NHL Rumors: Maple Leafs, Avalanche, Sharks, Flyers

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Toronto Maple Leafs are meeting with Matthew Knies today. What will come of that meeting? The Colorado Avalanche are likely to lose Andre Burakovsky in free agency, while also trying to fend off the Philadelphia Flyers from scooping Nazem Kadri during the offseason.

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Finally, how will the San Jose Sharks handle a potential buyout of Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s contract?

Maple Leafs to Meet With Knies Today

As per TSN’s Darren Dreger, the Maple Leafs will meet with college prospect Matthew Knies and the hope from the Maple Leafs’ perspective is that he’s open to signing an entry-level contract with the team and playing for the Maple Leafs right away. Some believe Knies will be heading back to the University of Minnesota next year and not signing, but that remains to be seen.

If the Maple Leafs can get Knies into some regular-season games, it could be great for his development and for the team’s depth. That said, Sam Cosentino of Sportsnet says Knies isn’t going to be terribly interested unless he’s playing a top-nine role. If he goes back to college, he’s a year closer to unrestricted free agency. Cosentino called him a unicorn and said he could be a solid player.

The reality is, Knies might not play much, if at all for the Leafs and he knows that. It’s a matter of whether he makes the decision to forgo his chances at winning a National Championship next season and join the NHL where he might not play, versus take a chance on his ability to make the jump to the pros and produce. Head coach Sheldon Keefe said, “When the time is right for him, of course, we’ll welcome him, this season, down the line, whenever it may be. They’re going to go through that process.”

Avalanche Likely to Lose Burakovsky

As per Ian Kennedy of The Hockey News, the Colorado Avalanche are likely to lose Andre Burakovsky in free agency this summer as he could price himself out of the Avalanche’s plans if he has another strong postseason. In 2020 he scored 17 points in 15 games and this season he’s already produced 20 goals and 53 points in 70 games.

Related: Boston Bruins News & Rumors: Pastrnak, Grzelcyk, DeBrusk & More

The Avs are a team with big-money commitments coming up if they want to keep as much of their team together as possible and Burakovsky is only 27 years old. Just trying to keep both Darcy Kuemper and Nazem Kadri could be challenging and that means Burakovsky is likely playing elsewhere next season.

Vlasic’s Situation Could Affect GM Search in San Jose

Corey Masisak of The Athletic took a look at the situation evolving between defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic and the San Jose Sharks and wondered if the team would consider buying him out and if they do, how will it affect the next general manager? Moving Vlasic’s salary is a huge concern for the team and if a mistake is made in that respect, it could be detrimental to the future of the team and their ability to compete.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic San Jose Sharks
Marc-Edouard Vlasic, San Jose Sharks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Already waiting to see what happens with the Evander Kane grievance, buying out Vlasic’s $7 million contract will cost the team a lot in terms of dead cap space. Masisak writes:

If San Jose buys out Vlasic’s contract when the window to do so opens in July, the Sharks will create $3.3 million in cap space for this offseason, nearly $5.6 million for next summer, $2.8 million the following year $1.8 million the year after that. By doing that, they would add about $1.7 million in dead cap space to the ledger for four seasons  from 2026-27 to 2027-30.

source – ‘Goaltending future? Cap flexibility? Past playoff failures? Sharks mega-mailbag, part 2’ – Corey Masisak – The Athletic – 04/11/2022

The question is whether the Sharks want to handcuff the new GM with a salary cap commitment of $1.7 million per season until 2030. Would it affect a candidate’s willingness to take the job in San Jose?

Flyers Will Look at Free Agent Centers

As per The Fourth Period, “According to a team source, the Flyers will look at “all teams and the UFA market” in the club’s search for a top-nine pivot.” A team that badly wants to reshape its roster and find a way to put together a strong season, they’ll leave no stone unturned.

The article suggests they’ll look at Colorado’s Nazem Kadri and Carolina’s Vincent Trochek first and they note that Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman has tied the Flyers to Kadri’s name on 32 Thoughts recently.

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