NHL Rumors: Maple Leafs, Sabres, Flames, Bruins, Oilers

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Toronto Maple Leafs are both trying to avoid making a trade and looking to sign one of their players to a long-term extension. Meanwhile, the Buffalo Sabres have signed Mattias Samuelsson to a surprising new contract. Why are they taking such a risk after only 54 career NHL games?

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The Boston Bruins continue to wait on David Pastrnak, but a contract out of the Calgary Flames organization might be used as a comparable for his next deal. Finally, are the Edmonton Oilers going to be able to hang onto Jason Demers, even though he was released from his NHL PTO?

Maple Leafs Looking to Sign Bunting, Kerfoot Trade Talk

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun noted during the latest Insider Trading said that there haven’t been any contract extension talks between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Michael Bunting yet, but he believes the Maple Leafs are open to the idea of a long-term deal when they next speak to Bunting’s camp.

Michael Bunting Toronto Maple Leafs
Michael Bunting, Toronto Maple Leafs (Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

LeBrun explained:

“I think they’re open to talk about what an eight-year deal would look like to bring down the AAV and bring down the cap hit. What’s interesting is that I think that camp might be interested at looking at eight years because at age 27, this will be Bunting’s one big opportunity at free agency, and I think he wants to remain a Maple Leaf. I think that’s an interesting conversation once it happens.”

In other Maple Leafs’ news, Jonas Siegel of The Athletic writes that trade talk continues to surround Maple Leafs forward Alex Kerfoot. He quotes Kerfoot who responded to speculation of his being dealt away when he writes:

“If I’m focusing on every time someone says that I’m gonna get traded then I’m never gonna be focused on playing hockey and getting better and trying to do my job. I’m not naive to the fact that things can happen in this business. I got traded from Colorado at a time when I didn’t expect to be traded.

source: ‘Maple Leafs’ Alex Kerfoot on trade talk, playoff miscues and increasing his value’ – Jonas Seigel – The Athletic – 10/08/2022

Related: NHL Rumors: Rangers, Senators, Panthers, Bruins, Maple Leafs

The Leafs do not want to move Kerfoot as he’s the ultimate utility player and head coach Sheldon Keefe is quite tight with the forward.

Sabres Shock with Long-Term Deal for Samuelsson

The Buffalo Sabres are the talk of the NHL on Wednesday morning as they’ve announced a $30 million contract deal for Mattias Samuelsson before he ever scored his first NHL goal. He’s played on 54 games and is getting an average of $4.29 million. This is a bet by the Sabres on the player’s potential.

The Sabres are taking what they think is a calculated risk. Samuelsson had quite strong underlying numbers and the results in those games where he played in five-on-five situations were good. He spent a lot of time on the ice versus elite NHL talent and fared well. If this risk pays off, his contract will look like an absolute bargain as the cap increases. If he doesn’t pan out, the Sabres will look incredibly foolish.

The Sabres did have a ton of cap space to take a risk here.

Huberdeau a Comparable for Pastrnak

TSN’s Darren Dreger noted that both the Boston Bruins and David Pastrnak would like to get his contract extension taken care of and while he’s not in a rush and the Bruins are waiting to make an official offer, some comparable numbers are out there for what that deal might look like.

Dreger explained:

“I think both sides are trying to keep it respectful from a public standpoint, so I’ll throw out a recent comparison. I look at Jonathan Huberdeau’s extension with the Calgary Flames at eight years, $84 million, which is a $10.5 million average annual value. Now, Pastrnak is younger than Huberdeau so that could be the starting point. It depends on how aggressive or serious the Bruins are about getting extension talks heated up.”

In other Flames news, head coach Darryl Sutter said the team will not be rushing to name a captain for this season. Should they name one, the leading candidates are Huberdeau and Mikael Backlund.

Oilers Want to Keep Demers

While Jason Demers was released from his PTO with the Edmonton Oilers, GM Ken Holland said he did talk the defenseman and the two sides have worked out an agreement. Demers will join the Bakersfield Condors on an AHL PTO. The Oilers will see how things go and make a plan from there.

Holland said that if another NHL team does come calling and offer him an NHL deal, Demers has agreed to give the Oilers the first opportunity to sign him to an NHL contract first. If they can’t or won’t, they’ll happily let him pursue his NHL goals.

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