NHL Rumors: Bruins, Sharks, Blackhawks, Kraken, Penguins

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Boston Bruins are bringing back goaltender Tuukka Rask, but he’ll first be making a stop with the AHL’s Providence Bruins. Tomas Hertl leads the way in terms of players likely to be traded this season and Kris Letang comments on his contract situation with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Finally, how likely is it that Mark Giordano is moved by the Seattle Kraken?

Rask Signs With Bruins

It’s not the NHL’s Boston Bruins that Rask has signed with, but it’s the next closest thing as the veteran goaltender has signed a professional tryout agreement with the Providence Bruins. He is expected to start for the AHL team Friday night and other than practicing with the team — which he has already been doing — this is the last big step before signing back on with Boston.

As for what this might mean for Jeremy Swayman, Greg Wyshynski of ESPN writes, “He’s in the second year of his entry-level deal and is exempt from waivers. They can send him to AHL Providence and have him get his reps while Rask and Ullmark man the NHL crease.”

Wyshynski also adds:

From a financial perspective, this isn’t ideal for Swayman. His base salary would go from $925,000 to $70,000. From a competitive perspective … you can’t control what you can’t control, and unfortunately, he has a contract tailored to allow the Bruins to control him. So chin up, stop the pucks, know you’re likely still the future in the crease, all while keeping in mind that there are no guarantees a 34-year-old with a surgically repaired hip will remain in an NHL lineup.

Tomas Hertl Leads Trade Bait Board, Rangers an Option

As per Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff, with the holiday roster freeze and (hopefully) the worst of COVID-19 roster decimation in the rearview mirror, it is expected the NHL’s trade market will begin to heat up. He made a list of the Top 20 trade targets, which San Jose Sharks’ forward Tomas Hertl sits at the top of.

Tomas Hertl San Jose Sharks
Tomas Hertl of the San Jose Sharks (Photo by Kavin Mistry/NHLI via Getty Images)

Seravalli writes:

Hertl’s name has already been a big topic of conversation. Hertl is unsigned, having a fantastic season – he’s on pace for a career-high 39 goals and leads San Jose with 16 strikes – and would provide a significant return for the Sharks’ future.

He notes that with the Sharks now out of the playoff race, expect trade talk to ramp up and to watch the New York Rangers on this one.

Related: Oilers’ Internal Options to Replace Dave Tippett

Evander Kane also made Seravalli’s list, he comes at the No. 20 spot and notes that it’s extremely unlikely Kane ever sees time with the Sharks again as the team has recalled eight forwards from the AHL since Kane was assigned there. There’s a feeling his contract is destined for a summer buyout if a trade doesn’t go down.

DeHaan and Strome Available from Blackhawks

Seravalli adds that you include defenseman Calvin DeHaan in the list of available rental players and Dylan Strome is still out there for a team that would like a forward with some contract control as a pending RFA. Seravalli notes that DeHaan would be an ideal third pair option on a contending team, while Strome is just looking for a chance to prove himself.

Giordano Likely to be Traded

Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet notes that it is likely the Seattle Kraken move defenseman Mark Giordano before the March 21 trade deadline as he’s a pending UFA and his rental trade value will be high. The Athletic’s Ryan Clark seems to agree that Giordano is likely going to be moved, but also adds Calle Jarnkrok and Marcus Johansson to his list.

Mark Giordano Seattle Kraken
Mark Giordano, Seattle Kraken (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Clark writes:

Giordano offers potential suitors a veteran top-four defenseman who is averaging close to 21 minutes per game in addition to a figure who can strengthen a dressing room with his leadership. … Giordano has a modified no-trade clause in his contract which means Francis could plausibly have fewer options while no such restriction would be involved with both Jarnkrok and Johansson.

source – ‘Trade deadline expectations and prospect development: Here’s what to watch for with the Seattle Kraken in 2022’ – Ryan Clark – The Athletic – 12/31/2021

Letang Wants to Play for Four More Seasons

When asked about his contract status and the likelihood he re-signs with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Kris Letang said he’s not really thinking about all of that right now. Instead, he’s just trying to go out there and play his game at a consistently high level.

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Josh Yohe reports that Letang estimates that he wants to play four more years after this season. Interestingly, that’s the same amount of time Evgeni Malkin estimated he would want to keep playing for and he’s due a new contract as well.

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