With the Stanley Cup Final underway, the focus is shifting more and more to the offseason. The NHL Rumours are coming in hot and heavy. The expansion draft, NHL Draft, and the start of free agency are right around the corner. Things are starting to pick up off the ice as the action wraps up on the ice. Keep it locked on Last Word on Hockey for all the latest news and rumours. In the Tuesday edition of NHL Rumours we take a look at the New York Rangers, Carolina Hurricanes, and New Jersey Devils.
Analysis: The Rangers and Jack Eichel have been linked for over a year now. It makes sense as the Rangers are in win now mode with the moves they made at the end of the season. He definitely upgrades a position of need for the Rangers especially since it is playoffs or bust starting next year. The question is how healthy is Eichel and do the Rangers want to pay the price for a player with neck issues. Remember Eichel has not played since March 7th. He is dealing with a herniated disk in his neck. Now it is unclear if Eichel needs surgery or not. But if he does, then that makes it a really tough decision. Because the Rangers are giving up pieces for a guy that may not play for the first three months. And not be fully like himself until the latter half of the season.
The Sabres are asking a high price for Eichel. They want something that is equivalent to several first-round draft picks plus a player that can play now. The Rangers are doing things the right way. They are ahead of schedule with the rebuild that has brought them to the position they are in. It has been accelerated because of getting into the Return to Play postseason last year. Does Chris Drury really want to give up pieces in his system and a player like Mika Zibanejad and a first-round draft for a player that has five years remaining on his contract with an annual salary-cap hit of $10 million? It is a tough decision, but the Rangers have the space to do it. It is on Drury to make the deal happen.
Analysis: The Carolina Hurricanes are in for shape up at the forward position next season. Not to mention on the defensive side of the puck. But that is for another post. Jordan Martinook is a free agent and appears to be testing the market. The more interesting name is Warren Foegele. Foegele has been a key piece to the Hurricanes offence especially during the team’s run to the Eastern Conference Final in 2019. This season in 53 games Foegele recorded 20 points (10 goals and 10 assists). He is a solid player especially playing in the middle six. However, the player and team seem destined to part ways. Foegele feels he wants a bigger role similar to what he had in 2019. And the Hurricanes agree.
As we have seen over the years sometimes a player needs a change of scenery. The Hurricanes are in a primed position to remain a contender for a long time. And if Foegele does end up moving, Carolina could get a player in return they can use now to make a deep playoff run. It will be interesting to see what the Hurricanes will be looking for in exchange for Foegele.
New Jersey Devils
Rumour: Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet in his 31 thoughts says the New Jersey Devils could move the 4th overall pick in the 2021 NHL Draft for a good young defenceman.
Analysis: Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald was very vocal during the teams’ cleanout day saying the team must start playing meaningful games again. A way to do that is getting back to basics when it comes to Devils hockey and solidify the defensive side of the puck. This has been an area of concern for the Devils for a while now. In order to get something good, a team must give up something good. The Devils hold the 4th overall selection as well as the 28th in the 2021 NHL Draft. If the Devils want to get better and get back to the playoffs and start playing meaningful games again they have to get a player that can play now. This means moving the 4th overall selection. The Devils want a good young defenceman in return.
Well, there are several young defencemen out there which include Vince Dunn, Seth Jones, and Rasmus Ristolainen. Dunn has been rumoured in trade talks for a while. And the Devils have in fact inquired about Dunn. We know Jones and Ristolainen are two guys that are looking for a change of scenery. Another guy to keep an eye on is Mikhail Sergachev from the Tampa Bay Lightning. With the Lightning up against the salary cap, do the Devils take a shot at him. All four would be great anchors to build around for the Devils on defence. Plus they are all young fitting with what the Devils have been doing. They want a young team that can grow together. Those are just some options the Devils can explore. But keep an eye on the Devils as they will have an active offseason.
That does it for this edition of NHL Rumours. Stay tuned for another edition this week.
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