The season could be over with sooner or later, but the NHL rumours are ready to go into overdrive. This is the time where hard choices need to be made and general managers are under pressure. We’re just weeks away from the Seattle Kraken expansion and NHL Drafts. Free agency is also right around the corner. Today’s NHL rumours focus on the Vancouver Canucks, Chicago Blackhawks and Nashville Predators.
All NHL rumours are taken from the original source are subject to change.
Rumour: The Fourth Period’s David Pagnotta said the Cancuks have made defenceman Nate Schmidt available.
One name you’ll see on the list is Vancouver’s Nate Schmidt. Doesn’t sound like things have worked out and we’re told he is on the block. He has 4-years left at $5.9M AAV and a 10-team no-trade list. https://t.co/FU8d4SZLXa
— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) July 1, 2021
Analysis: Things haven’t worked out between both parties, so it looks like general manager Jim Benning will shop the defender. It seems like the 29-year-old wants out of British Columbia. Schmidt has three years left with $5.9 million per season owed. The blueliner also has a 10-team no-trade list that can complicate things.
The St. Cloud, Minn. native scored five goals and got 10 assists in 54 games. It was the worst goal output for the American defenceman since his first season with the Vegas Golden Knights in 2017-18. Schmidt’s offensive output was his worst since he was with the Washington Capitals.
However, he should be in demand because he can an asset at both ends of the ice. Clearing Schmidt’s salary will give the Canucks some room to re-sign Elias Pettersson and Alexander Edler. It seems like the best idea that both sides move on and make the best possible deal.
Rumour: The Athletic’s Scott Powers said other decisions besides the Duncan Keith deal are on the team’s agenda.
A dozen things I’m hearing about the Blackhawks’ offseason https://t.co/W6w7ngLuJf
— Scott Powers (@ByScottPowers) July 3, 2021
Analysis: Powers probed into the expiring contract of defenceman Nikita Zadorov, who had a solid season with the club. Zadarov is looking for a deal of five years and $5.85 million per season. Chicago is trying to keep the number around $4 million per season, but it seems that negotiations are progressing. Bringing back Zadarov would be key for a team trying to figure out its direction.
Things aren’t going as smoothly in talks between Brandon Hagel and the club. It could be a long process as the two sides try to hammer out a deal. Hagel totaled nine goals and was a forward that did whatever the team needed. The Saskatoon native is looking for a well-deserved pay raise from the $880,833.
General manager Stan Bowman said that the team is still trying to figure out what they want to do with Vinnie Hinostroza, Adam Gaudette and Max Shalunov. It seems like there could be plenty of changes and Powers alluded that only Kirby Dach and Alex DeBrincat are untouchable. He also added that the team doesn’t seem to be part of the Jack Eichel sweepstakes due the large contracts they already have.
Rumour: General manager David Poile was on ESPN 102.5 The Game and talked how the team may make a side deal with the Kraken.
Poile says the upcoming expansion draft played into this trade: "I've had a couple conversations with [Seattle]. Ideally, if we could strike a deal to determine a certain player who we would lose, I'd like to do that."
— 102.5 & 106.3 The Game (@1025TheGame) July 1, 2021
Analysis: Poile added that the expansion draft was a factor in dealing forward Viktor Arvidsson to the Los Angeles Kings. The only GM in Predators team history was convinced that the Swede was going to be the player that Seattle took in the upcoming expansion draft. Nashville didn’t want to lose a 30-goal scorer for nothing and managed a couple of draft picks from Los Angeles. Arvidsson can be a solid scorer, but he’s been injury-prone the last couple of seasons.
There are some contracts like Matt Duchene and others that Poile would love to get off the books to give the team some cap space. The Predators would love to take care of goalie Juuse Saros and get him locked down long-term. Mikael Granlund may also want to return after his revival under new coach John Hynes.
Seattle should benefit from teams looking to offload some salary, but it can be selective on what they do take on. Kraken general manager Ron Francis certainly has the hammer right now.