NHL Rumors: Panthers, Sabres, Avalanche, Kraken, Oilers, Flames…

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, there is news as teams prepare to submit their NHL Expansion Draft lists on the 17th of July. The Florida Panthers are a team making moves in that regard, as are the Buffalo Sabres and Colorado Avalanche. Speaking of the Avs, negotiations are far apart between the team and Gabriel Landeskog. The Edmonton Oilers have made another trade and the Calgary Flames are preparing for life without Mark Giordano. Finally, the Seattle Kraken are interested in free agent goaltender Chris Driedger. What will it cost to acquire him?

Panthers Don’t Ask Keith to Waive No-Move Clause

The Panthers have not asked defenceman Keith Yandle to waive his no movement clause for the upcoming expansion draft, as per Elliotte Friedman. Yandle currently has two seasons remaining on a seven-year, $44.45 million contract that carries a cap hit of $6.35 million.

Keith Yandle Florida Panthers
Keith Yandle, Florida Panthers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Yandle has likely fallen out of favor with the Panthers coaching staff and it could be that the team intends to buy his contract out, thus ending his five year tenure with the organization. If that happens, it will be interesting to see who is interested. He’s still got a lot of offense left in his game. He scored 27 points in 56 games this past season and in the seven seasons prior, he recorded north of 40 points.

Still with the Panthers, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that pending UFA goaltender Chris Driedger is looking for $3.5 million AAV on his next deal. LeBrun notes that the Kraken are believed to be interested in signing him.

Related: Devils News & Rumors: Bertuzzi, Parise & More

Jeff Skinner Agrees to Waive No-Move Clause

As has been confirmed by Skinner’s agent, Don Meehan, the forward has agreed to waive his NMC for the purpose of being exposed in the Seattle expansion draft. Lance Lysowski of the Buffalo News notes, “Sabres GM Kevyn Adams approached Meehan about the NMC on Tuesday morning. Meehan spoke to Skinner, who agreed to waive. Skinner has six years remaining on a contract that carries a $9 million annual cap hit.”

That cap hit means the Kraken are unlikely to take Skinner in the draft. Skinner agreeing to waive is not necessarily a sign he doesn’t want to play in Buffalo. This could just be both a decision that is in the best interest of the team to allow them to protect someone else, but also because he’s confident his contract will keep him with the organization.

Landeskog and Avalanche “Not Even Close” on New Deal

As per TSN’s Darren Dreger, the Colorado Avalanche and Gabriel Landeskog have a long way to go if their intention is to get an extension worked out. Dreger said it’s hard to visualize the Avalanche going into next season without their captain but the two sides “are not even close in their negotiations.”

Gabriel Landeskog Colorado Avalanche
Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado Avalanche (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Dreger notes, “The position of the Colorado Avalanche is going to have to change significantly, according to sources, or, absolutely Gabe Landeskog will go to market.” There is still lots of time to get a deal done, but there’s a sense here that this is not a good sign early on. If Landeskog shakes loose, the St. Louis Blues are rumored to be among the many teams who would be interested, reports NHL.com’s Lou Korac.

LeBrun added that the Avs have asked Erik Johnson to waive his no-move for the NHL Expansion Draft and he has agreed to do so. This will provide the Avalanche some cap flexibility and it allows them to protect all three of their top defenseman — Cale Makar, Samuel Girard and Devon Toewes. They simply need to make a decision on Ryan Graves.

Oilers Trade Goaltender Dylan Wells

The Oilers have traded goaltender Dylan Wells to the Carolina Hurricanes. It’s not a big trade, but it is interesting considering the Oilers are actively looking at their goaltending situation and have a number of netminders in their pipeline.

Wells was already behind Stuart Skinner and Olivier Rodrigue before Ilya Konovalov signed with the team this past season. He was unlikely to be qualified by the Oilers. From a Hurricane’s perspective, Wells is an RFA and, if tendered his qualifying offer in the next week, he would meet exposure requirements for the Expansion Draft.

Flames Preparing for Loss of Giordano in Expansion Draft

Eric Francis reports the Flames are gearing up for life without defenseman and captain Mark Giordano, who it is believed will be selected by the Kraken. He says, “The question is whether or not the Flames are willing to ante up and pay the toll to keep a 37, soon-to-be 38 year-old defenseman in the fold.”

Francis did add that neither Johnny Gaudreau, nor Matthew Tkachuk will be moved ahead of the expansion draft.