In today’s rumor rundown, the Leafs appear to be struggling with what to do with William Nylander and his next contract, Sam Reinhart and the Buffalo Sabres may be ways apart on an extension, Dylan Strome is going to get a chance to prove himself in Arizona next season and the Flyers are Robert Hagg are close to an extension.
Toronto to Offer Nylander a Bridge Deal?
The Hockey News’ Jared Clinton discussed the difficulties Toronto might have with William Nylander’s next contract. With the Leafs facing big deals for Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, as well as trying to re-sign or replace defenseman Jake Gardiner, Clinton suggests a short-term bridge deal might be best for Nylander and the Leafs.
Clinton says Nylander’s past production makes him comparable to players like Jack Eichel, Leon Draisaitl, and Mikko Rantanen so a bridge deal might be something most teams would look to avoid — especially if Nylander’s statistics improve this season. But, the Leafs might not have many other options. If the Leafs don’t shed some additional salary, they might be forced to keep salaries as low per year as possible.
Sam Reinhart Looking For Long-Term Win
The Buffalo News’ Mike Harrington recently speculated Reinhart and his agent could seek something along the lines of a six-year deal somewhere in the ballpark of Elias Lindholm’s salary of $4.85 million annually. That said, a long-term deal might not be easy to negotiate.
While he scored 20 goals and 39 points in his final 44 games, Reinhart struggled early last season. He was potentially a trade piece at the start of last season but with Ryan O’Reilly now gone, Reinhart could be looked to as someone to carry a heavier load behind Jack Eichel.
There is speculation the Sabres might prefer a bridge deal to see if Reinhart can live up to the weight of a long-term and more lucrative deal. If he does, the Sabres have plenty of cap room to give him the money he’s earned.
Coyotes to Stay Patient With Dylan Strome
Despite being drafted in 2015, Dylan Strome has only appeared in 28 NHL games. A star in Eerie playing on the same team as Connor McDavid, Strome was expected to be a great pickup for the Coyotes who have yet to be rewarded for their decision to draft him third overall.
In a recent article on TSN, Strome said, “I’m still trying to prove that I belong and that Arizona made the right pick. Hopefully in five, 10 years down the road people will look back and say they did make the right pick. Time will tell.”
With 53 points in 50 games, Strome has shown well in the AHL. In his 21 NHL games, he’s not produced at the same level as other lottery picks. Still, the Coyotes intend to be patient. Coyotes general manager John Chayka explained, “Look, if he was a second-round pick and he comes in and lights up the American League, I think everyone would be saying this guy is untouchable.” The Coyotes suggest perhaps it’s not fair to view him as a failure because he was drafted so early. Chayka said, “I view him as a really good player.”
Strome says his goal is to play 82 games for the Coyotes in 2018-19 and show the team he belongs and head coach Rick Tocchet said earlier this month that Arizona might move Strome from center to the wing to help with the transition. Strome may get time at both positions next season and he feels he can play center.
Flyers Still Working on Hagg Deal
Contract talks with restricted free agent defenseman Robert Hagg are progressing, GM Ron Hextall told reporters, the team is targeting a two-year bridge contract for the Swedish blueliner. Hagg completed his first full season at the NHL level in 2017-18, was a strong physical presence on their back end, and recorded 238 hits. He logged more than 18 minutes a night in the regular season.
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.”