With the 2021-22 season slowly approaching, passionate hockey 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. Today’s NHL Rumours feature the Ottawa Senators, Edmonton Oilers and Anaheim Ducks.
Rumour: Ken Warren of the Ottawa Sun speculates that San Jose Sharks forward Tomas Hertl is a great candidate to fill a void down the middle for the Ottawa Senators.
Analysis: The Ottawa Senators are in need of a legitimate top-six forward. With Brady Tkachuk, Drake Batherson, Josh Norris, and Tim Stützle in the mix, there is still room of another quality top-six forward. Hertl will be a good fit for the Senators. In 503 NHL games with the Sharks, he has 151 goals and 172 assists for 323 points. He was reportedly one of the Sharks players unhappy about how the Sharks are dealing with the Evander Kane situation. Furthermore, Hertl states that he hasn’t “gotten any indication that they want [him] to stay”. Senators GM Pierre Dorion should take advantage of the situation and pick up the 28-year-old.
The only concern with Hertl is his expiring contract. He only has one year left on a four-year, $22.5 million contract. Ottawa may not want to give up quality assets if he leaves for free agency next year. As discussed here, the price to acquire Hertl will likely be similar to the Panthers’ trade return for Vincent Trocheck. For Ottawa, it could be Chris Tierney, Angus Crookshank, Parker Kelly and a second-round pick. There have been talks about Dorion searching for a top-six forward via trade, and Hertl fits the mould. He can generate offence and makes great plays to teammates. He can also provide a veteran presence for a young Senators team. Ottawa should acquire him via trade and sign him to a reasonable contract extension.
Rumour: According to Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Sun, the Edmonton Oilers and RFA forward Kailer Yamamoto are working to sign a one or two-year bridge deal.
Analysis: Matheson states that a contract hasn’t been worked out yet for two reasons. First, they don’t have a large amount of cap space to work with. Second, they aren’t sure what Yamamoto will bring to the team moving forward. Yamamoto has 20 goals and 32 assists for 52 points in 105 NHL games. His best season came during the 2019-20 season, where he had 26 points in 27 games. However, he took a large step back last season, with 21 points in 52 games. Edmonton is not sure what kind of player he will become in the future, so it makes sense that the team is hesitating on spending lots of money on him. It is better for Yamamoto to sign a two-year bridge deal to prove himself first, then cash in later on.
The article further compares a potential contract for Yamamoto with Joel Farabee’s recent contract extension. Farabee is not currently worth the money he is getting, but the Flyers envision him as a 30-goal scorer in the future and has the potential to do so. In Yamamoto’s case, he hasn’t shown progression or even matched what he did the previous season as Farabee has. So, there is no way Yamamoto earns a large contract like Farabee. Realistic comparables for a Yamamoto contract include Luke Kunin, Dillon Dube and Casey Mittelstadt. In any case, the Oilers have leverage over Yamamoto because of his performance. Although Edmonton’s depth on the right-wing side is weak, they should have Yamamoto signed to a prove-it contract before training camp begins.
Rumour: Lyle Richardson from Sports Illustrated speculates that people should pay close attention to the Anaheim Ducks as they could be getting lots of trade interest for some of their players.
Analysis: The Anaheim Ducks are clearly in a rebuild. However, unlike many rebuilding teams, the Ducks still have valuable NHL-caliber players who they could trade away for quality picks and prospects. Trade candidates include defencemen Josh Manson and Hampus Lindholm, as well as forwards Rickard Rakell and Adam Henrique. The first three are upcoming UFAs at the end of the 2021-22 season, whereas Henrique still has three years remaining on his contract. Henrique’s contract includes a ten-team no-trade list. The trade returns for each of the players could benefit the Ducks in their rebuild if the players and the team cannot come to contract extensions.
Josh Manson is a 6’3” right-handed defenceman who contenders may be looking to acquire. He can bring a physical presence to a blue line and can chip inoffensively. He reportedly denied a trade to the Winnipeg Jets, so this makes Ducks GM Bob Murray’s life harder. Like Manson, Lindholm’s is 6’3” and can also be a serviceable all-around defenceman. He has great passing skills and has impressive hockey IQ. He can also log top minutes for a contending team. Rakell is a two-time 30-goal scorer who can play on the wing and gained interest last season from teams who need a top-six winger. The latter doesn’t have any movement clauses, so it will be easier for Murray to trade them. Finally, a sweetener may be needed to move Henrique’s hefty contract. Hopefully, Henrique bounces back for the Ducks next season.
Be sure to check back tomorrow for another edition of NHL Rumours!
Embed from Getty Images