Hello and welcome to the regular Tuesday edition of NHL rumours! The NHL Draft is finally here. Not to mention free agency is only four days away. The news is coming fast and furious about what NHL teams will be doing this offseason. Last Word on Hockey will be here with every step of the way to bring you the news as quickly as possible. Continue to check with us each and every day for the very latest news and analysis from the offseason. Today’s NHL rumours feature the Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Minnesota Wild.
Rumour: Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reports that the Chicago Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins were discussing a deal that involved goaltender Matt Murray. Chicago had permission to discuss an extension but the deal fell apart. The Penguins are still looking to move Murray.
Hearing CHI/PIT had Matt Murray conversations and the Blackhawks had permission to discuss an extension. Things did not work out, so everyone continues examining their options.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) October 5, 2020
Analysis: We know that the Penguins are looking to move Murray now that Tristan Jarry signed a new three-year deal. The Penguins cannot keep both goaltenders with Casey DeSmith in the system. Chicago and Pittsburgh have been involved in trades in the past. What is amazing is that the deal got to a point where the Blackhawks were negotiating an extension with Murray. But, all of a sudden things did not work out between the two teams. Now, this isn’t to say the two teams will not work out another deal involving Murray, but for now, the current deal is dead.
From a Chicago point of view, they are getting a goaltender that can be their starting goaltender for the future. Even though Corey Crawford is still there, having Murray and Crawford is a solid one-two combination. Considering the schedule will be condensed next season having a suitable backup is exactly what teams need.
It is unclear what Pittsburgh was going to get from the deal. However, general manager Jim Rutherford has been adamant that he wants to trade Murray. But, you have to wonder if the deal was not up to his standards. However, it would not shock anyone if he circled back again to Chicago once he explores other options. There are many teams out there that can use the services of Matt Murray. But, how many teams have the cap space to sign a goalie of Murray’s calibre? This is definitely a situation worth monitoring.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Rumour: The Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning are already back to work. According to Pierre LeBrun of TSN, general manager Julien BriseBois will be contacting the camps of restricted free agents Anthony Cirelli and Mikhail Sergachev this week.
The respective camps for pending RFAs Anthony Cirelli and Mikhail Sergachev have been told by the Lightning to expect a call this week to get the ball rolling on contract talks. I think Tampa Bay is going to put its best foot forward. No messing around.
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) October 5, 2020
Analysis: With the salary cap staying at $81.5 million this season, one of the teams most affected was the Lightning. BriseBois did a great job adding the necessary pieces to cross the finish line and win the Stanley Cup, but now is when he will earn his stripes. According to CapFriendly, the Lightning have about $5.3 million to play with to sign restricted free agents Anthony Cirelli and Mikhail Sergachev. Not to mention, the numerous unrestricted free agents on the team. But, the team’s main priorities are Cirelli and Sergachev. These are two players that could get offer sheeted by other teams in the league. Both players earned a raise for their play in the regular season and playoffs.
With Tyler Johnson and Yanni Gourde both having full no-trade clauses and Alex Killorn having a 16-team no-trade clause, it puts the Lightning in a bind. You have to wonder if there is another significant player or two on the roster that will get traded to make room for these two young players. Could both players take bridge deals to stay? It depends on what they desire more… winning or money.
Rumour: Michael Russo of the Athletic joined Under Review with Mick Kern and Peter Berce on Sirius XM NHL Network Radio (subscription needed) discussing the Minnesota Wild‘s option at goaltender with Devan Dubnyk being traded to San Jose. Russo said the Wild will have an interest in bringing in Marc-Andre Fleury and Darcy Kuemper.
Analysis: With Bill Guerin being the new general manager of the Minnesota Wild, it makes sense that he has an interest in bringing in Fleury. Fleury and Guerin were teammates on the 2009 Penguins’ team that won the Stanley Cup. He knows what type of competitor Fleury is. Not to mention he believes that Fleury still has a lot left in the tank. Guerin has come into the Wild and shaken the foundation to the core. Trading Eric Staal, moving on from Mikko Koivu, trading Ryan Donato, trading Dubnyk, and possibly trading Zach Parise. Guerin’s message has been clear, this team has not been good enough. The Wild can get to the playoffs, but can’t advance any further than the first round. Having a goalie like Fleury could do that.
Russo isn’t sure if the Wild could get the deal done. But if they did a third team will need to be involved. As they will be retaining salary with Fleury’s cap hit. But, having a guy like Fleury gives time to one of the young goalies like Kaapo Kahkonen to develop into an NHL starting goalie. As Russo notes this will be all on Fleury on where he wants to go. Will his friendship with Guerin be enough for Fleury to say yes I want to go to Minnesota?
Stay tuned for two more editions of NHL Rumours here on a Tuesday.
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