NHL Rumors: Simmonds, Yzerman, Lee, More

In today’s rumor rundown, there is news on the Flyers and Wayne Simmonds both wanting to reach a deal, a trusted NHL media personality hints as to what might be next for Steve Yzerman and the New York Islanders have a few free agents they need to reach deals with, among them is Anders Lee. Finally, is Rick Nash staying away from the NHL for health reasons? One insider is not so sure.

Simmonds and Flyers Working on Deal

Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Daily News is reporting that the Philadelphia Flyers and winger Wayne Simmonds are working on a deal that might be finalized before the player reaches the conclusion of his current deal.

Wayne Simmonds, Philadelphia Flyers
Wayne Simmonds has never shied away from the physical side of the game. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Simmonds is hoping to bounce back from a disappointing, injury-filled season and wants to stay with the Flyers but also says he’s not thinking about contract negotiations. “I’m not going to let this be a distraction, that’s for sure,” said Simmonds.

Meanwhile, Flyers GM Ron Hextall and Simmonds’ agent, Eustace King, have held some contract extension talks. The two sides haven’t reached a deal yet but Simmonds is confident.  When asked if he was at all worried, Simmonds responded, “That’s what the agent and the GM are for, and they’ll figure something out, hopefully.”

Related: NHL Rumors: Duchene, Coburn, Nylander, More

Yzerman to Detroit, Holland to Seattle?

Bob McKenzie said on his Bobcast that there are many who believe Steve Yzerman will eventually end up in Detroit. McKenzie said, “And I could see Kenny Holland moving up the food chain to make way for Yzerman, or I could see Kenny Holland maybe being a candidate or a possibility with the new Seattle expansion team.”

Steve Yzerman - Tampa Bay Lightning
Steve Yzerman (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

This isn’t a move that would happen right away as Holland signed a two-year extension as Red Wings GM and Yzerman still has one final year on his contract with the Lightning.

For Yzerman, the attraction to Detroit is his familiarity with the city, being closer to family and potentially building a strong team out of a young core that right now is not likely to make the playoffs. For Holland, a job in Seattle might be a situation where he can land a lengthy contract and try to build a team that, in some way, emulates the success of the Golden Knights franchise.

Related: NHL Rumors: Maple Leafs, Oilers, Ducks, More

Anders Lee and Islanders Talking Extension

The Fourth Period’s David Pagnotta is reporting that the New York Islanders are undergoing negotiations with homegrown forward Anders Lee about a long-term contract extension. If true, it would signal the Islanders wanting to stop the exodus of big stars with the departure of John Tavares.

Anders Lee - Islanders
Anders Lee, New York Islanders, September 17, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Lee is one of three Islanders forwards set to hit free agency next summer. He, along with Jordan Eberle and Brock Nelson could devastate the fortunes of the Islanders franchise should they all choose to leave for another opportunity.

Both Lee and Eberle have already spoken of their willingness to stay with the team and it appears the Islanders are keenly interested in working on Lee’s deal now versus later. Pagnotta adds that a new deal is not necessarily going to be announced in the coming days or weeks but Lee’s agent, Neil Sheehy, says he’s been frequently talking to Lou Lamoriello. Lee could earn upwards of $7 million per season over seven or eight years. How he plays without Tavares will play a big factor in his eventual contract.

Related: Maple Leafs Should Just Trade Nylander

Update on Rick Nash

While speculation is that Rick Nash’s lack of decision to return to the NHL is health related, Darren Dreger of TSN is reporting that may not be entirely the case. During a radio hit on Tuesday, Dreger said, “I don’t think that he’s got lingering effects or post-concussion or any of that stuff that has encouraged him to just step away from the game. I think that it’s a combination of things.”

Rick Nash #61 of the Boston Bruins
BUFFALO, NY – FEBRUARY 25: Rick Nash #61 of the Boston Bruins skates in warmups before an NHL game against the Buffalo Sabres on February 25, 2018 at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

Dreger didn’t completely ignore Nash’s health but said he thought the veteran forward not coming back was “more about his family life and enjoying being around his young kids – and he’s got a few of them, so he’s a busy guy.”

Right now, there’s nothing in the oven in terms of a deal but Dreger believes the possibility is still there Nash wakes up in a month from now and says, ‘You know what? The fire is still burning. I want to play.’ He should have interest from teams if he wants to return, especially clubs that struggle out of the gate.