NHL Rumors: Maple Leafs, Ducks, Senators, Jets

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, there is more talk about the Toronto Maple Leafs and conversations with Kyle Dubas about his future. Meanwhile, goaltender Ilya Samsonov talked about joining the team. The Anaheim Ducks are going to wait on signing their future stars, while there is talk about how much negotiation happens between the Ottawa Senators and Alex DeBrincat this season. Finally, Pierre-Luc Dubois says he could see himself sticking long-term with the Winnipeg Jets.

Samsonov Chose Maple Leafs Over More Lucrative Offers

According to Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun, goaltender Ilya Samsonov signed a one-year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs but could have signed a longer deal with another team based on the offers that were out there for him. He reported that Samsonov received multi-year offers from other teams but chose the Leafs: “It was good for me and good for the team.”

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This is going to be an interesting year for Samsonov who is in tandem with Matt Murray and there are real questions about what Murray will be able to deliver after some less-than-stellar seasons in Ottawa.

Maple Leafs Taking Risk with Dubas Hesitation

Also in Toronto, there is a lot of talk about the fact the team isn’t ready to commit to GM Kyle Dubas. Chris Johnston of North Star bets thinks it would be “lunacy” if the Maple Leafs don’t offer him an extension before the season is out, but he understands the crowd that is hesitant because of a lack of playoff success.

Kyle Dubas Toronto Maple Leafs GM
Kyle Dubas, Toronto Maple Leafs GM (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Johnston writes:

…the possibility of significant organizational change hovers undeniably over the 2022-23 season if further progress isn’t made. It would be difficult to infer anything else from a recent meeting between Leafs president Brendan Shanahan and Dubas, where the GM was told no extension was forthcoming as he entered the final season remaining on his existing deal.

Related: Maple Leafs Must Be Willing to Go All-In for a Stanley Cup

Johnston argues that one of the risks Toronto runs is sending Dubas out and that upsetting Auston Matthews. Matthews and Dubas are close and introducing a new GM into the mix when negotiations are already ongoing could be problematic.

Ducks Not Rushing to Sign Free Agents

Eric Stephens of The Athletic is reporting that Anaheim Ducks’ new GM Pat Verbeek said there is no rush to get contract extensions done for Trevor Zegras, Troy Terry, or Jamie Drysdale. While these three players are arguably the future of the organization, and there could be preliminary talks with each player, he wants them to focus on their respective seasons.

Trevor Zegras Anaheim Ducks
Trevor Zegras, Anaheim Ducks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Verbeek is worried about looming new contracts being a potential distraction so it’s best simply to let the players know they’ll talk about things later. Stephens quotes the GM who said:

“I look back when I was a player. You go through the whole situation. There’s nothing worse than players thinking about their contract. Nothing worse than it being a distraction. I just want the players to concentrate. We’ll talk at the appropriate time. I may talk to the agents over the course of the season. But when it comes down to it, this stuff won’t get done until the end of the season.”

source – ‘Contract talks with Trevor Zegras will wait to avoid distraction, Ducks GM says’ – Eric Stephens – The Athletic – 09/22/2022

Senators and DeBrincat Speculation

Ian Mendes of The Athletic writes that all eyes will be on Alex DeBrincat in Ottawa this season as discussions about a contract extension could be a potential cloud hanging over the campaign. He is due to become a restricted free agent next summer and is just a year away after that from UFA eligibility.

Alex DeBrincat, Chicago Blackhawks
Alex DeBrincat, Chicago Blackhawks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

DeBrincat will earn $9 million in actual salary and that will be his minimum qualifying offer if they want to keep him on a one-year deal. Mendes writes:

If DeBrincat finds his groove in Ottawa this season and hits the 40-goal plateau again, it’s reasonable to surmise his camp would want him to become the highest-paid player on the Senators roster. But how DeBrincat fits on and off the ice in Ottawa will be one of the most interesting storylines to monitor this season.

source – ‘Senators training camp: One pressing question for every player’ – Ian Mendes – The Athletic – 09/21/2022

Dubois Says He Could See Himself Staying in Winnipeg

For all of the chatter that Pierre-Luc Dubois might be slowly working his way out of Winnipeg, he continues to say the right things for fans who want to see him sign an extension with the Jets. Darren Dreger of TSN spoke with Dubois ahead of Jets training camp this week and asked about the rumors surrounding his desire to merely accept a qualifying offer.

Dubois’ response was that he could himself staying long-term. He said:

I could see myself in Winnipeg in the future. Just this summer I didn’t have the answer. Everyone wants an answer immediately, that’s kind of the world we’re in. But it’s my life at the end of the day. It is a decision that six, seven, eight years is a long time to bring me toward the end of my career. It’s not just me, it’s also a family that I have. It is a big decision that this past summer I wasn’t ready to make. 

Part of it might be waiting to see how he feels about the team and their success this year. He did note that things already feel different and in a positive way.