NHL Rumors: Sharks, Maple Leafs, Penguins, Wild, Oilers

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, interim GM of the San Jose Sharks, Joe Will, says he’s open to talking about any players when it comes to making a trade; that includes Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson. Meanwhile, the Toronto Maple Leafs have signed a couple of their key Finnish prospects.

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The Pittsburgh Penguins got bad news as Sidney Crosby will be out of action for Game 6, and what are the plans for the Minnesota Wild now that they are out of this year’s playoffs? Finally, is KHL free agent Andrei Kuzmenko holding off on signing a deal because he’s leaning towards the Edmonton Oilers?

Sharks Willing to Discuss All Trade Options

Curtis Pashelka of The Mercury News writes that Joe Will, the Sharks’ interim general manager, said he’s open to discussing the possibility of trading either Brent Burns or Erik Karlsson this offseason, “if he feels such a move would improve the team.”

Brent Burns San Jose Sharks
Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Noting that nothing is off-limits, he explained:

“But having said that, they’re exceptional players and we have a lot of very high-end players. Ideally, we’d like to include everybody in what we’re doing here, but again, we’ll just see what happens moving forward as we bring in a new (general manager)… Nothing’s imminent. No changes are imminent or anything like that, but open to discuss.”

source – ‘Sharks interim GM on possibly trading Karlsson or Burns: ‘Nothing is off-limits’ – Curtis Pahelka – Mercury News – 05/12/2022

Will said the Sharks are not waiting for a new GM to be hired to do the work they believe they need to do to improve the team. “We’re moving along with everything,” he said. That doesn’t mean a trade will get finalized. Burns has three years left at $8 million per season on his deal. He also has a three-team trade clause. Karlsson is being paid $11.5 million through the 2026-27 season. He has a full no-movement clause.

Maple Leafs Sign Two

The Toronto Maple Leafs announced three-year entry-level contracts for both Roni Hirvonen and Topi Niemela on Friday. Both players’ contracts will start next season and carry an average annual value of $856,666. Neither is destined to immediately step into the NHL but they’ve both spent a great deal of time playing professional hockey in Finland. They are seen as players who could make the jump faster than many prospects.

Crosby Out For Game 6

Coach Mike Sullivan said that Sidney Crosby will not play in Game 6 for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Sullivan said of Crosby’s status: “He skated this morning with Ty Hennes. He will not play tonight.” The Penguins could be missing a number of players as Brian Dumoulin is continuing his off-ice recovery and Rickard Rakell will be a game-time decision. Tristan Jarry will not play tonight.

Related: Canucks News & Rumors: Ekman-Larsson, NHL Draft, Boudreau & More

Crosby left Game 5 against the New York Rangers during the second period after defenceman Jacob Trouba connected with him on a hard and high hit near the faceoff dot. There was no hearing for Trouba.

What Now For the Minnesota Wild?

Kristen Shilton of ESPN.COM took a look at what the Minnesota Wild will do now that they have been eliminated from the playoffs and have a ton of salary-cap concerns. General manager Bill Guerin has to deal with the fact that roughly 15 percent of his salary-cap payroll is going to be eaten up in dead cap space from last year’s buyouts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.

Bill Guerin Minnesota Wild
General manager Bill Guerin of the Minnesota Wild (Photo by Brandon McCauley/NHLI via Getty Images)

She notes that contract negotiations with Kevin Fiala will be a priority and that they’ll need to focus on finding a reliable backup goaltender. Marc-Andre Fleury is slated to become an unrestricted free agent. Someone like Matt Dumba might be shopped in trade to make room on the books.

Latest on Andrei Kuzmenko

Darren Dreger of TSN reports: “Understandable hype over Andrei Kuzmenko’s NHL future. The interview process continues.” he adds that there are teams currently in the playoffs he still needs to speak to (Edmonton Oilers are one) but once that happens, he and his agent will move on to the second round of talks. “No rush,” writes Dreger.

Speaking of the Oilers, it doesn’t appear goaltender Mike Smith will face any supplemental discipline for the spear on Andreas Athanasiou in Game 6.

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