NHL Rumours: Boston Bruins, Philadelphia Flyers, Dallas Stars

NHL rumours

With the 2021-22 season slowly looming towards us, fans are excited to see their favourite teams hit the ice. However, there are still plenty of NHL rumours to discuss, so let’s get right into it.

NHL Rumours

Boston Bruins

Rumour: Jimmy Murphy from BostonHockeyNow speculates that not only is Bruins GM Don Sweeney not ruling out a possible return for UFA goaltender Tuukka Rask, but is also including him in plans for the 2021-22 season

Analysis: Rask was injured for a large chunk of the season. He appeared in 24 games, posting a 15-5-2 record, a 2.28 goals-against-average and a .913 save percentage. To add onto that, he added a xGSA of 3.6 and a xGAA of 2.34. Rask has been a cornerstone piece to Boston’s success in the 2010s. Throughout his career, the 34-year-old has a record of 306-163-66 with a 2.27 GAA and a .921 SV%. He has lead the team to a Stanley Cup victory and two more Stanley Cup Finals. Rask won the Vezina Trophy in the 2013-14 season and shared the William M. Jennings Trophy in 2019-20 with goaltender Jaroslav Halak. Safe to say that without Rask, the Bruins wouldn’t be as dominant as they were during this decade.

Following the 2021 playoffs, Rask had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip. The article states that Sweeney signed goaltender Linus Ullmark to give Rask more time to go through the rehab process. Also, they want Ullmark to help lead the way for backup goaltender Jeremy Swayman. They don’t want to rush Rask, as the rehab process will take around five months, and from there, he can choose to continue his career with Boston if he wishes. Sweeney knows that the UFA goaltender will either sign with the Bruins to finish off his career or retire due to health complications.

After signing Ullmark to a four-year contract, many speculated that the Bruins were officially parting ways with Rask. However, because of Sweeney’s comments, he seems to be planning to re-sign Rask to a contract when the time is right. So, unless something unexpected happens, he should be back with the Bruins in January. It will also be interesting to see how the Bruins will manage the tandem once Rask, Ullmark and Swayman are all healthy. What will Sweeney do with Swayman? Only time will tell, so keep track of all NHL rumours right here.

Philadelphia Flyers

Rumour: According to this article on Philly Sports Network, what happens with the Philadelphia Flyers and defenceman Travis Sanheim at arbitration will dictate his future with the team.

Analysis: Out of all the players that had signed for an arbitration hearing, Travis Sanheim is the only one who remains. What is unique about this situation is that it was the Flyers who filed for arbitration, not the player. Sanheim’s arbitration hearing has since been scheduled for August 26th. Unfortunately for the Philadelphia Flyers, they only have $4.03 million left in cap space. With a flat salary cap for the next few years, this doesn’t help out Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher in any way. Chances are that Sanheim will be squeezing every penny of the remaining salary cap for his next contract.

The article mentions that if Sanheim wants financial stability and term over three years , he should try to avoid arbitration. The Flyers should try to get him signed for some term as well. On a Flyers’ defence which was statistically and analytically one of the worst in the league last season, Sanheim stood out in a good way despite playing his worst season. He scored three goals and 12 assists for 15 points in 55 games this past season. Sanheim got head coach Alain Vigneault‘s vote of confidence and was one of his go-to options. The former first-round pick was also protected in the Seattle Kraken expansion draft, which shows that Flyers’ management want him on the team.

Due to the team’s horrible defensive metrics, Fletcher went all out and acquired defencemen such as Ryan Ellis and Rasmus Ristolainen. Based on the odd pattern that the Flyers have been going though, Sanheim and the Flyers will most likely have a great season. The fact that he previously had solid seasons will probably give Sanheim a lot of leverage. As previously mentioned, if Sanheim goes to arbitration, he won’t be getting a long-term deal. If he improves his play this coming season playing alongside Ristolainen and doesn’t receive a contract extension to his liking, the 25-year-old could test free agency the following year. This would mean the end of Sanheim’s tenure with the Flyers. It would be tough for Philadelphia to lose out on a defenceman of Sanheim’s caliber. Keep an eye out for Sanheim’s performance this coming season, as more NHL rumours develop.

Dallas Stars

Rumour: According to Mike Heika, the Dallas Stars have started contract negotiations with defenceman John Klingberg. He will be a pending UFA at the end of this season.

Analysis: As stated in this article, due to the Seth Jones contract, the market for defencemen has drastically changed. Many high-end defenceman have been cashing in and receiving north of $9 million AAV. This season, Klingberg scored seven goals and 29 assists for 36 points in 53 games. The former fifth-round selection has been one of Dallas’ best defencemen for the past few seasons, with a career-high 67 points in 82 games during the 2017-18 season. What makes Klingberg stand out is his ability to serve as the quarterback on the power play. His GF/60 and CF/60 on the power play are some of the highest in the league. His offensive minded-game and his great puck skills make him a very effective offensive defenceman.

Keeping all this in mind, Klingberg has one year left on his contract with a cap hit of $4.25 million. In addition to this, the Stars have around $23 million to work with next season. Despite this, they must ink players like Joe Pavelski and Alexander Radulov. Dallas’ cap situation will be tight, but is manageable with a few smart moves. Heika further states that contract negotiations could be done very soon or could be prolonged. As for the AAV of his contract, it will be similar to fellow defender Miro Heiskanen, who recently signed an eight-year, $67.6 million contract. Klingberg’s camp have to decide how he compared to Heiskanen to come up with a reasonable AAV. Realistically, because of his offensive abilities, he could be seeking an AAV of around $9 million.

Be sure to check back tomorrow for another edition of NHL Rumours!

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