NHL Rumors: Red Wings, Canucks, Oilers, Lightning, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is news on the Detroit Red Wings and who they might be targeting in free agency. In Vancouver, the Canucks might be making big blue line changes. In Edmonton, the rumored trade with the New York Rangers and Oilers isn’t necessarily a slam dunk and in Tampa, why the Lightning voted “no” to the 24-team playoff format is revealed.

Red Wings List of Possible Free Agency Targets

Detroit News’ Ted Kulfan listed a number of proposed forward options for the Red Wings this offseason due to the lack of scoring on the club. He writes:

The Wings ranked last in goals scored (142), goals per game (two), and ranked 29th on the power play (14.9%).

After the top line of Tyler Bertuzzi, Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha, goal-scoring was lacking.

For that reason, expect the Red Wings to be active in landing a scoring forward during unrestricted free agency in the offseason later this year.

source – ‘NHL free agency preview: Red Wings in market for goal-scoring forward’ Tred Kulfan – Detroit News – 05/18/2020
Vladislav Namestnikov Ottawa Senators
Vladislav Namestnikov, Ottawa Senators (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

His list of potential names included Colorado’s Vladislav Namestnikov, Florida’s Evgenii Dadonov, Mike Hoffman, or Erik Haula, Nashville’s Mikael Granlund, Vegas’ Tomas Nosek, or the New York Rangers’ Jesper Fast.

He then moved over to the blue line saying, “But the unit has to get deeper and more experienced, which means the Wings likely will be busy sifting through the free-agent market.” He listed Tyson Barrie, Justin Schultz, Brenden Dillon, or Andy Greene as possible options.

Finally, goaltending targets include Robin Lehner, Anton Khudobin, Thomas Greiss, and Cam Talbot.

The Wings plenty of cap space even after the team potentially signs Robby Fabbri, Tyler Bertuzzi, and Anthony Mantha. The trick will be convincing players to join a rebuilding franchise on shorter-term deals. The good news is that this is potentially the best offseason to have the extra cap space.

Ansar Khan of MLive reports that Jonathan Bernier will be back with the Detroit Red Wings next season. Soon to be 32-years old, he’s got one season remaining on his deal and could look at signing him to a contract extension after next season. Pending UFA Jimmy Howard won’t be back.

Related: The 5 Most Memorable Pavel Datsyuk Moments

Changes to Canucks’ Blue Line

Iain MacIntyre of Sportsnet notes in a recent mail bag segment that the Vancouver Canucks blue line could look very different next season. He says Alex Edler, Tyler Myers and Quinn Hughes will be back but Chris Tanev (UFA) and Troy Stecher (RFA) will likely be cap casualties.

Jordie Benn Vancouver Canucks
Jordie Benn, Vancouver Canucks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

MacIntyre also writes that the team is expected to try moving Jordie Benn. He notes, “Benn’s $2 million salary could go to Nikita Tryamkin, and there’s a chance Brogan Rafferty makes the NHL roster after his excellent season in the AHL.”

Rangers Interested in Puljujarvi

We reported a while back that there was buzz about the New York Rangers and Edmonton Oilers possibly considering a deal that would send Jesse Puljujarvi to the Rangers and Lias Andersson to Edmonton.

Kurt Leavins of the Edmonton Journal notes that the interest from the Rangers is much greater than it is from the Oilers who would need a sweetener to consider the move. He writes:

“The Rangers would potentially part with a high pick in order to make it work. But I’m made to understand that the Rangers interest in Puljujarvi is considerably greater than the Oilers keenness on Andersson, who is slow of foot.”

source – ‘Are the Edmonton Oilers getting an unfair shake in this newly proposed playoff structure?: 9 Things’ – Kurt Leavins – Edmonton Journal – 05/24/2020

Why Tampa Bay Voted “No” On 24-Team Playoffs

According to Joe Smith of The Athletic, the Tampa Bay Lightning were one of the two teams to vote “no” on the 24-team playoff format (the other being Carolina). Part of the reason the Lightning didn’t want this format was because the team felt it was unfair to allow teams who hadn’t earned their way into the postseason to, all of a sudden, be in the playoffs.

Alex Killorn Tampa Bay Lightning
Alex Killorn, Tampa Bay Lightning (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Tampa’s player rep, Alex Killorn said:

“They didn’t feel it was fair that certain teams that probably wouldn’t have made the playoffs would have a chance to make the playoffs in a best-of-five series. My team also felt it was unfair that the teams with a bye would not be as well prepared for a playoff series as the teams that had already basically played a playoff series to get into the playoffs.”

source – ‘Why the Lightning were one of two teams to vote ‘no’ on 24-team format’ Joe Smith – The Athletic – 05/23/2020

Related: Top 5 Canadiens Draft Picks in the Bergevin Era

Player Contracts to Slide to End of the Season

Michael Russo of the Athletic notes that the NHL is simply going to slide player contracts to the end the of the 2019-20 season to solve the question about what happens with players who have contracts that expire June 30. He writes:

An NHL source tells The Athletic that the “intention is to agree on a slide with the NHL Players’ Association, which would uniformly extend all contracts through the end of the 2019-20 season.”

This would also apply to minor-leaguers on two-way contracts. If a contract expires June 30, that player would still be allowed to be part of an expanded NHL roster through the end of 2019-20.

source – ‘Source: NHL intends to slide expiring player contracts to end of 2019-20 season’ – Michael Russo – The Athletic – 05/21/2020

Russo does add that the question for coaches and team staff is a trickier question to answer since they individuals don’t have collective representation.

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