NHL Rumors: Duchene, Point, Rinne, More

In today’s rumor rundown, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Brayden Point are going to hold off chatting contracts for a while, Matt Duchene and the Ottawa Senators are doing the opposite and the Nashville Predators are exploring different ideas with goaltender Pekka Rinne. There’s one team we know isn’t interested in William Nylander and another who is looking for some offensive depth.

Lightning and Brayden Point Pause Contract Talks

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois held contract extension discussions with Brayden Point’s agent week this week but that both sides agreed to cease further talks until after the season.

Tampa Bay Lightning, forward, Brayden Point
Lightning forward Brayden Point (Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports)

Point scored 32 goals and 34 assists with the Lightning last season has five points in five games for the Lightning this season. Should he continue this pace or keep a pace that resembles anything close to it, he will be in line for a hefty raise over his $650k salary.

The Lightning may have decided that because he’s going to cost a lot more than he does now, they might as well wait until the season is through before negotiating to see if he can have two consistently strong campaigns. For Point, it offers him the opportunity to maximize his production and potentially get a better deal, proving he’s scored 60-plus points more than once.

Related: NHL Rumors: Ritchie, Panarin, Lee, Red Wings, More

Duchene and Senators Hold Preliminary Extension Conversations

There are reports out there, including one from Postmedia’s Bruce Garrioch, that the Ottawa Senators and center Matt Duchene’s camp have started preliminary conversations on a contract extension. Duchene has said repeatedly that he has no interest in being involved in those negotiations but will be when it’s necessary.

Matt Duchene #95, Ottawa Senators
Matt Duchene #95, Ottawa Senators – February 3, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

We’ve said all along that Duchene might wait for a bit to see how the season turns out for the Senators. If they aren’t remotely competitive, Duchene likely would have no interest in staying as he’s been through that type of tenure before in Colorado. If they are better than some expect, Duchene might be willing to take a long-term deal.

If an agreement can’t be reached between now and the trade deadline in February, Duchene will likely be dealt as a rental player. If he re-signs, it is expected he would like raise over the $6.5 million salary he has this season.

When asked about his thoughts, Duchene said:

“That’s where I’m at right now. It’s going to fall in front of me where whatever happens, happens. At this point, I’m not too worried about it and I’m just focused on helping this team win. We’ll cross the bridge when we get to it.”

source – ‘Snapshots: Matt Duchene keeping his focus on hockey rather than contract talks’- Bruce Garrioch – 10/17/2018

Related: NHL Rumors: Doughty, Nylander, Penguins, Senators, More

Pekka Rinne and Predators Trying To Figure Things Out

The Predators have begun their first of many discussions with goaltender Pekka Rinne regarding a potential contract extension says TSN’s Bob McKenzie during an appearance on NBCSN (video link).

Pekka Rinne Predators
Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators Oct. 19, 2017 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Unlike many of the big-name looming free agents in the NHL, Rinne is in potentially a different situation with the Predators as he might be willing to sign shorter-term deals versus the current seven-year contract he’s currently fulfilling. The reason for this thinking is that at the age of 36, a long-term deal won’t work and the Preds have Juuse Saros under contract on a three-year, $4.5MM contract.

This puts a bit of pressure on Rinne if he wants to stay put since he knows the team is already grooming his replacement.

Related: NHL Rumors: Matthews, Bobrovsky, Kotkaniemi, More

Oilers Not Interested in William Nylander

Darren Dreger said on TSN that while there are teams keeping an eye on the situation in Toronto and potentially hoping William Nylander pops free, the Edmonton Oilers are not one of them. Despite needing to bolster their depth at wing, and Nylander would be a welcome addition, Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli is not pursuing the winger.

William Nylander Maple Leafs
William Nylander, Toronto Maple Leafs, Dec. 12, 2017 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The reason is likely their lack of cap room, and the expectation that anyone who lands Nylander will be paying somewhere in the neighborhood of $6.5-$7.5 million per season. This is something the Oilers simply can’t afford so the mentality is likely, why even look?

According to Elliotte Friedman, the Maple Leafs and William Nylander‘s camp have talked about a bridge deal in the $4.8 and $6 million range. Nylander’s camp is worried that the Leafs could eventually trade him if they have salary cap troubles.

Boston Bruins Looking for Depth Scoring

Joe Haggerty of NBC Sports Boston reports that while the Boston Bruins have one of the most dangerous top lines in hockey, the remaining Bruins have only scored nine goals total in their first six games. This has the Bruins concerned and rumors are the team is going to have to look externally for offensive help.

Speculation is the Bruins are looking to trade for a center, one who can bring some more stability to the third line. This is the role Riley Nash used to play before the team lost him in free agency.

There are some that think the Bruins might go big-fish hunting and look at Artemi Panarin, but that could cost them a young forward like Jake DeBrusk.