NHL Rumors: Stars, Oilers, Blues, Rangers, Bruins, Maple Leafs, More

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Dallas Stars and defenseman John Klingberg are starting to talk contract extension. How will the recent big-ticket blue line signings affect their talks? The Edmonton Oilers are keeping an eye on the goaltending market, but when will they pull the trigger on a deal, should they feel the need? Is Vladimir Tarasenko likely to start the season with the St. Louis Blues? Are the New York Rangers ever going to pull off one of the many rumored moves they might be a part of? Finally, Nick Foligno explains why he chose the Boston Bruins over the Toronto Maple Leafs and Columbus Blue Jackets.

Can the Stars Afford Klingberg?

Mike Heika of NHL.com notes that the Stars and Klingberg have been talking about a contract extension but it might not be the easiest contract to get done. After giving out big money to Miro Heiskanen, not only have the Stars set somewhat of an internal comparable, but with the size of some of the contracts handed out to defensemen this season, Klingberg could come in at a number higher than the Stars can afford.

John Klingberg Dallas Stars
John Klingberg, Dallas Stars (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The Stars also have Joe Pavelski and Alexander Radulov coming up as UFAs at the end of the year, and while the team would look at short-term deals for both players, Klingberg is in a bit of a different situation. He’s still relatively young and quite productive. He’ll be looking for one more longer-term deal that will take him into his mid thirties.

Related: Flames News & Rumors: Eichel, Kylington, Captaincy & More

Oilers Still Have Eye on Goalie Market

David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period was on Oilers Now this past Friday and noted that the Oilers have committed to Mike Smith carrying the bulk of the duties this season, but Pagnotta notes that GM Ken Holland is still probably looking around the market to see what other goaltending options are available.

He notes the Oilers did kick tires with the Columbus Blue Jackets but the Blue Jackets have said that only a really good offer will get the team to release one of Joonas Korpisalo or Elvis Merzlikins. “It certainly looks like they’re willing to explore conversations when it comes to Joonas Korpisalo,” said Pagnotta.

Joonas Korpisalo #70, Columbus Blue Jackets
Joonas Korpisalo #70, Columbus Blue Jackets – December 22, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

At this stage, he thinks the Oilers will wait to get to training camp and then see if they need to make an improvement if Mikko Koskinen is looking like he’s going to struggle. If that happens, the Oilers may revisit the Korpisalo talks, but won’t be interested in making a deal unless an extension comes with it.

Tarasenko Likely to Start with Blues

Unless a Tarasenko to the New York Islanders trade sort of comes out of nowhere, it sounds like the 29 year-old forward who would like a change of scenery might not get one. He has two years left on a deal that comes with a $7.5 million price tag per season and there’s been no real sniff of a trade pending.

There were some teams rumored to be interested, including (but not limited to) the Tampa Bay Lightning, Carolina Hurricanes, Washington Capitals, and the Islanders, but not many teams could afford his salary, they either needed to move other pieces, or weren’t sure about his injury history.

Late in July, GM Doug Armstrong noted that the player needed to prepare as though he was coming back to the team. It might be a situation where Tarasenko needs to start off strong, put up good numbers early and create another market for himself where teams are more willing to take a risk on acquiring him.

Why Foligno Chose Bruins Over Maple Leafs and Blue Jackets

As per a report by Brian Hedger of the Columbus Dispatch, Nick Foligno said he considered coming back to the Maple Leafs this offseason, until he heard what role the team was hoping he would play moving forward.

Nick Foligno Toronto Maple Leafs
Nick Foligno, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Darcy Finley/NHLI via Getty Images)

Hedger writes:

The Blue Jackets traded Foligno to the Toronto Maple Leafs in April, and this offseason asked him about returning as a free agent. The role they envisioned for him wasn’t a fit. 

They wanted a mentor, whose impact would mostly be off the ice. The Bruins, hoping to chase the Stanley Cup in the waning years of the Patrice Bergeron era, wanted a veteran forward with some bite. 

source – ‘End of an era: Foligno bids farewell to Blue Jackets, says Columbus is still ‘home” – Brian Hedger- Columbus Dispatch – 08/12/2021

Hedger also notes that there might have been some consideration by Foligno to return to Columbus, until he talked to Cam Atkinson. Atkinson was traded by the Blue Jackets in a move that surprised a ton of people, including both Atkinson and Foligno. Once Foligno realized his old team was going in a different direction and building a new core, he was not in the picture. Four days later, he signed with the Bruins.

Will the Rangers Finally Make a Move?

Whether it’s acquiring Jack Eichel, extending Mika Zibanejad or trading names like Alexandar Georgiev or Ryan Strome, there is a lot of possible moves on the to-do list for the Rangers organization. Many insiders are just waiting for the first shoe to drop and some are wondering if one even will.

There’s still speculation that a three-team deal involving the Rangers, Buffalo Sabres and Vegas Golden Knights is out there, but it seems like a long shot at this point that a deal involving Zibanejad going to the Golden Knights, Eichel winding up with the Rangers and a numbers of draft picks, prospects and a couple players wind up with the Sabres. It’s a complicated deal involving a lot of money.

It’s certainly possible the Rangers don’t make another major move this offseason. They could run with Georgiev as the backup, keep Strome in the fold for now and pass on Eichel. Instead, the Rangers might do more business during the season and ahead of the NHL trade deadline depending on how their season unfolds.