Welcome to Wednesday’s edition of NHL Rumours brought to you by the crew at Last Word on Hockey. We are less than a month away from the start of training camp and teams are still working on finalizing their rosters. Some of these teams are still in negotiations with their top RFA players and are risking not having them to start the season, creating a terrific breeding ground for NHL rumours. Today we have NHL rumours from the Toronto Maple Leafs, Minnesota Wild, Edmonton Oilers and Philadelphia Flyers.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Rumour: Sportsnet’s Rick Dhaliwal reported via Twitter that Mitch Marner‘s camp has contacted the Zurich Lions of the Swiss League to ask if he could practice with the club while he awaits a contract from the Toronto Maple Leafs.
24 days to training camp and still no Brock Boeser deal.
Some RFA ’ s might be looking for a place to play if no deal, European source tells me Mitch Marner camp has already contacted the Zurich Lions of the Swiss League.
— Rick Dhaliwal (@DhaliwalSports) August 20, 2019
Analysis: The saga continues between the Leafs and Marner’s camp. While talks are said to be going well, there has been no movement from either side. However, the fact that Marner has contacted another team to practice doesn’t bid well for the Leafs to have their star when training camp opens in September. TSN’s Darren Dreger believes that as the days go by, trade interest will increase. If a trade doesn’t occur, there’s a chance we could be looking at a situation similar to that of William Nylander last season.
Analysis: Fiala was acquired from the Nashville Predators last season in exchange for Mikael Granlund. Fiala and his agent Claude Lemieux had been in contact with Paul Fenton before he had been relieved of his duties. Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold has ensured Fiala that the club does want him back, which Fiala says has eased his mind. Fiala scored seven points in 19 games with the Wild last season. We reported a rumour recently that came from Michael Russo of The Athletic stating that Bill Guerin has emerged as the favourite to land the GM vacancy. We should see Fiala sign with the Wild before training camp opens in September.
Rumour: Kurt Leavins of the Edmonton Journal wonders if there is a possibility of a reunion between Taylor Hall and the Edmonton Oilers if he hits the open market when his contract expires next summer.
— Kurt Leavins (@KurtLeavins) August 18, 2019
Analysis: The atmosphere in Edmonton has severely changed since Hall left. The people responsible for shipping him out are now gone. The sting of being moved has passed. Hall could be lured back to the city who drafted him, to get a to play with star Connor McDavid. That alone would have to be enticing for Hall. He also liked playing in Edmonton during his time there. All-in-all, a reunion is not too far-fetched.
Of course, there would have to be moving parts. The Oilers do not have a ton of cap space for the 2020-21 season. According to Capfriendly.com, the Oilers have around $24 million in cap space with only 10 players signed for the 2020-21 year. They will also need to sign Darnell Nurse, who will be getting a hefty raise. They will also need to be fairly active in free agency next summer if they want to improve a lineup that will see veterans like Kyle Brodziak and Sam Gagner hitting the open market. Needless to say, the Oilers will have to get creative to make it a Hall acquisition work.
Rumour: According to Jason Myrtetus, who is a radio host in Philadelphia covering the Flyers, the team is close to terms with RFA Travis Konecny.
I checked in with someone in the know and was told Konecny is getting very close. Likely a bridge deal around 2–3 years about 4.5AAV. Provorov is stalled completely because the RFA market is also stalled. Agents and players playing the waiting game and no wants to sign first. https://t.co/YZeqPtTWXi
— Jason Myrtetus (@jasonmyrt) August 19, 2019
Analysis: Myrtetus says a source who is in the “know” told him it is going to be a bridge deal worth around $4.5 million for two to three years. If this is true that’s a solid value for the gritty forward who has put up back-to-back 24 goal seasons. Ivan Provorov, on their other hand, is in a holding pattern. Much like the rest of the big-name RFA’s, nobody seems to want to sign first. Most are waiting for Marner to set the standard with his new deal before the rest lock up. Marner is the top of the class. Once he finally signs, it should start a domino effect for the rest of the RFA’s, including Provorov.