Ahead of a busy off-season that includes the Seattle Expansion Draft, TSN.ca keeps you up to date with all the latest rumours and speculation from around the NHL beat.
Wild Chasing Eichel?
The Minnesota Wild are clearing more than $10 million in cap space for next season with their buyouts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, and it appears the team could put that money towards adding a star centre to their roster.
TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger said Tuesday he believes the Wild will make an offer to the Buffalo Sabres for Jack Eichel this summer, though the team does not intend to overpay.
"Well, there's some things that Bill Guerin is definitely going to be in the market for but to facilitate a double buyout of this magnitude you clearly needed a full buy-in from ownership of the Minnesota Wild into the direction that General Manager Bill Guerin intends on taking the Minnesota Wild. This is months of discussions to get to this point. Yes, we know Kirill Kaprizov is a priority. Likewise is Kevin Fiala.
"But beyond that we also know the Minnesota Wild would love to add a top line centre. Now they've been linked with interest to Jack Eichel of the Buffalo Sabres. I believe that the Wild are going to make an offer, a trade offer on Jack Eichel, but they're also not going to blow their cap space and they're not going to overpay with trade assets. It is going to be interesting to see what Guerin does at centre ice moving forward."
After buying out Parise and Suter, the Wild have more than $26 million in cap space for this off-season. However, buying out the two veterans will leave the Wild with a cap charge of nearly $13 million in 2022-23 and close to $15 million in the following two years.
Eichel, who has been long rumoured to be headed for a split with the Sabres, is signed through the 2025-26 season at a cap hit of $10 million.
Predators Expansion Watch
TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun reported Tuesday there's a "growing sense" the Nashville Predators may elect to leave Matt Duchene unprotected in this month's Seattle Expansion Draft.
Duchene, who had six goals and 13 points in 34 games this season, is signed for five more years at a cap hit of $8 million. The 30-year-old is just two seasons into a seven-year contract signed in 2019.
Predators general manager David Poile said after trading Viktor Arvidsson earlier this month he was hoping to make a deal with the Kraken to pick a specific player, and LeBrun said on Insider Trading that the team is focused on keeping their blueline intact.
"They've already made one by trading Viktor Arvidsson last week to the Los Angeles Kings for a second and a third. I know a lot of people wondered why they did that, well it's because they felt they would probably lose Arvidsson for nothing to Seattle potentially," LeBrun said. "So at least they got some value back, but now what? They've got five defencemen they really like. Of course, we know about Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis and Mattias Ekholm, but they are also really high of course on Dante Fabbro and Alexandre Carrier, who had a really good, strong push late in the season. They don't want to lose him, so what can they do? They can do a side deal with Seattle. I do believe there has been a conversation between the Kraken and the Predators or they can simply trade one of their five defencemen to another NHL team.
"Or there is option C, which I find hard to believe, but if they protect five defencemen among the eight-skater route. I do think there will be eight skaters in their protection list, but I think it will be four and four, and they'll have to make a hard decision on what to do with the fifth defenceman."
The Predators elected to protect eight skaters in the Vegas Expansion Draft, losing James Neal to the Golden Knights.
Buchnevich Headed Off Broadway?
Rick Carpiniello of The Athletic reports Pavel Buchnevich's name has come up in trade talks this month and argues it could make sense for the New York Rangers to deal the winger after a breakout season.
Buchnevich, 26, is slated for restricted free agency after posting 20 goals and 48 points in 54 games this season. After carrying a cap hit of $3.25 million this season, Carpiniello notes Buchnevich is due for a significant raise, and even with almost $23 million in cap space this off-season, the Rangers must be sure to save space in the future for extensions for Norris Trophy winner Adam Fox, among others.
“I expect some talks to come up,” Buchnevich’s agent, Todd Diamond, told The Athletic on Monday. “I expect the Rangers to qualify Pavel and then depending on whatever else Chris (Drury) is working on, that could potentially affect the way the contract may look or other issues.”
Diamond, however, acknowledged that his client's name as been floated in the rumour mill.
"That’s what happens when you speak to a lot of teams,” Diamond said.
Selected in third round of the 2013 NHL Draft, Buchnevich has 79 goals and 195 points in 301 career games all with the Rangers.