It’s Monday and it’s time for our NHL rumours. The draft has come and gone and we’re a week away from the start of free agency. Things are going to get hot and heavy as teams try to woo free agents to come to their teams. We look at rumours surrounding the Toronto Maple Leafs, Florida Panthers, Philadelphia Flyers and Vegas Golden Knights.
All NHL rumours are taken from the original source and are subject to change.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Rumour: Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic and TSN said that restricted free agent Mitch Marner will meet with other teams when the window opens up on Monday.
The expectation is that the Marner camp will hear from teams when the RFA speaking period opens Wednesday.
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) June 22, 2019
Marner and the Leafs are engaged in contentious negotiations and other teams may ink the forward to an offer sheet.
Analysis: Signing Marner to an offer sheet could be a huge risk because any team that gets him would have to surrender four first-round picks. However, Toronto may be forced to tie up even more money on a high-end player. The salary cap being finalized at just $81.5 million did not help general manager Kyle Dubas.
Toronto did clear some space by trading Patrick Marleau to the Carolina Hurricanes, but it may have to contend with a serious offer from a team. Marner would instantly improve any team that signs him.
Rumour: Multiple sources have Columbus Blue Jackets Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky are in Florida to meet with the Panthers management group. However, Sportsnet’s John Shannon said the meeting will happen later in the week.
To clarify. Bobrovsky and Panarin are in Florida, as of tonight. But they are not meeting with Tallon until later in the week.
— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) June 24, 2019
NHL.com’s Mike Zeisberger said that general manager Dale Tallon will get to spend the money to build a contender. Those plans likely include getting Panarin and Bobrovksy. Owner Vinnie Viola gave Tallon that assurance over the weekend.
The Panthers also expect a decision to made on the future of Roberto Luongo before July 1.
Analysis: Adding the Russian duo would instantly give Florida some ammunition to stay up with their in-state rivals in Tampa Bay. The Sunshine State is a desirable destination thanks to the weather and having no state tax. Florida also has some pieces like Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau to build a team around.
The Panthers have $20 million in cap space as of now and want to get more fans into the arena. Adding primetime players will do that.
The Panthers drafted Spencer Knight with the 13th pick over the weekend, but he’s a few years away from taking over in net.
Rumour: Charlie O’Connor of The Athletic (subscription required) reports that Shayne Gostisbehere could be used as trade bait to land top-nine forward in the off-season. Philadelphia faces a cap crunch and probably can’t sign a forward without unloading the former Union College defenceman.
Analysis: The Justin Braun deal may have been the harbinger for a Gostisbehere trade. Phillippe Myers is likely going to take the third-pair right-handed spot in the lineup.
Vegas Golden Knights
Rumour: Jesse Granger of The Athletic (subscription required) said the Golden Knights will have to clear out salary for the impending William Karlsson deal. Some of the candidates include Colin Miller, Cody Eakin, Erik Haula and Ryan Reaves.
Darren Dreger added that teams are asking about Russian forward Nikita Gusev. Vegas may not have room to sign him to a new deal.
Keep an eye on Vegas. With Karlsson extension looming, teams are expressing interest in Nikita Gusev. Can the Golden Knights afford to sign him?
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) June 22, 2019
Analysis: The Golden Knights have some hard choices to make with the Karlsson deal coming. They’ll have to sacrifice some key players to make all the pieces fit.
The young Swede does love Sin City and looks to be locked in. However, there will be some younger and newer faces on the team with him.
TORONTO, ON – FEBRUARY 10: Mitchell Marner #16 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against the Ottawa Senators during an NHL game at the Air Canada Centre on February 10, 2018 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Maple Leafs defeated the Senators 6-3. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)