NHL Rumors: Canadiens, Maple Leafs, Canucks, Eichel Trade Talk, More

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, there are updates out of Montreal where the Canadiens have commented on if they’ll play Cole Caufield. At the same time, there are behind-the-scenes details emerging when it comes to the rumors about what happened with defenseman Tony DeAngelo. The Toronto Maple Leafs should be getting a key forward back on Sunday and there’s talk about NHL Expansion, specifically when it comes to the Nashville Predators and Seattle Kraken working out a deal. The Vancouver Canucks may be without their best player for the rest of the season and there’s chatter about a Jack Eichel move.

Canadiens Update: Caufield and DeAngelo

While previous reports suggested that DeAngelo declined terminating his current contract and will instead elected to be bought out this coming offseason, Larry Brooks of the NY Post is reporting it was actually the defenseman’s camp that brought up the idea of a mutual termination of his contract with the New York Rangers.

Brooks reports that the idea was contingent on DeAngelo being able to get a contract in place with another team. That team looked like it might be the Canadiens and that the deal offered would make DeAngelo close to ‘whole’ on the value of his terminated contract. It’s not clear why things didn’t pan out, but speculation is that it might have been due to the length of term offered by the Canadiens.

In other Canadiens news, there’s been a lot of talk about Caufield getting some playing time with the Canadiens this season, and while the top-tier prospect is currently on the taxi squad, head coach Dominique Ducharme said salary cap space issues will keep the forward out of the lineup for now.

Ducharme added that because of the team’s salary cap situation, they won’t be able to dress any member of the taxi squad unless there’s an injury to one of the 20 skaters on their roster. The team will have to decide whether or not to keep him on the taxi squad or get him back to Laval when that club is able to play.

Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Campbell, Tavares, Matthews & Foligno

Nylander Traveling with the Maple Leafs

Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun writes that Maple Leafs forward William Nylander traveled with the team to Vancouver yesterday. He could play in Sunday’s game against the Canucks.

Hornby notes:

The right winger was on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list as of April 7 after volunteering that day he was exposed to a possible positive case. That quarantine was to be a minimum of seven days, with coach Sheldon Keefe saying on Thursday that Nylander required one more negative test.

Jack Eichel to the Los Angeles Kings?

During a WGR 550 radio hit and while appearing on “The Instigators”, TSN hockey insider Darren Dreger speculated Jack Eichel might not be playing with the Buffalo Sabres next season. Dreger noted he’s heard the Los Angeles Kings have an interest in Eichel and thinks the 24-year-old could be a good fit there.

Jack Eichel Buffalo Sabres
Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

It will be interesting to see how much trade chatter there is around Eichel who will be undergoing rehab from surgery to fix a herniated disc in his neck. Dreger seems to think the trade talks will continue, but also notes the Sabres will hang onto their captain if they don’t get the return they want.

Pettersson Could Be Done For Season

As per a report on NHL.com, Elias Pettersson isn’t ready to return from an upper-body injury when the Vancouver Canucks resume play Sunday against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Further to that, he may not be back this season.

Canucks’ GM Jim Benning said, “He’s on the ice skating now, he’s going to continue to rehab, but we don’t have a timeline yet as to when he’s going to be back, if he’s going to be back at all.” Benning added, “I was hopeful that maybe he could come back, but after the visit (to a specialist) on Wednesday, he’s going to be a little bit longer yet.”

Could the Predators Leave High-Ticket Forwards Exposed?

Adam Vingan and Ryan S. Clark of The Athletic recently looked at how the Nashville Predators will approach the NHL Expansion Draft after not trading Mattias Ekholm at the NHL Trade Deadline. One thing GM David Poile did say was: “I’m not losing Mattias Ekholm in expansion, if that’s what you’re asking me,” he said. “I’ve got that covered.”

Matt Duchene Nashville Predators
Matt Duchene, Nashville Predators (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The buzz is that the Predators will leave high-priced ($8 million) centers in Matt Duchene and Ryan Johansen unprotected and see if they can’t convince Seattle Kraken GM Ron Francis to grab one of them. It may take a sweetener, but that could be a route the Predators go.

Is Seattle Willing to Take On a Big Contract?

Francis was asked about whether or not he’d be willing to take on a player who might not live up to his contract and he said:

“It’s situation by situation. It’s going to depend on the player. It’s going to depend on the dollar amount of the contract, the AAV, the term of the contract. It’s going to depend upon what that price is. We’re certainly open to having those discussions, but it’s almost a case-by-case evaluation as to whether it makes sense for us or not, short-term or long-term.”

source – ‘Predators post-trade deadline expansion draft outlook: Would the Kraken want Ryan Johansen or Matt Duchene?’ Adam Vingan and Ryan S. Clark – The Athletic – 04/14/2021

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