Welcome to another edition of Full Press Hockey’s NHL Rumors! The 2022-23 regular season is over and players as well as front offices will be evaluated. Now, with the season completed, the focus shifts toward deals that may go down this summer. What about free agency?
Clubs are always working to improve their rosters for next season. Some teams are having difficulty creating enough cap space to make moves. Others are experiencing severe injuries to star players. Trade rumors/signings are over for now, but teams will be gearing up for the playoffs. In this Sunday edition of NHL Rumors, we will look at the Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit Red Wings, and the Anaheim Ducks.
Pittsburgh Penguins – Time to clean house
Rumor: Per – Matt Vensel – post-gazette.com. We all knew that if the Penguins didn’t get to the playoffs there would be changes. It didn’t take long for both GM Ron Hextall and President of Hockey Operations Brian Burke to be gone. Now, it’s time to move forward.
The club also let go of assistant general manager Chris Pryor. Fenway Sports Group purchased the Pens in November of 2021 and now will begin the arduous search for replacements. In a statement, “We are grateful to Brian, Ron, and Chris for their contributions to the organization over the past two seasons, but we feel that the team will benefit from new hockey operations leadership,” John Henry and Tom Werner said in a statement. “While this season has been disappointing, we believe in our core group of players and the goal of contending for the Stanley Cup has not changed.”
Spared for now was head coach Mike Sullivan who is signed through the 2026-27 season. He will assist in the transition and depending on who gets selected, things are changing in Pittsburgh. The team’s 16-year run on playing in the postseason has run its course. The age of the team in general has much to do with their shortcomings. Hextall made some controversial signings, putting the team in a hole.
He re-signed Jeff Carter ($3.125M, 23/24), Kris Letang ($6.1M, 27/28), Evgeni Malkin ($6.1M, 25/26) and all of these players are getting up in age. For instance, Letang will be 41 years old at the end of his deal. Malkin will be 40. Carter will be 39. Sidney Crosby, who was not signed by Hextall will be 36 before the start of next season and still has two more years on his contract. If Hextall thought it was his way of keeping players together, it didn’t work… at least for his future employment with the team.
Other player moves have turned out horrible for Hextall. He traded Jared McCann, who this season scored 40 goals for Seattle because he did not plan to protect him in the expansion draft. They also lost Brandon Tanev to the Kraken. Hextall tried to replace Tanev’s tenacity with Brock McGinn, whom the Penguins shed in a salary dump less than two years later. Thus, he was sent packing. It will seem very strange not seeing he Penguins in the playoffs, but they will turn things around… you can bet on that.
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Detroit Red Wings – Right defense options
Rumors: Per – Rob Couch – nhltraderumors.me. With the recent trade of Filip Hronek to the Vancouver Canucks for a 2023 first and second-round pick, the Wings need another right defenseman. Here are some options.
- Erik Karlsson – Since the Wings traded away Hronek, the top blueliner out there is Karlsson. Sure, he has an $11.5 million cap hit, but he proved he’s well worth it by adding 101 points this season on a putrid San Jose Sharks team with only 22 wins to their credit. Karlsson was involved in NHL rumors before the trade deadline, but nothing happened. The Detroit club was only 12 points out of a playoff spot and it could be Karlsson wants out to have a shot at winning a Cup. He could be a great fit for Steve Yzerman‘s team.
- Tyson Barrie – A cheaper option for the Wings could be Barrie. He has one more year left on his contract worth $4.5 million. He is a power play expert and even with Moritz Seider‘s 33 power play assists over the last two seasons, Barrie is the veteran and why not have a real boost to the power play unit? If Yzerman sees that as the direction he wants to go, Barrie’s his man.
- Damon Severson – He is an unrestricted free agent and even with $34.7 million in cap space, the New Jersey Devils will have six UFAs and eight RFAs to consider. One such player is Timo Meier. With Meier looking for about $10 million, and according to dobberhockey.com, re-signing Jesper Bratt could cost $7.81 million, half of the Devils’ budgeted cap space used up. Severson had 33 points in 81 games this season.
So will Yzerman go with one of these right-side defensemen to replace Hronek? We should know shortly.
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Anaheim Ducks – Top-six winger needed
Rumor: Per Rob Couch – nhltraderumors.me. The Ducks finished dead last, but have a great shot at Connor Bedard. They have tons of cap space and could use a top-six winger to help the team progress. Here are three suggestions.
- William Nylander – Let’s face it, the Toronto Maple Leafs won’t be able to re-sign both Auston Matthews ($11.64M, 23/24) and Nylander ($6.96M, 23/24). We all know Matthews would be the one staying, not Nylander. The Ducks could certainly use Nylander’s offensive firepower. He tallied 40 goals and 47 assists in 82 games this season. Of course, the Ducks have tons of cap space to offer Nylander a well-deserved raise. Add in Trevor Zegras, Troy Terry, and Jamie Drysdale and the Ducks could look quite formidable.
- Alex DeBrincat – According to Bruce Garrioch who covers the Ottawa Senators, DeBrincat could be moved during the draft this year. The Sens have said they will match his $9 million qualifying offer, but he still could be moved.
Roster changes have already started for the Ottawa Senators, but what's next for the Cat?, via @ottawasuncom https://t.co/ha6kslNDaG
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- Vladimir Tarasenko – If the Ducks want a consistent (when he’s healthy) scorer, Tarasenko could fit the bill. He would be looking for a 6-7 year deal at about $5.93 million. He was traded to the New York Rangers but is is doubtful they will have enough cap space to keep him. The Ducks are 31st in goals per game with just 2.51. They could use the offense that Tarasenko would offer.
That concludes this edition of NHL rumors. Be sure to catch our next article, and thanks for reading!
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