NHL Rumors: Sabres, Stars, Flames, Oilers, Blackhawks

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Buffalo Sabres are not willing to retain salary in any trade for Jack Eichel, which has ruled out one Stanley Cup contender who kicked tires on the center. Meanwhile, another top team called about Eichel’s availability, but the ask was potentially beyond what they could afford. Will Rasmus Andersson be suspended for his headbutt on Kailer Yamamoto? Finally, is it too early to talk about Marc-Andre Fleury trade or retirement rumors?

Golden Knights and Avalanche Inquired About Eichel

During Saturday’s 32 Thoughts new intermission segment, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek talked about a couple of the teams who have reached out to the Buffalo Sabres about Jack Eichel. In both cases, conversations didn’t go very far, but for different reasons.

Jack Eichel Buffalo Sabres
Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

First, the Avalanche apparently called to see if the Sabres would retain salary. It’s not clear how much was being requested, but the Sabres are not willing to keep money in an Eichel trade. Friedman said that the most they’d do is take contracts back. Meanwhile, the Golden Knights have had conversations with the Sabres but Buffalo wants Peyton Krebs and Nick Hague which Vegas doesn’t want to do.

Related: Sabres Daily Download – Recap, Stats, Injuries & News

In both cases, the salary cap plays an issue for each franchise and conversations haven’t gone any further. Part of the issue for the Golden Knights is that they have a lot of guys coming back from LTIR and the team would need to find a way to fit in all of their salaries.

Klingberg Wants Around $65 Million from Stars

Marek also reports that the Dallas Stars know what defenseman John Klingberg is looking for on his next contract. While it’s not in the range of what some of the big-ticket defensemen signed for this offseason, it’s still a fair chunk of change and more than the Stars can likely afford.

John Klingberg Dallas Stars
John Klingberg, Dallas Stars (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Marek said:

“The Dallas Stars and general manager Jim Nill want John Klingberg to stay, and John Klingberg wants to remain a member of the Dallas Stars. But in contract negotiations like this, I guess it’s always safe to say the devil is in the decimal point. I can safely report that what he’s looking for is something in the neighbourhood of an eight-year contract in the mid-60s, so something between $62 million to maybe $66 million.”

Marek is under the impression the Stars understand they might lose Klingberg and that’s why they signed Ryan Suter and Jani Hakanpää.

Did Andersson Head Butt Yamamoto?

There’s some talk coming out of the Calgary Flames versus Edmonton Oilers game that the NHL might look at the Rasmus Andersson and Kailer Yamamoto dust-up that led to a double-minor for Andersson. What the NHL might be looking for is whether or not Andersson head butts Yamamoto. It seems clear he does, but there’s also evidence suggesting he got his glove in between the two helmets so there won’t be a suspension forthcoming.

Blackhawks Letting Down Marc-Andre Fleury

It’s still far too early to be talking about the Chicago Blackhawks trading Fleury, but this is a goaltender who has one year remaining on his current contract and the Blackhawks have not played well in front of him over the course of the past two games. Fleury was chased from the net early in a loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The veteran goaltender wasn’t sure he wanted to come to Chicago after being traded by the Golden Knights but ultimately embraced playing the last year of his deal for the Blackhawks. He’s got a 7.06 goals against average and a .826 save percentage so far this season.

How long before the trade chatter starts? When you combine the fact his introduction into Chicago was iffy and the team has completely dropped the ball early, should they continue to pile up losses, this could get ugly in a hurry. Or, if he continues to struggle, one has to wonder if and when he considers retirement. He spoke ahead of Saturday’s game that this offseason was the first time he’d considered it.

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