NHL Rumors: Sabres, Flames, Hurricanes, Blues, Islanders, Coyotes…

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, there is talk that the Buffalo Sabres are playing the long-term game and setting up the franchise to go after some big-name free agents in a couple of years time. Meanwhile, there’s talk the Carolina Hurricanes might be close on an 8-Year extension with Andrei Svechnikov. The St. Louis Blues may not get access to Zdeno Chara, but could they be trying to trade for a defenseman out of the New York Islanders organization? Finally, what will the Arizona Coyotes for the 2022-23 season without the Glendale Arena to play out of?

Sabres Big-Game Hunting Between 2022-25

According to John Vogl of The Athletic, general manager Kevyn Adams of the Buffalo Sabres is setting up the organization to be in a position to target big-time UFAs and when the young core of the team is ready to work alongside those big names. Vogl writes:

General manager Kevyn Adams has made his ultimate goal very clear. Once the Sabres’ young core matures, Adams will surround it with established talent.

There’s a lot of talent scheduled to be on the market. The next four summers could feature Hall of Famers, franchise players and All-Stars finding new homes. While Buffalo is not on their radar now, it may be once their contracts are up.

source – ‘Sabres UFA future: Auston Matthews, Patrick Kane and other potential targets from 2022-25’ – John Vogl – The Athletic – 08/19/2021
Patrick Kane Chicago Blackhawks
Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

Among the names Vogl mentions is Patrick Kane, Auston Matthews and Leon Draisaitl, who are all scheduled to be at the top of their free-agent classes. That doesn’t mean any of these players will want to leave their respective organizations or will have the Sabres on their radar if they do, only that there are some prized free agents worth chasing.

In other Sabres’ news, No. 1 overall draft pick Owen Power has elected to return to Michigan for another season instead of joining the NHL. There’s a lot of debate about whether or not this is the best decision for the player who is choosing another year of development over making millions in the NHL and making an impact right away.

Related: Sabres’ Owen Power Hopes for Sophomore Success at Michigan

Flames Sign Nikita Zadorov

Nikita Zadorov agrees to a one-year deal with Calgary at a cap hit of $3.75 million. Zadorov was acquired by the Flames via a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks on July 28, 2021 for a 2022 third-round pick. He is a veteran of 411 NHL games split between Buffalo, Colorado, and Chicago.

Blues Interested in Islanders’ Mayfield?

As per The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford, reports New York Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield has surfaced as a possible trade target for the St. Louis Blues. He writes:

The speculation surrounding any Blues’ trade targets on defense this summer has been limited, but one name that has surfaced is the New York Islanders’ Scott Mayfield, a St. Louis native. The 28-year-old is a right-shot defenseman who has played 285 regular-season games in the NHL and another 51 in the playoffs for the Isles, who advanced to the Eastern Conference finals in 2019-20 and the Stanley Cup semifinals in 2020-21, losing to the eventual champion Lightning both seasons.

source – ‘The offseason isn’t over, but is it time to be concerned about the Blues’ defense?’ – Jeremy Rutherford – The Athletic – 08/18/2021

Mayfield isn’t the perfect fit for the Blues and he might not directly replace Vince Dunn, but the blueliner did play around 19 minutes per game last season. There is a chance too that Mayfield would replace a player like Robert Bortuzzo who the Blues are apparently trying to find an upgrade for.

Hurricanes and Svechnikov to Sign 8-Year Deal?

According to Sports.Ru (requires translation to English), Carolina Hurricanes forward Andrei Svechnikov is on the verge of agreeing to an eight-year contract with the team. Speculation is that the deal will be around $8.75 million per season.

Andrei Svechnikov Carolina Hurricanes
Andrei Svechnikov, Carolina Hurricanes (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

There have been no comments from the team or the player and no reputable insider NHL sources have discussed the pending deal, but the story has been picked up by a number of sources and made its way around social media this week.

Coyotes Arena Agreement Not Renewed By City of Glendale

The city of Glendale, Arizona, where the Arizona Coyotes play, has decided to not renew the operating agreement for Gila River Arena after the 2021-22 season. That means, the Coyotes will need to find another place to play after this following season as they are essentially being booted from their home rink.

Glendale City Manager Kevin Phelps said this was a decision that was made with careful consideration and attributed it to large debts the team has owed but not paid the city.

The team says they are committed to finding a long-term home somewhere in Arizona before exploring the idea of having to move the franchise.