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.


Petry on the Move?

After trading Shea Weber's contract to acquire Evgenii Dadonov, it appears the Montreal Canadiens are looking to move another veteran blueliner.

Johnston: Weber trade about long-term cap flexibility for Canadiens

Montreal has traded injured captain Shea Weber to the Golden Knights for forward Evgenii Dadonov in a cap clearing move. TSN Hockey Insider Chris Johnston joins That's Hockey to explain what the move means for the Canadiens' salary cap situation moving forward.

TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun reports the Canadiens are working on a trade to move Jeff Petry, with the Dallas Stars and Detroit Red Wings among the potential suitors.

"There's no question that a Jeff Petry trade is something that the Habs are working on. It's not guaranteed it'll happen, but there's certainly some effort being done right now on that front," LeBrun said on Insider Trading.

"The Dallas Stars are a team that has some interest in Jeff Petry, especially if they can't resign pending UFA John Klingberg. I can tell you right now there have not been any talks with Klingberg of late. It looks like he's headed to the UFA market. So, Petry could be a landing spot in Dallas. I'm told Detroit is also a potential destination. Five or six teams have talked to Montreal recently about him."

Petry, 34, had six goals and 27 points in 68 games last season, his eighth with the Canadiens. He is heading into the second year of a four-year, $25 million deal with an average annual value of $6.25 million.

A second-round pick of the Edmonton Oilers at the 2006 NHL Draft, Petry spent five years in Edmonton before being acquired by the Canadiens at the 2015 trade deadline in exchange for second- and fifth-round picks.

While a Petry deal remains on the possible agenda for the Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes, so too is improving the quality of the team's draft picks, a number that currently stands at 14 selections. 

"Habs general manager Kent Hughes may not sleep until August. He's got a lot going on right now, including looking at the draft, to augment the first pick overall," TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger added on Insider Trading. "The Montreal Canadiens are going to try and move up in other areas of the draft. They've got 14 picks. You're not going to sign 14 drafted players.

"A crazy thought that's been drifting around the National Hockey League – what if Kent Hughes and management of the Montreal Canadiens were able to land the second pick overall as well from the New Jersey Devils? It seems a tad absurd, but anything is possible. If New Jersey is moving that pick, they've got to get a real significant impact player in return."

 


Price for DeBrincat

TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun wrote in The Athletic that the Chicago Blackhawks are listening to offers for two-time 40-goal scorer Alex DeBrincat.

While there is no guarantee the Blackhawks will deal the 24-year-old, LeBrun writes the cost for him would not be cheap, with Chicago looking for a "young player/high picks/top prospect type of return."

Signed at a cap hit of $6.4 million, DeBrincat is scheduled to hit restricted free agency next summer. He scored 41 goals and posted a career-high 78 points in 82 games this season while the Blackhawks missed the playoffs for the fourth time in DeBrincat's five seasons with the club.

LeBrun points to the Los Angeles Kings, who returned to the playoffs for the first time in four years this season, as one of the interested teams in DeBrincat.

 


Letang, Malkin Watch

Two franchise icons for the Pittsburgh Penguins are scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency next month in Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin.

Speaking to Mike DeFabo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Penguins president of hockey operations Brian Burke said that signing both veterans remains atop the team's to-do list before their focus can turn to where to add elsewhere in the off-season.

"Well, we've got to see who comes back first before you worry about who you add. We've got to see who signs out of this group," Burke said. "The first priority right from the get-go: [general manager Ron Hextall] has been dealing with [Kris Letang] and [Evgeni Malkin]. We've all agreed to keep those discussions secret. There's no reason to do it publicly.

"But our goal is to get both guys signed and at contract terms and salary terms that makes sense."

Rob Rossi of The Athletic reported last week that Pittsburgh was prioritizing signing of Letang to a multi-year contract extension, with a goal of knowing the defenceman's cap hit before intensifying talks with Malkin.

Letang, 35, posted 10 goals and a career-high 68 points in 78 games this season while playing out the last of a an eight-year, $58 million contract that carried a cap hit of $7.25 million. He added one goal and four points in seven playoff games as the Penguins were eliminated in the first round by the New York Rangers.

Selected in the third round of the 2005 draft, Letang made his debut with the Penguins during the 2006-07 season. In 941 career games with the team, he has 144 goals and 650 points. He is a two-time Stanley Cup winner with the team, having missed the 2017 playoffs due to injury.

Malkin, a three-time Stanley Cup winner with the team, posted 20 goals and 42 points in 41 games this season after undergoing knee surgery last summer. He added three goals and six points in seven playoff games.

The 35-year-old centre, who was selected second overall in 2004, has 444 goals and 1,146 points in 981 games with the Penguins. He is coming off an eight-year, $76 million contract which carried a cap hit of $9.5 million. 

Pittsburgh has $23.2 million in cap space this off-season, per CapFriendly, after re-signing Bryan Rust to a six-year, $30.75 million extension last month. Goaltender Casey DeSmith is also among the team's pending unrestricted free agents, while Kasperi Kapanen and Danton Heinen are scheduled for restricted free agency.