After a busy opening day to the free-agent frenzy that saw 72 players signed to new deals and seven trades, a few more NHL rumours were hanging around. The best free-agent left is left-winger Brandon Saad, and the Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils are reportedly in talks with Saad. Another talented left-winger available is Tomas Tatar. The Colorado Avalanche and the Seattle Kraken are reportedly talking to Tatar. There is also some trade speculation if the New York Rangers trading centre Ryan Strome. The Kraken, Vegas Golden Knights and Ottawa Senators are reportedly potential trading partners.
Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils
Rumour: David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period reported that the Los Angeles Kings are interested in Brandon Saad. Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic reported that New Jersey is in on Saad as well.
The LA Kings will enter the Brandon Saad sweepstakes as they look to add another top-six forward. They’re also finalizing a new contract with Andreas Athanasiou, whom they qualified.
— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) July 28, 2021
The New Jersey Devils made a strong pitch to UFA Brandon Saad today. But Saad has other offers on the table as well. Saad camp carefully sifting through it all. @TSNHockey @TheAthletic
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) July 29, 2021
Analysis: Brandon Saad is a big, fast and gritty left-winger who can score 40-50 points a season. The Kings are an up-and-coming team who’ve been re-building for three seasons now. They signed centre Philip Danualt yesterday and traded for Viktor Arvidsson earlier in the month, signalling they are trying to move out of the rebuild phase and become a winning hockey team. They have good pieces to build around at forward in Anze Kopitar, Quinton Byfield, Alex Turcotte, Alex Iafallo. Saad’s addition will provide them with a potent offence.
New Jersey already made a splash signing the top free agent in Dougie Hamilton. Brandon Saad can add to an exciting offensive group, which has young centres Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier. Like Los Angeles, they are in a rebuild, but the Kings have a better chance of turning things around but New Jersey will probably offer more money. With Saad as the top remaining free agent, there will be many NHL rumours about who’s interested.
Seattle Kraken and Colorado Avalanche
Rumour: According to David Pagnotta, the Seattle Kraken and Colorado Avalanche are interested in left-winger Tomas Tatar.
Tomas Tatar continues to entertain interest from multiple clubs. Seattle & Colorado among the teams that have checked in at some point.
— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) July 28, 2021
Analysis: Tomas Tatar is a skilled left-winger who can score 45-60 points a season, depending on the opportunity. Even with his talent, he has been scratched for most two playoff campaigns where his team lost the Stanley Cup. That happened when he was on the Golden Knights in 2018 and again this year on the Montreal Canadiens. Tatar is looking for an opportunity where he doesn’t have to worry about being scratched. The Kraken and Avalanche have shown interest.
The Kraken are looking to build out their top-six wingers. They are coming into shape with Jordan Eberle, Jaden Schwartz and Calle Jarnkrok, they need one more, and Tatar could be that guy. Tatar’s addition would add an even balance of right and left-handed shooters. Tatar would also have a solid spot on one of their top-six lines.
Colorado is looking for a cheaper replacement for Brandon Saad as the second-line left-winger. Tatar will have the option to play with Nazem Kadri and Andre Burakovsky on a cup-contending team. Alex Newhook would be the only guy to knock off Tatar from a top-six left-wing role. However, Newhook is a natural centre, so Tatar’s spot is relatively safe in Colorado.
New York Rangers
Rumour: According to Elliotte Friedman, a Ryan Strome trade could be possible with the Seattle Kraken, Vegas Golden Knights and Ottawa Senators as possible destinations.
Some late-night guesses:https://t.co/OJeXmlFtB5
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) July 28, 2021
Analysis: Ryan Strome is an excellent playmaking centre for the New York Rangers. Strome scores 50-60 points a season and is New York’s best offensive threat outside of Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad. Unless the Rangers acquire another centre, it doesn’t make sense to trade him as they don’t have an obvious replacement internally right now.
Freidman speculates that the Seattle Kraken, Vegas Golden Knights and Ottawa Senators would be interested. Seattle signed Alexander Wenneberg today, so that may take them out of the running. Vegas has a glaring need for a top-six offensive centre, but they have barely any salary cap room. Acquiring Evgenii Dadonov from Ottawa today leaves them with five top-six wingers. They can trade one for Strome.
NHL rumours have consistently been speculating that Ottawa is looking for a veteran centre to insulate their young centres of Josh Norris, Colin White and Shane Pinto. Ottawa signed Michael Del Zotto, a bottom-pair puck-moving defenceman today. This puts Victor Mete on notice, who fills a similar role; he could be a part of a package to bring Strome to Ottawa.
Embed from Getty Images