In today’s NHL rumors rundown, are the Edmonton Oilers and Adam Larsson closer or farther away from getting a deal signed? Recent chatter suggests there might be a slight delay in any contract extension. Could the Pittsburgh Penguins target one of the Vegas Golden Knights goaltenders? And, would it be the goaltender everyone is thinking they’d target? Would Jamie Oleksiak be a target for a number of teams this summer? Does it matter? There’s more news on the tragic passing of Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks. Finally, will the Montreal Canadiens roll with the same lineup that won Game 4 in overtime of the Stanley Cup Final?
Adam Larsson to Test Free Agency?
Whispers that Larsson might want to test the NHL free agent market have surfaced. That’s not great news for the Oilers who, by most accounts, were reported to have been inching closer to an extension with the right-handed defenseman. That’s led to some insiders and media outlets wondering what the Oilers will do if Larsson ultimately ends up not signing.
It might be too soon to panic. Jason Gregor of TSN 1260 and Oilers Nation recently wrote that the two sides continue to talk and appear to be “in the same ballpark” on term and AAV. Meanwhile, Larsson’s agent J.P. Barry told Daniel Nugent-Bowman of The Athletic that talks are going well:
“We’re making progress on a contract. We just need to talk (more),” Barry said. “Sometimes teams like to move quicker than players. He’s just thinking about everything. We’re getting there. There are a few things we can still discuss.”source – ‘What I’m hearing about the Oilers offseason: The latest on Adam Larsson, Oscar Klefbom, Kraken plans and more’ Daniel Nugent-Bowman – The Athletic – 07/01/2021
At this point, it’s probably a combination of final details like the exact term, signing bonuses, no-trades and other smaller items that need to be ironed out. As per Evolving Hockey’s contract projections, Larsson is likely to get a four-year deal at around $3.615-million from the Oilers. If he leaves, he could get as much as five years and $4.11 million person season from another team.
Penguins to Target Robin Lehner This Offseason?
As the Golden Knights look for ways to improve their power play, there is chatter the team might break up the second-highest paid goaltending duo in the NHL. The team has $12 million allotted for Marc-Andre Fleury and Robin Lehner, but ownership has noted they’d like to retain Fleury and let him finish out his career with Vegas. Does that mean the team will consider moving Lehner?
Mark Madden of TribLive.Com wonders if the Pittsburgh Penguins will jump into the running should Lehner become available. Most fans believed the Penguins would ultimately make a pitch for Fleury when his contract came up for free agency, but if that’s not an option, Lehner makes a lot of sense for the Penguins.
Lehner has four more seasons on his deal with a $5 million annual cap hit. He does hold a modified no-trade clause that includes an eight-team no trade list.
Oleksiak Likely to Re-Sign in Dallas
One of the pending UFA defenseman getting a lot of love is Jamie Oleksiak from the Dallas Stars. A player many teams seem to have on their radar, he would be coveted as a strong option on the left-side for a number of organizations, especially considering his size and underlying numbers. That said, it might not matter if teams are interested.
Recent reports suggest that Oleksiak is leaning towards re-signing with the Dallas Stars. If true, it will be interesting to see what kind of dominos fall as a result. Oleksiak wasn’t necessarily everyone’s top target on defense, but he was rumored to be a lot of team’s Plan B if they missed in other places.
Matiss Kivlenieks Death Due to Fireworks Accident
Early reports of the tragic passing of Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks noted that he slipped while getting out of a hot tub and hit his head. Follow up reports showed that Kivlenieks actually died of chest trauma due to a fireworks mortar blast. Kivlenieks was at the home of Columbus goaltending coach Manny Legace when the accident happened.
Blue Jackets players, the NHL and a family and friends were all mourning to loss of a 24-year-old aspiring NHL regular. He was well-liked by his teammates and our condolences go out to his family and friends.
Canadiens to Roll With Same Lineup in Game 5
Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme was asked if he plans to roll with the same lineup as the one that kept the Stanley Cup Final series alive between the Habs and the Tampa Bay Lightning. He noted that every game is a new game but that he liked what the lineup brought in Game 4.
“There’s a good chance we’re going to be going back with the same lineup,” he said. Noting that anything can happen, he hinted it would take a surprise of some kind for him not to keep those players. This means Jesperi Kotkaniemi might not see another game in this series.
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.”