NHL Rumors: Penguins, Islanders, Senators, Bruins, Maple Leafs

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Carolina are two of the teams rumored to be heavily pursuing defenseman Erik Karlsson. In other news, the New York Islanders and Anaheim Ducks are kicking tires on an Alex DeBrincat trade. The Toronto Maple Leafs are showing interest in Tyler Bertuzzi and the Ottawa Senators are rumored to like Vladimir Tarasenko for their forward group, assuming they can move DeBrincat.

Penguins Among Teams Looking at Erik Karlsson

According to Pierre LeBrun of TSN and Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, the Pittsburgh Penguins, Seattle Kraken, and Carolina Hurricanes have shown interest in acquiring San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson. Friedman says the Penguins and Hurricanes were certainly having discussions about the player.

Additionally, The Athletic’s Josh Yohe reports that Penguins general manager Kyle Dubas has engaged in discussions with the Sharks regarding Karlsson. He explains:

Dubas engaged in talks with San Jose’s star (and very expensive) defensemen Erik Karlsson, a team source who requested anonymity so they could speak freely confirmed to The Athletic. A deal to Pittsburgh, which now appears more unlikely following the spending spree that followed, would have been complex and included a mystery team along with the Penguins and Sharks.

source – ‘With eyes on Erik Karlsson, Penguins’ Kyle Dubas goes on a spending spree — what’s next?’ – Josh Yohe 0 The Athletic – 07/01/2023

It was initially speculated that a potential deal with Pittsburgh would involve a third team, making it a complex transaction. But, as Yohe points out, Dubas spent a lot of money in the past week and the team is now technically over the salary cap ceiling as per CapFriendly.

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LeBrun suggests that the Sharks have allowed teams to directly communicate with the 33-year-old Norris Trophy winner.

Islanders Looking at DeBrincat

The New York Islanders are actively pursuing a trade for 25-year-old forward Alex DeBrincat, with a possibility of including Jean-Gabriel Pageau in the deal. DeBrincat, a restricted free agent, recorded 27 goals and 39 assists in his first season with Ottawa. The Senators are trying to move his contract due to salary cap constraints, with the Islanders being a potential destination.

Alex DeBrincat Ottawa Senators
Alex DeBrincat, Ottawa Senators (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Both Stefan Rosner and Andrew Gross are reporting there is more than just smoke when it comes to the Isles and DeBrincat talk. One of the reasons this hasn’t gotten done, according to The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch, is because DeBrincat, in his conversations with other teams, hasn’t been able to lock down a long-term contract commitment with any teams. He writes:

After refusing to sign an eight-year deal with the Ottawa Senators, the 25-year-old, two-time 40-goal scorer and his Toronto-based agent, Jeff Jackson, are learning that DeBrincat can’t get that kind of contract anywhere else in the National Hockey League. While the Senators have tried to deal DeBrincat for the past three weeks and found some trades they considered to be close, those talks got shut down because Jackson was unable to get the kind of term of contract he wanted after being given permission to speak to those teams.

source – ‘GARRIOCH: Ottawa Senators need help from Alex DeBrincat to complete a trade’ – Bruce Garrioch – Ottawa Sun – 07/01/2023

Other teams that were said to be interested were the Detroit Red Wings, Dallas Stars, and Anaheim Ducks but it’s not clear where any of their interests are now after the first day of free agency.

Senators Like Tarasenko

Meanwhile, the Senators have also had discussions with Vladimir Tarasenko as a potential replacement for DeBrincat. However, negotiations have been challenging due to the uncertainty surrounding DeBrincat’s desire for a longer contract term but not in Ottawa.

Elliotte Friedman reported, “There are some moving parts here — particularly how things unfold with Alex DeBrincat — but word is Ottawa had a conversation with Vladimir Tarasenko earlier today.”

Bruins Out, Maple Leafs In on Bertuzzi

David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period reports that it doesn’t sound like the Boston Bruins will circle back on Tyler Bertuzzi, even though the forward didn’t land a deal yet in free agency. He’s got a number and term length in mind and is waiting for one of the teams that can afford his ask to step up and get it done. Friedman said on NHL Network: “One team that hasn’t made a lot of noise today that I think had some interest in (Tyler) Bertuzzi is Toronto, I know they were one of the teams that wanted to talk to him.”

Pagnotta echoed the sentiments about Bertuzzi and the Maple Leafs, going so far as to say that Toronto never even pitched an offer to Michael Bunting before he signed with the Carolina Hurricanes.