Rumor Rundown: Two Big Names Staying Put. Markov, Tavares News

Things have started to settle down a little in the hockey world. What was a crazy couple weeks between the NHL Entry Draft and NHL Free Agency on July 1,meant that players found new homes, assets were traded, prospects learned of their futures and some in-house talent got signed to large extensions.

Just because things are slowing, doesn’t mean they’ve stopped.

Andrei Markov and the Canadiens

One of the deals many are eagerly awaiting news on is that of Andrei Markov, who is looking for a contract extension with the Montreal Canadiens. Recent news suggests that Markov is looking for a multi-year deal and the Canadiens are hesitant to do so at his asking price — two years for a total of $12 million.

Andrei Markov
Andrei Markov (Icon SMI)

Because the Canadiens aren’t solidly committing, Markov is rumored to be looking to the Philadelphia Flyers for interest. It appears only the Flyers are on Markov’s radar, but GM Ron Hextall has denied any communication with the veteran defenseman.

This deal wouldn’t really make sense either. Montreal is interested and even if they don’t meet Markov’s asking price, he’s likely to get more with the Canadiens than he would with the Flyers who have somewhere in the ballpark of $6 million remaining in cap space. If Markov’s delay in re-signing with Habs is money, the Flyers can’t give him more.

Tavares Playing It Cool

There is some panic in New York that the silence when it comes to re-signing John Tavares is troubling. But, Arthur Staple reports, that no news is not necessarily bad news. The fact that Tavares hasn’t committed yet is due to a few factors.

John Tavares (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

From the new arena to his relationship with Garth Snow (Tavares wants to ensure Snow will still be in charge) and the new Connor McDavid deal, all are affecting his decision. Tavares simply wants to wait and see what shakes down before he decides what to do.

It makes sense that as bigger deals get signed, Tavares will have better comparables. If the new arena hasn’t been figured out, Tavares may not want to put up with an arena who can’t even get the ice fixed. If his good friend Snow is gone, why would Tavares want to stay?

How other things unfold may determine the next steps for the center, who as a free agent, will have choices.

Cody Franson Waiting Again

When Franson signed his last deal, he had to wait until the end of the summer to get it. He patiently sat back until teams either struck out on other free agents or it became clear franchises had additional needs. He ultimately signed with the Buffalo Sabres for two years and for $6.65 million. It appears as though Franson is looking to do something similar again.

Franson may wait again for the right deal in free agency. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

There were potential rumblings that the New Jersey Devils might have interest, but beat writer for the Devils, Andrew Gross, seems to have shot down those rumors. It’s the two years that Franson seeks that might be the hang up and someone like Franson may become attractive to teams down the road.

Duchene and Kane Staying Put

Two of the players most rumored to be leaving their respective teams may be staying put after all.

Matt Duchene was probably the most popular trade-topic at the NHL Entry Draft as it was a near certainty he’d be traded. The New York Islanders, Boston Bruins and Columbus Blue Jackets were all rumored to be interested, but Avs general manager Joe Sakic had a pretty steep asking price. Sakic isn’t budging and despite a potentially soured relationship, Duchene may not go anywhere.

So too, Evander Kane seemed destined to be on the next bus out of Buffalo. Yet, in a radio interview, TSN’s Darren Dreger mentioned that Kane may not be going anywhere. Dreger admits there’s been some discussion, but he’s not sure with which teams and if anything does happen, it could take some time.

Evander Kane
Photo: Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers

Further to that, John Vogol, of the Buffalo News, noted, Sabers general manager Jason Botterill spoke highly of Kane and that new head coach Phil Housley have had some good discussions. Botterill said:

“Phil Housley’s had some great conversations with Evander already. We know how talented of a player he certainly is. From a scoring aspect I think it was 25 even-strength goals last year. How we want to play, he can certainly be a force. Our dialogue and interaction with Evander has been positive so far, and we’ll see where it goes.