Ahead of the opening round of the NHL Draft tonight and free agency on July 13, TSN.ca keeps you up to date with all the latest rumors and speculation from around the NHL beat.
It appears veteran forward Claude Giroux could return to Ontario on July 13.
TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun reports that while a lot can change over the coming days, the Ottawa Senators have emerged as a legitimate option – among other teams – for Giroux, should he hit the open market next week.
The Senators could face competition within Canada for Giroux, as LeBrun wrote in the Athletic earlier this week that the Edmonton Oilers “have internally discussed the merits of trying to sign Giroux,” if they can’t re-sign Evander Kane. LeBrun said at the time that Giroux will be looking for a multi-year deal this summer, but adds that the 34-year-old will also be looking to join a winning roster.
Giroux netted 21 goals and 44 assists over 75 games split between the Philadelphia Flyers and Panthers in 2021-22, scoring three goals and adding 20 assists in 18 games after being traded to Florida. He added three goals and five assists over 10 playoff games as the President Trophy-winning Panthers were swept in the second-round by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Hearst, Ont. native stated last month that he was interested in staying in south Florida, though cap space remains an issue for the Panthers. According to CapFriendly, the team has just over $3 million in space with only 17 players under contract for next season.
Leafs Sticking with Mrazek?
While speculation has placed Petr Mrazek as a possible trade or buyout candidate, the Toronto Maple Leafs appear ready to give the goaltender a second chance.
Mrazek was limited to 20 games last season due to various injuries. He posted an .888 save percentage and 3.34 goals-against average in the first season of a three-year $11.4 million contract with an average annual value of $3.8 million.
Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas said Wednesday he’s prepared to bank on Mrazek bouncing back to career averages next season.
“I’ve been very happy with Petr in just how he’s been in the off season,” Dubas said. “He’s been very responsive, very communicative with our staff throughout. If I’m forecasting and betting on him, do I bet that he was the goalie he was last year in the 20 games or do I bet he was the goalie was for the 270 before, which was a .910 save-percentage guy that gave his team a chance to win? I’d probably bet on the larger sample. That’s where Petr fits into it at this time.”
With Jack Campbell appearing headed for the open market, the Maple Leafs currently have Mrazek and Erik Kallgren atop the projected depth chart for next season.
If the Maple Leafs, who have projected $6.44 million in cap space, were to buy out Mrazek, it would give them an additional $2.76 million in cap space this off-season and close to $3 million the following year. However, the team would then be left with a cap charge of $1.43 million in each of the next two years.
Already tight on cap space, the Maple Leafs have three restricted free agents still to sign in Rasmus Sandin, Pierre Engvall and Ondrej Kase. When asked if he’s concerned about an offer sheet for Sandin, Dubas said if there is one, he hopes it comes soon rather than later so the team can adjust their off-season plans.
“If there is going to be an offer sheet, the sooner the better, so we can make our decision and move on,” Dubas said.
Trade rumors have surrounded the Chicago Blackhawks throughout the offseason and it appears there’s no shortage of eyes on the team at draft day.
Bruce Garrioch of Postmedia reports Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson is willing to discuss every name on the team’s roster as he prepares for a rebuild in the Windy City.
Garrioch notes that trade talk continues to surround Alex DeBrincat, who scored a career-high 41 goals and 78 points in 78 games this past season. The 24-year-old carries a $6.4 million cap hit through next season and is set for restricted free agency again in 2023 before potentially reaching unrestricted free agency in 2024.
Additionally, though, Garrioch reports Seth Jones is a name to keep an eye on, despite the Blackhawks acquiring the defenseman and signing him to an eight-year, $76 million extension just one year ago.
The Blackhawks moved their first-round pick this year – No. 6 overall – as part of their deal to land Jones from the Columbus Blue Jackets last July.
Jones’ extension starts next season, when the 27-year-old will carry a cap hit of $9.5 million through 2029-30. He had five goals and 51 points in 78 games in his first season in Chicago and was a career-worst minus-37.
Finally, Garrioch reports the Blackhawks are looking to move center Dylan Stromethough there’s “talk” he won’t receive a qualifying offer from the team if no trade materializes.
Strome, 25, had a career-best 22 goals and posted 48 points in 69 games this season while carrying a cap hit of $3 million.
Campbell to the Oilers?
Potentially looking for two new goaltenders this summer with mike smith likely to land on LTIR, it appears the Edmonton Oilers have set their eyes on Jack Campbell.
TSN’s Ryan Rishaug believes the Oilers have made the Toronto Maple Leafs netminder their No. 1 target when the free agent market opens next week.
The 30-year-old posted a 31-9-6 record with a .914 save percentage and a 2.64 goals-against average this season – his first playing in more than 31 games.
Campbell also started all seven playoff games for the team against the Tampa Bay Lightning, posting an .897 save percentage and a 3.15 GAA. He is coming off a two-year, $3.3 million contract signed with the Los Angeles Kings in 2019, prior to being traded to Toronto.
While general manager Ken Holland has expressed the team’s interest in bringing back Evander KaneRishaug expects the winger to test the open market next week.
Also 30, Kane had 22 goals and 39 points in 43 games with the Oilers this season. He added 13 goals and 17 points in 15 games as Edmonton reached the Western Conference Final.
He first joined the Oilers in January on a pro-rated one-year, $2.1 million contract after his seven-year deal with the San Jose Sharks was terminated by the team.
Watch Rishaug’s full breakdown here: