NHL Rumors: Sabres, Maple Leafs, Canucks, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is news out of Buffalo with the Sabres, Toronto and the Maple Leafs hunt for value deals, and the Vancouver Canucks may have to change their approach to free agency.

Buffalo Sabres in the News

Chris Johnston is reporting that it’s sounding like the Buffalo Sabres will be signing Curtis Lazar to a one-way contract. The Calgary Flames didn’t qualify him.

Flames center Curtis Lazar
Flames center Curtis Lazar (Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports)

A real character guy, he is the kind of player the Sabres believe could be a steal if he can get his NHL game turned on.

Meanwhile, Lance Lysowski reports Sabres GM Jason Botterill wouldn’t say if defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen had requested a trade. Those conversations would not be released publicly. The expectation, however, is that Ristolainen will be moved.

Related: NHL Rumors: Latest on 53 Free Agents and Trade Targets

Maple Leafs Looking for Low-Cost Players… Marleau?

Ian Tulloch of The Athletic listed a handful of options the Toronto Maple Leafs may be keeping an eye on in free agency, hoping to find this season’s Tyler Ennis.

Among the names were Brandon Pirri, Kenny Agostino, Brendan Leipsic, Dmitrij Jaskin, Tyler Ennis and even Patrick Marleau.

Patrick Marleau Maple Leafs
Patrick Marleau could potentially jump into the top 10 in games played. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Tulloch wrote of Patick Marleau:

Much like Ron Hainsey, I think this is an idea that makes a lot of sense in principle (bringing back a veteran to play lower in the lineup) but isn’t practical when you consider how Mike Babcock is actually going to use the player. Much like Roman Polak and Leo Komarov, I think this is a situation where Kyle Dubas needs to “take the toys away” from Babcock to ensure they aren’t played above more impactful players at 5-on-5.

source – ‘Tulloch: Finding the next Tyler Ennis — 10 bargain options in free agency’ – The Athletic – Ian Tulloch – 06/29/2019

Don’t expect Marleau to come back to the Maple Leafs. He’s already with his family in San Jose and says he wants to play with the team that gave him his start.

Related: NHL Rumors: Latest on 53 Free Agents and Trade Targets

Canucks Free Agency Changing Thanks to Luongo?

The Vancouver Canucks had to know they’d see a potential cap issue if Roberto Luongo ever retired. A salary cap recapture penalty of $3 million may have changed things for the Canucks and how active they’d be in free agency.

Winnipeg Jets Tyler Myers Calgary Flames Garnet Hathaway
Winnipeg Jets defenseman Tyler Myers and Calgary Flames right wing Garnet Hathaway (Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports)

Patrick Johnston of the Vancouver Province explains the Canucks just bought out Ryan Spooner to clear some space and didn’t qualify Ben Hutton out of fear he may be awarded $4 million in arbitration. Brock Boeser, Tyler Motte, Josh Leivo and Nikolay Goldobin all need new deals.

Johnston writes:

The big-money deals he signed with underachieving forwards Loui Eriksson and Brandon Sutter will continue to hamper him from making other moves as long as they’re in the picture.

source – ‘Canucks face salary cap complications with free-agent talent available’ – Patrick Johnston – Vancouver Province – 0629/2019

The Canucks were rumored to be in on Tyler Myers and Myers speculated ask was around $7 million per season. That’s going to be difficult to do now.

Related: NHL Rumors: Sabres, Maple Leafs, Sharks, More

Latest on Marcus Johansson

Darren Dreger reports that over 10 teams have checked in with forward Marcus Johansson. This is great news for the forward who is speculated to be looking for a raise from the $4.6 million he made last season.

Bruins left wing Marcus Johansson
Bruins left wing Marcus Johansson (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

Joe Haggerty suggests the Bruins never really had a shot at re-signing Johansson. He was a great rental pick up for them but will be too expensive as a third-line winger.