In today’s NHL rumors rundown, there are updates on talks between the Pittsburgh Penguins, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang, plus news on negotiations between the Boston Bruins and Patrice Bergeon. The Vancouver Canucks will need to make a difficult decision when it comes to Brock Boeser and the Montreal Canadiens, along with the rest of the hockey world has lost a legend in Guy Lafleur.
Penguins and Their Pending UFAs
As per TSN’s Darren Dreger, “What I can tell you is that there’s been ongoing talk with Kris Letang and the Pittsburgh Penguins. The NHL insider notes that progress is slow but there has been some connection between the two sides.
It will be intriguing to see if Letang sticks to his guns on wanting to make more money than he is on his current deal. He’s currently being paid $7.25 million per season and earlier this season it was reported he was looking for a raise. He’s posted 64 points in 74 games and term may be the biggest deciding factor in what his next contract looks like.
As for Malkin, he’s indicated he’s willing to accept a pay cut to stay in Pittsburgh and finish out his career. Another pending UFA, Bryan Rust will likely ask for a hefty raise and try to sign a long-term deal. He’s posted 58 points in 56 games this season. The Athletic’s Josh Yohe isn’t sure the Penguins can afford all three UFAs. He writes:
If I was forced to guess, Malkin stays in Pittsburgh, Letang signs in Montreal and Rust cashes out with his hometown [Detroit] Red Wings. It’s extremely unlikely that all three will stay.source – ‘Yohe mailbag: Penguins’ playoff chances, Ron Hextall’s summer and so much more’ – Josh Yohe – The Athletic – 04/18/2022
Yohe adds that if Letang and Rust leave via free agency, the Penguins might go after John Klingberg and notes they “would have more than enough money to entice him.”
Bruins and Bergeron Not Really Negotiating
While the Penguins are trying to figure things out with Letang and other free agents, Dreger says, “less so with Patrice Bergeron and the Boston Bruins.” He added, “…but that’s more or less by design.” There is a greater willingness to be patient between Boston and the veteran forward.
Bergeron wants to focus on the season and he’s likely to win his fifth Frank J. Selke Trophy in the NHL. He’s still one of the game’s best two-way forwards and has some more gas left in the tank. The Bruins have said in the past that they will let Bergeron decide how long he wants to re-sign for, he simply needs to let them know.
Brock Boeser: What Will Canucks Decide?
Mike Stephens of The Hockey News writes that Brock Boeser’s status with the Canucks is still unclear. He notes that Jim Rutherford still faces a difficult choice with the pending RFA: keep Boeser via a $7.5 million qualifying offer, or cut him loose.
Boeser is a goal scorer but he’s not reached a 30-goal season, which is where the Canucks likely need him to be if they are going to commit long-term and big money to the player. His underlying numbers aren’t strong either as Stephens writes, “The Canucks generate less than half of the expected goals in Boeser’s even-strength minutes this season, surrendering the lion’s share of high-danger scoring chances, as well.”
While the final few games of the season might not mean a decision will be made by the Canucks, a strong showing by Boeser will go a long way.
Hockey World Loses Guy Lafleur
The hockey world has lost a legendary player and a classic human being in “The Flower,” Guy Lafleur. A former Montreal Canadiens great, the organization and others around the NHL are mourning the loss of Hall-of-Famer and Canadiens Ambassador, who passed away at the age of 70.
Our condolences go out to all his family, friends and former teammates.
Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”