NHL Rumors: Blackhawks, Sabres, Maple Leafs, Flames, More

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Chicago Blackhawks may still be looking to move defenseman Nikita Zadorov despite not trading him at this year’s NHL Trade Deadline. Meanwhile, are the Buffalo Sabres for sale? Investors have been calling to ask. There’s some chatter about what the Toronto Maple Leafs will have to pay to keep Zach Hyman and could the Calgary Flames be considering a trade that would send Matthew Tkachuk elsewhere?

Blackhawks Likely to Trade Zadorov

The Blackhawks did listen to trade offers for Zadorov, but ultimately decided not to move him this season. That doesn’t mean he won’t be moved. Ben Pope notes in a recent Chicago Sun-Times article that the Blackhawks are not pleased with how the blueliner has performed and they are growing impatient.

Nikita Zadorov Chicago Blackhawks
Nikita Zadorov, Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Danny Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Pope writes:

The hulking 6-6, 235-pound defenseman, who turns 26 on Friday, will be a restricted free agent this summer and will require a qualifying offer of at least $3.2 million to maintain his restricted status. He’ll likely expect to sign for even more than that.

But the big question is if that will be with the Hawks. Just because general manager Stan Bowman didn’t trade him Monday doesn’t mean he won’t this summer.

source – ‘Blackhawks’ Nikita Zadorov experiment has reached a critical moment’ – Ben Pop – Chicago Sun Time – 04/16/2021

The Blackhawks acquired Riley Stillman this season and he’ll be in direct competition for Zadorov’s job this summer. It sounds like Zadorov has the rest of this season to turn things around.

Are the Buffalo Sabres For Sale?

As per a report by John Vogl of The Athletic, the Sabres organization is not for sale but people are calling to see if the team can be purchased. Apparently, one party called to inquire and when word of that got out, more called.

Vogl writes:

I don’t think there’s any plan to sell, however. Just last week, Terry Pegula hopped in the car with general manager Kevyn Adams to go watch the Amerks. In midsummer, when the billionaire could be anywhere in the world, he’s sitting in frigid Harborcenter to watch unknown teens skate in circles at development camp. Pegula loves hockey.

source – ‘Would the Pegulas sell? What about Jack Eichel’s no-trade? If not Linus Ullmark, then who? Sabres mailbag’ – John Vogl – The Athletic – 04/19/2021

The Pegulas bought the Sabres in 2011 for $189 million, and back in December Forbes valued them at $385 million.

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

Vogl also adds that Jack Eichel‘s no-movement clause kicks in on July 1st, 2022, so if they want to move him, that is the date to keep an eye on. He also notes that the Sabres will do all they can to re-sign goaltender Linus Ullmark, and it could cost them $5 million a year. He won’t be their only goaltender acquisition either as the Sabres are looking to bring in another goalie through trade or free agency.

What is Hyman Worth on an Extension?

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun spoke to a “half a dozen NHL front office executives” and tried to determine the value of Zach Hyman’s upcoming contract extension ahead of his becoming a free agent. The responses varied between $4.5 million and $5.5 million per season.

LeBrun believes Hyman’s agent could try to use Montreal Canadiens’ winger Brendan Gallagher ($6.5 million annually) as a comparable in contract talks and at the very least, his extension per season will need to start with a four, even in a flat cap scenario. It seems as though, if Hyman wants to stay in Toronto, he’ll need to take less than $5 million per season.

The Maple Leafs will also have to address contracts for: Frederik Andersen, Joe Thornton, Wayne Simmonds, Nick Foligno, Jason Spezza, Ben Hutton, Zach Bogosian and David Rittich.

Could Flames Trade Matthew Tkachuk?

Don Brennan of The Ottawa Sun believes the Calgary Flames will be making significant changes this summer, even suggesting the team could look at moving forward Matthew Tkachuk. He doesn’t believe this will be a priority for Calgary, only that they should be open to entertaining offers for winger.

Matthew Tkachuk #19 of the Calgary Flames
GLENDALE, ARIZONA – MARCH 07: Matthew Tkachuk #19 of the Calgary Flames awaits a face-off during the third period of the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on March 07, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Flames 2-0. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Brennan writes:

… if you fancy yourself as a team that’s on the rise, and you really do believe you have a plethora of good prospects, maybe you should see what you can do to arrange for the Tkachuk boys to wear the same logo. That could bring out the very best in both.

Wonder how much more Ottawa would have to offer, along with this year’s high first-round pick and Logan Brown, to get a deal done?

source – ‘CRACKS OF DON: What’s the going rate for a Matthew Tkachuk these days?’ – Don Brennan – Calgary Sun – 04/20/2021

The idea of Brady and Matthew Tkachuk on the same team is intriguing and the fact Matthew hasn’t given Calgary the offense and the leadership he’s being paid to opens the door for all sorts of speculation.

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