NHL Rumors: Rangers, Canadiens, Blackhawks, Kraken, Capitals

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Montreal Canadiens have signed Nick Suzuki to an eight-year extension. Meanwhile, the New York Rangers have told Vitali Kravtsov to look around the NHL and see if another team would like to trade for his services. Could Dylan Strome be on the move? The Seattle Kraken have been hit hard ahead of opening night. Finally, the Washington Capitals have lost Nicklas Backstrom long-term.

Rangers Tell Kravtsov to Look for Trade Partner

2018 No. 9 overall pick Vitali Kravtsov has been told he’s welcome to reach out to other teams and seek a trade after it was revealed he was unhappy when he failed to crack the Rangers opening night NHL lineup. Frank Seravalli reports that Kravtsov changed agents over the last few months and new agent Dan Milstein now has permission to speak with other teams about a fresh start.

Vitali Kravtsov, New York Rangers
Vitali Kravtsov, New York Rangers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Part of the reason he likely didn’t make the roster was and was sent to Hartford is that the Rangers don’t want to put defenseman Libor Hájek on waivers. Unfortunately, that decision looks like it might have cost the Rangers a talked-about prospect. Milstein was reached out to for a comment and said they’re going to hold off for now.

Related: Canadiens News & Rumors: Bergevin, Price, Suzuki, and More

Ironically, Mark Sanchez of the New York Post cites a Larry Brooks report that the Rangers are trying to trade Hajek.

Suzuki Signs 8-Year Extension

The Montreal Canadiens have inked Nick Suzuki to an eight-year extension on Tuesday. The deal is worth $63 million contract extension and will run until the 2029-30 season. Some will argue it’s a high price to pay for a player who doesn’t have a lot of NHL games under his belt, but he should be able to play into the price tag and provide value for the Canadiens.

At 22 years old, Suzuki’s ceiling is extremely high. Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin said of the deal, “We are very happy to secure Nick’s services for the next eight seasons.” Teammate Tyler Toffoli said it was probably an easy decision for the organization to make.

Dylan Strome Rumors Pop Up Again

According to Friedman on his 32 Thoughts Podcast, he says the Chicago Blackhawks are looking at moving Dylan Strome again. His exact words were, “I’m hearing some stuff about the potential of maybe Dylan Strome moving”. There was some talk about moving Strome earlier in the offseason, but that talk had quieted. With the regular season ready to kick off again, perhaps there are new developments.

Dylan Strome Chicago Blackhawks
Dylan Strome, Chicago Blackhawks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Strome has consistently been a forgotten man throughout training camp, and his future in Chicago now seems to be in real jeopardy. Only Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Alex DeBrincat, Tyler Johnson, and Dominik Kubalik make more than Strome. He’s the only player not slotted as a top-six forward.

Seattle Kraken Lose Five Key Players

The Seattle Kraken have officially submitted their NHL opening night roster and absent from the lineup are forwards Jared McCann, Joonas Donskoi, Calle Jarnkrok, and Marcus Johansson as well as defenseman Jamie Oleksiak. All players were placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list and are potentially unavailable for the Kraken to start the season.

Head coach Dave Hakstol said in response to the news, “There’s different challenges as you go throughout the season and this is one of them for us early on.” Yanni Gourde is still not available after offseason surgery which puts the Kraken at a massive disadvantage to start the year.

Capitals Lose Backstrom to LTIR

The Washington Capitals have announced today that veteran forward Nicklas Backstrom will be out of the team’s lineup long-term with a hip injury and has been placed on the long-term injured reserve. The Capitals have called Connor McMichael and Beck Malenstyn from the Hershey Bears as a result.

At the start of camp, Backstrom noted that there was no timetable for his return and that he and the team would just take things slowly. Backstrom was skating and lightly shooting on Tuesday. Coach Peter Laviolette said yesterday that Backstrom was progressing.