NHL Rumors: Maple Leafs, Canucks, Blackhawks, Penguins, More

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, there is talk that Nick Foligno’s name is being connected to the Toronto Maple Leafs. But, what would be the cost to acquire the forward? Meanwhile, Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning has commented on the status of his coach Travis Green and there is talk the Chicago Blackhawks might try to move Brent Seabrook’s contract. Finally, which members of the Pittsburgh Penguins are most likely to be moved?

Maple Leafs Interested in Nick Foligno?

While rumors swirl that the Maple Leafs might be buyers and debate over whether they add skill or grit continues, Foligno’s name is being connected to the organization, although it’s not clear how interested the Maple Leafs might be.

Nick Foligno Columbus Blue Jackets
Nick Foligno, Columbus Blue Jackets (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

As per a report by Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun:

Here is where it gets dicey. The Leafs have next to no salary cap room. In order to acquire anyone — the name Nick Foligno keeps popping up — they would have to move other assets and money, certainly Alex Kerfoot for example, maybe one of the young defencemen Rasmus Sandin or Timothy Liljegren, maybe the young sniper Nick Robertson, maybe an early-round draft pick.

source – ‘SIMMONS SAYS: Giant opportunity for the Maple Leafs can’t be wasted’ – Steve Simmons – Toronto Sun – 03/07/2021

Foligno is a pending UFA and his $5.5 million price tag won’t be easy to fit in under the Toronto’s limited budget. Most Leafs fans would potentially be alright with the team moving Kerfoot, but the decision isn’t so easy when names like Sandin or Robertson get added to the conversation.

Canucks Not Considering Coaching Change

Nicholas Cotsonika of NHL.com writes that Benning is not considering a coaching change and that the team still hopes to get a long-term contract extension in place with Green. Benning said:

“My feeling on Travis is, we really like him. He’s done a good job with this group. He’s our coach. … Like I don’t comment on player negotiations, I’m not going to comment on coaching negotiations. But it’s something that we would like to get done moving forward.”

These comments come after Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini offered his full support to both Benning and Green and doesn’t plan on making a change.

Related: NHL Rumors: Flames, Sabres, Blackhawks, Canadiens, More

Blackhawks to Try and Trade Seabrook’s Contract?

With news that Seabrook won’t be returning to the Blackhawks, but with lots of time remaining on his contract, GM Stan Bowman might look to trade the defenseman’s LTIR hit to a team looking to get to the cap floor or to an organization that wants LTI salary pool space.

Brent Seabrook Blackhawks
Brent Seabrook, Chicago Blackhawks, Nov. 9, 2017 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

This is a common practice in the NHL and the Blackhawks certainly have some experience with this type of move (Marian Hossa). There might interested parties, but Seabrook’s deal is different than Hossa’s who was owed only $1 million in actual salary over each of his last four years. Seabrook is set to be paid $6 million next season, $5 million in 2022-23 and $4.5 million in 2023-24. Not a lot of teams will want to take on that kind of financial commitment, especially as the salary cap stays flat.

Scott Powers of The Athletic writes:

The problem is that not a lot of teams want to be juggling LTI contracts like that too often. It’s manageable for a year, but it gets much more complicated over multiple years, which would be the case with Seabrook. It also usually prohibits a team from calling up many players from the AHL.

source – ‘What can the Blackhawks do with Brent Seabrook’s contract?’ – Scott Powers – The Athletic – 03/05/2021

The two teams Powers suggests might be interested are the Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning.

Penguins Players Most Likely to Be Traded

Josh Yohe of The Athletic broke down some trade options for the Penguins and slotted players into different categories. Under his “Change of Scenery” division, he had Jared McCann and under his “I Smell a Trade” division, he had Marcus Pettersson and Colton Sceviour.

Yohe also believes all three of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang stay put. When it comes to Letang, the Penguins might be tempted to try and make a move but would be selling low and with Malkin, Yohe writes:

So the guess is that Geno stays put for now. But he’s not untouchable, not if he’s going to play like this. The upcoming trade deadline and summer are going to be some of the more fascinating times in recent Penguins history.

source – ‘Yohe: Which Penguins are staying and going? The 2021 trade deadline most-likely-to-leave list’ – Josh Yohe – The Athletic – 03/03/2021

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