NHL Rumors: Blue Jackets, Canucks, Oilers, Avalanche, More

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, things are getting a bit hectic in the NHL as teams have to submit their final protection lists for the NHL Expansion Draft. Andy Strickland writes, “Had a prominent agent tell me he’s never seen this many players available for potential trades. With every team.” As such, there could be few last minute trades on Friday where organizations try to get something for players they think they’re about to lose.

The Columbus Blue Jackets are rumored to be exposing Max Domi, the Vancouver Canucks badly want to make a deal, the Edmonton Oilers are getting news on Adam Larsson, and Ryan Suter is attracting major interest from NHL clubs.

Domi to Be Left Exposed and Available to Seattle Kraken

As per a report by Darren Dreger of TSN: “Teams are putting the finishing touches on their protected lists. Hearing CBJ are planning on leaving Max Domi unprotected. I would be surprised if Seattle doesn’t claim him.” This is, perhaps, the first big shocker of a move by a team heading into the draft. Domi is a player who has underperformed, but not far removed from a 72-point season and could bounce back in the right situation.

Max Domi Columbus Blue Jackets
Max Domi, Columbus Blue Jackets (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Domi was part of a deal that saw the Blue Jackets move Josh Anderson to the Montreal Canadiens and if Domi is left exposed, and selected, this move signals how bad a loss that trade was for Columbus. Domi posted only 24 points in 54 games this past season, then missed the end of the campaign with an injury that will likely keep him out for at least one month of the start of next season.

He’s a $5.3 million cap hit for one more year, but he’s got the potential to score 50 points for Seattle in a top-six or top-line center role if they select him. At the same time, because of Domi’s injury, the Blue Jackets might be betting that the Kraken don’t want to take an injured player with their selection.

Canucks Active in Trade Talks

As per a report by Thomas Drance and Rick Dhaliwal of The Athletic, the Canucks are feverishly working the phones ahead of the Seattle NHL Expansion Draft. While the team has yet to make a move, general manager Jim Benning is said to be wanting to do something.

Jim Benning Vancouver Canucks
Jim Benning, Vancouver Canucks, 2019 NHL Draft (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

They write:

Canucks general manager Jim Benning and his hockey operations department are still actively engaged in trade talks with various clubs facing tough decisions with their protected list ahead of the expansion draft. There’s been a high volume of chatter behind the scenes. Make no mistake, Benning has worked this angle hard.

source – ‘Braden Holtby, Brock Boeser and what we’re hearing about the Canucks’ plans ahead of the expansion draft’ – Thomas Drance and Rick Dhaliwal -The Athletic – 07/16/2021

The Canucks were apparently in on defenseman Ryan Graves before he was moved to the New Jersey Devils and the team is expressing their interest in Zach Hyman of the Toronto Maple Leafs, although it is not believed they will remain in the discussion if it takes big term to get a Hyman deal done.

Canucks goaltender Braden Holtby will be left exposed and the Kraken are said to be interested in selecting him. There may be a possible trade in the works between the two teams prior to the draft as other teams are interested as well. Finally, Alexander Edler is rumored to be prepared to test the free agent market, according to his agent Mark Stowe. Stowe told Rick Dhaliwal of CHEK TV and said Edler is looking for a multi-year deal to finish his career.

Related: Oilers In on Hyman, Fans Prefer Team Target Landeskog

Oilers Update on Adam Larsson

As is being reported by Daniel Nugent-Bowman of The Athletic, “The chances of pending unrestricted free agent Adam Larsson returning to the Oilers appear to be diminishing with every passing day.” He writes that the defenseman wants to explore the free agent market.

Adam Larsson
WINNIPEG, MB – APRIL 26: Adam Larsson #6 of the Edmonton Oilers looks on during a second period stoppage in play against the Winnipeg Jets at the Bell MTS Place on April 26, 2021 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Darcy Finley/NHLI via Getty Images)

Nugent-Bowman adds:

Larsson is expected to be a hot commodity in free agency — should he make it there. As noted, I’m told a team is willing to offer the defensive blueliner a five-year deal with at least a $5 million AAV in free agency. The Oilers theoretically could make such a deal work under their budget, but it might limit improvements to the roster in other areas.

sources – ‘What I’m hearing about the Oilers offseason 2.0: Adam Larsson and free agency? Who’s on the expansion list?’ – Daniel Nugent-Bowman – The Athletic – 07/16/2021

Larsson could still sign with the Oilers, which would happen after the expansion draft if it happens.

Suter Getting Major Interest From Multiple Teams

According to Michael Russo of The Athletic, Ryan Suter is already gaining major attention from teams across the league. Russo spoke to Suter’s agent Neil Sheehy, who said that “not a single team in the league…ever thought that Ryan Suter would be available.” As such, many teams are putting offers together to see if he’d be interested in signing.

Russo quotes Suter’s agent who added, “Contract terms are a part of it and Ryan wants to win a Stanley Cup, but he also has a wife and four children,” Sheehy said. Russo writes:

Sources say Suter is intrigued by the Avs, and they’re expected to have significant interest now that they’ve traded Ryan Graves to the Devils. But they also probably can’t afford to offer Suter as much as others because Colorado still hopes to re-sign pending free agent and captain Gabriel Landeskog, superstar defenseman Cale Makar needs a new contract and they need to save a boatload of money in order to extend Nathan MacKinnon’s contract next summer.

source – ‘ Avs? Blues? Bruins? Ryan Suter has options in free agency, while Zach Parise looks for familiarity’ – MIchael Russo – The Athletic – 07/16/2021