In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there are last-minute reports of players making agreements with teams prior to the opening of free agency. These reports include signing for teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs, Dallas Stars, New York Islanders, Florida Panthers, Vancouver Canucks, and more.
Free Agent Signings Before the Bell
Even though teams aren’t supposed to be talking money and term during the interview period, everyone knows they do. And, because of this, insiders like Frank Seravalli, Bob McKenzie, Elliotte Friedman, John Shannon, Andy Strickland and others can report, with near certainty, who is going where.
Here are the names we’ve heard so far:
Artemi Panarin to the Islanders
The Columbus Blue Jackets apparently made a late-night, last-ditch effort to convince Artemi Panarin to stay in Columbus, offering 8 years and $12.5 -$13 million per season at him. Everyone is waiting to see what he does but speculation is that he’ll go to the New York Islanders on a 7-year term.
John Shannon wrote, “The Blue Jackets are still trying to convince Artemi Panarin to return to Columbus. Still hoping there’s a chance. Looks like a 3 team race. CBJ. NYI. Florida.
There other reports that the New York Rangers believe they are still in the hunt but Colorado knows they are not. Adrian Dater reports the Colorado Avalanche had offered six years and $70 million for Panarin. He declined.
Sergei Bobrovsky to Florida
It appears Bobrovsky is headed to the Florida Panthers having agreed to a deal around the seven-year, $9.5 million per season mark.
The Panthers had Bobrovsky in their sights from the very beginning.
Corey Perry and Joe Pavelski to Dallas
It appears as though the Dallas Stars have picked up a couple of veterans in Corey Perry and Joe Pavelski.
Perry had as many as 10 teams inquire about him and four teams push really hard for his services. But, he’s going to sign a one-year deal worth $1.5 million plus have the options for another $1.5-$2 million in bonuses with Dallas.
Terms of Pavelski’s deal weren’t disclosed but it should be a longer-term deal, possibly in the three-year range.
Other names on the list include Mike Smith to Edmonton, Cam Talbot to Calgary, Matt Duchene to Nashville, Patrick Marleau to San Jose and more.
Maple Leafs Busy on July 1
Outside of already being involved in a big trade that sent Nikita Zaitsev, Connor Brown and Michael Carcone to the Ottawa Senators, there are rumors the Maple Leafs will sign Jason Spezza to a one-year, $700K deal and have a number of other things on the go.
“The #leafs have been working multiple trade options in recent days with hopes of freeing cap space and filling positional needs. While there isn’t believed to be anything else in the hopper after the OTT deal, other opportunities may open now that July 1 bonuses are paid.”
James Mirtle writes he believes the Maple Leafs still have a shot with Jake Gardiner saying now that the deal with Ottawa is done, Toronto theoretically should have space, even with Marner an unknown.
Blackhawks Relatively Quiet
While there hasn’t been much noise surrounding the Chicago Blackhawks, they might still be a team to watch. KJohn Dietz writes that Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman said, “We’re still talking to some free agents. … If you look back at where we were a couple months ago, we’ve added a couple of NHL players here. … and in the process, we didn’t ship out many NHL players.”
Don’t expect much noise but they might have a couple of things no the go.
Goaltender Talk: Lehner, Varlamov, More
Pierre LeBrun reports that with Semyon Varlamov potentially signing with Islanders, (because Robin Lehner turned down a two-year deal) he’s been hearing the Carolina Hurricanes are focusing on Petr Mrazek and Lehner.
Arthur Staple adds: “The appeal of Varlamov for #Isles — likely cheaper than Lehner’s ask and he’s tight with Ilya Sorokin… And still plenty of room for Panarin at 12m per, plus a 3C — someone like Colin Wilson, perhaps.”
Senators Make a Couple Of Signings
A pair of former Maple Leafs appear to be on their way to Ottawa. According to David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period, the Senators are closing in on signing forward Tyler Ennis to a one-year contract. So too, TSN’s Bob McKenzie adds defenseman Ron Hainsey is expected to sign with the Sens.
Canucks to Sign Two Big D-Men
Tyler Myers and Jordie Benn are both expected to sign with the Vancouver Canucks according to multiple insiders.
Myers has been connected to the Canucks since the opening of the free agency interview period and might sign the biggest contract given out to a defenseman. Benn is taking advantage of a nice season and capitalizing.
Jim Parsons is a freelance writer who covers the Edmonton Oilers and news and rumors posts here at The Hockey Writers.
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