NHL Rumors: Bruins, Ducks, Oilers, Blue Jackets and Babcock

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Boston Bruins are said to be seeking ways to keep Tyler Bertuzzi from leaving in free agency. What might they do roster-wise to find the money to pay him? Meanwhile, has John Gibson requested a trade from the Anaheim Ducks? The Edmonton Oilers might have to work negotiations with Ryan McLeod, and are the Columbus Blue Jackets set to hire Mike Babcock as their next head coach?

Bruins Want to Retain Bertuzzi, Could Move Big Contract to Do So

“Boston is exploring what it needs to do to keep Tyler Bertuzzi, who is slated to be an unrestricted free agent this summer,” Sportsnet NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman wrote in his 32 13 Thoughts column on Friday. That comment led to a ripple effect that caused 98.5 The Sports Hub producer James Stewart to report that Bertuzzi might be looking for as much as $7 million per season on his next contract.

Tyler Bertuzzi Boston Bruins
Tyler Bertuzzi, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Jimmy Murphy of Boston Hockey Now doesn’t think Bertuzzi will shoot that high or get that much per season and noted, “He’s a hot commodity but not that hot right now. Almost every team that I hear is interested in him is capped out. Good luck with that.” The same source that said Bertuzzi might want $7 million said the Bruins will likely shop defenseman Hampus Lindholm to free up the funds. The 29-year-old defenseman is entering the second year of an eight-year, $52 million contract that carries a $6.5 million cap hit and there is apparently buyer’s remorse there.

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He notes that they’re also open to trading Taylor Hall and that it’s not just Bertuzzi they want to retain, but that the team is obsessed with trying to keep Dmitry Orlov.

Gibson Requested Trade Out of Anaheim

Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reports “Gibson has let the Ducks know that after 10 seasons, he is ready for a change of scenery.” The netminder has apparently requested a trade, something confirmed by Lisa Dillman of the Orange County Register. She notes the request was made last month.

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Dillman writes:

“Gibson is 29 and has four years remaining on a contract with an average annual value of $6.4 million and a limited no-trade clause of 10 teams… It isn’t without complications but could conceivably get done this summer. Pittsburgh has a newly minted president of hockey operations in Kyle Dubas and an opening in goal as incumbent Tristan Jarry has played out his contract and will be an unrestricted free agent.”

source – ‘Has John Gibson played his final game with the Ducks?’ – Lisa Dillman – Orange Couny Register – 06/-2/2023

Seravalli wonders if the Ducks be willing to retain a chunk to get Gibson in line closer to $5 million to increase the odds of what might otherwise be a difficult trade.

Will Negotiations With McLeod Be Easy or Hard for Oilers?

Bruce McCurdy writes in the Edmonton Journal that the Oilers could face challenges during negotiations to extend center Ryan McLeod. Noting he’s not going to get the kind of bump players like Jesse Puljujarvi or Kailer Yamamoto did, he could earn himself a decent raise after two solid seasons of slightly improved numbers.

McCurdy writes:

Still he’s built a solid foundation over his 2 full NHL seasons as, at minimum, a reliable bottom sixer. That in itself is not worth $3 million or anywhere close in the current market. But surely it’s worth somewhere north of $1 million, with a premium if a second year is tacked on.

source – ‘Rising young pivot represents another tricky negotiation for Edmonton Oilers’ – Bruce McCurdy – Edmonton Journal – 06/01/2023

Mike Babcock to Be Next Coach of Columbus Blue Jackets

Regarding the Columbus Blue Jackets coaching search, Aaron Portzline of The Athletic tweeted on Saturday, “taking longer than they wanted or anticipated to hire a coach, but the delay this week is not due simply to their own deliberations. Something or someone is holding up the process. Will be fascinating to see this unfold, hopefully soon.” That was followed up by a tweet from TSN’s Darren Dreger that noted, “Speculation around the Memorial Cup is Mike Babcock will return to the NHL as @BlueJacketsNHL new coach and the delay in announcing coincides with his existing contract with the Maple Leafs expiring the end of this month.”