NHL Rumors: Larkin, Pacioretty, Zucker, More

In today’s rumor rundown, Dylan Larkin says he’s learning a lot about the business of hockey but that he and the Red Wings are close on a deal to keep the speedy forward in Detroit long-term. We also revisit the situations with Jeff Skinner and Max Pacioretty; will they be traded? Finally, is a Jason Zucker deal in Minnesota happening? Or, are these two sides still very far apart?

Dylan Larkin Says a Deal is Close

Craig Custance of The Athletic is reporting the Detroit Red Wings and Dylan Larkin are getting much closer on the terms of a contract that will keep Larkin in Detroit for some time. A deal should certainly be done before September.  Custance writes that when asked about the status of his next deal, Larkin said of the negotiations:

“It’s coming together. Maybe something pretty soon. It goes back and forth. I’ve learned the business part of it. Between free agency and the draft and everything, it’s tough to get time to talk for my agent and Kenny. That’s part of summer and part of how it goes.”

source “In the Year 2021: Projecting the Red Wings’ lineup for the 2021-22 season” – Craig Custance – The Athletic – 07/20/2018

Dylan Larkin Red Wings
Dylan Larkin, Detroit Red Wings, December 20, 2017 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Custance is reporting the deal will be either five or six years in length and that when this is all done, it could mean trading Justin Abdelkader who carries a $3.975 million salary cap hit through 2021-22. The Red Wings are tight against the cap and while Abdelkader has a no-trade clause, if he’s not going to be a top-nine forward, he might agree to a move.

Related: NHL Rumors: Montour, Panarin, Crawford, More

Holding Pattern For Skinner, Pacioretty

While Jeff Skinner and Max Pacioretty remain two of the biggest names on the NHL trade block, it doesn’t appear as though anything is imminent on either player.  Both have been available and the rest of the NHL knows they can be had in trade but teams are waiting for the asking prices to come down.

Jeff Skinner Hurricanes
Jeff Skinner, Carolina Hurricanes, Mar. 1, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Skinner should fetch a strong return but also has a no-move clause. It could be that he’s playing a part in a deal not getting done because he has some control. Pacioretty does not and while he could be traded at any time, the ask is rumored to be quite high and things between the Canadiens and Pacioretty are not good.

Marc de Foy of the Le Journal de Montreal reports that Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin has completely ignored his captain for months. That disrespect (or whatever name you want to give not talking to your best forward) carries all the way back to last season and that while Pacioretty has no desire to leave, the Canadiens are trying to ship him out and not talking to him about the process at all.

Pacioretty has been linked to the Los Angeles Kings, Florida Panthers, Chicago Blackhawks, Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders. de Foy notes that at some point this summer, Bergevin will trade Pacioretty and that the franchise doesn’t see him as part of their long-term plans.

Related: NHL Rumors: Karlsson, Panarin, Maroon, More

Zucker and Wild Still Far Apart

Michael Russo of The Athletic reports that there is still sizeable gap financially between Jason Zucker and the Minnesota Wild. He writes:

…Zucker is​ seeking​ in a new​​ contract (believed to be north of $6 million annually) and what the Wild are offering (believed to be between the $5.25 million and $5.75 million received by Nino Niederreiter and Mikael Granlund, respectively, last summer). Even though Zucker’s arbitration hearing is scheduled for Saturday in Toronto, there’s essentially an artificial deadline of Wednesday night to try to get a deal consummated with Zucker.

source – “Wild, Jason Zucker’s agent to meet face-to-face in Minnesota this week” – Michael Russo – The Athletic – 07/22/2018

Jason Zucker Claude Giroux
Jason Zucker, Minnesota Wild and Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers, Nov. 11, 2017 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Zucker posted 33 goals and 31 assists in 82 games for the Wild last season. Prior to that, the 26-year-old had never posted more than 47 points in a single season. Not surprisingly, the Wild are concerned his 64 points might not be the norm and don’t want to pay him like a 60-point forward.

If Zucker’s case goes to arbitration, the outcome will be a one-year deal. For Zucker, should he be able to reproduce a season like last year, that could pay off handsomely in free agency. But, if Zucker drops to his past levels, a one-year deal might not be best. For the Wild, one-year arbitration deals are often the precursor to players leaving the team down the road. Unless Zucker believes he’s better than what he produced in 2017-18, there are compelling reasons for both sides to try and work out a long-term deal.

Zucker’s agent, Eustace King, is expected to meet with Fenton on Wednesday. It could be Wednesday or Thursday that a deal is announced if the two sides can work it out.

Canucks Want to do Something, But Nothing’s Brewing

The Province’s Jason Botchford reports the Vancouver Canucks have wanted to get involved in this summer’s trade market but have had no luck. Alex Edler reportedly won’t waive his no-trade clause and Chris Tanev’s injuries have hurt his trade value. Erik Gudbranson is seen as almost untradeable at his salary and Ben Hutton’s $2.8 million salary combined with an awful season will keep him in Vancouver.  And, as much as the Canucks might be willing to move Micael Del Zotto, Derrick Pouliot or Troy Strecher, no one is lining up to take them.