It’s time for another batch of NHL Rumours on the eve of free agency. Players and teams have indulged in multiple meetings over the past few days to get an idea of where they stand on July 1. We have NHL Rumours from the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Tampa Bay Lightning and the Carolina Hurricanes.
All NHL Rumours are taken from their original source and are subject to change.
Rumour: Elliotte Friedman had on hit on NHL Now on the NHL Network stating that he has been told Montreal is going to do something and to not be surprised in Anders Lee is on their Radar.
“There is definitely interest in @leeberr09…Guys have told me Montreal is going to do something and don’t be surprised if he is on their radar.” – @FriedgeHNIC #NHLNow #NHLFreeAgency pic.twitter.com/cWNBKQGp4J
— NHL Network (@NHLNetwork) June 30, 2019
Analysis: Montreal has been linked to Matt Duchene as well and seems like he is their primary target. However, Duchene has also been linked to the Nashville Predators so if he chooses Nashville, you can bet Marc Bergevin will turn his focus to Anders Lee. The Canadiens are in the market for some scoring especially on the powerplay and Lee could certainly provide that. He scored 28 goals last season, 10 of which came on the powerplay. Lee should come a little cheaper than Duchene as well. This would leave Bergevin with some extra cap to work with to upgrade other areas of his roster if they do, in fact, sign him.
The Habs recent trade of Andrew Shaw clears even more cap space and indicates that Montreal is a big player in free agency.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Rumour: John Shannon tweeted earlier today that there have been teams calling the Leafs about centre Nazem Kadri.
Interesting to see the talk of Nazim Kadri over the last few days. Maple Leafs are not shopping him at all…but there are teams phoning about him.
— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) June 30, 2019
Analysis: Not surprising. After Kadri got suspended for the second straight year during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, teams certainly have to be wondering if the centre has officially worn out his welcome in Toronto. Not to mention, the cap restraints the Leafs have.
The Leafs are currently trying to clear cap to sign superstar Mitch Marner to a long term deal and at this moment just do not have the cash to do so. Kadri could potentially be sacrificed in order to make this work. Kadri has a very cap friendly contract with a cap hit of $4.5 million for another three seasons. However, after the Leafs signed John Tavares last summer, Kadri moved down the depth chart and has become expendable to the club. Kadri could slot in as a number two centre on a lot of other rosters around the league. He has proven to be capable of scoring 30 goals as he did so in back-to-back seasons for the Leafs before Tavares came to town. He plays a strong defensive game as well. It is definitely not surprising to hear of teams being interested in the Leafs agitator.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Rumour: Rick Dhaliwal of Sportsnet tweeted that he believes Luke Schenn will find a new home for next season and that the Tampa Bay Lightning have shown a lot of interest.
As of now, I believe Luke Schenn will find a new home on the market, Tampa Bay showed a lot of interest.
— Rick Dhaliwal (@DhaliwalSports) June 30, 2019
Analysis: The Lightning are looking for some cheaper options to help solidify their defence and Schenn provides exactly that. Schenn spent most of the season in the AHL last year. However, he did play 18 games with the Vancouver Canucks where he registered two assists. While he may not be an everyday player, he would be a solid sixth or seventh defenceman. Schenn is someone who can come in and out of the lineup and provide some toughness on the back end. Schenn should only command a contract between $800,000 to $1.5 million. He would be a cheap quality add for a team who is up against the cap.
Rumour: Luke DeCock tweeted that James Reimer’s time with the Hurricanes could be cut short.
James Reimer’s time with the Hurricanea could be short. Agreed to take on his contract to get out from under Darling buyout. Other potential moves in works.
— Luke DeCock (@LukeDeCock) June 30, 2019
Analysis: This comes as a surprise as the club just traded for Reimer. They also do not have another goaltender under contract for next season. Curtis McElhinney has told the club he will not return and Petr Mrazek is also in need of a new deal. Most would think Reimer would be able to provide a 1B option for a goalie tandem much like the Hurricanes had last year with Mrazek and McElhinney. At the very least, he would be a quality back up.
For a club who has a ton of cap room and Sebastian Aho and Petr Mrazek being the only notable free agent names on the roster, it would be surprising to see them move on from Reimer so quickly. The only way it would truly make sense is if they truly believe Anton Forsberg can be a quality back up to Petr Mrazek or whoever they decide to bring in as their starter.