NHL Rumours: Ottawa Senators, Arizona Coyotes and Florida Panthers

NHL Rumours
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Welcome back to another edition of NHL Rumours from the crew at Last Word on Hockey. We’re less than a week away from the start of the regular season and teams are putting their finishing touches on their roster. In today’s NHL Rumours segment, we look at rumours surrounding the Ottawa Senators, San Jose Sharks and Florida Panthers.

All NHL rumours come from their original sources and are subject to change. 

NHL Rumours

Ottawa Senators

Rumour: Elliotte Friedman stated on The Jeff Marek Show that he believes the Senators are looking to sign Brady Tkachuk to a seven to eight-year deal, however, Tkachuk would rather sign a bridge deal.

Analysis: Friedman mentions that his reason for this belief is due to the bridge deal that Elias Pettersson signed. There is a feeling that the cap is going to rise at the end of Pettersson’s deal, meaning he would then likely get another raise at the end of his three-year deal. So the sense is that Tkachuk is looking for the same thing. Tkachuk would rather bet on himself and earn more money in a few years, rather than lock-in at a lower cap value long-term this season.

Who can blame him? Tkachuk has been outstanding for the Senators since entering the league. He’s that heart and soul type of player that every team is looking for and does it all for the Sens. He can score, he hits, he fights, he defends well, he can play centre or the wing. He is the type of player that every organization wants on their team. Tkachuk has future captain written all over him.

Unfortunately for Sens fans, it doesn’t seem like either party is willing to budge at this moment. Meaning we’re unlikely to see Tkachuk in the Senators lineup on opening night.

Arizona Coyotes

Rumour: On the latest TSN Insider Trading, Darren Dreger stated that Phil Kessel will most likely be dealt out of Arizona this season.

Analysis: As Dreger mentions, Bill Armstrong has defined the direction that he wants his team to go in. That was evident during the offseason. The Coyotes dealt away a lot of their core to acquire picks and rebuild. At 34 years old and set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, Kessel doesn’t fit into any rebuild plans. Dreger also mentions that Kessel is looking for a fresh start. He wants to earn a new deal with another NHL club. He proved last season that he still can score, finishing the shortened season with 20 goals and 43 points in 56 games.

Kessel does have trade protection in his contract, so he would of course get to choose where he ends up. Kessel would likely be looking to go to a contender to try to add another ring to his collection. And with an actual salary of just $1 million this season, it’s a contract that a team would easily be willing to take on. Arizona would likely retain half the salary to help with the large $6.8 million cap hit he carries with him. However, if Kessel produces as he did last season, the Coyotes will likely add another early pick to their collection, in a draft where they already hold seven picks in the first two rounds.

Florida Panthers

Rumour: Also on Insider Trading, Pierre LeBrun stated that Aleksander Barkov has been in deep discussions on a long-term extension with the Florida Panthers.

Analysis: This should come as a surprise to no one. Barkov is one of the premier centres in the NHL. He will certainly be getting a nice raise from the $5.9 million he is currently getting paid. The Panthers captain has produced at over a point per game pace over the last four seasons. Yet somehow, as James Duthie mentions, is still underrated. Barkov is coming off a season where he won the Selke Trophy, which is awarded to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game. For a player who produces as much as Barkov does, to also be recognized as the best defensive forward in the game, is a huge accomplishment. It’s also a huge win for the Florida Panthers.

Evolving-hockey.com projects that Barkov will sign an eight-year deal with a cap hit of $11.6 million per season. Which if you look around the league, is more than fair for the superstar centre. According to LeBrun, this deal should be announced in the coming weeks.

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