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.

Making a Deal?

It appears the Pittsburgh Penguins could be on the verge of another trade, this time adding a defenceman.

Kevin Weekes of NHL Network reported Wednesday morning the Penguins were acquiring Mike Matheson from the Florida Panthers for forward Patric Hornqvist.

TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun reports, however, that the trade has not yet gone through. He notes that Hornqvist does have a full no-trade clause in his contract. 

Hornqvist has three years remaining on his contract, carrying a cap hit of $5.3 million. He had 17 goals and 32 points in 52 games this season with Pittsburgh.

Matheson has six years remaining on an eight-year deal he signed in 2017 with a cap hit of $4.875 million. He had eight goals and 20 points in 59 games with the Panthers in 2019-20.

Family Reunion?

Prior to the Matheson report, Josh Yohe and Rob Rossi of The Athletic reported the Penguins are looking to add a right-handed defenceman this off-season and 'are expected to clear cap space to pursue Vancouver Canucks pending free agent Christopher Tanev.

Tanev's younger brother, Brandon, was signed by the Penguins last summer and Rossi and Yohe report the Penguins would consider giving the 30-year-old a five-year contract to run alongside his brother's. They add, however, that the Penguins would like keep Tanev's cap hit to a maximum of $5 million per season.

The Penguins have just over $6 million in cap space with five players scheduled for restricted free agency, including goaltenders Matt Murray and Tristan Jarry.

Tanev has spent his entire career with the Canucks since debuting with the team as an undrafted free agent during the 2009-10 season. He posted two goals and 20 points in 69 games this past season, adding one goal and seven points in 17 games during the Return to Play.

A veteran of 514 career games, Tanev is coming off a five-year, $22.5 million contract, which carried a cap hit of $4.45 million.


Making a Splash?

Michael Arace of The Columbus Dispatch believes Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen is eyeing a move to strengthen his top-six this off-season, though it's unclear whether he'll use free agency or the trade market to do so.

Kekalainen said Sunday that the team is making progress on deals for their restricted free agents, including centre Pierre-Luc Dubois, which is atop the to-do list.

“We’re working on that,” Kekalainen said. “The sooner we get these things done, the better opportunity we have to make the team better.”

The Blue Jackets have $7 million in projected cap space this off-season with eight restricted free agents to sign. That number does not include the $5.85 million the team can clear by placing forward Brandon Dubinsky on LTIR.


Buy Out Time

With the NHL's buyout window set to open on Friday, James Mirtle of The Athletic listed his top 22 buyout candidates for this fall.

Two members of the New York Rangers sat atop the list in goaltender Henrik Lundqvist and defenceman Brendan Smith. 

Lundqvist's future on Broadway has a been a source of speculation for several months with the team carrying three goaltenders for the latter half the regular season with Alexandar Georgiev and rookie Igor Shesterkin.

The 38-year-old is scheduled to carry an $8.5 million cap hit next season in the final year of his deal. A buyout would save the Rangers $3 million next season, while adding a $1.5 million cap hit to their books in 2021-22.

Smith, 31, is also entering the final year of his current contract, carrying a $4.35 million cap hit. A buyout would save the Rangers $2.78 million next season and add a $783,333 hit in 2021-22.

Mirtle suggests the team could buy out both Smith and Lundqvist to clear space for the Rangers to spend in free agency.