NHL Rumours: St. Louis Blues, Winnipeg Jets, Florida Panthers

NHL Rumours

The Stanley Cup Finals are set. All other teams have set their eyes on the offseason but NHL rumours still remain. The St. Louis Blues are scrambling to hold together a contract negotiation that seems all but lost. A star forward from the Winnipeg Jets could soon find himself playing in a new city. There are rumblings of a vigilante defenceman heading towards the sunshine state.

All NHL Rumours come from their original source and are subject to change. 

NHL Rumours:

St. Louis Blues

Rumour: According to Darren Dreger of TSN, the St. Louis Blues contract negotiations with Alex Pietrangelo have completely fallen apart and he will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

Analysis: The Blues have been trying to figure out a solution to the Alex Pietrangelo contract situation for several months now. While there was optimism at the start of the season that a deal would get done, it has rapidly evaporated. Now it appears that the Blues captain will head to free agency to get his payday. Two teams he is rumoured to be interested in are the Toronto Maple Leafs and Vegas Golden Knights. Both teams are in a cap crunch so it remains to be seen if a deal can realistically be struck with either franchise. 

Without Pietrangelo, the Blues defence quickly thins out. Colton Parayko and Vince Dunn are two guys the team must keep around. Marco Scandella and Justin Faulk have signed large contracts with the Blues and should stay in St. Louis for some time. There are questions about their skill level, however. They are being asked to fill a rather large void in the lineup. It remains to be seen if they are capable of such an insurmountable task. The contracts for Scandella and Faulk also appear to be large contributors towards Pietrangelo leaving. He was reportedly upset that the front office pursued other options on defence before even speaking to their cup-winning captain about an extension.

Winnipeg Jets

Rumour: Elliotte Friedman has reported via 630CHED that Jets right wing Patrik Laine could be shopped around. (Laine hit is at the 8:48 mark of the interview)

It’s rumoured that Patrik Laine has become discontent with his role on the Winnipeg Jets. He has been relegated to the second line behind Blake Wheeler. He would rather play on the top line next to Mark Scheifele. Considering that Wheeler is the captain and is a top notch player, it seems unlikely that Laine could usurp his spot. Due to his situation, Laine seems uninterested in signing a long term extension with the Jets. At the very least, until he gets the role he wants in the lineup.

It’s rather clear that the Jets have a high end asset on their hands. Laine has scored 247 points in 305 career regular season games. In the postseason, he has notched another 16 points in 24 games. He should fetch a hefty price in a trade, no matter where to. Seeing as Laine’s first contract extension was very short term, he will be a restricted free agent when the current deal is up. The Jets have all the leverage in this situation. At the very worst, Laine hits free agency as an RFA and draws an offer sheet. Either way the Jets will get something for Laine. The advantage of trading him just becomes a matter of getting the package they want rather than was an offer sheet requires.

Florida Panthers

Rumour: According to Elliotte Friedman on the 31 Thoughts podcast, defenceman Mark Borowiecki could sign with the Florida Panthers in free agency.

Mark Borowiecki made headlines this past season for stopping an armed robbery in Vancouver. Now the hockey player turned crime fighter could be taking his talents to Sunrise, Florida. Only this time he would be playing on the blue line. The Florida Panthers are a team with immense talent on some very team friendly contracts. Their top four defencemen are a solid core group. By adding Borowiecki to the lineup, he could give this team an added boost. A possible replacement for Mark Pysyk, he would bring a much needed physical element to Florida’s game. They need guys who can protect Aleksander Barkov and Borowiecki fits the bill.

While with the Ottawa Senators, Borowiecki was asked to play a fairly prominent role on a rebuilding roster. Now 31 years old, he no longer fits the direction the organization is headed. By joining the Panthers, he becomes a third pairing defender. Behind Aaron Ekblad, Keith Yandle, Anton Stralman, and Mike Matheson, Florida’s defensive depth is immensely improved. Barring injury, Borowiecki is looking at a bottom pairing role. This is the best fit for his talents. Borowiecki doesn’t put up big points, but he also isn’t afraid to play a physical game. Now he can join a rotation on the bottom pair and play in a role better suited for his talents.

That does it for today’s NHL Rumours, be sure to check back tomorrow for another edition.

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