NHL Rumours: Toronto Maple Leafs, Dallas Stars, Arizona Coyotes

NHL Rumours
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Welcome back to another edition of NHL Rumours on Last Word on Hockey. As we approach the off-season, the rumours are in full swing. Today we will be discussing the Toronto Maple Leafs and Rasmus Sandin, the Dallas Stars and Michael Raffl, and the Arizona Coyotes and Jakob Chychrun. All NHL rumours come from the original source and are subject to change.

NHL Rumours

Toronto Maple Leafs

Rumour: Elliotte Friedman on 32 Thoughts discusses if the Maple Leafs have room for Rasmus Sandin under the salary cap and in the lineup. 

NHL free agent frenzy

Analysis: Sandin, a 22-year-old left-handed defenceman for the Toronto Maple Leafs is now a restricted free agent. Sandin found himself being a solid top-four defenceman for the Leafs during the last year of his contract. Although, he sustained a knee injury on March 19th against the Nashville Predators that ended his season early. In the 51 games he played in, he scored five goals and recorded 16 points. Sandin is absolutely someone the Leafs want to keep but with roughly 7.8 million available in cap space, keeping him could be tricky. The Leafs also have to consider leaving money to re-sign goaltender, Jack Campbell, who has reportedly asked for five million per year.

Toronto could convince Sandin to take a discount. His previous contract was just under 900,000 a year. However, the solving of one issue creates another. The Leafs have an abundance of left-handed defencemen: Jake Muzzin, Morgan Rielly, Mark Giordano, T.J. Brodie, who prefers to play on his weak side, and Sandin. While handedness isn’t always an issue, this could cause someone to play on their weak side and potentially cause them to underperform. Another option for the Leafs would be to trade Sandin. The recent signing of Giordano could be a sign that they are leaning towards moving Sandin this off-season.

Dallas Stars

Rumour: Per Mario Kleinberger of the Kleine Zeitung, Michael Raffl could be headed to Europe to play hockey in the 2022-2023 season. 

Analysis: Last off-season the Dallas Stars signed Raffl to a one-year, 1.1 million dollar contract. During the regular season, Raffl scored seven goals and recorded 16 points. Though he did not produce a lot offensively, Raffl was an integral piece of the Stars penalty kill and he contributed to the Stars defence first style of hockey. However, he did come out big during the First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the Stars. Raffl scored two goals in seven games and had his first fight of the season against Calgary Flames Matthew Tkachuk. His playoff performance was enough for the Stars to consider bringing him back for the 2022-2023 season.

The Dallas Stars have roughly 17.5 million in cap space, but the Stars have to re-sign players like Jake Oettinger and Jason Robertson, as well as try to bring John Klingberg back. That will eat up a significant part of that cap space. Still, it makes cheap players like Raffl make sense but with the Stars also currently searching for a new head coach, things are a bit up in the air. With a new coach comes a new philosophy that might not prioritize defence over offence. The Stars could end up leaving that spot available for someone who produces more offensively. It is reported that Raffl met with the Stars management and he was not satisfied with the Stars offer and is now interested in playing in Europe next season.

Arizona Coyotes

Rumour: Josh Wegman on The Score discusses the possibility of the Arizona Coyotes trading Jakob Chychrun and what they would require in return.

Analysis: It was no secret that the Arizona Coyotes were shopping Chychrun this season. Unfortunately, Chychrun sustained a season-ending injury in March that put trade talks on hold. At that time, several teams were interested in adding him for their final playoff push. Now that he will be healthy to play next season, the Coyotes are expected to shop him again during the off-season. Although, they have made it clear they are asking for a steep price. They have insinuated they want three pieces in return.

Chychrun’s cap hit is only 4.6 million per year for the next three years which is a bargain for a player of his calibre. Although he did not produce as much this season, he was tenth in voting for the Norris Trophy during the 2020-2021 season. The struggling Coyotes could afford to lose him if it means they could get a couple of pieces to add. As we move deeper into the off-season the list of teams that are interested in Chychrun will skyrocket.

The LA Kings are one of the teams already interested. Another team that should consider moving some pieces for him is the Dallas Stars. With the possibility of losing John Klingberg, adding Chychrun for a smaller cap hit would make sense. The Stars also have Denis Gurianov to potentially use as leverage in the trade. This one will be a big name to keep a lookout for as the off-season progresses.

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