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, Edmonton Oilers, and the Washington Capitals.
Pittsburgh Penguins – Brad Treliving
Rumor: Per – Elliotte Friedman – sportsnet.ca. With the recent departure of Brad Treliving from Calgary, he becomes an instant candidate for the Pens GM job.
While Treliving makes sense for the Pittsburgh job, other candidates will be considered as well. Per Friedman, “There’s not very much experience among the remaining group as opposed to Sullivan gaining Belichickian-level power. Assistant GM Alec Schall, for example, has a lengthy, competent history as an agent, but is relatively new in the front office. That’s where a Treliving-type makes sense.”
Treliving may just be what the Penguins need as they regroup. He was in Calgary for nine years and bumped heads with head coach Darryl Sutter. With Mike Sullivan part of the transition team in charge of finding a replacement, he surely realizes the qualities that Treliving brings to the table.
One thing is certain… Treliving will have some offers for future employment. Going to a Pittsburg organization will certainly be a challenge with aging players on long-term contracts, but Treliving is up to the challenge.
Edmonton Oilers – Evan Bouchard
Rumor: Per Frank Seravalli – dailyfaceoff.com. The young defenseman becomes a RFA this summer and needs a bridge contract to stay in Edmonton.
“I don’t see a path as currently constituted for a long-term deal. I think they (Edmonton) are thinking and hoping to bridge. If it gets to the point where is not willing to sign a bridge and only wants long-term then it is not out of the realm of possibility that he (Evan Bouchard) gets traded this summer. I don’t think it is something the Oilers want to do; however, they are dealing with a tight salary cap. There was an avenue to extend him over the summer to a bridge deal. He (Bouchard) bet on himself by waiting to see how the year played out. Now moving forward, I think you bet on yourself and pocket whatever the number turns out to be 2 years x $3.5 million, 2 years x $4.5 million. You put that in your pocket and then work for that $8 million deal after that.”
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Things started to happen when Ken Holland traded Tyson Barrie and acquired Mattias Ekholm from the Nashville Predators. The trade allowed Bouchard to now play on a historic power play, which he would quarterback, and play with a veteran defenceman in Ekholm. Bouchard already had success in the past playing with veteran Duncan Keith last season and the move has worked again.
Since the trade happened, Bouchard has 18 points (4 goals, 14 assists) in 20 games, which is the most by an Oilers defenseman. Additionally, he is now +12 and is added more ice time rising to almost 22 minutes a night.
So, the Oilers have a big decision to make. Cap space is always an issue. If Bouchard decides to accept a bridge deal, what might that look like? Trading him becomes an almost last resort.
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Washington Capitals – Nick Schmaltz
Rumor: Per Michael DeRosa – nhltraderumors.me. In an effort to improve upon their disappointing season, the Capitals have Schmaltz on their radar.
Schmaltz does have injury issues, missing about 25 percent of games over the past few seasons. Yet, he does have the offensive firepower that the Washington club could use. After collecting a 59-point campaign in 63 games in 2021-22, he followed that up by recording 58 points in 63 games this season.
Schmaltz was the subject of NHL rumors before the trade deadline, but his contract requirements couldn’t be met by interested teams. He has a backloaded contract with $7.5 million due next season, $6.95M due in 2024-25, and finally $8.5M for 2025-26. That could be a factor in dealing him, but if he can stay healthy, he could be worth that outlay. Teams will have more cap flexibility this summer and a trade could be worked out before the draft.
He would certainly add to the Capitals’ top six and the Coyotes are still in a rebuild and open to deals going forward.
That concludes this edition of NHL rumors. Be sure to catch our next article and thanks for reading!
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