NHL Rumors: Coyotes, Maple Leafs, Rangers, Bruins, Stars

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Arizona Coyotes are clearly looking for a goaltender and hoping they found one in their waiver wire pickup of Jonas Johnasson. Meanwhile, the Toronto Maple Leafs are looking around the league, even at recently signed PTOs to see if they can’t get another defenseman on their roster.

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The New York Rangers would like to start talking contract extensions with two of their future stars and the Boston Bruins and Dallas Stars have potentially run into contract negotiations problems.

Coyotes To Play Johansson Often Down Preseason Stretch

Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong talked with PHNX Sports’ Craig Morgan about the waiver wire pickup of Jonas Johansson from the Colorado Avalanche and said Johansson is expected to be on the ice at the team’s practice imminently. The plan is to play him as often as possible during the remaining preseason games to get as many good looks at the netminder as they can.

Jonas Johansson Colorado Avalanche
Jonas Johansson, Colorado Avalanche (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The Coyotes are hoping that Johansson comes in and proves he can be the primary backup to Karel Vejmelka. Neither Ivan Prosvetov nor Jon Gillies has grabbed that role when given the opportunity.

Maple Leafs Might Sign Someone Else’s PTO

TSN’s Darren Dreger reported in the latest Insider Trading segment that the Maple Leafs are on the lookout for another defenseman.  He believes there’s a chance the club will even sign a blueliner from a team that offered a PTO to someone but hasn’t signed them yet. That could explain one of the reasons Calvin de Haan was so quickly locked up by the Carolina Hurricanes.

Related: NHL Rumors: Canadiens, Senators, Blues, Oilers

Dreger said there’s less pressure to sign someone after the Leafs locked up Rasmus Sandin but that Toronto knows they could certainly still use some depth at that position.

Rangers to Begin Contract Discussions With Lafreniere and Miller

According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, it is believed that the New York Rangers have reached out to the agencies of forward Alexis Lafreniere and defenseman K’Andre Miller and expressed their interest in starting contract extension talks for both players. While the news of a hike in the salary cap by 2024 is a good thing, Brooks writes, “It will remain a challenge for Drury to negotiate those deals while facing a mere $1 million cap increase to $83.5 million for 2023-24.”

Alexis Lafreniere New York Rangers
Alexis Lafreniere, New York Rangers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Brooks also adds:

It would be a priority for the Rangers to hammer out extensions with both Lafreniere and Miller as early as possible, as the club was able to do with Adam Fox and Mika Zibanejad a year ago, before the 2021-22 season was three weeks old. Miller, who has been a top-four defenseman essentially since his first game in the league, seems poised for a breakout season. Lafreniere, who hasn’t quite been able to carve out a top-six role through his first two seasons, may well be in line for the same coming off his encouraging postseason run.

Pastrnak and Robertson Using Cap Increases to Gain Levarge?

The Boston Globe’s Matt Porter recently noted that the projected jump in salary cap over the next four seasons might be playing a role in the Bruins’ and Stars’ ability to get David Pastrnak and Jason Robertson signed to long-term extensions. With early projections suggesting the cap could rise to $92 million by 2025-26, contract negotiations with these two players could be more difficult.

Jason Robertson Dallas Stars
Jason Robertson, Dallas Stars (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Porter writes:

Consider what that could mean for Dallas rising star Jason Robertson, absent from camp and still an unsigned restricted free agent entering the weekend. Without many alterations to their cap structure, the Stars could fit him on a two- or three-year bridge deal worth between $7 million and $8 million. Is Robertson’s camp telling Dallas that an eight-year contract would be based on a salary cap that’s higher than $92 million? Approaching $100 million?

source – ‘From UMass to the Avalanche, Cale Makar had a plan and never veered off course’ – Matt Porter – Boston Globe – 10/01/2022

Porter adds that Pastrnak could be looking for $11.1 million per season and that an eight-year $88.8 million could be “more in line with fair value for No. 88”