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NHL Rumours: Arizona Coyotes, Ottawa Senators, Nashville Predators

NHL Rumours

There is a maximum of three games remaining until we crown a Stanley Cup champion. The 24-team tournament has flown by faster than anyone could have anticipated. The offseason approaches with every minute past. The Arizona Coyotes appear headed towards a massive shift under new general manager Bill Armstrong. An ageing forward for the Nashville Predators appears headed towards the open market. The Ottawa Senators are looking to reshape their roster just to get to the salary cap floor. As we are bombarded with NHL Rumours on a daily basis, we examine some of the most intriguing ones from the last few days.

NHL Rumours:

Arizona Coyotes

Rumour: Darren Dreger of TSN reported on TSN1050 that the Arizona Coyotes new ownership and general manager are both on board to begin a rebuilding phase.

Analysis: Our first NHL rumour looks at the Arizona Coyotes. The beauty of Arizona’s new situation is that they can totally restart with no emotional attachment to what they currently have. The Coyotes have a new owner and they just hired their first general manager in Bill Armstrong. They can begin this rebuild without hesitation since none of the players have been acquired during their tenure. Considering the organization has struggled for years with minimal success, a rebuild appears to be their best option moving forward. They have spent to the salary cap and were barely able to scrape into the playoffs. This team is due for a teardown.

Some candidates for removal include Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Phil Kessel. Ekman-Larsson was recently given a large extension and the captaincy. He failed to live up to the high expectations with a down year where he only put up 30 points. He has not had such a low total since only playing 48 games in 2012-13. Kessel is another player who failed to live up to expectations. When he originally joined the team in the offseason last year, Arizona looked primed to be a top playoff team in the Pacific Division. Instead, Kessel only added 38 points, less than half of his 82 one year ago. Arizona will likely try to capitalize on these assets during the offseason in order to start reshaping this roster in Armstrong’s vision.

Ottawa Senators

Rumour: TSN’s Frank Seravalli’s trade bait board was updated on September 24th and includes Ottawa’s second-round draft choices at number eight.

Analysis: The Ottawa Senators have the most desirable salary cap situation in the NHL. They are actually being forced to go out and spend money. From a front-office standpoint, it is a good problem to have. Normally at this time of year, general managers are struggling to find ways to keep their star players under contract. Pierre Dorion is actually going into this offseason trying to figure out how to spend as much money as possible. With roughly $38.2 million already distributed for next season, the Senators will have to spend at least $22 million this offseason just to hit the salary cap floor. With four draft choices in the second round, Ottawa could look to trade for some bad contracts to fill their roster gaps.

Already in full rebuild mode, Ottawa is doing everything in its power to acquire young talent. Brady Tkachuk and Thomas Chabot are two such players. These youngsters are in need of a veteran presence. One trade that makes sense for both sides, would be to trade a second-round draft choice for Brent Seabrook. While other assets may also be involved in this deal, it makes sense from Ottawa’s view. Chicago gets to dump a contract that could prevent them from resigning Dylan Strome or Dominik Kubalik. In return, Ottawa brings in a three-time Stanley Cup champion who could help teach their rising stars what it takes to win in the playoffs.

Nashville Predators

Rumour: The Athletic’s Adam Vingan is reporting that Nashville Predators forward Craig Smith will hit the open market this offseason.

Analysis: A talented Nashville forward is the subject of some NHL rumours. A fourth-round draft choice in 2009, Smith made an NHL roster for the first time in 2011-12. Since then, he has played an integral part in the team’s success. The 31-year-old appears headed to the second team of his career. Smith has played 661 games and put up 330 points in that time frame. Last season’s total of 31 points is not the strongest to go into the offseason with, but his history will be a massive benefit for him. Back in 2017-18, he nearly tied his career-high with 51 points. Smith is also a stout two-way player. He has only had a negative relative Corsi rating once in his career. With a 3.6 rating over his entire career, Smith should attract suitors looking to improve their defensive play.

Where is a Good Place for Smith to Land?

Smith made $4.25 million on his last contract. Now in the back half of his career, he probably will not make as much this offseason. If the Toronto Maple Leafs get creative with their assets, Smith would be a great addition. Toronto’s defence has hurt them in the playoffs in recent years. Adding Smith could they give them a boost. He can play on the right-wing or centre. Toronto will likely lose Tyson Barrie this offseason. By bringing in Smith, they can lessen the pain. He could centre the second line or play on the second-line wing. While his offensive numbers were not stellar last year, he should see a boost playing with better talent than Nashville. Smith could change Toronto’s future outlook considerably.

That does it for today’s NHL Rumours. Check back for more tomorrow!

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