NHL Rumors: Wild, Maple Leafs, Bruins, Blackhawks, More

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, things are not looking good for the Minnesota Wild when it comes to a contract extension for Kirill Kaprizov. Meanwhile, pending UFA Dougie Hamilton might be interested in talking to the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Boston Bruins are holding off on signing any free agents and the Chicago Blackhawks are looking to move Dylan Strome.

Kaprizov Contracts Talks Cool Off, KHL Interested

Reports of an eight-year deal being offered by the Wild to Kaprizov appear to be true, but Michael Russo of The Athletic writes that he doesn’t think the deal will be considered. He adds there is hesitation from the player to commit that much of his playing career to the Wild.

Kirill Kaprizov Minnesota Wild
Kirill Kaprizov, Minnesota Wild (Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Kaprizov has a ton of leverage during these negotiations and part of the issue is that Kaprizov wants to have a clear picture of how the team will upgrade at the center position. Russo writes:

Sure, the grass isn’t always greener elsewhere, but I think Guerin is going to have to sell Kaprizov on his plan this offseason to get him to commit even as much as five or six years of his life… In fact, I think it’s a big risk if the Wild don’t significantly upgrade their center position.

source – ‘Ask Russo: Wild’s eternal search for a star center, Kirill Kaprizov’s contract length, expansion debates and more’ – Michael Russo – The Athletic – 06/11/2021

This was about a week ago. Today, Kevin Weekes of the NHL Network tweeted that talks between the two sides have cooled considerably and that Kaprizov is currently in Moscow. He reports rumors that CSKA of the KHL is still trying to sign Kaprizov to a contract. Whether or not the player is using this as leverage or he’s actually considering playing in Russia isn’t clear.

Hamilton Interested in the Maple Leafs?

As per comments from Elliotte Friedman on Sportsnet 590, pending UFA defenseman Dougie Hamilton might have an eye on the Toronto Maple Leafs this offseason. It’s not clear how the team would fit his salary into their pay structure, but one has to imagine they’ll look if he or his agent makes it clear he’d be open to signing there.

Dougie Hamilton Carolina Hurricanes
Dougie Hamilton, Carolina Hurricanes (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

“Some people have told me that yes (Hamilton) would be interested in playing in Toronto because obviously, he has a hometown connection here. I’ve had people say to me that, who know Hamilton or who have been around Hamilton, they’re not convinced this is the best place for him.”

Luke Fox of Sportsnet understands why Hamilton might be thinking about the Leafs as a local-to-Toronto kid who adored the team growing up. Fox also notes that Dubas likes the player. That said, Fox added, “He also likes the player who would probably need to be dealt to make room for Hamilton: Morgan Rielly, a heart-and-soul component of Toronto’s roster.”

Bruins Will Leave Pending Free Agents Unsigned

Bruins’ GM Don Sweeney admitted that his plan is not to sign any of his pending UFAs until after the NHL Expansion Draft comes and goes. Players like Taylor Hall, David Krejci, Tuukka Rask, Mike Reilly, Jaroslav Halak, and Sean Kuraly will have to wait as the Bruins want to protect every player they are required to protect based on the expansion draft rules.

Taylor Hall Boston Bruins
Taylor Hall, Boston Bruins (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Sweeney says he understands the potential risk he’s taking. “You can only talk in generalities with your players,” the GM replied. “You could never come to a full-fledged agreement and not file the contract”. He knows that any one of those players could find a team or an option that feels like a better fit.

Sweeney also noted that the Bruins will be on the lookout for a 20-minute defenseman this summer. Names like Alex Goligoski, Alec Martinez, Alexander Edler, Derek Forbort, and Jamie Oleksiak popped up in Fox’s article. He also wonders if the Bruins will revisit the idea of an Oliver Ekman-Larsson trade.

Blackhawks Shopping Dylan Strome?

According to the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch, there are reports the Blackhawks are looking to move Dylan Strome in a trade this offseason. He writes:

“The No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 draft by Arizona, Strome had only nine goals and 14 points in 40 games last season. He would eligible for the expansion draft.

source – ‘Rod Brind’Amour opts to stay behind the Carolina Hurricanes bench… GM Don Waddell listening on Dougie Hamilton” – Bruce Garrioch- Ottawa Sun – 06/17/2021