In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is news out of New Jersey where the Devils might be ticking tires on David Backes, the Toronto Maple Leafs might be hoping for an offer sheet and Taylor Hall is going to take his time before he makes a decision on his long-term future citing the fact he’s only got so much playing time left in his career to win the big one.
Devils Interested in Backes?
Jimmy Murphy of Boston Hockey Now notes that with the challenges the Boston Bruins face in respect to their salary cap, they’ll be looking to move a player like David Backes. This will give them some additional space to re-sign restricted free agent defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo.
Murphy reports that league sources say the New Jersey Devils have shown some interest in Backes. He’s an expensive addition at $6 million but the Devils have space. If Backes has included the Devils as one of his teams on his modified no-trade list, there might be something there. The Devils are likely expecting a 2020 first-round pick as a sweetener to take Backes’ contract.
Don’t Expect Taylor Hall Decision Soon
Still with the Devils, Sportsnet is reporting that the Devils and Taylor Hall are moving at a snail’s pace when it comes to an extension and both sides are ok with that. Whatever Hall decides to do will probably drag into next season.
For Hall, it’s all about making the decision to stick with the right team long-term. “You want to play on the best team possible, and I’ve played nine seasons in the NHL and only won one playoff game,” Hall said. His big decision won’t be about money as much as it will be about being on a Stanley Cup contending team for years to come.
“I kind of want to make up for lost time, but at the same time want to be smart with everything that’s going on,” he explained.
For the Devils, that means showing without a doubt that they are a team that can win and remain a contender.
Any extension for Hall will likely be $10 million-plus. There haven’t been any in-depth contract negotiations yet.
Maple Leafs Begging For an Offer Sheet?
Perhaps begging isn’t the right term but TSN’s Bob McKenzie suggests the Toronto Maple Leafs might be wishing another team would just get on with an offer sheet so they can put some closure to this situation with Mitch Marner.
“As for Marner, my view from afar is that it’s probably close to or at the point where TOR hopes an offer sheet is tendered. That would allow/force closure, one way or the other. Match the offer sheet or take the compensation, but it would be done.
He added that he believes there is a huge gap between what the team believes Marner is worth and what the player believes he’s worth. Negotiations are only going to get more difficult as time passes.
Five Names to Watch
Josh Wegman of The Score writes that there are five names worth keeping an eye on when it comes to possible big trades still to come this offseason. Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen could be moved with the excess of defensemen on the Sabres roster, the Nashville Predators might moves center Kyle Turris and the New York Rangers could move winger Chris Kreider if the two sides can’t reach a deal. Rounding out the group are Minnesota Wild winger Jason Zucker and Vegas Golden Knights forward Nikita Gusev.
Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”