Welcome to another edition of Full Press Hockey’s NHL Rumors! The NHL Draft is history, and every team has high hopes for the prospects they added. Now, with free agency moves mostly done, rumors still abound. Clubs are always working to improve their rosters for next season. In this Wednesday edition of NHL Rumors, we will take a look at the Calgary Flames, Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Philadelphia Flyers.
Calgary Flames – Matthew Tkachuk
Rumor: Per – Eric Francis – sportsnet.ca. First Gaudreau, now Tkachuk? Another star seems poised to leave Flames.
The ol' plot keeps thickening around these parts. https://t.co/34QM3neA2N
— Eric Francis (@EricFrancis) July 18, 2022
The main reason the Flames filed was to take their high-scoring, gritty forward off the offer sheet route. While that may be their objective, the elephant in the room is that Tkachuk’s inaction to file shows he may not want to be there. The other factor is if Tkachuk signed an offer sheet, and the Flames matched it, the Flames wouldn’t be able to trade that player for a full year, walking him to free agency.
The bare reality for general manager Brad Treliving is if his star forward isn’t willing to sign for more than one year with the Flames… he must be traded. And, the sooner the better. While that is easily stated, not many teams have the cap space now that multiple moves have been made. There are only nine teams who have $10 million or more of cap space and only four who possess at least $15 million. That excludes the Flames who after not keeping Gaudreau have about $18.5 million in their coiffures to convince Tkachuk to stay. He is due a $9 million qualifying offer. Treliving must set a firm deadline date to get the Tkachuk status resolved. If he allows it to drag on, it won’t be pretty.
Columbus Blue Jackets – Patrik Laine
Rumor: Per – Ethan Hetu – prohockeyrumors.com. Now that free agency has settled, the focus in Columbus has shifted to the situation with restricted free agent winger Patrik Laine.
Laine, like Tkachuk, has some decisions to make about his NHL future. The 24-year-old forward is two years out from unrestricted free agency and carries the option to file for arbitration. That could possibly take two likely expensive arbitration awards, and then he can hit free agency in 2024.
With the expensive signing of Johnny Gaudreau, the Columbus club has only $2.34 million in cap room. It would take some magical moves to free up enough space to even give Laine his $7.5 million qualifying offer. A couple of likely candidates to free up cap space could include forwards Gustav Nyquist and/or Jakub Voracek. Nyquist has a $5.5 million cap hit through next season, and Voracek has an $8.25 million cap hit through the 2024-25 season. Both forwards are 32 years old and may be heading out if the Blue Jackets are truly intending to keep Laine long-term.
Losing Nyquist and Voracek could be damaging to the Blue Jackets’ offense. Nyquist had 18 goals and 35 assists in 82 games, while Voracek collected six goals and 56 assists in 79 games. Let’s see how this NHL rumors story develops.
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Philadelphia Flyers – Offseason Free Agent Failures
Rumor: Per – Rob Couch – nhltraderumors.me. Four Ways The Philadelphia Flyers Failed In Free Agency.
- Their inability to move on from James van Riemsdyk to free up additional cap space to make a run at Johnny Gaudreau. Gaudreau was very much into going to Philadelphia, but the Flyers never made an offer. Apparently, the price to move van Riemsdyk was a first-round pick, and the Flyers had no interest in that. Makes no sense, really.
- They added to an area they already had covered when they signed Nicolas Deslauriers. He scored a whole five goals, and 13 points in 81 games last season. While Tortorella like his physical game, he duplicates the efforts of such players as Zack MacEwen. Guess Torts can never have too many tough guys, but come on… you gotta score goals to make it in the NHL.
- Who’s in net? The Flyers failed to bring back Martin Jones and Ivan Fedotov has been relegated to military service back in Russia. That leaves Felix Sandstrom and Troy Grosenick to provide backup to soon-to-be overworked Carter Hart next season. Good luck with that.
- Crowded right-side defense just got worse. They already had Ryan Ellis and Rasmus Ristolainen, and they for some unforeseen reason, brought back Justin Braun even after signing Anthony DeAngelo for two years. How many right-side blueliners is enough? If Ellis makes his return from injured reserve, they will have nine defensemen. Some may need to be traded, but for now, there’s more than necessary.
That concludes this Wednesday edition of NHL rumors. Be sure to watch for our next article on Sunday!
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