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Off-Season Watch: Leafs eyeing Tanev in free agency?


The NHL's off-season has arrived with the first round of NHL Draft just days away on June 28 and the opening of Free Agent Frenzy looming on July 1. keeps you up to date with all the latest rumours and speculation from around the NHL beat.

Tanev on Toronto's Radar?

TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun reports the Dallas Stars remain in talks with pending UFA Chris Tanev to try to get the veteran re-signed.

LeBrun adds, though, that there's a huge market awaiting Tanev should he reach free agency, with the Toronto Maple Leafs among the interested clubs. 

The 34-year-old blueliner was acquired by the Stars ahead of the trade deadline from the Calgary Flames and finished this season with two goals and 19 points over 75 games. He had two assists in 19 playoff games with Dallas, who sent defenceman Artem Grushnikov and a second-round pick this year to the Flames to acquire him.

Tanev, a native of Toronto, is coming off a four-year, $18 million deal he signed with the Flames in October of 2020.

Originally signed as undrafted free agent by the Vancouver Canucks in 2010, Tanev has 33 goals and 190 points in 782 career games split between the Canucks, Flames, and Stars.


The Off-Season has arrived

The Stanley Cup was finally handed out on Monday night, marking the true start of the off-season and setting up a hectic six days ahead as the opening of free agency looms on Monday.

The Florida Panthers will have little time to celebrate the franchise's first-ever Stanley Cup and the Edmonton Oilers won't have much to reflect on their Game 7 loss, either. The two teams have just days to try to re-sign their pending unrestricted free agents, with Sam Reinhart atop the list for Florida.

Reinhart scored the game-winning goal Monday night, giving him 10 goals and 16 points in 24 playoff games after posting a career-high 57 goals and 94 points in 82 games during the regular season. The 28-year-old appears to be in store for a pay raise after carrying a cap hit of $6.5 million on the expiring three-year contract he signed with the Panthers in 2021.

"I don't want to leave," Reinhart told reporters on the ice after Monday's victory. "I want to be here."

The Panthers lost $500,000 in cap space for next season as fellow pending unrestricted free agent Kyle Okposo earned a performance bonus with his first Stanley Cup win. CapFriendly projects the Panthers will have $19.5 million to spend this summer with 14 players currently under contract for next season.

Defenceman Brandon Montour is also set to hit the open market after sitting second on the team in average ice time during the playoffs at 22:39 per game. He had three goals and 11 points in the postseason after finishing the regular season with eight goals and 33 points in 66 games, while leading the team in average ice time at 23:26 per game.

Forward Anton Lundell and defenceman Josh Mahura are scheduled for restricted free agency, while a total of 11 players are pending UFAs, including veterans Vladimir Tarasenko, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Nick Cousins and Dmitry Kulikov.

The Oilers project to have just $10 million in cap space this summer, per CapFriendly, with 14 players signed for next season. Forward Dylan Holloway and defenceman Philip Broberg are the team's only restricted free agents while a total of 10 players are slated to hit the open market on Monday.

Edmonton has a cap overage charge of $3.5 million working against them, which pending UFA Connor Brown achieved by appearing in his 10th game of the regular season. The 30-year-old winger posted four goals and 12 points in 71 games and added two goals and six points in 17 playoff games.  

Several key contributors form the team's postseason run are facing expiring contracts including Corey Perry, Adam Henrique, Warren Foegele and Game 7 goal scorer Mattias Janmark.

The top order of business for the Oilers this off-season, though, may be extending star forward Leon Draisaitl as he becomes eligible to sign a new deal on July 1. The 28-year-old had a quiet series in the Stanley Cup Final, but finished the postseason with 10 goals and 31 points in 25 games. Signed at a cap hit of $8.5 million currently, he had 41 goals and 106 points in 81 games during the regular season, topping the 100-point mark for the fifth time. 

Pinto Off Limits?

The Ottawa Senators did not wait for the Stanley Cup to be handed out before making their first big move of the off-season Monday, acquiring Linus Ullmark from the Boston Bruins

The Senators sent the 25th overall draft pick, forward Mark Kastelic and goaltender Joonas Korpisalo, who they retained 25 per cent on, to the Bruins in the deal.

According to Bruce Garrioch of Postmedia, the Bruins had asked the Senators for centre Shane Pinto, but team had 'zero interest' in moving the 23-year-old.

Pinto is once again a restricted free agent this summer, with Garrioch reporting last week that the team is looking at a bridge deal to get him re-signed. He was unsigned as a restricted free agent going into the season last fall before he was handed a 41-game suspension for violating the NHL's gambling policy. He signed a one-year, $775,000 deal to resume playing as soon as the suspension ended, finishing the season with nine goals and 27 points in 41 games.

The 23-year-old centre broke out in 2022-23, his first full season in the league, with 20 goals and 35 points in 82 games. He has 30 goals and 70 points in 140 career games with Ottawa.

The Franklin Square, NY native was selected 32nd overall by the Senators in the 2019 draft.

Saros Staying Put?

Nashville Predators general manager Barry Trotz said Monday that talks are ongoing with Juuse Saros as the team looks to get their star goaltender signed to an extension once he becomes eligible on July 1.

Saros, 29, is entering the final season of a four-year deal carrying a cap hit of $5 million. He posted a 35-24-5 record this season with a .906 save percentage and a 2,86 goals-against average.

“I think it’s one of those where Juuse knows what I think of him and I know his agent [Kevin Epp] knows what I think of him. I’ve had good dealing with (Epp) to this point,” Trotz told 102.5 The Game Nashville. “I don’t think it’s necessary where we have to draw a line in the sand. I think we’re going to try and find some common ground where it’s a win-win for both.”

Saros went 2-4 in the playoffs this spring with a .900 save percentage and 2.02 GAA as the Predators were eliminated by the Vancouver Canucks in the first round.

His best season came during the 2021-22 campaign, when he registered a 38-25-3 record with a .918 save percentage and 2.64 GAA and finished third in Vezina Trophy voting.

Drafted 99th overall by the Predators in 2013, Saros has a career 182-119-32 record with a .917 save percentage and 2.63 GAA.