In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is news out of Toronto with respect to Jake Gardiner’s potential future, the Winnipeg Jets could be a target for some teams looking to mess with their cap situation through offer sheets and will Nikita Gusev stay in the KHL despite a trade by the Golden Knights that moved David Clarkson potentially to find room to sign him?
Maple Leafs News and Notes
Elliotte Friedman believes that free agent Jake Gardiner might need to sign a one-year deal with a team to re-establish his market and prove he’s worth what he’s asking for. That ask is somewhere around $7 million per season.
There is a belief that even if he did agree to do so, he likely wouldn’t come back to Toronto because he could end up on the third pair which doesn’t help him set better numbers, thus upping the chances for a better long-term deal next summer.
Teams that have cap room and a slot for him in a role that includes tons of playing time might be the most likely suitors at this point.
Offer Sheet for Kyle Connor?
Back during the RFA interview period, there were whispers of an offer sheet possibly being given to Winnipeg Jets winger Kyle Connor. Sportsnet’s Sean Reynolds reports that those whispers have not gone away.
The Jets have roughly $17.5 million in cap space but need to sign Patrik Laine and other players with that money. That leaves an opening for another team to try and pry Connor — a 22-year-old who recorded 34 goals and 32 assists — from the Jets organization.
Reynolds didn’t mention which team or teams were looking at Connor but he did emphasize that the strategy here might be to force the Jets to pay Connor more than they’d like, leaving less money for Laine and force them to move salary to pay both players.
There is speculation negotiations to re-sign Laine and Connor could drag throughout the summer.
Panthers to Cost Cut a Little?
George Richards of The Athletic writes that the Florida Panthers might have more moves coming before the start of the season. Mark Pysyk and Mike Hoffman are among the names being discussed.
Pysyk would be a prime candidate to be traded if the Panthers feel good enough about their defensive depth as it currently stands since he takes a $2.7 million charge against the cap. He is also making $3.5 million in salary this season, which could make him a little harder to move.source – ‘Florida Panthers mailbag: Who backs up Bobrovsky, and how close did they get to signing Panarin?’ – George Richards – The Athletic – 07/19-2019
Richards adds that Pysyk is a proven NHL defenseman and a great teammate, but an unaffordable luxury at that price for a fifth or sixth guy on a team running out of space.
Richards also believes that any talk regarding a Hoffman trade could be real but thinks the forward will stay put.
Gusev Putting Pressure on Golden Knights
TSN is reporting a Russian news outlet source indicating the agent for winger Nikita Gusev will advise his client to remain in the KHL if he isn’t re-signed by the Vegas Golden Knights by a certain date.
Gusev would like to stay with the Golden Knights but his agent, Yuri Nikolaev said he’s aware the Golden Knights have received trade offers for his client. With the team and the player roughly $2 million apart in terms of salary demands, time is running out to get something done if Gusev is serious about his willingness to re-sign in the KHL.
The thought was that trading David Clarkson would allow the Golden Knights to up their offer to Gusev but it’s unclear since the trade if Vegas intends to do so.
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.”