NHL Rumors: Sabres, Golden Knights, Canucks, Maple Leafs, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, as the Buffalo Sabres announced the firing of GM Jason Botterill and then the hiring of Kevyn Adams as his replacement, the question being asked is, ‘Why hire a new GM so quickly?’ The Vegas Golden Knights have extended Ryan Reaves but why did he take such a big pay cut? Will Vancouver Canucks’ Loui Eriksson retire? And, is there any chance Tyler Bozak returns to the Toronto Maple Leafs?

Sabres Clean House, More Changes Coming

One month after announcing his job was safe, then announcing the release of the GM and both assistant GM’s, it became clear the Buffalo Sabres were cleaning house. What changed ownership’s mind and why the rush to hire another GM so quickly? It seems hurried considering Botterill’s name was still on press releases for signings by the organization fewer than 24 hours ago.

Buffalo Sabres general manager Jason Botterill
Buffalo Sabres general manager Jason Botterill (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes, File)

For the Sabres organization, there’s no draft, likely no trades (technically they can) and no return to play, so the team could have taken their time with any new hire. Instead of conducting an exhaustive search for the perfect candidate, they named a replacement immediately.

Ownerships response is that they felt they had the right guy in-house. On Adams’ promotion, the Pegula’s said:

New General Manager Kevyn Adams and Head Coach Ralph Krueger already have a close working relationship and we are excited to see what they can do together as we reconfigure our hockey operations…We have had the pleasure of watching Kevyn build his post-playing career over the past nine years under multiple roles throughout our organizations. We are confident Kevyn and Ralph will work together to build a consistent contender. As always, we are here to provide the necessary resources…”

Let’s hope the Sabres are correct because with their quick decisions to hire and fire management, they are now paying three GM’s instead of just one. Pegula said, “We’ve known Kevyn for nine years … This wasn’t some scattershot decision we made.”

Still, during their media Zoom call to introduce Adams, the Pegula’s spent a lot of time trying to explain their decision. Elliotte Friedman said the changes might not be done yet either. He noted, “More changes are coming in BUF. I believe several members of hockey operations are being let go.”

Related: Sabres Goalie Rocky Farr Recalls Memories From Early Buffalo Teams

Reaves Re-Signs, Takes Huge Paycut

In big news yesterday, the Vegas Golden Knights re-signed forward Ryan Reaves to a two-year extension. The deal is worth worth $1.75 million per season, which is actually a pay cut over last season by a significant margin.

While this could be a sign that less-skilled forwards will be losing money over the next two seasons, Reaves posted his excitement about the deal. Without directly addressing his salary, he somewhat tried to explain his decision in that he wants a chance to win a Stanley Cup and that knowing he’ll never win a scoring title, he can’t win the trophy without a contract.

Jets Goaltending Situation Gets Interesting

After the Winnipeg Jets signed prospect Kristian Reichel to an entry-level deal, the team signed goaltender Arvid Holm to three-year, entry-level contract as well. 

The Jets goaltending situation is interesting because the team has Eric Comrie and Mikhail Berdin under contract, while Laurent Brossoit is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Does that mean Brossoit is going to walk and that the Jets may be looking for a backup behind Connor Hellebuyck.

Vancouver Canucks Updates

Iain MacIntyre was asked in a recent Sportsnet mailbag segment if Loui Eriksson might retire after this season. MacIntyre said he can’t imagine why since Eriksson is owed $5 million over the next two seasons plus a $3 million bonus this summer. Even if the two sides agree to mutually terminate the contract, he’ll wait for that bonus to be paid out.

As for Tyler Toffoli, MacIntyre believes the forward coul dhave landed a five-year deal worth an annual average value of around $5 million when the cap was projected to rise to between $84 million and $88 million. Now, there are questions about whether or not that’s possible and if Toffoli will test free agency.

Related: Top 15 NHL Power Forwards

Will The Maple Leafs Bring Back Bozak?

Luke Fox was asked if the Toronto Maple Leafs might bring back Tyler Bozak seeing as how the St. Louis Blues need to shed salary to make room for defenseman Alex Pietrangelo. There are rumors the St. Louis Blues have put Bozak on the trade block.

Bozak has a year remaining on his contract at $5 million so the Leafs don’t have room to bring Bozak back. Fox adds, when you consider his age, declining production, and cap hit, it simply doesn’t make sense.

In other Toronto-related news, Steve Simmons is reporting that Toronto is the choice the NHL would want if there was a Canadian hub city allowed. This comes after news that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he’s open to allowing a Canadian city to serve as a hub city if local health authories gave the go-ahead.

It might be too soon to rule out other cities like Edmonton and Vancouver. Both made strong cases for consideration.

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