NHL Rumors: Sabres, Panthers, Maple Leafs, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is news now that things have officially ended at the draft tables for 31 NHL franchises. What’s next after every team has made their respective picks? The NHL free agency interview process has kicked off. How does that change things?

Sabres Trying to Trade Ristolainen

Renaud Lavoie is reporting that the Buffalo Sabres are trying to trade defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen. They’ve been trying to all weekend.

Rasmus Ristolainen
Rasmus Ristolainen (Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports)

John Vogl reports that Buffalo Sabres GM Jason Botterill said that he doesn’t anticipate using a buyout to move Ristolainen’s contract and that a trade should be doable over the next 24-48 hours.

With three years remaining at $5.4 million per season, he’s not bad value if he plays first-pairing minutes like he has been in Buffalo.

Related: NHL Rumors: Predators, Sharks, Devils, Islanders, More

Flames Tried to Add Picks

Pat Steinberg reports that Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving said they tried to make trades at the NHL Entry Draft but they weren’t able to get anything done. He added that their main focus in any discussions was an attempt to acquire more draft picks.

No Takers on Bobrovsky and Panarin

Craig Custance reports that for Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen, there are no changes with regards to Sergei Bobrovsky and Artemi Panarin, at least in respect to either being part of a sign-and-trade or someone offering to trade for their rights.

Panarin Bobrovsky Blue Jackets
Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky celebrates win with Artemi Panarin (Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports)

The two stars are expected to arrive in Florida en route from Russia and TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that they are expected to both meet with the Florida Panthers on Monday morning. If either or both of the players determine eight years is the most important part about their new deals, they will have to go the route of a sign-and-trade.

Florida has $20.48 million in cap space but the top priority is signing a goaltender, which means that Bobrovsky is likely the team’s top free-agent candidate.

The Panthers are working on finding a trade partner willing to take James Reimer’s contract.n They would like more cap space than the money they already have to improve their blue line and there’s no reason to have three netminders.

Related: NHL Rumors: Predators, Penguins, Barrie, More

Maple Leafs Almost Ready to Announce Signings

The Toronto Sun’s Terry Korshan reports that Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas confirmed the Andreas Johnsson contract is nearly done. “They’re right at the finish line, we just have to punch them across, which will be nice,” said Dubas (via The Athletic’s Jonas Siegel).

Toronto Maple Leafs Auston Matthews Andreas Johnsson Kasperi Kapanen
Toronto Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews celebrates with teammates Andreas Johnsson and wing Kasperi Kapanen (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn)

TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that the deal will be a four-year extension somewhere between $3.25 million and $3.5 million per season.

Bob McKenzie of TSN also reports the Toronto Maple Leafs basically have a contract extension agreement in place for forward Kasperi Kapanen. The team probably won’t announce it until after the Mitch Marner situation is resolved.

Predators Making Changes

Outside of the big trade that saw P.K. Subban leave Nashville, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that general manager David Poile said that the team will not be bringing back unrestricted free agent Wayne Simmonds.

Nashville Predators Wayne Simmonds
Nashville Predators right wing Wayne Simmonds (David Berding-USA TODAY Sports)

Simmonds came over in a trade at last year’s trade deadline from the Philadelphia Flyers. He wasn’t as productive as the team might have hoped he’d be in their push towards a Stanley Cup.

The Tennessean’s Paul Skrbina adds that Poile also said that the team has no intention of bringing back Zac Rinaldo or Cody McLeod either.

Hurricanes and Aho Close

Carolina Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell said that he had a “great discussion” yesterday with Sebastian Aho’s representation, according to NHL.com’s Michael Smith. “I think things are going to move along. … The good thing is I don’t think we’re terribly far apart. They want to get a deal done as much as we want to get a deal done.”