NHL Rumors: Golden Knights, Oilers, Senators, Blue Jackets, Canadiens

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, expect changes to the Vegas Golden Knights roster over the summer. Meanwhile, the Edmonton Oilers are facing more salary cap issues for next season, and the Ottawa Senators have been letting certain players know they won’t be returning.

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Patrik Laine says he believes a long-term deal will get done with the Columbus Blue Jackets and there should be trade interest in Jeff Petry of the Montreal Canadiens.

Golden Knights Not Just Blaming Injuries

While most insiders believe the Vegas Golden Knights would have been a playoff team this season if not for a rash of injuries, GM Kelly McCrimmon isn’t accepting injuries as an excuse. His recent comments suggest he’ll be looking at the roster and possibly making changes.

Pete DeBoer Vegas Golden Knights
Pete DeBoer, head coach of the Vegas Golden Knights (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

He noted about not making the cut for the first time in franchise history:

I’m very disappointed we did not make the playoffs. I believe strongly that we could have and should have. As much as I’m being realistic about the impact injuries had on our season, I do think we had in our control to become a playoff team. We lost some games to teams that we shouldn’t lose to.

The issue for McCrimmon is the salary cap that sits at $82.5 million for next season. Vegas currently has 18 players under NHL contracts which totals $83 million against the cap. The only way to make real change will be to ship players out. That means trades are likely.

Someone who is hoping to stay is coach Pete DeBoer. He said he knows changes may happen, but made it clear he hopes to remain with the team.

Performance Bonuses Not Helping Oilers

Thanks to $896K in performance bonuses due to defenseman Evan Bouchard and forward Ryan McLeod, the Oilers will have to work even harder to find a way to sign all of their pending free agents.

The Oilers finished the season in LTIR, so their bonuses count against the cap for next season and will wipe out most of the extra $1 million the cap is increasing. The Oilers have approximately $12 million in remaining cap space (which sounds like a fair amount) but have to find deals for pending UFAs: Kris Russell, Brett Kulak, and Evander Kane, The team also has to consider deals for pending RFAs in Jesse Puljujarvi and Kailer Yamamoto — both of whom can increase their value with a strong showing in the playoffs.

A Few Senators Not Returning

As per TSN 1200: Ottawa Senators GM Pierre Dorion has already told forward Chris Tierney and Tyler Ennis that they won’t be re-signed by the organization over the summer. They have also told pending RFA defenseman Victor Mete that he won’t be qualified and will become a UFA.

Related: Canadiens to Look Radically Different with or Without Price in 2022-23

The Senators are rumored to be going after some bigger names in an effort to speed up their rebuild and the organization believes they are closer to competing.

Laine Wants to Stay in Columbus

Jeff Svoboda of BlueJackets.com writes that despite injuries and serious personal matters that could have been and likely were a distraction, Patrik Laine scored 26 goals and put up 56 points in 56 games this past season. He is a pending RFA and will need a new deal with the Blue Jackets, something he doesn’t see being an issue.

Patrik Laine Columbus Blue Jackets
Patrik Laine, Columbus Blue Jackets (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

“They have expressed they want me here, I’ve said the same thing. So you know, the feeling is mutual. Just figure out the term and the money and all that and I think we should be fine.” Laine talked about how he’s loving things in Columbus that he’s really meshed with the players on the team.

Canadiens Almost Traded Petry

Marco D’Amico of Montreal Hockey Now reports that Canadiens GM Kent Hughes claims he had conversations about trading defenseman Jeff Petry with several teams leading up to this past NHL trade deadline. Hughes indicated he came close to moving Petry but a deal failed to materialize. With his improved play towards the end of the season, interest in the veteran defenseman should pick up in the offseason, enabling the Canadiens to move him without bundling a draft pick or prospect in the deal.

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