We’re over a week removed from the start of free agency, but there are plenty of NHL rumours still out there. Teams are trying to re-sign some of their veterans or clear out space to move them. There also is the possibility of an offer sheet to a restrict free agent. Today’s NHL rumours cover the Boston Bruins, Winnipeg Jets and Columbus Blue Jackets.
All NHL rumours come from the original source and are subject to change.
Rumour: The latest edition of TSN’s Insider Trading said captain and veteran defenceman Zdeno Chara was “exploring all options.”
INSIDER TRADING: #TSNHockey Insiders discuss…
🏒 Laine camp says trade would be mutually beneficial
🏒 Possibility of 🇨🇦 division next season
🏒 Chara’s camp ‘looking at all options’
🏒 Update on OHL start date; contact & checking
— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) October 15, 2020
Analysis: It would be weird to see Chara in a different sweater than the Boston “B”, but it has happened before. Chara played with the Ottawa Senators and New York Islanders before finding a home in Boston. The big defender’s agent told Pierre LeBrun that it’s not a slam dunk that Chara returns to Boston.
Chara is going to factor his family into his decision and is awaiting what the format for the 2020-21 season will look like. He will be in a “holding pattern” until a season gets a start date. The Bruins are obviously the favourite to retain their captain, but anything is possible in 2020. Chara is 43 years old, but played a solid role for the Bruins. He’d be a veteran force if he does move to a new team.
Rumour: LeBrun went on to report that the Jets expect to deal Patrik Laine some time, but he won’t hold out of training camp.
Analysis: Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff is at a crossroads with his Finnish superstar. However, he’s not going to trade him just for the sake of dealing. He’ll get the best possible deal he can get for Laine that will benefit his club.
Laine’s contract comes off the books from his $6.75 million deal, but he’s going to be expecting big money wherever he goes. The 22-year-old hasn’t been getting first-line minutes and may be getting them elsewhere. Both parties agree a trade would “mutually beneficial” to the two sides. The trade will happen, but the mystery is who is in play to acquire him.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Rumour: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman talked about the Blue Jackets plans now that they missed out on names like Alex Pietrangelo and Taylor Hall. Friedman mentioned these things in his 34 Thoughts column.
Analysis: The Jackets cleared out a lot of salary cap space in order to make a play for one of the bigger-name free agents. Columbus moved one of their better assets in Ryan Murray in a trade to try to make something happen. However, they came up empty in their quest.
Friedman speculated that the city was close enough to St. Louis for Pietrangelo and Brad Shaw, who was with the St. Louis Blues organization, is a scout with the Jackets. Columbus has a desire to make a big splash and Pietrangelo would have been that.
However, missing out on the big stars may have some benefits. Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen now has flexibility. The biggest concern is fending off a possible offer sheet for restricted free agent Pierre-Luc Dubois. However, the current financial market may prevent teams from jumping into the deep end of the pool. Offer sheets likely won’t be a thing this off-season due to the flat cap and the financial uncertainty thanks to the current global health situation.