NHL Draft Day Rumours: Tampa Bay Lightning, Arizona Coyotes, Vegas Golden Knights and Winnipeg Jets

NHL Rumours

The NHL Draft is here and, so too, are the NHL Rumours. Things are coming in hot and heavy as we are now just several hours away from the draft. In addition, there is so much free agency news out there. Last Word on Hockey has got you covered for the latest rumours and news from around the league. This draft day edition of NHL Rumours features the Tampa Bay Lightning, Arizona Coyotes, Vegas Golden Knights and Winnipeg Jets

NHL Rumours

Tampa Bay Lightning

Rumour: Dave Pagnotta of The Fourth Period is reporting that the Tampa Bay Lightning are looking for a first-round pick for either Tyler Johnson or Alex Killorn. Right now teams are not biting. 

Analysis: As we reported earlier in the day with our first of our four NHL Rumours on the day, the Lightning have a problem with the salary cap. They need to move players in order to sign their RFAs in Mikhail Sergachev and Anthony Cirelli. The Lightning have gotten permission from Johnson to seek a trade. And with no first-round pick in this year’s draft, they are looking to see if they can find a way back in there. However, the asking price they want seems a big high for both players. Johnson has a salary cap hit just north of $5 million, while Killorn has a salary cap hit just about $4 million. It is no surprise that teams around the league do not way to pay a heavy price for these players. Johnson is not as productive as he used to be. While Killorn has value, is not a player a team around the league will be throwing first-round picks away for.

Now, this is just the starting off point. There is still plenty of time before the NHL Draft happens to work out a deal. Plus there is still time during the Draft on Tuesday and Wednesday to get a deal done. Usually, that is when the action happens. As Pagnotta notes, the price for one of these players will likely come down. Considering teams around the league know how desperate the Lightning are to move one of them.

Arizona Coyotes

Rumour: Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reported that Arizona Coyotes defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson has put a deadline of the start of free agency as the last possible day he will accept any trades or he will remain with the Coyotes. 

Analysis: It is clear that Ekman-Larsson wants to go to two teams and two teams only. The Vancouver Canucks or Boston Bruins. The player is controlling where he wants to play next season as the Coyotes are looking to shed salary. One of the reasons he wants to play in Vancouver is because of the way they played in the bubble. Their offensive style fits his game and feels the organization has a good history with Swedish hockey players. However, things are not as easy as they seem. With only three days left to the start of free agency, the Coyotes have to put the pedal to the medal if they want to make the player happy. Both the Canucks and Bruins have the assets to make the deal happen, however, do these teams want to be strong-armed into doing so. Not to mention Ekman-Larsson’s cap hit of $8.25 million. The Canucks need that money to their younger players as well as a goaltender. Unless Arizona retains some salary in a trade to either the Bruins and Canucks, Ekman-Larsson is remaining a Coyote.

Vegas Golden Knights

Rumour: Justin Emerson of the Las Vegas Sun is reporting that the Vegas Golden Knights priority is to move Marc-Andre Fleury and are offering teams a second-round pick if they take half of Fleury’s salary.

Analysis: Now with Robin Lehner signed to a five-year extension, the Golden Knights need to clear cap space at that position. Again the Golden Knights are not in the driver’s seat in this one. Teams know they are in a bind and need to move Fleury as soon as possible as the Golden Knights are up against the salary cap. But picking up half of Fleury’s salary means that a new acquiring him does not have the room to sign other players. That is why teams around the league are setting the bar so high. Teams like the Carolina Hurricanes, Minnesota Wild, and others who are in the goaltending market want more in return. Especially if they have to take on his salary. We know Vegas wants to move Fleury. However, something has to give when it comes to the asking price. History has shown the Vegas Golden Knights are not afraid to move first-round picks, but in this case, they do not want to go down that route if they do not have to.

Winnipeg Jets

Rumour: The final of our NHL Rumours comes Frank Seravalli of TSN believes the Philadelphia Flyers are the most engaged in acquiring Winnipeg Jets forward, Patrik Laine

Analysis: The Jets and Laine are at a crossroads. It is clear that Laine has outlived his welcome in Winnipeg. He is a gifted forward that has the potential to be one of the best goal scorers in the league. However, he has made it clear he wants on the top line in Winnipeg. The Jets are looking for a defenceman and centre in return for Laine. The Flyers and Jets were engaged in trade talks around the forward, but things have cooled off with the retirement of Matt Niskanen. Now that doesn’t mean the two teams can’t circle back on a trade. The Flyers knew their defence was going to look different if they traded for Laine. The thing is there will be plenty of suitors out there for Laine. It is just a matter of not if but when this trade happens. While it appears the Jets are being sellers, in order to upgrade you need to be willing to part with something. And that something is Patrik Laine. That is the only way to improve in the NHL.

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