NHL Rumors: Blackhawks, Golden Knights, Canucks, Oilers, Blues, Kraken

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Chicago Blackhawks and Vegas Golden Knights have made a trade, but it’s an odd one. Marc-Andre Fleury has been dealt to Chicago, but no one in Vegas elected to tell him? Meanwhile, the Vancouver Canucks have signed forward Conor Garland, the Edmonton Oilers have waived James Neal and Mike Hoffman has turned down an offer from the St. Louis Blues.

Marc-Andre Fleury Traded, Might Retire

In what is a strange trade for a number of reasons, Fleury was dealt to the Blackhawks on Tuesday in a cap-clearing trade for Vegas. Reports are the team didn’t let him know, he found out on Twitter and he may not report to Chicago, electing instead of retire from the NHL.

A number of reports, including one from his agent Allan Walsh note that no one from the Golden Knights organization reached out to Fleury and moved him just prior to him being able to submit a new list of teams as part of his no-trade clause. Walsh writes: “While Marc-Andre Fleury still hasn’t heard from anybody with the Vegas Golden Knights, he has apparently been traded to Chicago.” The agent adds, “Marc-Andre will be taking time to discuss his situation with his family and seriously evaluate his hockey future at this time.”

There was no salary retained in the trade and it was for future considerations. Essentially, the Blackhawks didn’t give up anything to acquire the player and if he retires, it’s not going to cause an issue, but it does potentially hold them up from making other deals for a goalie until Fleury makes a decision on his future.

Hoffman Looking for Long-Term Deal

David Pagnotta of the Fourth Period is reporting that St. Louis Blues forward Mike Hoffman has turned down an offer from the Blues and will hit the open market with NHL free agency opens on Wednesday. Hoffman is seeking a multi-year deal of over $5 million annually and it doesn’t sound like the Blues were willing to go there.

Hoffman had a strong season, playing in 52 games for the Blues in 2020-21. He scored 17 goals and added 19 assists to finish tied for third on the team with 36 points. There should be interested teams but he also didn’t get what he wanted last season so it’s hard to know how many clubs will make a long-term investment in the player.

Jaden Schwartz to Kraken Likely

According to multiple sources, pending UFA forward Jaden Schwartz had good discussions with the Seattle Kraken during their window to speak with free agents and it appears they are going to sign the player at the opening of free agency.

Jaden Schwartz St. Louis Blues
Jaden Schwartz, St. Louis Blues (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Some speculation was that he wanted to see what other offers were out there and who else the Kraken might sign, but the Kraken are expected to make him a concrete offer and get the deal finalizes. There is also talk the NHL’s newes franchise will sign more notable UFAs.

Canucks Buy Out Holtby, Sign Garland

Per reports, Braden Holtby was one of three notable players on waivers Tuesday. James Neal (EDM), Martin Jones (SJ) and Holtby (VAN) are all expected to be bought out by their respective clubs and the Canucks are already looking to replace Holtby with UFA goalie Jaroslav Halak among the short list of Vancouver’s targets.

One has to wonder if Holtby looks to go back to the Washington Capitals who could use a goaltender.

Also in Vancouver, the Canucks signed newly-acquired forward Conor Garland to a five-year extension. The deal is worth $4.95 million per season, and he should be a nice add in the team’s top six moving forward.

Oilers Unlikely to Buy Out Koskinen

With the buy out of James Neal, it doesn’t look like the Oilers will buy out the contract of goaltender Mikko Koskinen. Frank Seravalli reports the team did consider it but are likely not to go that route.

It’s not clear what the Oilers plans are in goal and if they will ride with the tandem of Koskinen and Mike Smith or try and pick up another goalie, but bury Koskinen in the minors. He has a modified no-trade clause, but not a no-move clause.