NHL Rumors: Sabres, Canucks, Capitals, Canadiens, NHL Camps, More

In today’s NHL rumors, what does management think about Jack Eichel’s recent comments? Do they understand his frustration? Or, are they upset he spoke so candidly? In Vancouver, there is an update on contract talks between the Canucks and Jacob Markstrom, plus talk of the team trying to reacquire their second-round pick. Is there hope in Washington for Braden Holtby? What does Montreal’s Karl Alzner feel about his chances of getting back to the NHL? Finally, the NHL has officially set the date for the opening of team training camps.

Eichel and Sabres on Same Page

In a couple of recent reports, Jack Eichel being frustrated with the Buffalo Sabres lack of success has led to trade speculation — speculation that is apparently unwarranted.

Jack Eichel Buffalo Sabres
Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

According to Matt Teague of The Score Jack Eichel’s recent interview with TSN’s Darren Dreger affirms Buffalo Sabres management and Eichel have talked and they share the same frustration about the club’s lack of progress. General manager Jason Botterill and head coach Ralph Krueger both spoke with Eichel and admitted while the team captain was a bit blunt in the way he phrased his displeasure, they all agree that something needs to be done.

As was mentioned in previous reports, while Eichel trade talk was out there, the Sabres likely have no intention of trading their franchise center and unless he asks to be moved, likely will shut down offers fairly quickly.

Related: Sabres with 100-Point Seasons

Any Hope for Holtby in Washington?

J.J. Regan of NBC Sports Washington recently took a look at the future of Braden Holtby in Washington where talk is the goaltender may move on and test the free agent market. Regan wondered if the two sides could still work out a deal, to which Holtby said, “To be honest I have no clue.”

Regan noted it is not expected Holtby will sign a one-year deal to maximize any potential dollars after the salary cap rebounds. And, with Ilya Samsonov as the Caps pegged starter, it’s hard to see where Holtby fits, unless he’s willing to settle in as a back-up for a couple of seasons a much lower rate.

Update on Canucks and Markstrom

When asked about the contract status for goaltender Jacob Markstrom, Canucks general manager Jim Benning said Markstrom is a priority. Along with Tyler Toffoli and Chris Tanev, the Canucks have 10 expiring contracts on their current roster, which doesn’t make a Markstrom deal the easiest contract to negotiate.

Jacob Markstrom Vancouver Canucks
Vancouver Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson)

Benning said:

“I’ve said all along that he’s an important guy for us. My intent is to figure out something that works for him and us. I’m hoping to get him signed, but that’s part of the business — we’ll have to wait and see.”

source -‘Ben Kuzma: Markstrom makes Canucks extension case, Baertschi banter, lauding Larionov’ – Ben Kuzma – The Province – 06/09/2020

Considering that next year the Canucks have to spend big money on both Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes, Vancouver doesn’t want to overspend.

Benning also noted that the team is going to try and reacquire the second-round draft pick they gave up for Toffolli. He notes:

“We’re going to have to phone around and see what that entails and go from there. It’s going to depend on how players perform when they get back. Maybe we’re in a position to move a player out because we’ve got some depth to re-acquire that second-round pick.

“And if we don’t, we could still end up with a pretty good player in the third round.”

Related: NHL’s Top 5 Centers of the Decade

Karl Alzner Wants Another Shot At NHL

Montreal Canadiens defenseman Karl Alzner finished second in voting as the Canadiens rep for the Bill Masterton Trophy. That’s because he’s been a soldier, playing out his hefty contract in the AHL and not complaining despite the fact many players would be livid not getting a shot.

Karl Alzner
Karl Alzner #22, Montreal Canadiens – February 20, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Alzner doesn’t think he deserves the credit, but he would like another chance at the NHL. He said:

“This year was fairly difficult I’d say, just because I came in with different expectations. I had put in a really hard summer, so it was definitely disappointing just the way it even got going. But, I don’t know, we’ll see what happens. I have high hopes for this summer; I guess however this is going to play out, whether it’s summer or fall. I have high hopes for the offseason and what could happen for me. Hopefully getting an opportunity, whether it’s in Montreal or somewhere else. But if that doesn’t happen, then yeah, the tank will be running pretty low. So I’m hoping it doesn’t get to that.”

source- ‘How much perseverance does Karl Alzner have left? We will soon find out.’ Arpon Basu – The Athletic – 06/10/2020

Whether or not that happens is unclear, especially as teams battle with a flat salary cap coming out of a pandemic.

NHL Sets Date for Opening of Training Camp

The NHL and NHLPA have agreed to open training camps on July 10th. According to a social media post on Thursday, Sportsnet NHL insider Chris Johnston notes this also means that play likely won’t resume until early August.

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