NHL Rumors: Stars, Maple Leafs, Canadiens, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there are updates on the Dallas Stars and their priority being Mats Zuccarello, the Toronto Maple Leafs possible interest in Colin Miller, the Carolina Hurricanes goaltending dilemma and the Montreal Canadiens shopping list.

Stars Focus is Zuccarello

Mike Heika says he believes the Dallas Stars are focusing on pending UFA forward Mats Zuccarello and not to free agency. There was speculation the organization might look at players like Ryan Dzingel or trading for someone like Andre Burakovsky but they are going to go hard after Zuccarello first and worry about what comes next if they are unsuccessful.

Roope Hintz, Mats Zuccarello, Alexander Radulov, Jim Montgomery
Dallas Stars’ coach Jim Montgomery (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

The Stars aren’t looking to fill up their roster with big names either. They want to leave some positions open for younger players to earn a shot and feel like Zuccarello has been a great leader and mentor to young players, even in the short time he’s been a part of the organization.

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Maple Leafs Interested in Colin Miller?

According to @Prospects_Watch, Bob McKenzie said on TSN 1050 that Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Colin Miller has fallen out of favor in Vegas and asks if the Maple Leafs might seize an opportunity?

Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Colin Miller
Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Colin Miller (Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports)

Miller makes a little over $3 million per season and has multiple years left on his deal. In the right move where the Maple Leafs clear up some salary, Miller could be a less expensive top-six option. As McKenzie points out, Miller played for the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds so Dubas would be very familiar with him.

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Hurricanes to Buy Out Scott Darling

While they thought he might be the answer to their questions in goal, it appears the Carolina Hurricanes are ready to pull the plug on Scott Darling. David Pagnotta of the Fourth Period reports the Hurricanes intend to buy out the netminder when the buyout period opens.

Hurricanes goaltender Scott Darling
Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Scott Darling (33) has the puck slip past for a goal by the Columbus Blue Jackets during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018, in Raleigh, N.C. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)

If they do go this route, the buyout cap hit would break down as $1.233 million (2019-20), $2.333 million (2020-21), $1.183 million (2021-22) and $1.183 million (2022-23).

Because the Hurricanes will only have two goaltenders under contract if they buy out Darling, they’d need to sign another netminder right away to stay at the NHL’s minimum of three.

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Canadiens Shopping for a Top-Four Defenseman

Eric Engels of Sportsnet reports the Montreal Canadiens are in the market for a top-four defenseman – one that is left-handed and can play on the power play.

Some of the early candidates are Jake Gardiner out of Toronto, Alex Edler from Vancouver, Shayne Gostisbere in Philadelphia and Mike Matheseon out of Florida.

Engels believes Gardiner is too costly at around $6 million on a long-term deal and Edler may be too old for a five or six-year contract at $5 million plus. The Canadiens may need to look at a trade which means Gostisbere and Matheson are more likely than the other two.

Other less costly trade options could include Calgary Flames T.J. Brodie, Ian Cole or Thomas Hickey.

Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette suggests the Canadiens could use a top-six forward and a top-four defenseman and that they have their eyes on Matt Duchene.

Hickey thinks they would have to offer up $8 to $9 million to land Duchene and that could be problematic considering Max Domi needs an extension next summer, while Brendan Gallagher, Phillip Danault and Tomas Tatar are UFAs after 2021.

Mitch Marner
Toronto Maple Leafs Mitch Marner speaks to reporters after a locker clean out at the Scotiabank Arena (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov)

Hickey said he would rather see the Canadiens spend money on an offer sheet. He explains:

There is one long-term, big-money deal that is worth pursuing and that involves an offer sheet for Mitch Marner, who is the Toronto’s Maple Leafs’ best player. Offer sheets are rare and GMs who offer them run the risk of upsetting their peers. But Bergevin noted in his season-ending address to the media that they represent an available tool and Marner is worth the shot.

Source -Hickey on hockey: Mitch Marner is worth offer-sheet risk for Canadiens’ – Monreatl Gazette – Thomas Hickey – 05/17/2019

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