In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Ottawa Senators signed a player but are also running into a potential snag with one of their stars. So too, there is more news on the negotiations between the San Jose Sharks and Tomas Hertl, plus possible trade chatter. Are the Edmonton Oilers close on a Kailer Yamamoto deal and the NHL has announced that players can attend the 2022 Olympics.
Senators Sign Drake Batherson, Tkachuk Contract Update
As reported by @Media_Sens the Senators have re-signed Drake Batherson to a six-year, $4.975 million AAV contract extension. The deal is heavily backloaded: Year One – $2.5 million, Year Two – $3.5 million, Years Three and Four – $5.4 million, Year Five – $6.5M, and Year Six – $6.55M. GM Pierre Dorion noted: “He possesses a strong ability to play at both ends of the ice, is a key power-play contributor and someone we expect to be a prominent player for us for several years to come.”
Sticking with the Senators, as reported by Shawn Simpson of TSN, a source close to Brady Tkachuk has stated that the player is trying to stay positive about his contract and future with the Senators, but is losing his patience with the organization. According to Simpson’s source a legitimate offer has not been made to Tkachuk. Simpson notes notes, “This is coming from the Tkachuk’s side of things and not from the Senators. So being a ‘fair’ offer is Tkachuk’s camp opinion and not the Senators.”
Simpson does admit this could be Tkachuk playing a bit of hardball as his brother and father were both known to do that during their contract negotiations.
Update on Hertl Situation in San Jose
One player the Senators might take a shot at if he becomes available is a player I mentioned in a previous report; that being Tomas Hertl. It was noted that the Sharks were going to wait until the end of the season on contract negotiations and Kevin Kurz of The Athletic offered up an update on Hertl’s situation and comments from the player.
He quotes Hertl who told iDNES.cz:
“I wonder if San Jose will want to re-sign me, and if I’ll want to stay there. I don’t want to think about it so it doesn’t negatively affect me. I’ll start the season and see how it turns out…. I also haven’t gotten any indication that they would like me to stay. No one ever knows what the bosses are thinking. I’m trying not to think about it.”source – ‘Tomas Hertl on Sharks future: ‘I’ll start the season and see how it turns out’ – Kevin Kurz – The Athletic – 09/02/2021
Hertl did confirm there haven’t been any meaningful discussions about a contract extension. NBC Sports Adam Gretz notes that money will be a factor when it comes to a Hertl extension as he could seek between $7 million and $8 million annually on his next contract. The Sharks only have $14 million in cap space for 2022-23 with 14 players under contract.
Might the Canadiens Use the Kotkaniemi Picks on Hertl?
Ken Warren of the Ottawa Sun wonders if the Montreal Canadiens might use the picks they obtain by not matching the Jesperi Kotkaniemi offer sheet, and try to swing a deal for Hertl? They might need to include both picks plus another asset, but it could be a deal that works.
He writes the Hertl trade talk picked up steam from a Canadiens perspective when the offer sheet was tendered. He writes:
That’s where the 27-year-old Hertl enters the equation. Would those picks (along with another piece or two) be enough to entice the Sharks to think about dealing him away?source – ‘Wading into the Sharks tank? Tomas Hertl could fill the Senators need for a top centre, if all the pieces fell into place’ Ken Warren – Ottawa Sun – 09/02/2021
Oilers Not Close to Deal With Yamamoto
Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal notes that the Oilers and forward Kailer Yamamoto are not close yet on an extension. He writes:
They are still grinding away, like Devin Shore working the corners, on a bridge deal, either one or two years because (A) the Oilers have dimes and nickels to spend not loonies and toonies with their cap situation and (B) they are still not sure what Yamamoto really is after he didn’t take a step forward last season. Is he a second-line right-winger with Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or a 3RW with Warren Foegele and Derek Ryan?source – ‘OILERS NOTES: What does Kailer Yamamoto get after Joel Farabee signing?’ Jim Matheson – Edmonton Journal – 09/02/2021
Keep in mind, the player has very little leverage in negotiations. One of the things that could be taking so long is that the Flyers just signed Joel Farabee to a six-year and $30 million deal and he had no leverage either. His numbers were almost identical to Yamamoto. The Flyers bet on what Farabee could provide after his entry-level deal expires at the end of next season, the Oilers aren’t prepared to go there with Yamamoto yet.
The expectation is that a two-year bridge deal of around $2 million – $2.5 million gets done with the player.
NHL Going Back to the Olympics
Finally, some good news on Friday as the NHL announced an agreement with the IIHF to have NHL players participate in the 2022 Olympics in Beijing. Assuming Covid doesn’t get worse or create a situation where players can’t attend, the likes of Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews and others will get their first taste of the Olympic experience.
Chris Johnston of Sportsnet reports that the players really pushed for this and had to agree to a few conditions, including being fully vaccinated, keep tight bubbles while in Beijing, and understand that they won’t be covered by COVID insurance and likely can’t bring guests.
Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”