NHL Rumors: Oilers, Maple Leafs, Kraken, Blue Jackets, More

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, there is news that the Edmonton Oilers have met with Zach Hyman and could be close on the terms of a new contract. How might the Toronto Maple Leafs still be involved? That is where things get interesting. Meanwhile, the Seattle Kraken selected their roster on Wednesday evening as part of the NHL Expansion Draft. But, are they done making moves? A lot of insiders think there’s more coming. Finally, Patrik Laine might be close to signing a deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Oilers Close to Signing Zach Hyman

Jason Gregor broke the story that Hyman was in Edmonton and meeting with the team on Wednesday. The belief was that the team was showing him around and possibly talking the terms of a UFA deal. It quickly turned into reports that the Oilers and Hyman were close on the terms of an extension and that an eight-year deal might be possible at a value between $5 million and $6 million per season.

Toronto Maple Leafs Zach Hyman
Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Zach Hyman (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn)

If that was accurate, it then became clear that Toronto would have to get involved in a sign-and-trade because the Oilers can’t sign Hyman to an eight-year deal unless they trade for his rights first. That puts the ball back in Toronto’s court and it is expected Thursday afternoon, when the roster freeze is lifted, a trade could be forthcoming between the two organizations.

Elliotte Friedman said following the expansion draft that he figures the deal is done in principal. Marc Spector of Sportsnet thinks on a seven-year term, the number is $5.5 million per. On an eight-year term, the number is $5.125 million.

Oilers Talking to Tyson Barrie

Speculation now is that the Oilers will immediately turn to defenseman Tyson Barrie. Darren Dreger notes that the two: sides immediately struck up contract talks again when it was learned Larsson was signing with Seattle. Dreger notes that the Oilers don’t want to go five years on an extension, but that $5 million by four years might be around where a deal happens, if it happens.

The question following any Barrie conversations is whether or not the Oilers can roll with Barrie, Evan Bouchard and Ethan Bear down the right side, or if another move would need to be made?

Yanni Gourde to Miss Start of Next Season

Kraken GM Ron Francis said after the expansion draft that their selection from the Tampa Bay Lightning, Yanni Gourde won’t be in the lineup on opening night. Thanks to shoulder surgery he had earlier this week, his recovery time of about four months will put him back in the lineup at some point in November.

The Kraken are relying on Gourde being a big part of their offense.  The 29-year-old forward is easily in the mix for one of the top two center spots on the team.

Kraken Working on Side Deals After Selecting Their Team

The Kraken technically can’t announce side deals with NHL clubs until the roster freeze is lifted on Thursday at 1pm EST, but there are some deals being worked and will likely be made official almost immediately.

Dan Rosen of NHL.com wrote after the official expansion draft presentation ended Francis was asked if he could ballpark how many trades the Kraken have in the drawer. The GM responded, “Probably a lot less than you guys think there might be.” The reason is because teams learned from their dealings with the Vegas Golden Knights that making side deals can really come back to hurt a team when they overpay to protect certain assets. “This time they learned from that and they weren’t willing to make the same mistakes that they made last time,” he said.

One trade that could happen involves Tyler Pitlick, the selection from the Arizona Coyotes. It sounds like he could be on the move.

Laine May Sign Qualifying Offer

Reports surfaced on Wednesday that Blue Jackets winger Patrik Laine received his $7.5 million qualifying offer from the Columbus Blue Jackets and Laine is thinking about accepting it, reports Brian Hedger of the Columbus Dispatch. Hedger writes:

Should Laine sign the qualifying offer, he will have one additional year left of restricted free agency and could eventually become  an unrestricted free agent at 25, a remarkably young age to hit the NHL’s open market…

Getting Laine’s signature on the qualifying offer would give Kekalainen cost certainty, not only for budgeting purposes but also for potential trade discussions. Recent reports have said the Blue Jackets are listening to offers for Laine, but no specifics were given.

source – ‘Blue Jackets’ Patrik Laine weighing qualifying offer for next season’ – Brian Hedger of the Columbus Dispatch – 07/20/2021

Laine likely realizes he’s not going to get more than that in another situation and if he does accept the offer, he will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights again next summer. If he signs a similar qualifier at that point, he becomes an unrestricted free agent at 25 years old.