In today’s NHL rumors rundown, there is talk about what a player like Auston Matthews might do as news that American-born players are heading back to the U.S. to play. Will Matthews follow suit? Meanwhile, the NHL scheduled their arbitration hearings and there’s rumblings that a specific Edmonton Oilers forward was put early on the docket for a reason.
How might this affect other RFAs in Edmonton? Finally, could the New York Rangers be a team that makes a play for Matthew Tkachuk? If not the Rangers, which teams might be in on trade talks?
Matthews A Leaf for Life?
Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli recently touched on the topic of the Toronto Maple Leafs having to potentially make plans to try and keep Auston Matthews from bolting to the U.S. like recent Calgary Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau did and Matthew Tkachuk seems destined to do. While it’s too early to make generalizations and each player is in a case-by-case situation, he doesn’t think it’s something that should overly concern Maple Leafs fans.
He said while on the Tim and Friends Show, “I believe Auston Matthews is going to be a Toronto Maple Leaf for Life.” He added, “I think he’s absolutely loved his time in Toronto.”
Seravalli thinks Matthews has weathered the storm that is being in the public eye of Toronto quite well and that the organization has done right by him. There’s no fear of being the center of attention and Matthews has handled the pressure without much issue. Noting that a number of American-born players are really happy playing in Canada, Matthews is one of them.
Updates on Jesse Puljujarvi and Kailer Yamamoto?
According to Daniel Nugent-Bowman of The Athletic, the Oilers have a plan when it comes to their restricted free agents. They don’t intend to trade Jesse Puljujarvi away for an underwhelming return, and they know approximately what it will cost to get deals inked for Ryan McLeod and Kailer Yamamoto.
Yamamoto, like Puljujarvi, has arbitration rights. The Oilers are expecting an award of at least $3 million should Yamamoto’s case be heard. I was told unequivocally that Yamamoto won’t be dealt. The superstars like playing with him too much for that to happen.source – ‘Can the Oilers keep Puljujarvi? Will they trade for Patrick Kane? Mailbag’- Daniel Nugetn-Bowman – The Athletic – 07/21/2022
As for why Puljujarvi’s case is scheduled so early in the arbitration hearings process, the scribe writes that he was told the NHLPA wanted Puljujarvi’s case to be among the very first to potentially help set salaries for others that could follow in arbitration. That could create a slight complication for Yamamoto’s deal if Jesse is awarded a higher figure than expected. The Oilers might want to sign Yamamoto in the next few days.
Rangers Salary Cap Situation Means Team is Not in on Tkachuk
Larry Brooks of The New York Post writes that there’s no way the New York Rangers will be a team making a pitch for Matthew Tkachuk as the Calgary Flames look around for a trade partner and the best possible deal. Brooks cites the fact that the Rangers have an incredibly tight salary cap situation facing their team and notes that the franchise has seven players carrying cap hits of at least $5 million per season. He adds that five of them have no-move clauses through at least 2023-24.
Another dose of reality: The Rangers will subtract $8.965 million from the cap after the season on expiring contracts of Ryan Reaves, Blais, Dryden Hunt and Jaro Halak plus dead weight buyout charges. But they will owe second contracts to [Alexis] Lafreniere, K’Andre Miller, [Filip] Chytil and [Vitali] Kravtsov and will have to replace those departing free agents.
He adds that it’s going to be “mighty difficult” for the Rangers just to keep Barclay Goodrow and Ryan Lindgren beyond this season.
7 Possible Teams in on Tkachuk?
Hailey Salvian and Sean Gentille of The Athletic took a look at seven realistic trade destinations for Tkachuk and broke down the possible returns and cap pros and cons that make increase or decrease the odds of each being a realistic trade partner for the Calgary Flames. The seven teams mentioned were the St. Louis Blues, Detroit Red Wings, Nashville Predators, New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils, Vegas Golden Knights, and Dallas Stars.
The Blues are the frontrunners and they mention Jordan Kyrou as the player most likely to go back to the Flames as part of the deal. The scribes write:
This summer, extending Thomas was St. Louis’ priority. Kyrou’s next deal could be tricky — and not just because of the Blues’ current cap situation. If he builds on last season’s breakout, or simply has another point-per-game run, will he look for a deal equal to Thomas’? Would he look for more? And what would St. Louis even be able to offer, given that they’d have both Thomas’ extension and a Tkachuk contract on the books?
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.”