We’re closing in on the Seattle Kraken expansion and NHL Drafts, and the NHL rumours are flying. Plenty of hard choices need to made about the future. Teams are trying to figure out whether to go all in or deal themselves out. Today we have NHL rumours on the Montreal Canadiens, Edmonton Oilers and Minnesota Wild.
All NHL rumours come from the original source and are subject to change.
Rumour: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman addressed the future of Canadiens general Marc Bergevin in the latest 31 Thoughts.
As always, I appreciate the readers. Without you, this blog doesn't exist. The final 33 Thoughts of the season:https://t.co/ySuBPTiqo7
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) July 10, 2021
Analysis: Bergevin is coming off a year where he put together a Montreal squad that got to the Stanley Cup Final. However, there is some uncertainty about his future. The Habs general manager said he’ll honour the last year of his contract, but is unsure after that.
The former Canadiens player said the last 16 months have been tough and a market like Montreal can do that. The spotlight is always shining and the pressure from the media and fans is intense. Team owner Geoff Molson seemed to be ready to give Bergevin an extension, but that’s now unknown at this point.
It’s understandable that Bergevin can be burned out, but he’ll have time some time to process the next step. Montreal could move him up to the President’s role and someone like Scott Mellanby or Martin Lapointe could be the next in line.
Rumour: The Athletic’s Allan Mitchell looked at possible moves at the goalie position for the club.
— Lowetide (@Lowetide) July 7, 2021
Analysis: Goalie seems to be a major weak point for the Oilers at this time. It seems like Oilers general manager Ken Holland will protect AHL Bakersfield Condors starter, Stuart Skinner. The hope is the Kraken will take Mikko Koskinen and his $4.5 million salary off the books. However, that seems unlikely Seattle will take the embattled netminder.
Buying out Koskinen would save the club $3 million, but Holland would have to address the position in free agency. Mike Smith seems to be closing in on signing a $2 million deal with another $1 million bonuses possible. The most likely scenario is that both goalies return since Holland probably won’t have a trade partner for the Finn.
Some think the team should take a run at Chris Driedger or Linus Ullmark, but the team may ride with last year’s duo. The 2022 goalie class is thinner with Darcy Kuemper and Elvis Merzlikins as the top name’s of that free-agent period.
Rumour: Michael Russo of The Athletic gave an update on the Kevin Fiala negotiations.
This week @RussoHockey joined us breaking down the Wild. Buyout potentials, updates on Kaprisov and Fiala negotiations, who they could lose in expansion and @frank_seravalli and I discussed Blackhawks, Lightning, Oilers, Canadiens and more. https://t.co/yEVLPSQV8W
— Jason Gregor (@JasonGregor) July 9, 2021
Analysis: Russo appeared on The Jason Gregor Show to offer the latest on the Swiss forward. He said that Fiala wants serious money at about at least $7 million per season. The Wild currently have $16 million in cap space but need to re-sign Fiala and Calder Trophy winner Kirill Kaprizov.
There’s hope that Seattle may take Mathew Dumba in the expansion draft and that would free up $6 million in cap space. Taking someone like Carson Soucy would eliminate $2.75 million off their books. Losing one of those names would hurt, but it would take some stress from general manager Bill Guerin in trying to re-sign his two dynamic wingers.
However, Russo thinks that Guerin has dangled Fiala as trade bait. Minnesota is in need of a top or second-line centre to bolster their offence. Joe Eriksson Ek took a big leap this season, but they need depth of the middle. Fiala could be just the piece that would entice a team to give up a top-six pivot.
The Wild do have an exciting group of forwards, but there need to be one or two more additions needed to be a contender when they move back to the Central Division.