NHL Rumors: Senators, Marleau, Byfuglien, More

In today’s NHL Rumors coverage, we look at a bizarre development surrounding ownership of the Ottawa Senators, Patrick Marleau’s future, and a timeline for Dustin Byfuglien’s decision. Plus, are the St. Louis Blues and Alex Pietrangelo making progress on an extension?

Related: NHL Rumors: McDavid, Byfuglien, Johnson, More

Robert Kraft Is Not Buying the Senators

Last night, during the Senators’ game versus the New York Rangers, a peculiar situation arose on social media. A Snapchat account by the name of Kathryn Kraft shared a picture from inside the Canadian Tire Centre (Senators’ home arena) with three emojis: money bag, handshake, shushing face. The internet quickly connected Kathryn Kraft with Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, and claimed that she was Robert’s granddaughter.

This led many to believe that Robert Kraft had interest in purchasing the Senators. However, in the hours that have followed, many issues with this claim arose, the biggest being that Robert doesn’t have a granddaughter named Kathryn, according to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston.

Johnston’s former colleague at Sportsnet, John Shannon, also joined in on Twitter, writing: “I’m sorry to break it to Senators fans, but Robert Kraft is not…NOT…looking into buying the Ottawa team.” Although it was a fun, short-lived rumor, it goes to show that you can’t believe everything you read on the internet. However, Shannon did write that “There are people kicking tires on the Sens, but Kraft is not one of them.” Perhaps in the future the Senators will have a new ownership group, but it’s pretty obvious that it won’t be the Krafts.

Related: Senators Ownership Saga Continues

Marleau Wants to Play, but do Teams Want Him?

Veteran NHL forward Patrick Marleau remains unsigned after his contract was bought out by the Carolina Hurricanes over the offseason. The 21-year pro and member of the 500-goal club hasn’t missed a game since the 2008-09 season yet hasn’t joined a team for the 2019-20 season. After not reaching the 50-point mark in any of the previous four seasons and regressing to just 37 points last season, Marleau is clearing slowly down, as would be expected by 40-year-old with over 1,600 games under his belt.

According to Johnston, Marleau and his representatives are confident that he’ll find a team at some point during the season. Johnston believes that Marleau likely had opportunities to sign during the offseason but that he was being selective. This makes a great deal of sense.

Patrick Marleau, San Jose Sharks, NHL
Patrick Marleau (Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports)

It was thought by many that there was going to be a reunion between Marleau and the San Jose Sharks, with whom he spent 19 seasons. However, as the Sharks filled out their roster, dwindling their cap space, it became evident that the team didn’t have room for him. It’s likely that Marleau is looking to remain close to the San Jose area where he and his family call home, but that limits his options. The Sharks have already passed on him, and the Vancouver Canucks, Vegas Golden Knights, and Arizona Coyotes have little cap space. That pretty much only leaves the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings and neither figures to be a playoff team this season. That leaves with Marleau with few possibilities. He can extend how far he’s willing to be from his family or can see if one of the lesser-competitive teams has interest in him. Either way, he’s running out of time and this is already a league that continues to get faster, pushing out veterans.

When Can the Jets Expect a Decision from Byfuglien?

As has been reported on by many, including myself, there is lot going on with the Winnipeg Jets and their situation involving defenseman Dustin Byfuglien. The blueliner, who was expected to be their No. 1 guy this season, took a leave of absence prior to the start of the regular season and it’s thought that he’s pondering retirement.

Winnipeg Jets' Dustin Byfuglien
Winnipeg Jets’ Dustin Byfuglien (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

It appears that the Jets are willing to be patient with Byfuglien, and according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, patience is going to be necessary. Friedman cited a conversation he had with Byfuglien’s agent who told Friedman that the situation isn’t going to end quickly and will take some time before being resolved.

I spoke today to [Byfuglien’s] agent Ben Hankinson and he said, ‘Look, don’t jump to any conclusions’…He says that this is not something that’s going to end quickly, it’s going to play out over a little bit of time.

Elliotte Friedman

In the meantime, the Jets are playing a depleted defense corps after they lost Jacob Trouba, Tyler Myers, and Ben Chiarot over the summer. They still have top pair guy Josh Morrissey, but they’re having to rely more on young guys than they thought and play people above their projected roles.

Are the Blues and Pietrangelo Making Progress?

Heading into the 2019-20 season, the defending Stanley Cup champion Blues had two key pending free agents to take care of prior to the 2020 offseason. One was center Brayden Schenn, who signed an eight-year, $52-million extension this week, and the other is captain Alex Pietrangelo. It’s expected that both Pietrangelo and the team want to get an extension done, but they still need to meet on salary.

Alex Pietrangelo St. Louis Blues
Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues, January 6, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

With his current contract holding a $6.5-million cap hit, Pietrangelo is due a sizable raise, and if he reaches free agency, will likely receive a cap hit in the $9-10 million range. According to Friedman, though, the Blues would like to keep Pietrangelo’s cap hit below the $9-million threshold on his next deal.

It is believed the Blues want him around Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s number, which is eight [years] times $8.25 million…

Elliotte Friedman

If Pietrangelo accepted such a contract, he’d be taking a very team-friendly deal. One thing is certain, we should see some developments in the near future as the Blues will be in Toronto to take on the Maple Leafs tomorrow evening. Pietrangelo’s representatives are based in Toronto and it’s thought that Blues general manager Doug Armstrong will be meeting with them to work on an extension.