NHL Rumors: Rangers, Golden Knights, Bruins, Hurricanes

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, there is chatter about goaltender Alexandar Georgiev, but one scribe doesn’t expect to see the netminder get traded. Max Pacioretty’s successful wrist surgery still puts the player out indefinitely. What does that mean regarding an inevitable trade to clear salary-cap space? There is speculation Tuukka Rask has reached an agreement with the Boston Bruins and what will the Carolina Hurricanes do about a Jesperi Kotkaniemi extension?

Georgiev Unlikely to Be Traded Ahead of Deadline

Georgiev’s story in New York has been well documented and most believe he’s a player the Rangers will eventually trade. That said, Arthur Staple of The Athletic reports a trade is unlikely before the March 21, 2021 trade deadline. Noting that Igor Shesterkin has an injury history and behind him would only be Keith Kinkaid if Georgiev was gone, Georgiev becomes an important insurance policy.

Alexandar Georgiev New York Rangers
Alexandar Georgiev, New York Rangers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Staple assumes the Rangers will move the netminder during the offseason when there is a number of other options available and the team has more work to do to stay salary cap compliant. Staple writes:

The Rangers don’t need cap relief this season. Georgiev may want out, but that’s going to wait until the offseason, surely. Teams are going to need at least two goalies to get through the rest of this season.

source – ‘Should the Rangers go all-in at the trade deadline? Target Reilly Smith? What’s Kaapo Kakko’s value? Mailbag, part 1’ – Arthur Staple – 12/29/2021

Pacioretty Injury Gives Golden Knights A Little More Time

With the announcement that Max Paciorietty underwent successful wrist surgery but will be out indefinitely, the Golden Knights can wait a little longer before making a trade to clear up the cap space required to get Jack Eichel on the roster the moment he’s healthy enough to play.

When the Golden Knights do make a trade (and they will have to), the names might likely to move, according to Owen Krepps of Vegas Hockey Now are Evgenii Dadonov, Reilly Smith, Brayden McNabb, Mattias Janmark or the Golden Knights could try to do what Tampa Bay did with Nikita Kucherov and put Alex Martinez on LTIR, activating only in time for the playoffs.

Has Rask Agreed to a Deal With the Bruins?

It’s not been made official by the NHL or the Boston Bruins, but Dominic Tiano of OHLwriters is tweeting: “Hearing that Tuukka Rask and the #NHLBruins have reached an agreement that will see him back in black and gold and will come down to timing to register it with the league.” He adds, “There are no performance bonuses. Only players on ELC, 35+ contracts or players who sign 1-year deals and spent 100+ days on IR in the last year of their deal are eligible for bonuses.”

Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Lineup Changes, Sandin, Liljegren & Krys

While it’s not clear how credible this source is, a new contract is expected between the Bruins and Rask. Joe Haggerty indicated that Bruins’ coach Bruce Cassidy did confirm some preliminary talks between the Bruins and Rask about playing in the AHL when the team goes on a three-game road trip.

Hofmann Takes Personal Leave from Blue Jackets

Brian Hedger of the Columbus Dispatch reports that Blue Jackets PR team has confirmed that winger Gregory Hofmann has taken a leave of absence for personal reasons. The news is that his wife is expecting the birth of their first child soon so there is no firm date yet for his return.

What Is the Plan for Jesperi Kotkaniemi?

As per Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic, the Hurricanes are allowed to start talking contract extension with Jesperi Kotkaniemi on Saturday and there’s speculation about what a new deal might look like based on both their long-term vision for the player and his incredibly slow start with the Hurricanes after being acquired via an offer sheet from the Montreal Canadiens.

Jesperi Kotkaniemi Carolina Hurricanes
Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Carolina Hurricanes (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Kotkaniemi has played almost exclusively in the bottom-six and his $6.1 million salary for a fourth-line role makes little sense. That said, the Hurricanes believe Kotkaniemi might be a natural mover up the roster when players like Vincent Trocheck (28) and Jordan Staal (33) potentially move on.

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The Hurricanes do want to re-sign Kotkaniemi and can retain his rights this summer with a qualifying offer of $5 million. It’s not clear what the number would look like if the Hurricanes could work out an extension before the qualifying offer came to pass but LeBrun writes:

As for all those rumours that the ‘Canes already had something worked out behind the scenes when they did the offer sheet (a deal in the drawer as they say)? Waddell vehemently stated that wasn’t the case. “We have not had one conversation about what the future is going to look like,” Waddell added.

source – ‘LeBrun: No regrets. Hurricanes GM Don Waddell on Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s offer sheet and an ‘unbelievably slow start’ – Pierre LeBrun – The Athletic – 12/29/2021

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