NHL Rumors: Lightning, Penguins, Senators, Oilers, More

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, as questions about the salary cap continue in Tampa Bay, is there any chance Steven Stamkos could/would be on the move? Meanwhile, should fans of the Pittsburgh Penguins expect much action? They’ve not spent much money or made many moves so far in free agency. Is there any reason that might change? Has Brady Tkachuk passed a message along to the Ottawa Senators organization telling them what it will take to get him to sign a long-term extension? Finally, could Darnell Nurse get $10 million per season if he’s signed twice in the next five years?

Stamkos Unlikely to Leave Tampa Bay

During a recent mailbag segment, The Athletic’s Joe Smith was asked if Brayden Point’s recent contract extension means the Tampa Bay Lightning might look to trade Steven Stamkos. Because Stamkos has a full no-movement clause and has already declined to waive it in the past, unless he decides he wants to finish his playing career elsewhere, he’ll be staying in Tampa.

Steven Stamkos Tampa Bay Lightning
Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

While still only 31 years old, Stamkos has a contract that carries him through the 2023-24 NHL season and he’s making $8.25 million per season on that deal. It’s less likely with each passing season that any team would want to take on that contract as his age and past injuries play a role in his production.

It’s also not a given the Lightning will ask. They didn’t request he waive for the NHL Expansion Draft and Smith writes:

Is Stamkos’ role — at least, 5-on-5- declining? Yes, as Stamkos ranked ninth among Tampa Bay forwards in ice time in the playoffs. But Stamkos is still a generational scorer, a major threat on their potent power play, and their biggest dressing room leader. There’s a lot of variables/nuances that would go into a potential Stamkos trade, and, in the end, he holds all the cards.

source – ‘Ross Colton’s contract? Ondrej Palat’s future? Lineup projections? Lightning mailbag’ Joe Smith – The Athletic – 08/03/2021

Penguins in a Holding Pattern

Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey Now writes that fans shouldn’t expect much in the way of additional moves from the Penguins. He notes that GM Ron Hextall is more or less in a holding pattern because there is little cap space to do anything and the idea heading into free agency, as per Brian Burke was to shop at K-Mart and not Nordstrom’s.

There is talk that teams are interested in Marcus Pettersson, but there’s no movement on that front yet. It is believed the Penguins might need to retain money to make that trade happen.

Brady Tkachuk Wants Commitment to Improve Team

Tkachuk would like to see the Ottawa Senators’ plan to make the team better before he commits long-term to the organization, according to a report. In other words. if he’s going to stick around and try and lead the team to playoff success, he wants to ensure there are players on the roster that can reach the playoffs.

Brady Tkachuk Ottawa Senators
Brady Tkachuk, Ottawa Senators (Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

As per TSN’s Shawn Simpson

Been asking around on the Tkachuk contract, and nothing new at this point. What was told to me by someone close to the Tkachuk camp, is that Brady loves the crew in Ottawa. But he’s totally waiting to see if ownership is willing to spend what it takes to deliver a Cup team. How that relates to this summer and his deal, I’m not sure. But it was made very clear that he would be all in long term if ownership does the same. At the same time they know the business and won’t be playing any games.

Tkachuk is currently an RFA and the trick for Ottawa right now is trying to decide between a bridge deal and a long-term contract extension.

Is Darnell Nurse Projecting to Be a $10 Million Player?

John Shannon was a guest on Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer and both he and Stauffer seemed to argued the Oilers should try and get Nurse signed to an eight-year extension right away. The idea is to get the cap hit as low as they can, bet on how much more he’ll improve year over year and help convince Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl to stick around when their contracts are up.

Shannon said if the Oilers sign Nurse to a four-year bridge deal now, he could easily be a double-digit defenseman in four years. Meaning, when his shorter-term extension comes due, he could get $10 million on the next deal based both on how much he gets better and the going rate for elite defensemen.