NHL Rumors: Maple Leafs, Kraken, Jets, Hurricanes, More

In today’s NHL rumors, Auston Matthews has undergone surgery and will miss some time. How much? Will he be ready to go for next season? Meanwhile, is there a team presenting itself as a prime landing spot for Morgan Rielly in free agency? Are the Winnipeg Jets interested in free agent Evgeny Svechnikov? Finally, there are a few updates coming out of the Carolina Hurricanes organization.

Matthews Undergoes Wrist Surgery

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews underwent successful wrist surgery on Friday. His recovery will be a minimum of six weeks which means his time away will take him right until the start of training camp. Though an official start date hasn’t been announced for camp, the Maple Leafs are expected to open things up in mid-September. Their first preseason game is Sept. 25.

It’s impressive that Matthews led the league in goals last season with a bum wrist. While he didn’t have the best season offensively in the NHL — that distinction went to Connor McDavid by a landslide — Matthews was still a dangerous threat every time he was on the ice. He scored 66 points (41 goals, 25 assists) in 52 games.

Rielly a Target For the Seattle Kraken?

Another interesting Maple Leafs rumor, Lyle Richardson of Bleacher Report made some ‘way too early’ predictions for some free agents who are available at the end of next season and he believes defenseman Morgan Rielly could be a target for the Seattle Kraken, to the tune of $9 million per season over seven seasons.

Morgan Rielly Toronto Maple Leafs
Morgan Rielly, Toronto Maple Leafs (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

He writes:

The Seattle Kraken could be in the market for a top-pairing left-side defenseman, especially if Mark Giordano retires or departs via free agency next summer. With $54.5 million invested in 14 players, they’ll have the cap space to make a big splash in next year’s UFA pool similar to this year’s signings of goaltender Philipp Grubauer and left winger Jaden Schwartz.

If it appears Rielly is primed to leave, what happens during this coming season will be interesting to watch. Are there trade pieces on the Kraken roster that are of interest to the Leafs and GM Kyle Dubas? Can a deal be worked out so the Leafs don’t lose Rielly for nothing and still have a defenseman to make their playoff push?

Related: Jets Are Stanley Cup Contenders, But Unanswered Questions Remain

Jets Interested in Evgeny Svechnikov

According to Ken Wiebe of Sportsnet, he’s hearing that the Jets and Svechnikov have a mutual interest in getting a deal done. The 24-year old unrestricted free agent scored five goals and added seven assists in 41 games last season for the Detroit Red Wings. He didn’t quite have the impact in Detroit that GM Steve Yzerman and the team was looking for and that could be why he’s not being re-signed by the team. May have a better shot somewhere else.

Evgeny Svechnikov Grand Rapids Griffins Nelson Nogier Manitoba Moose
Evgeny Svechnikov, Grand Rapids Griffins and Nelson Nogier, Manitoba Moose (Jenae Anderson / The Hockey Writers)

How the Jets make this deal work is anyone’s guess. The team is currently projected to be more than $5.5 million over the salary cap after re-signing both Neal Pionk and Andrew Copp, according to Capfriendly and would have to work for around the league minimum if a move isn’t made by the Jets to free up some money.

Hurricanes Update: Andrei Svechnikov, Tarasenko and Gardiner

Sara Civian of The Athletic answered a number of mailbag questions in regards to the Hurricanes. Among them are what they might do to address their secondary scoring and where things are at with restricted free agent forward Andrei Svechnikov and defenseman Jake Gardiner.

Andrei Svechnikov Carolina Hurricanes
Andrei Svechnikov, Carolina Hurricanes (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)

When it comes to Svechnikov, Civian believes the Hurricanes will get a bridge contract done with a salary cap hit between $7 and $8 million. She writes:

I bet a (multiyear) bridge deal would make sense after a still strong but not-his-best season in these uncertain cap times. But (speculation) I’d bet the Canes would want him more long term. I’d imagine the AAV would be in the $7-8 million range.

source – ‘Bag of Jerks: Signing Andrei Svechnikov, the Hurricanes’ pursuit of a top-6 forward, RIP warm and fuzzies’ – Sara Civian – The Athletic – 08/10/2021

Civian also notes that the Hurricanes have been linked to Vladimir Tarasenko in trade talks as they look to improve their scoring depth. She believes that even if it’s not specifically Tarasenko the Canes add, they will make a trade for someone.

Finally, she writes the Hurricanes won’t be buying out defenseman Jake Gardiner. It was reported by a couple of sources earlier this month that this might be an option or that he was on the New York Islanders’ radar and with the additional of Tony DeAngelo, perhaps Gardiner is dispensable. Things have been hush-hush and she’s hearing conflicting reports on Gardiner’s status.