NHL Rumors: Maple Leafs, Bruins, Red Wings, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there are updates from a few sources on Mitch Marner’s situation, there are reports the Boston Bruins and Charlie McAvoy are set to resume contract talks and with Niklas Kronwall officially retiring today, what does that mean for the Detroit Red Wings blue line? Finally, is Justin Williams really staying away from the NHL?

More Mitch Marner Updates

Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun writes that a year ago the Toronto Maple Leafs and GM Kyle Dubas may have missed a huge opportunity with Mitch Marner.

Toronto Maple Leafs Mitch Marner
Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Mitch Marner (Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports)

Simmons writes:

I’m told the Leafs could have signed Marner a year ago for eight years and $8 million a year but they thought it was too much at the time.

source – ‘SIMMONS: Racism in hockey needs to disappear at all levels of the game’ – The Toronto Sun – Steve Simmons – 08/31/2019

Now, Simmons says the Maple Leafs are hoping to have a Marner deal in place by October of this year and that Marner doesn’t miss any of the regular season. All the while, the Maple Leafs are now well aware Marner is going to cost far more than $8 million per season when this is all said and done. Dubas told Bob McKenzie in a sit-down interview that he sometimes looks back and wonders if they should have done anything differently but realizes all these teams are in the same situation with their RFA’s.

Mark Zwolinski of the Toronto Star thinks the Maple Leafs and Marner could be closing in on a three-year bridge deal before the big deal hits.

Zwolinksi writes:

Marner’s status could change over the next 10 days. There are no signs pointing to a deal but there is a belief that the parties might be closing in on a three-year contract with an average annual value of $9.5 million (U.S.) — in short, a lucrative bridge deal before what could be an even bigger payday.

source – ‘The Leafs’ top line heading into training camp is John Tavares and (insert two names here)’ – The Toronto Star – Mark Zwolinksi – 09/01/2019

In respect to rumors of a Marner trade, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reached out to Dubas and was told:

“That’s not a real avenue that we’ve even remotely explored. It’s our full intention that Mitch Marner will be a Toronto Maple Leaf for a very long time and that’s everything we’re working towards.”

At the same time, Darren Dreger was on TSN1050 and said that after Kawhi Leonard left the Toronto Raptors, sources told him they believed MLSE was applying pressure on Brendan Shanahan to make sure the Maple Leafs to do everything to keep Marner in the fold.

Related: Ranking NHL Teams By Defencemen

McAvoy and Bruins to Start Talking Again

Jimmy Murphy of Boston Hockey Now writes that the Boston Bruins and restricted free agent defenseman Charlie McAvoy are set to resume contract talks. This comes after a point where both sides took a step back to reassess their stances.

Tuukka Rask Charlie McAvoy
Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask and Charlie McAvoy celebrate (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

There was speculation last February that McAvoy had rejected an offer similar to Aaron Ekblad‘s eight years at $7.5 million per season. The Bruins wanted something at around $2 million less. Now, it sounds like the two sides may have settled in on the idea of a bridge deal.

Murphy writes:

“Both sides have been hammering away but a point was reached where you just need to step back and regroup,” the source told Boston Hockey Now Sunday morning. “Like it has been with most of the unsigned RFA’s for the last week or two, it was the same with him and the Bruins. Everyone wants to hammer this out and get a deal done.”

The Bruins are especially keen to hammer this deal out so they can focus on trying to re-sign Brandon Carlo.

Related: Do You Know Your Bruins Trivia?

Kronwall Retirement Opens Spot For Young Talent

Already going through an obvious rebuild, the Detroit Red Wings will now have to rely on more youngsters and expiring veteran contracts after the announcement that Niklas Kronwall is retiring and joining the Red Wings front office.

Niklas Kronwall Dec 2018
Niklas Kronwall #55, Detroit Red Wings – December 18, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Losing Kronwall was inevitable, but there was some thought he’d return just to try and hit the 1,000-game marker; he’s just 47 games shy. His exit will put a lot of pressure on veterans like Mike Green, Jonathan Ericsson, and Trevor Daley, all of whom enter the final years under contract.

This means the Red Wings either need to go out and find a younger talent to step in or hope their farm system has produced someone ready to take that next step.

Related: NHL Rumors: Canadiens, Senators, Stars, Sabres, More

Justin Williams Will Be Back?

Sara Civian of The Athletic suggests fans not get too used to the idea that Justin Williams will stay away from the NHL. He purposely did not say he was “retiring” and that may be because he intends to return.

Justin Williams Hurricanes
Justin Williams, Carolina Hurricanes, Mar. 1, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Civian writes:

To be clear, this is not a retirement. Some sources already are entertaining the possibility of a Mike Fisher-esque return, though it’s all still very much up in the air. Williams primarily did not want to cause a distraction for the team heading into training camp, and he didn’t want any drama as he continues to soul search.

source – ‘What does Justin Williams’ break from the NHL mean for the Hurricanes?’ – Sara Civian – The Athletic – 09/02/2019