NHL Rumors: Islanders, Blue Jackets, Jets, Canucks, Capitals, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is buzz that the New York Islanders have worked out terms with a couple of players not named Mathew Barzal and the announcement of those deals could be imminent. What is the status of talks between the Washington Capitals and Alex Ovechkin? Is there anything to the Patrik Laine and Pierre-Luc Dubois trade speculation? Finally, are the Vancouver Canucks out of the running for Sami Vatanen?

Islanders to Sign Matt Martin

The New York Islanders haven’t made it official yet, but it appears fourth-liner Matt Martin is getting a much longer contract than most would have expected. 

Matt Martin New York Islanders
Matt Martin, New York Islanders (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet teased that Martin’s deal might be a “bit of a surprise” in his 31 Thoughts column today and Arthur Staple of The Athletic tweets that speculation is the Islanders will be giving Martin a four-year contract with an average annual value of $1.5 million. This is a very generous offer from GM Lou Lamoriello who has now signed Martin to two four-year deals. This one will likely take the depth forward to the end of his NHL career.

Related: 3 Takeaways From Russia’s Disappointing Semifinal Loss to Canada

Laine Speaks on Trade Rumors

After practice on Monday, Patrik Laine did speak with reporters and was asked about the comments by his agent that his preference would be to move on from the Jets. Sportsnet’s Ken Wiebe reports that Laine avoided actually answering the question of whether or not he wanted to be moved.

Laine said:

“That’s not something I think about. I only care about what’s going on today. I don’t worry about tomorrow. Right now I’m here. I’m excited to play. I’m in good shape. I’m going to be a new player this year. And (I) just want to play well. That’s going to be best for both parties. What happens in the future, that’s not even my call. I’m going to work hard every night and that’s all I can do.”

Dubois for Laine Trade?

Speaking of Laine, Pierre LeBrun noted in a recent article that the idea of Laine being traded for Pierre-Luc Dubois out of Columbus is not the most insane idea.

He points out:

“…it’s ironic of course that Kekalainen had shown interest in Laine when now it’s him, too, that has a young star putting him in a tough spot… Laine for Dubois? I mean, it’s not the craziest notion ever.”

source – ‘LeBrun: Patrik Laine, Pierre-Luc Dubois situations will put GMs to test’ Pierre LeBrun – The Athletic – 01/04/2021

He does say the biggest hurdle to a deal like this is finding out whether or not either player has any desire to stay long-term with the other team. The chances of an in-season trade between these two teams is also unlikely considering the quarantine rules that would force both players to miss considerable time if moved across the border.

Ken Campbell of SI.com and The Hockey News notes there is real frustration in Columbus over the news that Dubois wants out. No one seems to know why he doesn’t want to be there any longer and they aren’t sure if it’s the coach, the market or the GM?

Ovechkin Not in Rush to Extend Deal

As per a tweet by Tarik El-Bashir: Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin said there hasn’t been any contract extension talks with GM Brian MacLellan yet but he’s not worried about it and not in a rush to get anything done.

Alex Ovechkin Washington Capitals
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Tom Gulitti of NHL.com writes that Ovechkin discussed the pending negotiations and said, “I think we understand everything that’s happening right now, so whenever it’s done, it’s done.” He added, “If it’s not done, we’re going to talk and we’ll see.”

Canucks Out on Sami Vatanen

This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the team brought in Travis Hamonic on a PTO, but Rick Dhaliwal recently reported that the the Vancouver Canucks stopped calling the camp of unrestricted free agent defenseman Sami Vatanen on January 1st. They are officially out.

It is also being reported by Jason Brough of TSN that Canucks GM Jim Benning noted he is “done for right now.” when it comes to making moves.

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