We’re just a couple days away from the start of free agency and the NHL rumours are getting more intense. It’s going to be a nervous next few days as we await what players go where. General managers are going to make some tough choices and we’ll sort out all the NHL rumours. Today’s rumours focus on the Washington Capitals, Seattle Kraken and Ottawa Senators.
All NHL rumours come from the original source and are subject to change.
Rumour: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman looked into the Alex Ovechkin negotiations with the Capitals.
Sunday 31 Thoughts podcast: draft weekend. https://t.co/oISuvKo1Ia
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) July 25, 2021
Analysis: Friedman prefaced everything by saying the deal was just a guess. However, he said that Ovechkin would likely sign a three or four-year deal worth $10 million per season. The Capitals captain is an unrestricted free agent, but he’ll re-sign with the team in all likelihood. The “Great Eight” is still chasing Wayne Gretzky‘s scoring record, but he’s 164 goals behind. Ovechkin was definitely hurt by losing out on games due to coronavirus.
The Capitals currently have over $9 million in cap space, so they would have to clear out some salary. Washington also has to find a way to get Ilya Samsonov under contract and find reinforcements after losing Vitek Vanecek. The retirement of Craig Anderson and the uncertainty around Henrik Lundqvist is also an issue.
However, Ovechkin has earned the right to pick out his own salary. He’s still the captain and a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He’ll still be counted on the among the league leaders in scoring. Both sides will find a way to get a deal done.
Rumour: The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun looked into what the expansion team will do during free agency.
LeBrun: Hurricanes' negotiations with Dougie Hamilton, Kraken prepared for big free agency, Flyers shake up roster
— PHWA (@ThePHWA) July 25, 2021
Analysis: Both LeBrun and Friedman think that Jaden Schwartz will be heading to the Pacific Northwest. The Kraken had an exclusive window with unrestricted free agents and it’s likely a done deal. Schwartz carried a $5.35 million cap hit with the St. Louis Blues, but this is the flat cap era. Seattle general manager Ron Francis might get some sort of discount if we look at trends.
The Kraken have taken a different track at building a contender than the Vegas Golden Knights did. Seattle has $30 million in cap space, but do have a few restricted free agents to sign. Vince Dunn, Carsen Twarynski, William Borgen, Gavin Bayreuther, Cale Fleury and Dennis Cholowski are all RFAs. UFAs like Colin Blackwell are also being considered. Some question the Kraken’s draft strategy, but Francis stressed cap flexibility as a main feature.
Many said that Vegas would struggle in their inaugural season, but they proved many people wrong by reaching the Stanley cup Final. The Golden Knights also kept quiet during the free agency period, but put together a solid roster. Seattle might be playing the long game, but the Pacific Division is wide open.
Rumour: Ian Mendes of The Athletic looks at the negotiations with Ottawa and their crop of RFAs.
Happy draft day Sens fans.
Here's a look at all of the newsworthy stuff out of Pierre Dorion's pre-draft media availability, where he chats about the possibility of moving that No. 10 pick and potentially drafting a goalie in that spot. https://t.co/ZmTrGnFUwM
— Ian Mendes (@ian_mendes) July 23, 2021
Analysis: General manager Pierre Dorion gave little in the way of a status report. The Senators have an RFA group consisting of Brady Tkachuk, Drake Batherson, Filip Gustavsson, Victor Mete and Logan Brown. All of these players are part of Ottawa’s future plans.
Brown’s inclusion on the list is an interesting one as some thought he wasn’t in their plans. However, it looks like Dorion will give the young forward a chance to prove himself. The Raleigh, N.C. native has been in the AHL mostly the last few seasons, but there’s hope he can crack the lineup.
Ottawa has over $29 million in cap space, but it’s pretty stingy with its money. However, there’s no denying Tkachuk, Batherson and Mete will be vital cogs if the Senators want to move up the standings. The club made strides this season, but more progress needs to be shown.