NHL Rumours – Vancouver Canucks, Buffalo Sabres, Pittsburgh Penguins and Los Angeles Kings

NHL Rumours
OTTAWA, ON - JANUARY 2: Elias Pettersson #40 of Vancouver Canucks looks on during a stoppage in play in a game against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on January 2, 2019 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)

We’re almost through one month of play in the season, but we have plenty of NHL rumours. Some general managers are trying to salvage their season while others are already thinking ahead to next year. Even next year’s free-agent class is being talked about. Today’s NHL rumours focus on the Vancouver Canucks, Buffalo SabresPittsburgh Penguins and Los Angeles Kings.

NHL Rumours

Vancouver Canucks

Rumour: We start NHL Rumours off in Western Canada as TSN’s Rick Dhaliwal reports that start forward Elias Pettersson will cost the Canucks at least 9-11 million dollars, possibly more.

Analysis: While this shouldn’t really come as a surprise it is still very interesting. Pettersson is one of the most promising young stars in the game and the face of the Vancouver franchise. He will most certainly be commanding large money that some of the other restricted free agents got this summer. However, what will be interesting is how they handle the money.

Pettersson still has this year and next on his contract so nothing can be started just yet. The Canucks will have to wait until after this season is over before even signing him. It seems reasonable the Canucks will want to get him signed as soon as possible. He is a rising star who will only cost more as he plays more. However, that may be exactly why Pettersson would want to wait an extra year. The better he plays the more he will be paid from Vancouver.

Either way, the Canucks only have 35 million tied up for the season that Pettersson will have his new contract kick in. So, they will certainly have some space to work with, especially if the cap keeps rising. Keep an eye on Pettersson and his play as it is always must-watch hockey.

Buffalo Sabres

Rumour: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was on WGR550 and mentioned that Sabres forward Evan Rodrigues is available for the right price. However, his 2 million cap hit may complicate things.

Analysis: Rodrigues is a depth option that can put up some points here and there but has struggled with that this season. He has no points through 6 games and has yet to get in a full stride this season when he does play. Last year he had a career-high 29 points in 79 games played. Some teams may see that bit of a scoring touch and try it on their bottom line.

The issue is that 2 million is a lot of money for a player who may not even pan out full time for the team. On top of that, assets would have to be given up to acquire him which makes the whole thing a very risky choice. There is no doubt that this likely scares some teams off of Rodrigues.

A way to try and fix this for Buffalo could be to retain salary. They can retain up to one million dollars on his deal which would make it a lot easier to slide under the cap for almost any team. This would also make teams more willing to give up an asset. If Rodrigues does work out for a team, he is still a restricted free agent which means he can be under team control for another contract. Look for Buffalo to see what the market is like as this year rolls on.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Rumour: Elliotte Friedman reported in 31 Thoughts that the Pittsburgh Penguins are “absolutely going to add“. He also believes a deal with Marcus Pettersson is very close to done.

Analysis: The Penguins will be a team that pop up very frequently in NHL Rumours. They already traded Erik Gudbranson away to make cap space, now they plan on using it. Pettersson has become a big part of their defence core and it will be interesting to see what kind of deal gets done. The term and cap amount will be critical for Pittsburgh. Every dollar counts so it may be reasonable to expect they lengthen the term to cut down the average cap hit.

Doing this would allow them to go add, but what? The Penguins have dealt with injuries all year long and because of that, there is no doubt they may want to look for some forward depth. Names like Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Tyler Toffoli, or Kevin Fiala could be options. All three of those names are on rebuilding teams with expiring deals. Fiala is the youngest but all of them are under 27. It is also possible they look for help on the blueline. However, given the man-games lost upfront that would likely be a priority.

Los Angeles Kings

Rumour: Speaking of Tyler Toffoli, Friedman’s hit on Buffalo radio also mentioned that he is absolutely available. Teams should be calling soon to see what it would take to get him.

Analysis: Toffoli is a very solid forward who is on an expiring deal. His underlying metrics are very strong on a poor LA team and he would help just about any team. He isn’t elite but he could be one of the sneaky pickups for a team that puts them over the top. The Boston Bruins picked up guys like Marcus Johansson last season and he really helped them in their quest to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Boston is a team that could be on Toffoli this year too. Their depth scoring is non-existent and they need some help if they wish to keep rolling in the East. However, another team that may look for scoring depth is the Edmonton Oilers. A significant amount of their team has scored two goals or less and that is a massive concern. If they feel they are legit and want to add Toffoli could be a cheaper piece to do so.

What is for sure, there should be lots of suitors out there. The Kings may not be able to haul in the big first-round pick, but some middling picks or a decent prospect could be expected. Expect LA to keep busy looking to move Toffoli.

That’s all for NHL Rumours! Tune in tomorrow for more!

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