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

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, what’s next for the Vegas Golden Knights? After losing to the Montreal Canadiens, how much change should everyone expect the organization to make? Meanwhile, are the Buffalo Sabres any closer to naming their new head coach and what’s the latest on Jack Eichel? There is a push to bring in Bruce Boudreau as an assistant in Toronto, and could the San Jose Sharks be thinking about moving Evander Kane?

Golden Knights to Move Fleury This Offseason?

After losing in six games to the Canadiens, it is inevitable that the Golden Knights will be making some offseason changes. Key to making those changes is freeing up salary, according to ESPN.com’s Greg Wyshynski.The scribe notes the team only has $3 million in cap room for 2021-22 with Alec Martinez and Tomas Nosek hitting free agency. Vegas also has some interesting names with only one year left on their current deals: Reilly Smith, Ryan Reaves, Brayden McNabb and Nick Holden. All will be UFAs next summer.

How the team moves that salary will be intriguing to watch, but there’s some chatter that they’ll consider moving one of their goaltenders. Vegas has $12 million tied up between Marc-Andre Fleury and Robin Lehner and Wyshynski wonders if Fleury could get moved with a year remaining on his contract. It shouldn’t be hard to trade him now since he is a Vezina Trophy finalist.

Marc-Andre Fleury Vegas Golden Knights
Marc-Andre Fleury, Vegas Golden Knights (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

One of the glaring issues for the Golden Knights during their series with the Canadiens was their awful power play. It went scoreless in 15 attempts. Moving Fleury could be a way to add a top-line center. There are many big names potentially available and the Golden Knights like to take big swings. Wyshynski believes names like Jack Eichel, Evgeni Malkin, Aleksander Barkov and Evgeny Kuznetsov will be on their radar.

Don’t expect it to be Malkin or Barkov, however. They aren’t likely to be moved by their respective teams.

Related: Canadiens’ Strength at Centre Leads to Stanley Cup Final Berth

Maple Leafs to Consider Bruce Boudreau?

After Dave Hakstol was hired as the first-ever head coach of the Seattle Kraken, there’s a lot of love for Bruce Boudreau in Toronto to replace him as an assistant coach. It’s not clear how high Leafs management is on Boudreau, but Leafs fans desperately want him to be hired.

A former Maple Leafs depth player, Boudreau hasn’t shied away from talking about his love for his hometown team. The chatter seems to be to move Manny Malhotra and put him in charge of the penalty kill (like he should have been to begin with) and hire Boudreau for the power play. Of course, there’s also Rick Tocchet out there who has failed to land three head coaching jobs after being interviewed by Buffalo, Seattle and New York.

Eichel Not An Option for Blue Jackets

According to Aaron Portzline of The Athletic, consider the Blue Jackets likely out of the running for center Jack Eichel. There had been recent reports of conversations between the Sabres and the Blue Jackets, but Portzline doesn’t see the timing as being right, the Jackets leaning more towards a rebuild than a retool.

Jack Eichel Buffalo Sabres
Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Portzline writes:

There’s a lot to unpack here, but let’s get this part out of the way first: after talking with numerous sources in recent days, it doesn’t appear that the Blue Jackets — at least as of today — are in hot pursuit of Eichel, one of the premier centers in the league.

source – ‘Blue Jackets would covet a healthy, happy Jack Eichel, but deal with Sabres would be risky’ Aaron Portzline – The Athletic – 06/24/2021

The Anaheim Ducks, Minnesota Wild and some other teams have also been discussing Eichel.

In other Sabres news, TSN’s Darren Dreger notes that he thinks the Sabres will name a coach before Jack Eichel gets traded. Interim coach Don Granato is the strong front-runner, but Dreger thinks Tocchet is still in the conversation.

Sharks Looking to Move Evander Kane?

Frank Seravalli of The Daily Faceoff made a list of the Top 20 players that could be traded this NHL offseason and Evander Kane made the list at No. 5. The reason seems to stem from locker room issues and Kane having a rift with a number of teammates.

Evander Kane - Sharks
Evander Kane, San Jose Sharks, Oct. 9, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Seravalli writes, “Doug Wilson is navigating choppy waters in the Bay Area. Sources indicate significant friction built up between Kane and a number of his teammates last season, frustration that was expressed clearly to management in exit interviews.”

Kane could be hard to move with four seasons left on a pricey contract, and a bit of a reputation. That said, he’s also a fairly productive forward, a lock to get 20 goals per season.