NHL Rumors: Nylander, Zuccarello, Pavelski, More

In today’s rumor rundown, Mats Zuccarello knows he’s potentially looking at a limited window with the Rangers, Nylander and the Leafs are talking the but the team is also fielding trade calls, Zack Smith will likely stay in Ottawa and Joe Pavelski might not see a long-term contract extension offer from the San Jose Sharks.

Zuccarello Will Go if Not Wanted

Mats Zuccarello is one of the few remaining members of the previous Rangers regime after players like Rick Nash and Dan Girardi were moved. Despite the team heading towards youth and a rebuild, and even though he understands this could be his final season in New York, Mats Zuccarello is hoping to stay with the Rangers.

Mats Zuccarello, New York Rangers, NHL
Mats Zuccarello led the way for the Rangers in 2016-17. (Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports)

Zuccarello said in an interview with Newsday, “I think everyone knows that this is where I want to be, and if we figure something out, that’s my main goal.’’ He did say, there is a reason he could change his mind. He added, “But at the same time, if they don’t want me, there’s no point in me staying here if they don’t want me. Then I have to go.”

Zuccarello said that at the end of the day, whatever the Rangers decide is not up to him and that he has one final year left on his deal that he plans to play as well as he can. He’ll help the team win as long as he’s a member of the Rangers.

RELATED: NHL Rumors: Nylander, Duchene, Upshall, More

Leafs Taking Calls On Nylander

While the Toronto Maple Leafs and William Nylander try to work out a new deal — or as reports seem to hint, fail to work out a new deal — opposing teams are calling the Leafs and inquiring about Nylander’s availability.

William Nylander, Toronto Maple Leafs
It’ll cost a pretty penny to catch William Nylander and the Maple Leafs at home during the playoffs. (Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports)

A restricted free agent who hasn’t reported to camp for the Maple Leafs yet, Nylander and the team are in a stalemate. Nylander wants $7 million-plus per season and the Leafs feel he’s worth no more than $6 million.  The latest reports are that each side’s representatives have held talks this week but determining Nylander’s long-term value is the sticking point.

As the Maple Leafs try to navigate a tricky salary cap and not set a bad precedent in terms of future contracts for their young core of forwards — Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner — general manager for the Leafs, Kyle Dubas, admitted teams are calling. He was on Prime Time Sports on Tuesday evening and said, “I wouldn’t be doing my job if I wasn’t accepting calls from teams.” However, after making that comment, he was quick to add, “but I can say absolutely that we are not shopping him.”

Dubas said the conversations are more of a ‘how it is going over there? Let us know if things are not going to work out.’ versus a, ‘what would you take or let’s talk the pieces involved’ kind of talks.

Related: NHL Rumors: Faulk, Bobrovsky, Josi, More

San Jose Not Offering Long-term Deal to Joe Pavelski

The San Jose Sharks made a big move acquiring Erik Karlsson and naturally, that might affect other future contracts on the team. One of those might be the long-term extension for Joe Pavelski.

Joe Pavelski Sharks
Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks, Nov. 28, 2017 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

As was reported by Kevin Kurz in The Athletic, Dan Plante, Pavelski’s agent said:

“Since there hasn’t been a whole lot of talks about a contract extension at all, I would say that they are lukewarm or tepid, at best. It’s really kind of non-existent, so maybe non-existent is a better word. Joe would love to have something done… But, again, there hasn’t been anything to give me the idea that anything is imminent in any way, shape or form.”

source – ‘Joe Pavelski confident he can score more this season, but extension talks with Sharks have been ‘non-existent’’ – The Athletic – Kevin Kurz – 09/21/2018

It will be interesting to see if players like Pavelski are considered more expendable as the Sharks make commitments to players like Karlsson or if Pavelski is willing to take a shorter term to stay with the team.

Zack Smith to Stay in Ottawa

While there is some difference in opinion regarding the future of center Zack Smith in Ottawa, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun said the move to waive him was “just one quick attempt by the Senators to see if there was a taker.” There could be a trade if the Sens agree to absorb a lot of his contract or take a bad contract back, but he’ll likely stay in Ottawa.