NHL Rumors: Marner, Skinner, Short-Term Deals, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there are updates out of Toronto when it pertains to Mitch Marner, NHL insiders wondering if short-term deals are the way contracts will go in the NHL and news on what comes next in Buffalo. Is it a Jeff Skinner extension?

Insiders Believe Short-Term Deals Coming

A conversation started on Twitter between NHL insiders Pierre LeBrun and Brian Lawton about summer NHL deals. LeBrun started the conversation by noting that Brent Burns is the highest paid player in the playoffs right now at $8 million per season but that his salary would be less than what many RFA’s might get this offseason.

Brent Burns #88 of the San Jose Sharks
SAN JOSE, CA – JANUARY 12: Brent Burns #88 of the San Jose Sharks takes a shot on goal against the Ottawa Senators at SAP Center on January 12, 2018 in San Jose, California (Photo by Kavin Mistry/NHLI via Getty Images)

Lawton then jumped in and responded, “My suspicion is things are going to get a lot less cozy for clubs & Agents this summer.” He added, “I expect a lot more shorter term contracts 4 elite young players as a compromise to disagreements in value!”

LeBrun responded, “Could be. I actually think shorter deals for high-level RFAs are the way to go as long as you’re up while you’re still in your prime. Means a more expensive contract next time as well.”

From the sounds of this conversation and the hints dropped by deals for players like Auston Matthews, this could be the way contracts lean in the future for restricted free agents.

Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Tavares, Nylander, Franson, Zaitsev & More

Leafs and Marner’s Camp Talking

John Shannon reported that Brendan Shanahan and Kyle Dubas talked to Mitch Marner‘s agent Darren Ferris yesterday.

Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews,
Toronto Maple Leafs’ Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes)

The Maple Leafs haven’t hidden the fact that getting Marner re-signed before he reaches restricted free agency in July is their top priority but Dubas will only go so far as to what’s being discussed behind closed doors.

After a career-high 94 points in 2018-19 to lead Toronto in points for the second straight season, it’s not hard to navigate what a deal could look like for Marner and the numbers will have to be close to what teammates John Tavares and Auston Matthews are making, which is at least $11 million in 2019-20. Ferris is likely pushing for a salary around that amount for his client.

Related: NHL Rumors: Coaches, Buyouts, Kessel, More

Detroit Red Wings Trade Candidates

Anthony Mantha and Andreas Athanasiou had breakout years, and Ted Kulfan of The Detroit News believes that makes the pair trade candidates to land an impact defenseman.

Andreas Athanasiou
Detroit Red Wings center Andreas Athanasiou celebrates (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Kulfan believes some of Detroit’s prospect depth up front doesn’t have enough clout to land a good d-man and some other forwards the Red Wings don’t want to move. He writes:

Larkin is the foundation of this organization. Bertuzzi had 21-goal season, is a heart-and-soul player, but wouldn’t likely fetch the return that a Mantha or Athanasiou would, and is probably a more valuable player for the Wings, given his intangibles, than for other teams.

source – ‘Could Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou fetch Red Wings a defenseman?’ – Ted Kulfan – Detroit News – 05/14/2019

Kulfan notes Mantha and Athanasiou are also set to become restricted free agents in 2020 and will be due significant raises that make them good bets to be moved before Detroit has to pay full price. 

It shouldn’t be shocking if new GM Steve Yzerman looks to make some changes. This type of trade could be among them.

Related: NHL Rumors: Sabres, Panthers, 31 Thoughts, More

Skinner Waited on Coaching Announcement

Paul Hamilton is reporting that Buffalo Sabres GM Jason Botterill said on WGR 550 that pending free agent forward Jeff Skinner hadn’t yet signed with the organization because he was first waiting to know who their coach for next season would be.

Buffalo Sabres forward Jeff Skinner
Buffalo Sabres forward Jeff Skinner (53) celebrates his game-winning goal following the overtime period of an NHL hockey game against the San Jose Sharks, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018, in Buffalo N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

Now that Ralph Krueger has been named head coach, Skinner news might be forthcoming. Botterill said the team has kept in dialogue with Jeff, and we’ve let him know what the coaching situation has been. It will be important that Ralph is able to build a relationship with him moving forward.

One thing Krueger has going for him is his ability to speak with the players. He didn’t get much credit, but he was instrumental in convincing Justin Schultz to choose the Edmonton Oilers when he was coaching the team. Schultz had a ton of choices but he said Krueger had him sold almost immediately.

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