Ahead of the NHL Draft on July 7 and the opening of free agency on July 13, TSN.ca keeps you up to date with all the latest rumours and speculation from around the NHL beat.
Would Flames think of moving Tkachuk?
With Matthew Tkachuk slated for restricted free agency this summer and potentially a year away from the open market, his future with the Calgary Flames has come into question.
In a recent mailbag segment for The Athletic, Hailey Salvian wrote that she believes the Flames could look to move Tkachuk if they "sense any degree of uncertainty regarding Tkachuk’s desire to stay" or can't reach a long-term deal with the 24-year-old.
Tkachuk is coming off a career-best season in which he scored 42 goals and posted 104 points in 82 games while playing out the last of a three-year, $21 million bridge deal.
Salvian notes the Flames will have to be cautious in potentially dealing Tkachuk, pointing out the return the Ottawa Senators received for Mark Stone in 2019 since centre-piece Erik Brannstrom has yet to emerge as a top-four defenceman. She adds Ottawa's return for Erik Karlsson of multiple high-end draft picks and a group of players that included Josh Norris is closer to what the Flames should look for. However, receiving an NHL-ready player is likely a priority for the Flames after winning the Pacific Division this year.
In addition to having uncertainty around Tkachuk, the Flames are also at risk of losing leading scorer Johnny Gaudreau to the open market on July 13. Salvian argues the Flames should walk away if Gaudreau's ask goes above $10.5 million on an eight-year deal, since his contract will likely set the team standard for Tkachuk this summer and Andrew Mangiapane and Oliver Kylington still to sign as restricted free agents.
The Flames have just under $27 million in project space this off-season, per CapFriendly, with 12 players under contract.
Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland said Wednesday he hopes to re-sign Evander Kane this summer, but acknowledged it will not be an easy task.
"Certainly, the hope is to be able to bring Evander back, but there's this situation, the cap, and Evander and his agent's wants and needs," Holland said. "Hopefully, everything lines up that we can bring him back."
Kane is a pending unrestricted free agent, having 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.
The 30-year-old 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.
According to CapFriendly, the Oilers project to have just over $7 million in cap space this off-season with Ryan McLeod, Jesse Puljujarvi and Kailer Yamamoto scheduled to hit restricted free agency. Holland has also opened talks with pending UFA defenceman Brett Kulak after adding him from the Montreal Canadiens at the trade deadline.
Holland added that newly-extended head coach Jay Woodcroft will have a say in the team's off-season plans.
"I've probably worked with five or six coaches -- Scottie Bowman through Mike Babcock and Dave Lewis," Holland said. "The coach is behind the bench and has to coach the team, so heading into the offseason I've always asked the coach his thoughts on the team, each individual player, and what he'd like to see us accomplish over the off-season. I also ask the captain and the leadership group. Then, you have your pro scout meetings and you go through your analytics as you ultimately work your way towards decision-making time.
"Jay and I have talked some about the team, we'll have pro scout meetings shortly, and Jay is going to be sitting in. Jay will have an opportunity to tell our group what he's thinking. There's a salary cap, and now you see what can happen. He will have influence in the sense that he and I are going to talk on a regular basis and we've worked together before. We both want the same things; we want to find a way to make the team a little bit different and better."
Edmonton reached the Western Conference Final this spring for the first time since their run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2006.
No Rebuild in Dallas
New Dallas Stars head coach Peter DeBoer made it clear Wednesday the plan for the Dallas Stars is not to enter a rebuild.
"I want to win a Stanley Cup," DeBoer said at his introductory press conference. "I've been to two (Stanley Cup) Finals and five conference finals in the last 10 years. When you get that close, that's your only motivation. Dallas wasn't the only team I interviewed with.
"I wanted to make sure that wherever I chose to go next, that the only criteria for me was: that I was working with good people, and that I had a chance to win a Stanley Cup. That we weren't in a rebuilding situation."
The Stars were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Calgary Flames in Game 7 this year after missing the playoffs last season. Dallas is just two years removed from reaching the Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2020 playoff bubble.
According to CapFriendly, the Stars have $19.5 million in cap space this summer with Jason Robertson and Jake Oettinger leading the team's list of restricted free agents and John Klingberg and Alexander Radulov among those slated for unrestricted free agency.