotted into that second-line centre spot, but the Blueshirts would love someone with more experience. Chytil and Brett Howden show promise, but they are young and might need another season to grow.
The Rangers have over $7 million in cap space right now but still need to sign restricted free agents Jacob Trouba, Pavel Buchnevich, Anthony DeAngelo, and Brendan Lemieux. In order to acquire a veteran centre, some salary will also need to be shipped out.
Rumours: The Sekeres and Price Show on TSN 1040 in Vancouver said that a source close to the team said that they’ve been getting a lot of calls on Jake Virtanen. They speculated that it would take a lot of guts to move him.
Jared Clinton of The Hockey News said the Micheal Ferland contract will force Vancouver to move some salary in order to accommodate the upcoming Brock Boeser deal. The Canucks would love to move Loui Eriksson, but that contract at $6 million for the next three years will be an albatross. Other names that could be on the move include Antoine Roussel, Jay Beagle or Tanner Pearson.
Analysis: Virtanen has a small cap hit at $1.25 million and has some upside as a power forward. However, they’re going to find a way to make room for Boeser and his contract. That contract will likely be a decent hit unless the new deal is a team-friendly bridge contract.
Rumour: Multiple sources think Rasmus Ristolainen trade rumours are heating up once again. Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News thinks that general manager Jason Botterill could be loading up for a big move. The Sabres have a surplus of prospects and right defence and would love to add another forward, specifically a centre to help Jack Eichel, and Casey Mittelstadt.
My latest #Sabres column: As Jason Botterill’s moves keep flying in, it looks like the big deal is still to come. Plus, a second thought on something I got wrong regarding the GM. https://t.co/77iBJl4YSr
— Mike Harrington (@ByMHarrington) July 10, 2019
Botterill is trying to erase the taste of the Ryan O’Reilly trade and has made a few good deals so far. Buffalo will also have plenty of cap space if they let certain contracts expire at the end of the season.
Analysis: The Sabres have a long way to go, but things may be breaking right for once for a franchise looking to put some winning culture together. Getting help for Jack Eichel and Skinner is key.
Ristolainen could fetch a nice return and someone like the Edmonton Oilers could be an ideal dance partner. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins‘ name pops up frequently in discussions and would help as a No. 2 centre. Casey Mittelstadt wouldn’t be put under so much pressure.
COLUMBUS, OH – JANUARY 13: Ryan Murray #27 of the Columbus Blue Jackets stick checks Chris Kreider #20 of the New York Rangers during the third period on January 13, 2019 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus defeated New York 7-5. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)