Welcome back to NHL Rumours where we look at the latest going around the league each day. Even though the playoffs are still going on, lots of eliminated teams are already starting to look forward due to a shortened offseason. That leads to lots of NHL rumours from around the league. This morning, we have a very heavy Canadian based version of NHL rumours. We’ll be taking a look at the Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks and Ottawa Senators.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Rumour: We start NHL Rumours in Toronto as TSN’s Pierre LeBrun was on TSN1050 and mentioned that there appears to be mutual interest between Alex Pietrangelo and the Toronto Maple Leafs. However, that is if Pietrangelo decides to leave the St. Louis Blues.
Pierre Lebrun says on TSN1050 he believes there is a mutual interest between the Leafs and Pietrangelo if he doesn’t re-sign and that Pietrangelo is frustrated he doesn’t have a deal done with St Louis.
— J (@Account4hockey) September 17, 2020
Analysis: With the offers that St. Louis has been offering Pietrangelo, it isn’t surprising to see his name being dropped elsewhere. The Blues have a salary cap issue of their own that they’ve put themselves in. However, losing their captain and Norris level defenceman would be a massive hit for the franchise. The real question is, would he be a fit in Toronto? Obviously any team would want a top player. But the Maple Leafs are already near the salary cap and will be going forward.
It is possible to fit Pietrangelo, but the depth might take a hit. The biggest question will be can the top talent carry lesser depth all the way? Toronto has long needed some defence. Their forward group is stacked with names like Auston Matthews, John Tavares, Mitch Marner, and William Nylander. However, their defensive side of the game leaves a lot to be desired. Getting a top defenceman would almost certainly fix that though.
The one big issue here is what would a contract look like? Not just the money that is an issue, but the term too. Pietrangelo will be 31 years of age when the new season starts. That is getting up there for NHL defenceman and any teams who want to sign him need to be cautious. He is amazing right now, but we have seen multiple players fall off in their 30’s. If you pay him and he isn’t the defenceman he is now in a few years, what are you left with? For a team like Toronto, you might be left with a contract that ultimately hurts your window long term. Regardless, we will have to get to that point first. Keep your eyes on NHL Rumours to see the latest on Pietrangelo.
Rumour: The Athletic’s Michael Russo was on TSN1040 today and mentioned that Vancouver was talked about as a team for Matt Dumba. However, he feels the Minnesota Wild want a centre going the other way and Vancouver won’t be offering Elias Pettersson or Bo Horvat, understandably.
“I know there’s a lot of talk that Vancouver could be a possible player in terms of Dumba, but if Vancouver doesn’t have the centre to make that happen..and I can’t imagine Jim Benning is waking up and is gonna trade Pettersson or Horvat…I just don’t see the fit.”@RussoHockey pic.twitter.com/3mc6dRdeTZ
— TSN Radio Vancouver (@TSN1040) September 17, 2020
Analysis: Dumba would be an interesting fit to the Canucks blueline but it certainly appears a few things will keep that from happening. Vancouver isn’t moving from its top two centres and for good reason. Pettersson is an elite young player and Horvat is also amazing, and the heartbeat of the team.
Even if a different package could be met somehow, there would also be the question of the salary cap. Vancouver needs to be cautious of it too as their young players are starting to be due for big raises. They are building a very good looking core, but that will cost them too. Some other players who make a bunch of money are already making things tight. Adding someone like Dumba, even with his skill, would add to that issue.
For now, it seems like a good idea for Vancouver to leave the Dumba talks away. Minnesota’s want for a centre comes from them trading Eric Staal, but there just isn’t enough value to trade Dumba to Vancouver right now. They want immediate help and Vancouver just doesn’t have the players to fit that.
Analysis: The Senators have a ton of assets, so it makes sense that they are calling to see what teams are looking at moving. The mix of assets and cap space puts them in a unique position. However, they need to be sure the players they are picking up are the right ones for the future. Spending assets just to spend assets is never a good move for an NHL team. LWOH has broken down why the Senators should stay away from Murray already. However, there are some reasons they might want a goalie.
The Sens don’t have a sure thing in net going forward. They do have some interesting goalie prospects though. If Ottawa wanted to make sure they have someone for the future, taking a gamble on a 26-year-old who already has won two Stanley Cups doesn’t seem like the worst bet. The fact of the matter is, Ottawa won’t be competing next year. So, they certainly have some time to try and figure things out.
Ottawa will likely be one of the busiest teams this offseason. They have a ton of free agents to sign and also have cap space to work with. No doubt teams that need to shed salary could call Ottawa up to see if they are interested in any of their players. Murray may have just been one of the first.