In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there are updates on the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Edmonton Oilers have narrowed down their GM search, one specific Washington Capital free agent would like to stick around in Washington and there is speculation on James Neal’s future in Calgary.
Quick Hits on the Maple Leafs
Darren Dreger reports that Toronto Maple Leafs pending UFA defenseman Jake Gardiner will be looking for and get at least $6 million per year on his next contract. He says the term and the structure of the deal will be very important. He also reports there is a good chance that defenseman Igor Ozhiganov will be returning to the KHL this offseason.
Chris Johnston reports that pending UFA defenseman Ron Hainsey has no desire to discuss his future plans.
Dave McCarthy reports that Maple Leafs forward Patrick Marleau said he has no plans to leave the team and if asked to waive his no-trade clause that he cross that bridge at that time. He did not say he would be open to doing so.
One of the things that might have to happen would be San Jose expressing in an interest in getting Marleau back and Toronto retaining some of his salary.
While Kyle Dubas did not verify the security of anyone’s jobs (including his own) he did say that Brendan Shanahan would be evaluating all positions. In terms of head coaching and Mike Babcock, there was some speculation that he may have an out clause in his contract. Pierre LeBrun reports that this is not the case and that Babcock remains committed to the Leafs.
Oilers GM Search Getting Closer
The Edmonton Oilers appear to be making progress in their search for a new general manager. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman appeared on 630 CHED and Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer and reported that Edmonton has narrowed its list of candidates down to three names.
Two obvious candidates in GM Mark Hunter and current Vegas assistant GM Kelly McCrimmon are still on the board. The third candidate is unknown. Some are still speculating Ken Holland’s name is in the mix out of Detroit but most people believe he’s pulled out of the running. Interim GM Keith Gretzky is also still part of the conversation.
It sounds like a decision will come almost immediately after the World Under-18’s conclude on Sunday.
Carl Hagelin Would Like to Stay With Washington
Carl Hagelin played a big role for the Washington Capitals even they they were ousted by the Carolina Hurricanes in the first round of this year’s playoffs. He had 11 points in 20 games and logged over 16 minutes a night.
There could be some interest in him as a free agent but he told reporters, including NHL.com’s Tom Gulitti, he’d like to remain with the team for next season.
James Neal Not Going Anywhere
Wes Gilbertson of the Calgary Sun reports that there is “little doubt” James Neal will return with the Calgary Flames next season. He doesn’t believe ownership will approve a contract buyout stretching through 2026-17 nor does he think he can trade a winger carrying a $5.75-million salary through 2022-23.
On James Neal’s reaction to his season:
Now, I have a chance to train in the summer and come back and I have something to prove. The last three years have been good years but, that being said, you don’t have time to take care of your body and train in the summer. So I’ll try to take the positive. I’m healthy, and this is a chance for me to get back to where I know I can be and where I feel like I should be.source – ‘Gilbertson: Flames’ Neal vows to be better after disappointing first season with Flames’ – Wes Gilberston – Calgary Sun – 04/23/2019
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.”