NHL Rumours: Toronto Maple Leafs and Dallas Stars

NHL Rumours
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Welcome back to another edition of NHL Rumours from the crew at Last Word On Hockey. Eight teams found themselves emptying their lockers as they were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs. This has sparked a new batch of rumours regarding the recently eliminated teams. In today’s NHL Rumours segment, we focus on rumours surrounding the Toronto Maple Leafs and Dallas Stars.

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

NHL Rumours

Toronto Maple Leafs

Rumour: While appearing on The FAN Morning Show, Elliotte Friedman was asked about the contract talks between the Leafs and goaltender Jack Campbell.

Analysis: According to Friedman, the parties were far apart on a potential deal. While he mentions that this was earlier in the year and private talks could have happened recently that people are not aware of, what Friedman heard from Campbell’s people was that it was nowhere in the same ballpark. Friedman states that the initial offer from the Leafs was a three-year term at $2.75 million per season, which is less than what the Leafs gave Petr Mrazek last season. Kind of a slap in the face when you think about it.

Jack Campbell had a phenomenal season for the Leafs the year prior before being ousted by the Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the 2020-21 Stanley Cup Playoffs. He followed that up with a 31-9-6 record, posting a 2.64 goals-against-average and a .914 save percentage with five shutouts. Very respectable numbers from the Leafs starter. To get offered less money than what they elected to pay their backup goaltender is very surprising.

Of course, it’s all a negotiating tactic. You can’t put your best offer on the table right away and the Leafs aren’t swimming in cap space. So they have to be smart about how they spend their money. Using the contract projection tool from evolving-hockey.com, they expect Campbell to sign a six-year deal worth $5.726 million per year. Jack Campbell did state that he loves Toronto and wants to return to the Leafs and is hoping to win there, so you would have to believe they grind out a new contract that works for both sides.

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Rumour: Another hit from the same source, Elliotte Friedman was asked about the Leafs defence. Friedman mentions that he believes the Leafs will revisit talks they had during the season and try to move Justin Holl.

Analysis: Despite playing in five of the seven games playoff games for the Leafs, Holl finds himself as the odd man out. Timothy Liljegren has finally seemed to crack the Leafs lineup, suiting up in 61 games this season and scoring five goals and 23 points. He also appeared in two playoff games for the Leafs before being scratched for Holl. However, with the Leafs needing to re-sign Liljegren and his potential being far greater than Holl’s, it’s more likely we see the Leafs invest in the promising young defender. And this is without even mentioning Rasmus Sandin, who is even more valuable again.

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Both Sandin and Liljegren are restricted free agents this summer. It’s expected they will sign short-term deals for a little less than what Holl’s current $2 million cap hit. It is also expected that Mark Giordano will also re-sign a cheaper deal with the club. Moving Holl’s salary will certainly make that a lot easier to fit into the current cap.

Dallas Stars

Rumour: In a recent media availability, defenceman John Klingberg stated he would like to re-sign with the Dallas Stars.

Analysis: Klingberg saw his name in NHL rumours a lot this season as a candidate to be traded. However, after the Stars made the playoffs and gave the Calgary Flames everything they could handle, Klingberg is wanting to return to the only club he has played for. However, as general manager, Jim Nill states, it would come down to terms. Klingberg will turn 30 in August. He posted a solid season scoring six goals and 47 points in 74 games.

Using the contract projection tool from evolving-hockey.com, it’s expected John Klingberg could sign a six-year deal worth $6.823 million per season. Is that something the Stars feel they can fit into their books? As it stands, they have about $18 million in cap space. However, they have some big-name free agents to sign like starting goaltender Jake Oettinger and second-leading scorer Jason Robertson.  Those two players are likely going to eat most of the cap space the Stars have. So if the Stars want to try to keep Klingberg as well, they will need to get creative. It promises to be a very interesting off-season for the Stars organization.

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