NHL Rumors: Canucks, Devils, Sabres, Kraken, Panthers, Flyers, More

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Vancouver Canucks and forward Elias Pettersson will likely land on a short-term bridge deal, the Buffalo Sabres are still negotiating Jack Eichels’ injury situation before allowing him to speak with other teams about a trade, and the New Jersey Devils are kicking tires on defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen. The Philadelphia Flyers are focused on defenseman not named Dougie Hamilton and could the Florida Panthers be interested in trading for Patrik Laine?

Canucks and Pettersson Inching Closer to Short-Term Deal

On Tuesday, Elias Pettersson’s agent J.P. Barry spoke with Rick Dhaliwal of the Athletic and CHEK TV, and noted that he and the Canucks are negotiating terms of the player’s next deal and conversations are focused on different shorter-term scenarios. Barry said:

We’re going to look at everything, but I think that anything for Pettersson will be five (years) or under, and we will have to look at with Quinn whether we can do a little more or not. 

Elias Pettersson Vancouver Canucks
Elias Pettersson, Vancouver Canucks (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

There are better comparables like Mathew Barzal and Brayden Point in the three-year range and that may be where Pettersson falls. If he signs for around $7 million per season, he’ll be eligible to sign again when the flat salary cap is projected to start going up. This may be what his agent is keying in on.

Word is that Pettersson’s slightly down season is not having a factor on negotiations. He’s a player the Canucks value and know that he’ll be just fine.

Eichel Has Not Yet Permitted to Speak With Other Teams

As per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the Buffalo Sabres have not given other clubs permission to speak with Jack Eichel about his injury situation, which in turn, would make them more comfortable with a potential trade. That will be an important next step for clubs who want to look more closely at acquiring the disgruntled center. At this point, the Sabres and Eichel are still negotiating the next step in his recovery from a herniated disk in his neck.

Jack Eichel Buffalo Sabres
Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

If the Sabres do trade Eichel, the most likely scenario is that they wind up with another high pick in the first round of this year’s draft, plus some. Florida Hockey Now’s Jimmy Murphy reports the Seattle Kraken are a team that has checked in on the Eichel situation. He writes:

We’re watching the Kraken, and GM Ron Francis put the new team in a position to land a superstar in exchange for a top-prospect selected with the second overall pick.

source – ‘OTR: Kraken Lurking for Trade Splash, Avs Headed for Big Shakeup? | FHN+’ – Jimmy Murphy – Florida Hockey Now – 06/14/2021

Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic notes that the Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, Anaheim Ducks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Rangers, are among other teams that might be interested. He writes:

And while I’m not saying the star center will get traded before the end of the playoffs, what I’m hearing is that conversations between the Buffalo Sabres and other interested teams are getting more intense and serious….The Kings want to make a splashy move for a top-6 forward, the Wild could use another top center, and the Jackets (who have three first-round picks this year) of course really, really need a No. 1 center.

source – ‘LeBrun: The Jack Eichel sweepstakes have begun, NHL coaching carousel news’ – Pierre LeBrun – The Athletic – 06/16/2021

Devils Interested in Rasmus Ristolainen

Lance Lysowski of the Buffalo News reports that the New Jersey Devils have shown interest in Sabres’ defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen. Citing the likely exit of right-side defenseman Connor Carrick in free agency, the Devils are looking for a replacement.

Buffalo Sabres Rasmus Ristolainen
Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes, File)

Ristolainen’s a $5.4 million cap hit for one more season, but the analytics community is not a fan. He’s got some of the worst numbers in the NHL when it comes to defenseman in numerous categories, and while some of that can be attributed to him playing for the Sabres, many believe it would be in the Sabres best interest to move on from the player.

Lysowksi writes, “The Devils have the assets (picks and prospects) that would make a deal work for Buffalo” and Elliotte Friedman wonders if the Devils might also have Shayne Gostisbehere and/or Dougie Hamilton on their radar.

Related: Sabres’ Potential Expansion Draft Scenarios Are Wide & Varied

Could Panthers Look at Acquiring Laine?

Friedman also writes: “I’m curious to see if Florida asks about Patrik Laine. He and Aleksander Barkov have a good relationship.” Friedman believes the Panthers will be aggressive in pursuit of improvement and Laine could be a fit.

Back in January, TSN’s Darren Dreger noted there was trade interest in Barkov and that teams were under the impression he might be open to moving on as a free agent when his contract came due at the end of next season. Florida did take a big step this past season and if the Panthers are looking to take another step, ensuring Barkov is keen on re-signing, a player like Laine could go a long ways to ensuring he’s a happy camper.

Flyers Not Really Interested in Hamilton

Friedman also reports the Flyers have not pegged defenseman Dougie Hamilton as a top target for their blue line. While the team is looking to make improvements on the back end, the NHL insider suggests they’re looking in a different direction and will not chase the 27-year-old pending unrestricted free agent.

Instead, Friedman believes the Flyers will look at Columbus’ Seth Jones or Minnesota’s Matt Dumba. NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jordan Hall speculates the Flyers could look at more affordable options too, such as Dallas’ Jamie Oleksiak, Vegas’ Alec Martinez and Pittsburgh’s Cody Ceci.