NHL Rumors: Flames, Flyers, Oilers, Sabres, Canadiens, More

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Calgary Flames are vehemently denying anything related to rumors that forward Matthew Tkachuk is looking to leave the team. Meanwhile, there is talk the Philadelphia Flyers have eyes on a number of different defensemen. One scribe looks at comparable contracts for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and thinks the deal could come down to term, and the Buffalo Sabres asking price for Jack Eichel is reportedly “crazy.” Finally, was Corey Perry almost not a part of the Montreal Canadiens playoff push?

Flames Deny Tkachuk Rumors

We reported yesterday Shane O’Brien’s comments that he’d heard Tkachuk wanted to be traded by the Flames and head back home to St. Louis and play for the Blues. Sportsnet 960’s Ryan Pinder did some digging on that rumor after it started making the rounds. He wrote: “In reaching out to some folks around the (Calgary) organization, they described this rumor in two words. The first one being bull. The second one sounding a lot like shirt.”

Calgary Flames' Matthew Tkachuk
Calgary Flames’ Matthew Tkachuk (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh)

Obviously, the Flames are going to deny it, but in this case, it likely is false. Like any rumor, some turn out to be true, some turn out to be out there. Many turn out to be things that got discussed between players, agents and teams and simply never materialized. In this case, it was probably some meaningless chatter about the idea of Tkachuk going to play for the Blues, but nothing that was ever mentioned formally.

Related: Flames Have Some Tough Free Agent Decisions to Make

Flyers Eyeing Defenseman 

The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Sam Carchidi reports that the Flyers might be in on a number of different conversations about defensemen during the offseason. He writes the shopping list of Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher is long and he’s going to browse around and really get a read on a number of players. Because the Flyers gave up a league-leading 3.52 goals-against per game this season, Fletcher knows how badly the team needs improvement there.

Carchidi writes:

That’s why Fletcher has a long list of defensemen on his radar, including Seth Jones, Dougie Hamilton, Ryan Ellis, Matt Dumba, and Adam Larsson. It’s also why pending unrestricted-free-agent goalies such as Linus Ullmark, Frederik Andersen, Jonathan Bernier, Philipp Grubauer, Jonathan Bernier, and Anders Nilsson should be considered as the 1B to Carter Hart’s 1A status.

source – ‘Big summer ahead for Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher and underachieving young players | On the Fly’ – Sam Carchidi – The Philadelphia Inquirer – 06/22/2021

Oilers Nugent-Hopkins Comparables

Jason Gregor of Oilers Nation writes that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ contract extension may come down to term with the Oilers and that the forward will likely get five to seven years with a team. Gregor notes that Nugent-Hopkins may look to free agency to see if anyone offers up $6 million a year on a six- or seven-year deal, but he may not get those offers from team’s he consider playing for.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Edmonton Oilers
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was one of many Oilers’ first overall picks. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

When looking at comparable contracts, Brendan Gallagher’s six-year, $6.5 million per season extension with the Canadiens comes up. So does the Anders Lee deal with the New York Islanders for seven years at $7 million. Chris Kreider signed a seven-year deal with the New York Rangers at $6.5 million per, while the St. Louis Blues extended Brayden Schenn for eight years at $6.5 million per.

That said, in recent years, with a flat salary cap, the Oilers can use Tyler Toffoli’s four-year deal with the Canadiens at $4.25 million per and have a legitimate argument to bring the number down.

Ultimately, the belief is that the Oilers and Nugent-Hopkins will settle somewhere between $5.5 million and $6.5 million.

Sabres Asking Price for Eichel

Jimmy Murphy notes during this week’s ‘Off The Record,’ that one NHL executive says the ask from Sabres’ GM Kevyn Adams for Jack Eichel is so high, it’s got to be scaring teams away. He notes that what the Sabres want is ‘just crazy!’ and that the team is looking for as many as six different pieces as part of any deal.

Adams is rumored to be seeking a top-six center 25-year-old or younger, a top-four defenseman 25-or-young, a first-round pick and various prospects. While it’s still likely a deal gets done, this executive believes Adams has misread the market.

Two Teams Almost Claimed Perry

According to Pierre LeBrun of the Athletic, Corey Perry was almost claimed twice by other teams during the 2020-21 season. He noted that Perry started to get a better understanding of how the taxi squad and roster shuffling worked and when he realized there was a good chance another team might claim him if waived, he asked his agent to tell teams not to make a claim.

Pat Morris told LeBrun:

“So I did call three teams that looked like they would have the need for him, to ask them not to pick him up on waivers. It wasn’t a threat to retire or anything, but basically ‘can you adhere to who Corey Perry is. If your thought is to pick him up on waivers, please don’t.’”

source – ‘LeBrun: Canadiens’ Corey Perry is ‘in the middle of everything’ — and making an impact in the playoffs’ – Pierre LeBrun – The Athletic – 06/22/2021

He added that two teams told him at the time, “‘We were going to put in a claim until this call. We’ll respect his career.’”