In today’s NHL rumor rundown there are updates on unrestricted free agent Jake Gardiner and pending unrestricted free agent Taylor Hall, there is speculation the Pittsburgh Penguins might look to trade a top defenseman and the Minnesota Wild are narrowing down their search for a new GM.
Gardiner Not Talking
Steve Simmons of The Toronto Sun wrote on Twitter that he spoke with Jake Gardiner on Saturday and said the unrestricted free agent defenseman wouldn’t talk on or off the record about his current situation.
There have been rumors Gardiner has a handshake deal with a team but he’s not signed anywhere and he wouldn’t take any questions about his free-agent status.
Wild Have It Down to Three
The Athletic’s Michael Russo writes that the search for a new general manager in Minnesota is down to three finalists. Those are, Pittsburgh Penguins assistant GM Bill Guerin, Montreal Canadiens assistant GM Scott Mellanby and former Philadelphia Flyers GM Ron Hextall.
Saying Hextall’s personality may be too close to Paul Fenton’s and knowing there were issues in Philadelphia, Hextall may have too much dirt on him. Mellanby impressed, but not as much as Guerin.
Anything, of course, can change this week, but I really feel at this point Guerin has separated himself from the pack and is the frontrunner to become the fourth full-time GM in Wild history. But as I said, anything can change, and Hextall and Mellanby are smart hockey men.source – ‘Ask Russo: On Wild’s GM search, Winter Classic, future of key players and more’ – Michael Russo – The Athletic – 08/18/2019
Justin Schultz to be Traded This Season?
Jonathan Bombulie of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review writes that the Pittsburgh Penguins have a history of trading players in the final year of their contracts and defenseman Justin Schultz fits the bill. He carries a $5.5 million salary cap hit and unless he’s willing to take a discount to re-sign, may not be around by the end of the year.
Next offseason, the Penguins need to sign players like Matt Murray, Alex Galchenyuk and Jared McCann, so Schultz may not be in their future plans. As a right-handed, top-four puck-moving defenseman, Schultz will have some attraction for other teams.
Talk Around Taylor Hall Continues
We reported not long ago that there were some unsubstantiated rumors Taylor Hall might have an interest in returning to the Edmonton Oilers if he becomes an unrestricted free agent. While there’s been no follow up on those rumors and most believe it’s a longshot at best, it doesn’t change the fact a cloud will hang over Hall this season or until he’s signed.
The latest comes from Scott Billeck of NBC Sports who looked at whether or not Hall would sign a long-term extension with the Devils.
The Devils added a lot of pieces by getting Jack Hughes, P.K. Subban, Wayne Simmonds, and Nikita Gusev. Is it enough? Billeck writes:
“… a genuine attempt to make the team better has to sit well in Hall’s camp. But there’s always going to be that allure of having the world at his feet with truckloads of money and the ability to chose his destination next summer.”
Couture Says Thornton Will Sign With Sharks
San Jose Sharks center Logan Couture, says he would be shocked if Joe Thornton isn’t back with the Sharks next season. Couture said to NHL.com, “I talked to Joe a month ago and asked him what was going on and he said, ‘Oh don’t worry about it,’ so I took that as he’ll be back.”
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.”