NHL Rumours: Toronto Maple Leafs, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Minnesota Wild

NHL Rumours
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The playoffs are in full swing, with some teams already being eliminated. Still, there are NHL rumours to be discussed. On how the eliminated teams can improve for next season. How can teams make themselves better for the 2022-23 season. Today we will be looking at NHL rumours surrounding the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the Minnesota Wild.

NHL Rumours

Toronto Maple Leafs

Rumour: According to Elliotte Friedman on the Fan 590, says that Mark Giordano will be back with the Toronto Maple Leafs at a lower number. 

Analysis: Mark Giordano was a fantastic addition for the Leafs at the deadline, being their best defenceman since the trade deadline. If the Leafs can secure him at a discounted contract, that could really help them going into the 2022-23 season. The Leafs have six NHL calibre defencemen before even taking a Giordano extension into account. This could allow them to run a rotating defence next season, or perhaps that allows one of their defenders to become available for trade.

Giordano is coming off a 6-year, $6.75 million contract. However, the Leafs were only on the hook for $3.375 million of that after retention in the trade. If Giordano takes less this could really give the Leafs’ defence the solidity it needs to move into the 2022-23 season. It would allow general manager Kyle Dubas to focus exclusively on forwards and goaltenders, the areas of most need. He will still have to re-sign Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren, but it will not require as much effort as other RFA players have in the past.

Giordano coming back for another season would be a massive bonus for the Toronto Maple Leafs, turning a would-be rental into a more long-term stay for their blueline.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Rumour: According to Rob Rossi on 937 the Fan, he does not expect any of Evgeni Malkin, Bryan Rust or Kris Letang to return to the Pittsburgh Penguins. 

Analysis: If the Penguins are unable to re-sign any of their life-long UFA’s, it’s going to be a massive blow to their roster. These players, while older, are still a giant part of their team. The Penguins allegedly offered Letang and Malkin 3-year, $5 million per year contracts, and Sidney Crosby was insulted by that.

The Penguins really cannot afford to lose three incredibly important pieces of their roster. Not only that, but they are staples of the team and fan favourites. While it could all seem doom and gloom based on these reports, the Penguins do have the upside of having nearly $30,000,000 in cap space to play with this off-season (according to Cap Friendly). They have some major holes to fill if all three players walk. However, they would have a lot of money to help with that as well.

It may have been a little overzealous to have given Jeff Carter a two-year extension at $3.1 million before having any of the three aforementioned players re-signed. Burke and Hextall had said near the start of this season that their main goal was to have Malkin retire as a Penguin. However, it seems that may not be the case anymore.

Minnesota Wild

Rumour: According to Michael Russo of The Athletic, the Ottawa Senators and New Jersey Devils are likely trade destinations for Kevin Fiala

Analysis: Both the New Jersey Devils and the Ottawa Senators could use the abilities of Kevin Fiala, as he adds a much-needed offensive presence to both rosters. New Jersey has a deep prospect pool to draw from, and Ottawa has a lot of young, cheap assets they can work with. Minnesota will need to go young and inexpensive for the next couple of seasons due to the upcoming bottleneck on the salary cap from buyouts. If either team can offer these assets, they could land an extremely skilled player.

New Jersey could really leverage this situation, and add a player to guide their young core. Fiala can help Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier, and Jesper Bratt all develop into a contending core down the line. He’s still a young enough player that it makes sense, and he could help the roster grow. New Jersey also desperately needs to fill out their roster with more relevant players. Beyond the three forwards just mentioned they don’t have much help upfront.

Fiala is a player that many teams should want, but not many can afford. This includes both his acquisition cost and his cap hit. However, for young teams like the Devils or the Senators, it could be worth it. The Wild should be able to get a good return on Fiala should they decide to move him.

This concludes today’s NHL rumours!