The Last Word on Hockey is here to start your weekend with a dose of NHL Rumours. Teams are trying to figure out the future of certain players. There is plenty of wheeling and dealing to be made with the season ending in the next month. We have NHL rumours on the Boston Bruins, Los Angeles Kings and Winnipeg Jets.
All NHL rumours come from the original source and are subject to change.
Rumour: Joe Haggerty of Boston Hockey Now talked about Tuukka Rask‘s future with the team.
Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask confirms he's due for hip surgery for a torn labrum and reiterated he doesn't want to play for any NHL team aside from the Bruins as he faces free agency 🏒🐻🏆 https://t.co/frNGCoOIu1
— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) June 11, 2021
Analysis: Rask will have surgery on his torn labrum this off-season and he is an unrestricted free agent. However, Rask only wants to play for the Bruins. The Finnish goalie wants to stay put in Boston because of his family and can’t think of going anywhere else.
Boston does have to decide what direction it takes in the crease with Rask’s age. Rookie Jeremy Swayman showed that he deserves a chance to shoulder the load in net. Jaroslav Halak will also be an unrestricted free agent this off-season, but he may want a chance to see if he can be a starter.
Rask will be out possibly until the start of the new year and there’s no telling when he’ll be in game shape. He could decide to bide his time and wait to sign a deal. Swayman will definitely get his opportunity to become the Bruins’ future number one netminder. Rask wants to likely wash the taste of the Bruins post-season exit out of his mouth with at least one more season.
Rumour: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman stopped by The Instigators on Buffalo’s WGR 550 to talk Jack Eichel‘s potential landing spots.
— WGR 550 (@WGR550) June 10, 2021
Analysis: Friedman said that Buffalo could go to cap-strapped teams like Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs to see what they can squeeze out of them. The Los Angeles Kings have emerged as a contender to land the Sabres captain. There are a ton of prospects in the Kings system like Quinton Byfield, Arthur Kaliyev, Alex Turcotte and others.
Buffalo needs to restock multiple positions and getting a load of Los Angeles’ prospects would be a good start. Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams‘ tenure will be defined by what he can get for Eichel. He will be well on his way to turning things around if he can get a massive haul for a talented player.
The Sabres will shop around and the Maple Leafs could be tempted to make a big swing after another first-round exit. Tampa Bay is well over the salary cap and is going to have to make some hard choices this off-season. They could get Eichel, but they will have to shed lots of money to Buffalo in order to make the numbers work.
Rumour: Murat Ates of The Athletic Murat Ates said that re-signing Neal Pionk will be a top priority for the team.
Winnipeg Jets' 10 Biggest Offseason Priorities, from key contracts to Seattle Expansion to rebuilding the Jets top four D:https://t.co/DZdh9WIq0h
— Murat Ates (@WPGMurat) June 9, 2021
Analysis: Re-signing Pionk and Andrew Copp will be one of the first things for general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff to do this off-season. There will be some tough decisions with Paul Stastny‘s contract coming up this off-season. Derek Forbort, Mathieu Perreault, Tucker Poolman and others also enter free agency.
However, Ates singled out that locking down Pionk to a long-term deal is something that needs to be done. His $3 million deal for the last two seasons seemed like a bargain and it’s time for him to cash in. Pionk could be in line for a deal comparable to Josh Morrissey’s $6.25 million per season.
The big issue may be term with Pionk, who is arbitration-eligible. Winnipeg had an arbitration “war” with Copp and they don’t want to go the same route with Pionk. The blueliner is headed for a raise, but it may be a painful price to pay for the Jets.