NHL Rumors: Maple Leafs, Penguins, Canucks, Jones, Eichel, More

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, there is an update on John Tavares and when he might make his return to the Toronto Maple Leafs lineup. There is also news on Seth Jones who plans to test free agency and has informed the Columbus Blue Jackets of as much. Jack Eichel is set to meet with the Buffalo Sabres to talk his injury situation and the Pittsburgh Penguins might look to trade Jake Guentzel. Are the Sedins returning to work with the Vancouver Canucks and how will the Minnesota Wild approach the NHL Expansion Draft?

John Tavares Possible For Game 7?

Chris Johnston provided an update on the injury status of Tavares and while there are some who are wondering if he could potentially get into Game 7 of the series between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens, it’s not likely.

Sheldon Keefe; John Tavares
Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe talks to captain John Tavares (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young)

The Maple Leafs are going to take his concussion injury extremely seriously and Johnston notes the reality is, it’s going to take the Leafs getting into another series and moving on to face the Winnipeg Jets before there’s any real chance Tavares might be back. The Leafs want to take a conservative approach.

The Leafs don’t exactly have the best history with Game 7’s so if Tavares is going to see any action the rest of the way, the Leafs need to snap a bad streak of losing. The franchise’s seven straight losses in series clinching games is tied for second most in NHL history.

Penguins to Trade Guentzel?

Mark Madden of TribLive.com notes that there’s a chance the Pittsburgh Penguins trade forward Jake Guentzel for a different style of player after a series in which he was physically battered around and knocked off the puck. The Penguins are led by Brian Burke and Ron Hextall now and many insiders feel there will be an emphasis on rugged players who can handle the rigors of the playoffs. Madden notes, thinks the James Neal for Patric Hornqvist trade in 2014.

Related: Wild Fall to Golden Knights, But Focus Remains on the Bright Future Ahead

Seth Jones to Wait on Signing Extension

Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reported during Hockey Night In Canada that Jones will not sign an extension with the club now and will wait to see what his options are before making a long-term commitment. Friedman notes:

We can tell you that sometime in the last week or so, Seth Jones informed the Columbus Blue Jackets that he will not be re-signing. I’m saying ’for now’ at this point because I don’t like to deal in absolutes. But it does appear as if he is prepared to test free agency and we’ll see how Columbus decides to handle this over the next little while.

Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones
Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File)

If Jones has, in fact, told the Blue Jackets he’s likely to see what free agency brings, the team will have little choice but to see what’s out there for him on the trade market and if a team would be willing to give up a huge haul to land him. This is not a player GM Jarmo Kekalainen can let walk away for nothing.

While he’ll see what teams are willing to offer, Kekalainen indicated earlier this month he intends to keep Jones into next season without a contract extension in the hope the blueliner would change his mind.

Wild NHL Expansion Draft Plans

Dane Mizutani of TWINCITIES.com is reporting that Wild GM Bill Guerin may try to convince Ryan Suter or Zach Parise to waive their no-move clauses ahead of the NHL Expansion Draft so that the team can protect defenseman Matt Dumba. There’s a good chance the Seattle Kraken would pass on Parise and/or Suter because of their age and contracts.

It seems likely Parise would be willing to do so after being a healthy scratch in the playoffs. Perhaps the idea of a new start would be enticing to him. In the limited game action Parise did see, he scored two goals and an assist and showed he can still contribute. Mizutani writes:

Maybe the most likely scenario is Parise accepts his future as a depth player near the bottom of the lineup. He proved effective in that role throughout the playoffs and could still make an impact if he’s willing to do it.

source – ‘Wild GM Bill Guerin has a pivotal offseason ahead of him. Here’s a blueprint’ – Dane Mizutani – Twincities.com – 05/29/2021

Sedins Returning to the Canucks Organization

It appears both Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin will be returning to the Canucks. GM Jim Benning noted during an appearance on CHEK’s Donnie and Dhali show that talks about their role with the team are ongoing but that an announcement is expected over the next couple of weeks. 

Benning says he’d like to have the Sedins work in several different areas of the organization.

Eichel and Sabres to Meet

After publicly saying that he feels there’s a disconnect between himself and the Sabres organization, Jack Eichel is set to meet with the team this coming week. He was asked to rest and recover for 12 weeks before the two sides really looked at health options for his injury. Those 12 weeks ended today.

Most insiders believe the relationship between Eichel and the Sabres has soured to the point that he’s likely to be traded over the offseason. There should be more news about the possibility leaking out after the meeting takes place.