NHL Rumors: Canucks, Oilers, Rangers, Golden Knights, Kraken

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, are the Vancouver Canucks interested in KHL free agent Andrei Kuzmenko? What else do they have on their offseason to-do list?

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The Edmonton Oilers and New York Rangers are working on free-agent deals, while the Vegas Golden Knights are likely deciding who to purge this summer. Finally, will the Seattle Kraken land a big blue line target in free agency?

Canucks Have a Few Items on Their To-Do List

According to Thomas Drance of The Athletic, expect the Canucks to make a pitch to Kuzmenko, a highly coveted KHL free agent. He writes in a recent article:

The big name out there is Andrei Kuzmenko, the second-leading scorer in the KHL this season. The Canucks have heavy interest in Kuzmenko and he’s believed to have some significant interest in them, although there’s many in the industry that are skeptical about how straightforward it might be for Canadian-based teams to procure the relevant work visas for players based in Russia in light of the invasion of Ukraine.

source – Canucks offseason to-do list: Extend Bruce Boudreau. What about Bo Horvat?’ – Thomas Drance – The Athletic – 04/29/2022

The other items on the Canucks’ to-do list are to extend Bruce Boudreau as head coach, decide if they’ll give extensions to J.T. Miller and Bo Horvat this summer, and navigate Brock Boeser’s high qualifying offer. Drance notes that the market value for both Horvat and Miller is likely to start at $7 million-plus. He believes realistic comparables for both players could see them land in the $8- to $9-million range.

Bo Horvat, Vancouver Canucks
Bo Horvat, Vancouver Canucks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

In order to do much of what they want, they’ll need to create additional cap space and that could mean tough decisions on players like Conor Garland or Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

Oilers and Rangers to Extend Trade Deadline Acquisitions

According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, both the Edmonton Oilers and New York Rangers are going to do their best to extend the two key players they picked up this season as trade deadline rentals: Evander Kane for the Oilers and Andrew Copp for the Rangers.

Related: Former Oiler Suggests Early Playoff Exit Should Result in Draisaitl Trade

Dreger notes:

“These guys are both pending top unrestricted free agents. In Andrew Copp, talk about a chemistry experiment that has been highly successful. Perfect fit with Artemi Panarin. And Evander Kane has been an excellent complement on the left side with Connor McDavid. But you do have to go through the negotiation.”

Dreger wonders if anything over three years is too much for the Oilers and how open Kane will be to signing something shorter term.

Golden Knights to Fire DeBoer and McCrimmon

Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff isn’t sure the coach or the GM will survive the purge that might be coming for the Vegas Golden Knights organization. A team that vowed to win the Stanley Cup in their first six seasons has a lot of issues to address this summer after not making the postseason.

Vegas Golden Knights George McPhee Bill Foley Kelly McCrimmon
Vegas Golden Knights President of Hockey Operations George McPhee, owner Bill Foley and General Manager Kelly McCrimmon, May 02, 2019 (Photo by David Becker/NHLI via Getty Images)

Seravalli notes:

They jettisoned the reigning Vezina Trophy winner Marc-Andre Fleury, then backed the bus over warrior Robin Lehner, and their roster of mercenaries played much more like a collection of jerseys than a team as seemingly everyone looks over their shoulder wondering who’s next to go. The Golden Knights have no cap space, no top draft picks, and a thin prospect cupboard. It feels like an inevitability that coach Pete DeBoer will be cut loose … but will GM Kelly McCrimmon follow him out the door?

Kraken Likely to Land Klingberg

Based on a discussion between Eric Engels and Jeff Marek of Sportsnet, the belief seems to be that defenseman John Klingberg is destined for Seattle and will join the Kraken this summer as a free agent, quarterbacking their power play. Part of their discussion on Thursday was about defensemen and the talk suggested Klingberg could wind up in Seattle, while Jeff Petry might end up in Dallas. The Canadiens would then potentially try to land Kris Letang out of Pittsburgh to shore up their blue line.

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