Each day through the NHL Draft June 21-22 and free agency on July 1, TSN.ca breaks down the latest news and rumours around the NHL.
Talking it Out
According to Kevin Kurz of The Athletic, the San Jose Sharks and Erik Karlsson continue to work on a potential contract extension "somewhere in the vicinity" of Drew Doughty's contract with the Los Angeles Kings.
Doughty is set to become the league's highest-paid defenceman when his eight-year, $88 million extension kicks in next season and Kurz reports the Sharks appear "fully committed" to making sure Karlsson stays with the team, despite an injury-plagued first season in San Jose.
Karlsson was limited to just 53 games with the Sharks this season due to a groin injury, which he underwent surgery on last month. He scored three goals and posted 45 points while averaging 24:29 of ice time per game, his lowest mark since 2010-11. In the postseason, he scored two goals and posted 16 points in 19 games.
Should the Sharks re-sign Karlsson, they will give up their 2021 second-round pick to the Senators as a result of last fall's trade.
The Sharks are projected to have $24 million in cap space this summer and Kurz notes that Karlsson's decision could alter the team's plans for captain Joe Pavelski, who is also scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent. Kurz reports the Sharks and Pavelski have had casual conversations, but a contract does not appear close.
As for 39-year-old centre Joe Thornton, Kurz reports the veteran is likely to return for a 22nd NHL season, though a decision has not yet been made.
TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun reports the Columbus Blue Jackets have not granted permission for pending free agents Sergei Bobrovsky and Artemi Panarin to speak to other teams - in hope of completing a sign-and-trade to avoid losing either player for nothing on July 1.
Both players have been linked previously to the Florida Panthers, but LeBrun adds that his sense is the Panthers don't want to give up a second-round pick to reach a deal with either player before the market opens.
Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen stated again last week that he'd like to keep Panarin and Bobrovsky, both of whom declined to sign extensions last summer.
"I don’t count anybody out," Kekalainen said. "I told Panarin and Bobrovsky, if they’d like to return, we’d like to have them. It’s not a money issue. We’ll pay market value. We realize that’s the price of doing business. If not, we’ll move ahead accordingly."
The window for other teams to begin speaking to pending UFAs will open on June 23.
Not Done Yet?
Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman told the Detroit News on Thursday that while Niklas Kronwall has yet to make a decision on his playing future, the team would like to have the veteran defenceman back next season.
Kronwall, a pending unrestricted free agent, scored three goals and posted 27 points in 79 games this season. He said in February that he entered the year believing it would be his final season, but was longer sure of that would be the case.
"Going into the season, I thought for sure that this would be the end of the story," Kronwall told NHL.com. "...I'm still not sure where it would lead. I'm just trying to make the most of it and trying to enjoy it as much as I can here every day, really make the most of every time you have the opportunity to be on the ice or be amongst the guys, and then whatever happens, I'm sure it will come towards the season's end or even after that.
"But I feel pretty good, and I still love the game."
Kronwall, 38, has spent his entire 15-year career with the Red Wings since being selected in the first round of the 2000 NHL Draft.
Yzerman added that the team has opened negotiations with fellow defenceman Luke Witkowski, but have yet to speak with forward Thomas Vanek.