NHL Rumors: Avalanche, Canucks, Oilers, Canadiens, More

In today’s NHL rumors, there is talk about how the Colorado Avalanche and Gabriel Landeskog might work out the details of a new long-term deal. Meanwhile, reports are the Vancouver Canucks are making Nate Schmidt available in trade. What is the asking price? What will Phillip Danault be worth on an extension? Finally, the Edmonton Oilers seem to have a strategy for spending this offseason, while using youngster in key roles.

Landeskog and Avalanche to Compromise on Long-Term Extension?

Like the Edmonton Oilers did with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the Avalanche might have to offer Landeskog more term than they’d ideally like to get a long-term extension done. Because talks haven’t picked up yet between the two sides, it could take each party giving a little and taking a little to keep the Avalanche captain in the fold.

Gabriel Landeskog Colorado Avalanche
Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado Avalanche (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

According to Peter Baugh of The Athletic, Landeskog wants a long-term deal. If he’s seeking the most money on that deal, he might not get it from the Avalanche. Thus, the team is hoping they can do with Landeskog what the Edmonton Oilers did with Nugent-Hopkins and offer more term to get the annual average salary down lower. Baugh writes:

The contract sets an interesting tone for free agent forwards like Landeskog, though it’s unclear how much of a hometown discount Nugent-Hopkins took after a down season and how exactly it will impact the forward market. The length of the deal almost certainly led to a lower AAV, especially considering he was making $6 million per the past seven seasons.

source – ‘What we’re hearing about the Avalanche offseason: Gabriel Landeskog talks quiet, Carl Soderberg heads home, more’ – Peter Baugh – The Athletic – 07/02/2021

Landeskog is important to this team, but not more important than Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar, both of whom need news deals over the course of the next two seasons.

Related: THW 2021 Mock NHL Draft Round 1: Our Armchair GMs Make Their Picks

Canucks Make Nate Schmidt Available for Trade

According to David Pagnotta of the Fourth Period, the Canucks are making Schmidt available for trade, just one season after acquiring him from the Vegas Golden Knights. Pagnotta writes: “One name you’ll see on the list is Vancouver’s Nate Schmidt. Doesn’t sound like things have worked out and we’re told he is on the block. He has 4-years left at $5.9M AAV and a 10-team no-trade list.”

Nate Schmidt Vancouver Canucks
Nate Schmidt, Vancouver Canucks (Photo by Derek Cain/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

When the Canucks picked up Schmidt, without having to give up much in return — the Golden Knights were dumping his contract to make room for Alex Pietrangelo — all the Canucks needed to do was make room for his deal. It will be interesting to see if another team does the same. $5.9 million is not a small amount on the salary cap, but the Canucks aren’t likely looking at taking a loss here. Retaining salary is not a good look.

Mixed Thoughts on Danault’s Worth on the Open Market

The Canadiens will have to make a decision on Danault this offseason. Is he a player worth keeping around or will the team be forced to let him go to free agency and potentially walk away? Pierre LeBrun took a look at his comparables and tried to narrow down what his value might around the NHL.

LeBrun spoke with a few difference executives and wrote:

One said that, while he has great respect for Danault’s shutdown ability, he can’t see Danault making more than $4.5 million AAV on the market given the flat cap and his offensive numbers. Another saw Danault at around $4 million a year on a four- or five-year deal.

And then there’s the third team executive I reached out to, who pointed out a rather interesting comparable: Jordan Staal, who makes $6 million a year and shares similar shutdown duties.

source – ‘LeBrun: Cale Makar an offer sheet target; Seth Jones trade interest from Avs, Flyers, Blackhawks’ – Pierre LeBrun – The Athletic – 06/30/2021

That’s quite the range in salary and depending on what Danault wants out of his next deal, it’s tough to predict he might be playing his last game with the Canadiens — potentially as early as Monday night.

Oilers Feeling Good About Young Players

As per Kurt Leavins of the Edmonton Journal, the Oilers are going to be shopping this summer with the cap space they have and trying to improve the roster. At the same time, they feel good about their young prospects and how they might be able to contribute to the lineup, offering good value.

Evan Bouchard Oilers
Evan Bouchard, Edmonton Oilers, 2018 NHL Draft, Dallas, TX, June 22, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Leavins writes:

The Oilers pro scouting meetings have wrapped. If I had to guess, the organization looks at its situation this way: There is substantial talent coming from the club’s prospects. If the team spends on 2-3 bigger pieces then it would be content filling slots in the Bottom-6/3rd pairing with the likes of Ryan McLeod, Evan Bouchard and Dylan Holloway…all on economical ELC’s.

source – ‘As the Edmonton Oilers learn how to win, there’s a lot Duncan Keith could teach them: 9 Things’ Kurt Leavins – The Edmonton Journal – 07/04/2021

I won’t put words in Leavins’ mouth here, but what I think when I read this is that the Oilers could potentially spend big on a one or two players (or least make big pitches) and try to round out the depth of the roster with young guys who can play with those big pieces.

Does that mean an expensive goalie? Investing $5.5-$6.5 million in in a top-line left-winger? If the team is confident young players can step up, GM Ken Holland might try to hit a home run on a big name.