Welcome to the Thursday edition of NHL Rumours! With the Seattle Expansion Draft in the books, all eyes turn to the NHL Draft this weekend as well as Free Agency next week. Even with some free agents signing contracts to stay with their current team once the roster freeze lifts, there are still a ton of big names out on the market. Which means the rumours are coming in hot and heavy. Keep it locked on the Last Word on Hockey for the latest news surrounding breaking trades and signings. In today’s edition of NHL Rumours we look at the Montreal Canadiens, Edmonton Oilers, and Vancouver Canucks
Rumour: According to former general manager Shawn Simpson a host on TSN 1200 says there is a lot of chatter the Canadiens will sign Mike Hoffman.
Lots of chatter Hoffman will sign with the Habs. Luke Richardson must be giving the green light on this. St Louis was trying to move him at the deadline, and he’s a player I would steer clear of.
— Shawn Simpson (@TSNSimmer) July 22, 2021
Analysis: There has been a lot of talk this off-season the Canadiens are looking to add offence. This should come as no surprise considering their lack of goal scoring was a problem when the playoffs came around, especially in the Stanley Cup Final against the Lightning. Marc Bergevin wants this team to get back to playoffs next season to justify the last two runs in the playoffs. He believes adding Mike Hoffman is the first piece to the puzzle. The Canadiens will have some cap manoeuvrability with Shea Weber and potentially Carey Price on LTIR to start the season.
Last off-season the Canadiens had an interest in Hoffman, but the price and term were not there for both parties. Then the Canadiens signed Tyler Toffoli and Hoffman signed a one-year deal in St. Louis. However, the Canadiens are circling back on Hoffman who is a talented goal-scorer. He has proven he can consistently score 20-25 goals and the Canadiens need that kind of offensive injection. That said, goal scorers are streaky as Montreal found out with Toffoli. So the price and term become the crux of the discussion. At the right price on a prove-it-type contract, this could be a home run play for Montreal. Though, anything longer than a year is probably not a risk worth taking.
Rumour: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman tweets that the Edmonton Oilers and Zach Hyman have engaged in contract talks and this could be a part of a sign and trade with Toronto.
and then there’s Zach Hyman. If TOR desires a draft pick, could be done today at 8 years. If not, 7 years when free agency opens. Either way, should come in around $40M….
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) July 22, 2021
Analysis: It was going to be tough for the Maple Leafs to bring back Zach Hyman without moving some serious cap space. Considering the big four on the team eat up most of the cap. Toronto gave Hyman and his agent permission to talk to other teams. One of those teams they talked to was the Edmonton Oilers.
It’s no secret that general manager Ken Holland has serious interest in bringing Hyman to Western Canada. The Oilers organization knows what he can do as a grinder which will open up the ice even more for Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. He did that for so long in Toronto for Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner. And as much as he wants to stay in Toronto, the dollars just will not work out.
Rare Sign and Trade
But the Maple Leafs could still get something out of Hyman’s departure. It is rare to see in hockey, but there is talk that the Oilers and Maple Leafs are working on a sign and trade. We see these more in other sports, but if the Oilers are looking to lock Hyman in for eight years, this is the only way to accomplish that. Otherwise, he can only sign a seven-year deal once free agency opens on July 28th. If the Oilers make the sign and trade happen, Hyman will be offered $40 million over eight years, which breaks down to $5 million AAV. It could be a little less than that if he signs for seven years. And that is the price range everyone thought he would get once he hit the open market. It will be interesting to see if the two sides can work out a deal to make this happen.
Rumour: Pierre LeBrun of TSN writes the Vancouver Canucks are focused on trading defenceman Nate Schmidt
LeBrun on TSN: “Vancouver remains focused on trying to trade Nate Schmidt and that activity has started to pick up. I suspect there is a chance he moves here over the next week…They’d like to go out and get two top 9 forwards here in this offseason.” #Canucks
— NHL Watcher (@NHL_Watcher) July 21, 2021
Analysis: The Canucks want to upgrade their top-nine forward group and they believe trading Nate Schmidt will help in that process. They just acquired him from the Vegas Golden Knights last year and while he has been good on their defence this season, the Canucks feel he is not the right fit for them. They know Schmidt has value to bring to another team and therefore are looking to trade him for assets they can use now. In addition, there are reports that Schmidt wants out of Vancouver. So if there is mutual interest in the parting of ways, the best thing the Canucks can do is move a player for assets.
This will be a difficult task to do for Vancouver. Schmidt has a 10-team no-trade clause and four years remaining on his six-year deal that has a $5.95 million salary-cap hit. And with a flat cap, it will be interesting to see what teams come calling for Schmidt. It could be that the ones that actually have the cap space to acquire him are in fact on his 10-team no-trade list. Not to mention the fact that he’s coming off the worst season of his career; that does not make this transaction any easier. Right now, Schmidt’s heart is still in Vegas and he’s looking for a fresh start. This is a deal that can be done at the NHL Draft.
That does it for this edition of NHL Rumours. Stay tuned for another edition on Friday.
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