In today’s NHL rumor rundown, would the San Jose Sharks expose defenseman Brent Burns in the expansion draft? Are the Detroit Red Wings rethinking their draft strategy after falling to the fourth spot? What kind of money will Sam Reinhart make on his next contract, and what really happened between the Penguins and Phil Kessel that saw the forward get traded? Finally, who might the Toronto Maple Leafs lose in the expansion draft?
Sharks to Leave Burns Exposed
According to The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz the San Jose Sharks have some tough contract decisions to make and as part of those decisions, may opt to expose veteran defenseman Brent Burns to the Seattle franchise during the expansion draft.
His salary still carries five more years at $8 million per season, but he could be a valuable veteran piece for an expansion team. Kurz writes:
If the Sharks are unable to move Vlasic’s unfortunate contract and the salary cap doesn’t significantly rise, they could be tempted to let Burns depart. He’s no longer the perennial Norris Trophy candidate that he was just a couple of years ago, but Burns takes care of himself when it comes to diet and exercise and could still be a productive player into his late 30’s. Further, Sharks top prospect Ryan Merkley should be NHL-ready by 2021-22 at the latest and could fill the void left by Burns on the right side of the defense behind Karlsson.source -‘Sharks could leave Brent Burns unprotected in 2021 expansion draft’ – Kevin Kurz- The Athletic – 06/28/2020
In other Sharks news, Brian Witt of NBC Sports believes the Sharks shouldn’t be ruled out if Jack Eichel demands a trade out of Buffalo. Pointing to his acquisitions of Erik Karlsson, Joe Thornton, Brent Burns, and Evander Kane, the Sharks Doug Wilson is not afraid to make big moves. Going back to Buffalo could be a combination of Burns, Ryan Merkley, Jonathan Dahlen, and a first. Witt suggested Timo Meier as another option.
Related: Revisiting the Brent Burns Trade
Sam Reinhart’s Next Deal?
According to Dan Rosen of NHL.com, the next contract for forward Sam Reinhart could see him get somewhere in the range of what St. Louis Blues winger Jaden Schwartz received.
Schwartz signed a five-year, $26.75 million deal in 2016. A similar percentage of the Buffalo’s cap hit would put Reinhart around $6 million, but he could fall a bit higher, settling somewhere between $6-$7 million annually.
Who Might Toronto Lose During Expansion Draft?
James Mirtle and Jonas Siegel took a look at what the Toronto Maple Leafs might do when it comes to Seattle expansion and they wrote:
When it comes to the Maple Leafs, they are basically guaranteed to go the 7-3-1 route and protect seven forwards, three defencemen and one goaltender, given how many talented forwards they have.source – ‘Who could the Maple Leafs lose to Seattle in the 2021 expansion draft?’ James Mirtle, Jonas Siegel- The Athletic – 06/29/2020
Knowing trades and acquisitions are likely over the next year, the two best players on the Maple Leafs unprotected list are Justin Holl and Pierre Engvall. Other names include: Kyle Clifford, Jeremy Bracco, Adam Brooks, Denis Malgin, Kenny Agostino, Jason Spezza, and Frederik Gauthier.
Red Wings to Target Defenseman With Draft Selection?
The Detroit Red Wings had previously been focused in on players like the Alexis Lafreniere, Quinton Byfield, and Tim Stuetzle, assuming they would be making a pick in the top three spots of this year’s entry draft. Now that they’ve fallen to No. 4, Detroit Red Wings insider Ansar Khan thinks the strategy might have changed.
He believes the Red Wings will pick at #4 and not take a forward at all. Khan mentions defenseman Jamie Drysdale as a candidate. He’s an 18-year-old defenseman currently playing in the Ontario Hockey League as a member of the Erie Otters.
What Happened in Pittsburgh With Kessel?
On the one-year anniversary of the Phil Kessel trade that sent the sniper to Arizona, Pittsburgh Penguins insider Josh Yohe revisited that trade and how it came about. Suggesting it was not one single factor that led to the deal, the relationship between coach Mike Sullivan and Kessel had soured.
In speaking with a player that wished to remain anonymous, he said:
“I don’t think Phil hated Sully. I just don’t think Phil likes coaches or being told what to do. Sully got on him during a flight one time for not playing more of a two-way game. When Sully went back to his seat, Phil looked up and said, ‘F-ck him.’ We all liked Phil a lot. We still do. And we all like and respect Sully a ton. He’s a great coach. But they had their moments.”
Nobody in the organization believes Kessel demanded a trade, but that Kessel and Rutherford came to a mutual agreement that it was best for him to move on.source – ‘One year later, the truth about why the Penguins traded Phil Kessel’ -Josh Yohe – The Athletic – 06/29/2020
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Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”