Which UFA do the Canucks have to sign?
Ahead of the NHL Draft on Oct. 6 and the opening of free agency on Oct. 9, TSN.ca keeps you up to date with all the latest rumours and speculation from around the NHL beat.
On the Block?
Larry Brooks of the New York Post believes the Rangers could look to move restricted free agent Tony DeAngelo this fall in an attempt to fill their long-term need of a second-line centre.
Brooks believes that re-signing DeAngelo long-term could lead prospect Nils Lundkvist to test free agency in 2022 over signing an entry-level contract with the team due to a logjam of right-handed defencemen with Jacob Trouba and Adam Fox also in the fold. Lundkvist, selected 28th overall in 2018, is spending this season with the SHL's Lulea HF, with whom he posted 11 goals and 31 points in 45 games last season.
DeAngelo is coming off a breakout season in which he posted 15 goals and 53 points in 68 games with the Rangers. With that production, Brooks believes the 24-year-old will command a salary of $5.5 million or more, which may be more than the Rangers are willing to pay for their third-pairing blueliner.
Should the Rangers move DeAngelo, Brooks believes the team will have little trouble finding a right-handed defenceman to take his place on the depth chart in free agency. He points to Luke Schenn, Zach Bogosian, Michael Del Zotto and Korbinian Holzer as potential options.
Eyes on the Net?
Kurt Leavins of the Edmonton Journal believes the Oilers will prioritize upgrading the goaltending position this over other needs such as on defence or centre depth.
Leavins writes that the Oilers would likely be outbid by a more desperate club if they tried to acquire Darcy Kuemper from the Arizona Coyotes and wonders whether the team could afford to take on Marc-Andre Fleury's $7 million cap hit from the Vegas Golden Knights.
Instead, he points to the possibility of acquiring a goaltender to split starts with Mikko Koskinen, pointing to Carolina Hurricanes goaltenders Petr Mrazek and James Reimer, or Toronto Maple Leafs netminder Frederik Andersen as options.
Koskinen is signed for two more seasons at a $4.5 million cap hit and has a 15-team no-trade clause in his contract. The 32-year-old had an 18-13-3 record during the regular season with a .917 save percentage and 2.75 goals-against average.
Mike Smith, who posted a 19-12-6 record this season with a .902 save percentage and a 2.95 GAA, is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on Oct. 9.
TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun reported last week that the Oilers had checked in with the Pittsburgh Penguins on pending restricted free agent Matt Murray, but believed the asking price was too high for Edmonton. He added that the team has not closed the door on bringing back Smith.
Down the 401?
While the Toronto Maple Leafs have been linked to St. Louis Blues star Alex Pietrangelo ahead of free agency, Michael Traikos of Toronto Sun believes the team would be better off pursuing cheaper options on the market.
Traikos believes that Ottawa Senators veteran Mark Borowiecki could bring a physical element to the Maple Leafs blueline at an affordable cost. Borowiecki confirmed last week that he will test the free agent market next month after six seasons with the Senators.
The 31-year-old posted a career-high seven goals and 18 points in 53 games this season and ranked third among all defencemen with 199 hits.
Borowiecki's agent Steve Bartlett told Postmedia that the career Senator is not against switching sides in the Battle of Ontario.
“If you’re going to market, I don’t think you should have any preconceived notions on where you are open to going,” Bartlett said. “It has to be a marriage of your wants and someone else’s needs to come together. I think if we’re going to free agency, it means we’re willing to listen to anyone and find the fit where he’s appreciated. He’s not a high-maintenance guy in any way, shape or form. It’s a matter of feeling wanted and appreciated.”
Beyond Borowiecki, Traikos lists Wayne Simmonds, Joel Edmundson (whose negotiating rights were acquired by Montreal over the weekend), Justin Braun and Brenden Dillon as pending free agents could bring a physical presence to the Leafs.