NHL Rumors: Maple Leafs, Avalanche, Canadiens, Bruins, Thornton News

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, is Jake Muzzin expendable now that the Toronto Maple Leafs have signed Mark Giordano to a team-friendly deal? In Colorado, the Avalanche are getting the best out of Nazem Kadri.

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Does that mean it’s going to be even more difficult to retain him as a pending UFA? There is talk that this summer might be the offseason for the Boston Bruins to take big risks and what does Joe Thornton have to say about retirement rumors?

Will Maple Leafs Trade Muzzin?

Chris Johnston of the NorthStar Bets writes that he doesn’t believe the Maple Leafs will trade Muzzin, even though the team signed Giordano to a huge discount and Muzzin might be expendable. Keeping in mind the team has left-handed defensemen Morgan Rielly and Rasmus Sandin also on the roster, a Muzzin trade could make sense.

Jake Muzzin Toronto Maple Leafs
Jake Muzzin, Toronto Maple Leafs (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Johnston notes of the Giordano signing:

That could make Muzzin expendable in a potential cap-clearing move, although it’s worth noting the guy is beloved inside the organization. The Leafs didn’t want to part with Sandin at the trade deadline so it’s hard to imagine them sending him elsewhere on the cusp of his age-22 season.

Will Montreal Canadiens Show Interest in Nazem Kadri?

Johnston also notes that Nazem Kadri‘s three-goal game has reminded everyone about how good a season he’s had and his status as a pending UFA is going to be an intriguing situation to watch. Johnston writes, “It’s difficult to imagine the Avalanche finding the cap space needed to retain Kadri after the best offensive season of his career.”

Related: 4 Canadiens Unlikely to Return For 2022-23 Season

Johnston is right in that Kadri is well underpaid for the numbers he’s putting up and will expect a sizeable raise over the $4.5-million annual salary he’s making now. Johnston notes that his most likely landing spots are teams with financial flexibility and he wonders if the Montreal Canadiens will make a pitch. Keep in mind that Canadiens’ GM Kent Hughes has already said the team won’t approach free agency as most teams will, which makes simply signing Kadri for big money less likely.

Will Bruins Take Big Risks This Summer?

According to Kevin Paul Dupont of The Boston Globe, this could be the offseason the Boston Bruins really take some chances. He writes:

This could be the summer Sweeney is forced to alter his approach and take some bold risks, with an eye focused on acquiring a needed top center — no matter Patrice Bergeron’s career decision. The need is acute even if Bergeron stays, all the more severe if he goes.

source – ‘Early playoff exit means Bruins may need to be bold in rebuilding roster, especially up front’ – Kevin Dupont- Boston Globe – 05/21/2022
Jake DeBrusk, Boston Bruins
Jake DeBrusk, Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

He brings up the names Kadri, Claude Giroux, and Evgeni Malkin and suggests the best fit among them is Kadri who had a career season. Dupont writes that both Jake DeBrusk and Brandon Carlo could be names that might leave the roster if the right opportunity for Don Sweeny presents itself.

He also wonders if a player like Kirby Dach out of Chicago would be a fit. The Blackhawks haven’t come to terms with him yet and he’s not proven himself to be the stud player many had him pegged to be. Still, Dach is projected to be a No. 1 center and he thinks DeBrusk or Carlo would get the ball rolling with Chicago on that kind of conversation.

Is Joe Thornton Retiring?

David Dwork of The Odd Man Rush podcast asked Joe Thornton what his decision-making process would be for him this summer, in terms of potentially retiring. Thornton’s response was: “I really have no idea. I haven’t put any thought into it at all right now…I’m sure I’ll talk with the family and see what our plan is next.”

Things have not worked out for Thornton who has tried his luck with different contenders since leaving the San Jose Sharks. The Florida Panthers were his best shot at winning a Stanley Cup and the fact the Presidents’ Trophy winners were booted from the playoffs so quickly be the Tampa Bay Lightning has to be heartbreaking.