It’s Monday and it’s time for another fresh batch of NHL rumours. We take another look at three teams that are missing out on the Stanley Cup Playoffs. These three squads are looking to change their fortunes and make it back to the big dance soon. Today’s NHL rumours take a look at the Vancouver Canucks, Buffalo Sabres and San Jose Sharks.
All NHL rumours come from the original source and are subject to change.
Rumour: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman in his latest 32 Thoughts column talked about the Canucks trying to re-sign Bo Horvat.
Analysis: The Canucks captain still has another year left on his contract at $5.5 million. Horvat’s contract status hasn’t gotten the headlines like J.T. Miller or Brock Boeser. However, it’s still an important task for general manager Patrik Allvin to tackle.
The London, Ontario native is an unrestricted free agent and should figure into the team’s future plans. He did get his first 30-goal season with 31 and seemed to be recharged under Bruce Boudreau. (Another off-season priority for the team.)
A bad start doomed the Canucks, but there is hope for the future after not going away quietly. The Pacific Division will be wide open once again and a return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs can be a realistic goal.
Analysis: Buffalo showed a lot of promise in the second half of the season under Don Granato. The Sabres weren’t the most talented team but were a thorn in plenty of the top team’s sides.
This was also done with patchwork goaltending and a defence that was inconsistent at times. Dahlin took the next step to be a cornerstone defender and Power got some valuable game experience.
General manager Kevyn Adams will have plenty of salary cap space to play with but needs to add some parts to a young team that’s hungry. Buffalo could make a play at some veteran blueliners via the trade market or free agency.
The Sabres also have plenty of young prospects that are doing well in AHL Rochester. Buffalo also has three first-round picks in the upcoming NHL Draft. Adams has plenty of options to land a defenceman that can help foster the duo’s development.
San Jose Sharks
— Curtis Pashelka (@CurtisPashelka) April 24, 2022
Analysis: Kahkonen is a restricted free agent at the end of the season, but has found his place as the Sharks’ starter. He came over from the Minnesota Wild at the trade deadline and seemed to grab the top spot in net.
The Finn may have only racked up a 2-6-1 record, but he had a .916 save percentage. San Jose’s lineup underwent some changes and they auditioned plenty of young players after they fell out of the post-season hunt. Kahkonen showed plenty of heart and many teammates want him to be part of the club’s long-term future.
This leaves only one spot for Hill and Reimer to battle for. Both backups are unrestricted free agents at the end of next season. There were some rumours that Reimer was available at the trade deadline, but no deal happened. Hill and Reimer have a similar cap hit, but Reimer has more experience and could be useful to someone needing a veteran backup.
San Jose has seemingly gotten some answers about the future of their goaltending, but needs just a little more clarification on the No. 2 netminder.