Welcome to the Sunday edition of Full Press Hockey’s NHL Rumors! The Stanley Cup Playoffs are here and the action is hot and heavy. While all eyes will be on the teams playing for the Stanley Cup, the teams who failed in the playoffs have work to do now that their season is over. In this edition of NHL Rumors, we will take a look at the Toronto Maple Leafs, Pittsburgh Penguins, and the Minnesota Wild.
Toronto Maple Leafs – Offseason Trade Proposal
Rumor: Per – Jason Bukala – Sportsnet.ca. Bukala proposes a very intriguing trade between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Arizona Coyotes. With the Leafs being eliminated again in the first round, should they pull this trade off?
The Leafs’ fans have got to feel extreme frustration losing in the first round again. If the team can stick with their fast, skilled style of hockey and improve… shouldn’t they consider it? The trade consists of Toronto sending William Nylander and young defenseman Timothy Liljegren to the desert along with their 2024 first-round pick. The Arizona Coyotes would in turn send defenseman Jakob Chychrun and forward Lawson Crouse plus their 2024 third-round pick to Toronto.
The current salaries match up within $300,000, and both teams improve. Keep in mind this is just a trade proposal by Bukala. Chychrun is signed through 2024-25 at a very reasonable $4.6 million. Crouse is a restricted free agent who has a $1.53 million cap hit. He will likely need a raise to say about $3 million after a successful 2021-22 gathering 20 goals, 14 assists in 65 games.
His big 6′-4″ frame coming in at 220 pounds could really help the Leafs front line. He will be 25 years old next month. Elliotte Friedman mentioned in his 32 Thoughts, one element the Leafs haven’t had much of is a “nasty piece of work who can play top-six forward minutes with their core four” — Crouse is that guy.
The draft pick given up by Toronto should hopefully be a late first-rounder considering how well the Leafs finished this season. The Coyotes third-rounder may be closer to a late second round selection considering that they finished 31st this season. They don’t look to improve much during a huge rebuild.
Nylander earns $6.962 million through 2024-25, and Liljegren is in his last year of a $863,333 restricted free agent entry-level deal.
If Kyle Dubas and Bill Armstrong pull off this offseason blockbuster trade, heads will turn. One must admit, it is a fascinating proposed trade.
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Pittsburgh Penguins – Evgeni Malkin Destinations
Rumor: Per – Lyle Fitzsimmons – bleacherreport.com. Malkin will be 36 soon, and really may want to stay in Pittsburgh. GM Ron Hextall offered just a three-year $5M a year salary, not even close to what Malkin feels he’s worth. With that said, he could be traded. What destinations would work? NHL rumors may be flying on this one.
If the Pens do move Malkin, he could go to one of the following teams:
New Jersey Devils – The Devils will have the cap space with an estimated $25 million, but that may be the only attraction for Malkin. The New Jersey club has only appeared in the playoffs once in the last 10 seasons.
Anaheim Ducks – Trading the winters in Pittsburgh for the beaches of Southern California has its attractions. Playing with the likes of Trevor Zegras and Troy Terry could be just the youth sermon Malkin may be attracted to.
Toronto Maple Leafs – If there’s any player who could bring his three-Cup mentality to help Toronto get over the hump, it could be Malkin. Working out a deal may age GM Kyle Dubas, but he’s used to it. Both the player and the team possess mutual aspirations – winning the Cup.
Pittsburgh Penguins – Let’s face it, the Penguins without Malkin seems less than attractive. While he won’t take handouts on a new contract, he has admitted money is not his motivation. Can he along with Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang make one more run of it? Malkins hopes so.
Minnesota Wild – Time to Tank?
Rumor: Per – Kayla Hynnek – zonecoverage.com. Another first round elimination may require considering tanking as an option to get better draft selections. Oh yeah, they’re in salary cap trouble too.
Although the Wild finished with an impressive 113 points, they were swept aside by the St. Louis Blues in six games. So, trading a player like Kevin Fiala has been mentioned. And with their current salary cap issues, it will more than likely happen. Both the New Jersey Devils and Ottawa Senators are very interested in Fiala.
Marek at the intermission says the #NJDevils really like Kevin Fiala, says they could see him playing with fellow countryman Nico Hischier. Tom Fitzgerald has already said he’d be willing to move his 1st RD pick for an impact player. Marek also mentions he could be an OS target.— NHL Watcher (@NHL_Watcher) May 8, 2022
Ottawa’s #7 draft pick seems more likely with the Devils moving up to the second spot in the draft. Due to the expensive buyouts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter it seems that either Fiala or Matt Dumba will need to go. A $12.7 million dead cap hit will certainly be difficult to overcome.
The 2023 NHL draft is said to be loaded with talent, and the Wild need to discover what to do in net. With both aging goalies in Marc-Andre Fleury and Cam Talbot, they could possibly be pretty bad. Bad enough to get some good draft picks? We’ll see.
That does it for this edition of NHL rumors. Be sure to check out our Wednesday article!
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