NHL Rumors: Barzal, UDFA’s, Blues, Bruins, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, Elliotte Friedman spoke the chances Mathew Barzal might get an offer sheet this summer, there is news out of Boston that the Bruins might have to contend with higher offers for defenseman Torey Krug and there are updates on Alex Pietrangelo and the St. Louis Blues.

Offer Sheet to Play Role in Barzal Negotiations?

Elliotte Friedman was recently a guest on the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast and said that he believes an offer sheet could play a significant role this summer in the negotiations between the New York Islanders and forward Mathew Barzal.

Mathew Barzal New York Islanders
Mathew Barzal, New York Islanders (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

“Well I do believe, the offer sheets will come,”  said Friedman. He added, “The reason I do is because it is so hard to find good players now.”

Friedman noted that with soon-to-be 32 teams and 32 owners, more studies show that offer sheets might be worthy trying and that even if teams don’t ultimately so do, they’re thinking about doing so. “I will tell you this, the Toronto Maple Leafs 100% believed that if Auston Matthews got to July 1st last year, Arizona was gonna offer sheet him 7 years the max,” Friedman said. “I have looked at it and people around the league have told me they believe that to be the case.”

Friedman added there were also strong rumors indicating the Columbus Blue Jackets tried to offer sheet Mitch Marner but he wanted a shorter-term deal and they weren’t willing to make an offer of four or five years.

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Will Increased Salary Cap Affect Pietrangelo Talks?

Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic wrote in a recent mailbag article that an increased salary cap might not really change what the St. Louis Blues are willing to offer defenseman Alex Pietrangelo. Even if other teams can pay more to pry him loose, the Blues will likely still offer around $8.5 – $9 million annually.

Alex Pietrangelo St. Louis Blues
Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues (Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports)

Rutherford writes:

As far as your point about the cap increase making it easier for everybody to offer Pietrangelo more, that’s a valid point. But I think there’s probably only a few clubs that can afford a $10 million AAV for which Pietrangelo would also agree to play. And if those teams will give him $10 million, will he leave if the Blues’ offer was a little less? I don’t know. 

source -‘ Blues Mailbag: Will a projected cap increase help re-sign Alex Pietrangelo?’ – Jeremy Rutherforf – The Athletic – 03/07/2020

If Pietrangelo walks, Rutherford believes the Blues will simply promote Colton Parayko over trying to land another big-name defenseman in free agency.

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Penguins to Sign O’Connor, Rangers In on Khodorenko

Frank Seravalli of TSN reports that the Pittsburgh Penguins have agreed to a contract with Drew O’Connor, who just finished his sophomore season at Dartmouth. O’Connor was No. 4 on TSN’s top UDFA list.

O’Connor, 21, has scored 21 goals and added 12 assists in 31 games. He recorded 26 points in 34 games last season.

Also, according to Seravalli, the New York Rangers are in on signing undrafted college free agent forward Patrick Khodorenko out of Michigan State. In four seasons at Michigan, Khodrenko appeared in 143 games recording 54 goals, 66 assists and 120 points. In his senior season, the 21-year-old had 16 goals and 33 points. 

Will Extra Money Be Available for Torey Krug?

Speaking of salary cap increases, Matt Porter of the Boston Globe notes that the projected increase in the salary cap could create more interested parties in Bruins defenseman Torey Krug. Both Krug and the Bruins want to work out an extension but there’s only so much the Bruins are willing to pay.

Boston Bruins Torey Krug
Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

The Bruins have to re-sign Krug, Zdeno Chara, Jaroslav Halak, Jake DeBrusk, Matt Grzelcyk, Anders Bjork and Karson Kuhlman and that means around $7 million could be available for Krug. What if another team offers $8 million per season? Would he bite?

There were previous comments from Krug that he was willing to take a hometown discount to stay in Boston but how much is the difference between what the Bruins can and will offer versus what another team might offer that Krug will be ok with?

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