In today’s NHL rumors rundown, we take a look at what the Ottawa Senators will do with all of their draft picks. Meanwhile, the Toronto Maple Leafs have a couple of immediate needs that GM Kyle Dubas is keeping an eye out for. Will the St. Louis Blues let Alex Pietrangelo walk this offseason? And, one scribe makes an argument that the Edmonton Oilers should sign Ryan Nugent-Hopkins right away.
Senators to Keep or Flip Picks?
As Josh Beneteau of Sportsnet points out, “while having a large pool of picks is important for any rebuild, at some point those picks need to turn into players.” He was referring to the Ottawa Senators and wondered if the team will be looking to package up some of their picks in this year’s draft for bigger stars?
Beneteau adds that the pressure is now on general manager Pierre Dorion to get the picks right and begin building a competitive roster. Dorion will likely use most of his 13 picks, but could target cap-strapped teams to pluck players who can help the Senators now.
Blues to Let Pietrangelo Walk?
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Dispatch was asked if there’s any chance Alex Pietrangelo could simply walk from the Blues organization? The plan in the scenario would be to use the money he would cost on other players, specifically someone like Vince Dunn.
Thomas noted that there are some other teams in pretty good cap shape and that it’s possible Pietrangelo isn’t keenly interested in staying with the Blues. He writes:
With Scandella re-upping, maybe Armstrong feels the club can remain a Cup contender without Pietrangelo, especially with defensemen like Mikkola, Perunovich and Walman in the pipeline.source – ‘Quick Hits: JT on the Blues’ – Jim Thomas – St. Louis Post-Dispatch – 05/27/2020
Thomas doesn’t expect the Blues to just let him walk away without at first trying to get him re-signed.
Maple Leafs Have Two Key Needs
Luke Fox of Sportsnet writes in a recent mailbag post that the Toronto Maple Leafs main offseason priority should be to find a top-four right-handed defenseman. After that, a No. 3 center should be on their radar, as both Alexander Kerfoot and Pierre Engvall struggled in the faceoff circle.
Fox wonders if the Leafs will look to sign a short-term free agent deal with a player like Joe Thornton, Derick Brassard, Nate Thompson, Brad Richardson, and Greg McKegg.
Fox also notes that Nick Robertson will be one of the Toronto Maple Leafs playoff call-ups, but he’s not just going to be given a spot.
Oilers Need to Lock Up Nugen-Hopkins?
Allan Mitchell of The Athletic points out, that the Oilers might be playing with fire if they let another season go by without first signing forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. “Nuge” has gone on offensive runs that, while not sustained over the course of a full season yet, prorate to more than a point-per-game.
Mitchell writes that some Oilers fans would find anything more than the $6 million he’s currently making laughable. But, Mitchell also adds:
What isn’t funny is his potential value to other teams. A big offensive season in 2020-21 would make the next contract a headache for general manager Ken Holland. The cap hit for a 60-point two-way forward is one thing. But coming off an 80-point season at 28?source – ‘Lowetide: Why the Oilers should extend Ryan Nugent-Hopkins as soon as possible’ – Allan Mitchell – The Athletic – 06/02/0202
Mitchell sites that Nugent-Hopkins started getting hot in January and if he’s figured out how to stay hot, he’s the type of player that could get expensive in a hurry. He asks, “If Holland can sign Nugent-Hopkins to a six-year, $45 million deal ($7.5 million cap hit) should he do it this offseason?” Even more interesting is that Mitchell points out that other teams might be quick to scoop him up. “What if it takes a seven-year, $56 million dollar deal to keep Nuge away from the Canucks, Rangers or another NHL team?”
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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.”