NHL Rumors: Blue Jackets, Flyers, Islanders, Devils, Oilers, Canadiens

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the fallout from day one of free agency leaves the Calgary Flames, New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders asking questions.

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All were rumored to be players for Johnny Gaudreau and all missed out when he chose the Columbus Blue Jackets. What’s next? Meanwhile, did the Edmonton Oilers kick tires on more players than they were able to acquire? Finally, the Montreal Canadiens couldn’t move Jeff Petry. Now what?

Gaudreau Chooses Blue Jackets

The decision by Gaudreau to sign with the Columbus Blue Jackets shocked a lot of people on Wednesday. Among the teams that might have been surprised where the Islanders and the Devils. The Philadelphia Flyers say they weren’t in on Gaudreau based on their salary cap situation, but these two teams were rumored to be and David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period writes, “There is unrest on the Island. Very interested to see how the #Isles pivot from here. Clear they have money to spend.” He adds [Lou] Lamoriello is now in the final year of his contract – can’t close the big UFAs. With a new, gorgeous barn, contending for a Cup is that much more important.”

Johnny Gaudreau Calgary Flames
Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

As for Gaudreau selecting the Blue Jackets, GM Jarmo Kekalainen said: “We can finally get rid of the bullsh-t that this is somehow a bad destination, a bad city, or whatever.” Aaaron Portzline of The Athletic writes:

Gaudreau said the Blue Jackets were on his list before the free agency period opened, based on the experiences he’s had playing in Nationwide Arena and on conversations he’s had with current and former Blue Jackets, who raved about it.

Kekalainen made a pitch after the free agency window opened and as the afternoon progressed, talks started to ramp up. He noted, “It kind of came out of the blue,” Kekalainen said. “Like, are you serious about this?” New Jersey offered seven years and more than $9 million per season, per The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun. They moved on and signed Ondrej Palat.

Blue Jackets Working On Signing Laine

With Gaudreau now on the roster, the importance of re-signing Patrik Laine ramps up. Brian Hedger of The Columbus Blue Dispatch notes that Kekalainen continues work on this and try to make room elsewhere on the roster to get that deal done. Kekalainen will have to shed salary to make room for Laine’s presumed $8 million-$9 million annual cap hit on his next contract.

One person who seems excited about the prospect of playing with Gaudreau as he responded to a sarcastic tweet by journalist Steve Simmons who asked why Gaudreau would choose Columbus. Voracek simply said, “#29?”

Oilers Tried to Land Connor Brown, Patrick Kane

The Edmonton Oilers were heavily in talks with the Ottawa Senators to acquire Connor Brown, but couldn’t move the asset they wanted to make the deal work. Ottawa wanted a pick, so the Oilers were trying to move a player out to get the cap room and the pick to send back to the Sens. They were unable to do so because of money or a lack of desire in the players they wanted to move. As such, Washington was able to come in and obtain Brown for a second-rounder in 2024 when talks with the Oilers fell apart.

Related: NHL Rumors: Flames, Oilers, Wild, Senators, Penguins, Canadiens

There was also chatter the Oilers checked in on the availability of Patrick Kane out of Chicago. Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff said that he was not ready to move at this time, but it will be interesting to see if rumblings of the Oilers’ interest resurface again.

Canadiens Might Not Trade Petry

Sto Cowan of the Montreal Gazette reports the Canadiens haven’t found a trade partner to take Jeff Petry and his $6.25 million AAV off their hands. They were in talks with the Carolina Hurricanes, who ultimately chose Brent Burns from the San Jose Sharks and GM Kent Hughes said he won’t move Petry unless he finds a deal that advances the Canadiens’ interest.

Cowan writes:

As a result, the Canadiens cancelled a news conference with Hughes that was slated for 4 p.m. at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard, since there wasn’t much for him to talk about on the first day of NHL free agency. Hughes is expected to speak with the media on Thursday, either on a video conference or in a news conference at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard.

source – ‘Canadiens would only trade Petry in a deal ‘advancing our interest,’ Hughes says’ – Montreal Gazette – 07/13/2022

The Canadiens are pressed against the $82.5 million cap and would like to move more salary.

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