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NHL Rumours: Nashville Predators, Vegas Golden Knights, and Buffalo Sabres

NHL Rumours

Welcome to another edition of NHL Rumours. Today, we look at the Nashville Predators‘ decision on whether to re-sign Filip Forsberg and the Vegas Golden Knights‘ decision on whether to bring back coach Pete DeBoer. We also explore what the Buffalo Sabres can do in goal next year. Let’s dive in!

NHL Rumours

All NHL Rumours come from their original source and are subject to change.

Nashville Predators

Rumour: Adam Vingan of The Athletic writes that the Nashville Predators may have to re-sign Filip Forsberg because having him walk for nothing will set the franchise back. 

Analysis: Forsberg scored 43 goals for the Predators this year. The next closest winger on the team, Tanner Jeannot, with 24. Filip Forsberg could walk as an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, leaving the Predators with no extra assets to acquire another goal-scoring winger. With Nashville only getting into the playoffs in the last seed, potentially losing Forsberg for nothing will be a major blow.

The Predators have $11 million in salary-cap space next season. They can fit Forsberg at his highest asking price, which should be in the $9 million range. But then they have $2 million left to sign Colton Sissons, Luke Kunin, and Yakov Trenin. Even if they find a way to make it work, they are tight against the salary cap with an unimpressive roster.

If they can’t get Forsberg to take a pay cut, the Predators have two choices. They can not sign him and hope that their forward group can step up and hope Phillip Tomasino and Eeli Tolvanen, and possibly another top-six winger can provide enough scoring to keep them competitive. They have some good goal-scoring prospects in Fedor Svechkov and Luke Evangelista who can help them down the road. Or they can re-sign Forsberg and try to move on from Ryan Johanson to free up some money. Trading the inconsistent centre will be tricky with his $8 million cap hit over the next three seasons. Buying him out saves the team $5.4 million on the salary cap every year for six years according to CapFriendly, but prolongs his cap hit on their books.

Vegas Golden Knights

Rumour: Vegas Golden Knights head coach, Peter DeBoer said he wants to remain the coach. General manager Kelly McCrimmon was non-committal saying, “Pete is under contract,” and that they will have their regular season-ending meetings. 

Analysis: Since becoming the coach of the Vegas Golden Knights. Peter DeBoer has led the team to two Conference Finals and had a league-best 40 wins in 56 games last season. They missed the playoffs this season, but that was with many stars such as Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, Alec Martinez and Jack Eichel hurt. Starting goaltender, Robin Lehner was also playing injured.

For many teams, Peter DeBoer’s success and only missing the playoffs when the team suffered many injuries would mean he’s secure. However, Vegas is ruthless in its pursuit of a championship and will fire or trade people if they don’t get results. In this case, DeBoer failed to lead the Golden Knights past the Dallas Stars and Montreal Canadiens to reach the Stanley Cup Final in the past two seasons. Montreal was 16 wins behind Vegas in the regular season. During the final month of this season, Vegas had five wins and seven losses as they were fighting to make the playoffs. Both of those examples could not work out in DeBoer’s favour. He does have one more year under contract.

Buffalo Sabres

Rumour: Buffalo Sabres general manager Craig Adams wants to add goaltending depth but not players that will box out Ukk0-Pekka Luukkkonen and Devon Levi. 

Analysis: From Adams’s assessment of not wanting a goaltender who will block out prospects if they’re ready, it sounds like Buffalo will add NHL goaltenders but not a number one goaltender. He will probably add guys who can play at the NHL level but can share duties with the prospects or be moved rather easily if need be. Craig Anderson would be a perfect fit if he decided to come back as he can still play with posting a .897 save percentage last year, and mentor the kids. At the age of 41 by next season, he can benefit from not having too heavy of a workload. Dustin Tokarski with a .899 save percentage is another candidate to come back. David Rittich, Martin Jones and Alex Stalock are other names who can fit that description.

Thanks for reading NHL rumours.

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