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. Just look at what the Calgary Flames and Florida Panthers did. In this Sunday edition of NHL Rumors, we will take a look at the Toronto Maple Leafs, Pittsburgh Penguins, and the Ottawa Senators.
Toronto Maple Leafs – Auston Matthews
Rumor: Per Shane Seney – nhltraderumors.me. Hockey Insider Sees Auston Matthews ‘A Maple Leaf For Life.’
According to hockey insider Frank Seravalli, he thinks that Auston Matthews won’t be going anywhere. With the recent trend of players like Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk leaving their teams to go elsewhere, Seravalli doesn’t feel that will be the case with the Leafs’ star player. What could sway his decision is what kind of postseason success the Toronto club can accomplish in the next two seasons. Teams like the Arizona Coyotes, Los Angeles Kings, and New York Rangers would love to add him to their roster.
Of course, the Coyotes are in the midst of a deep rebuild, and it’s only speculation that they may have a new arena built in Tempe. For now, they will play in a very limited environment sharing the new multi-purpose arena with Arizona State University. It only holds 5,000 fans. It becomes debatable if Matthews would want to play where he grew up and fell in love with hockey under those circumstances.
— Tim and Friends (@timandfriends) July 20, 2022
We will need to wait and see whether Seravalli is correct, or if Matthews gets the home bug and wants to play in Arizona, or somewhere else. Losing is tough enough, but losing in Toronto has to be unbeareable.
Pittsburgh Penguins – Salary Cap Issues
Rumor: Per – Shane Seney – nhltraderumors.me. The Pittsburgh Penguins have been busy this offseason, however they currently sit over the salary cap and may have to buyout a player to sneak back under the threshold.
But with Kapanen's arb resolved, #pens also now have a 48-hour buyout window opening in 3 days. Zucker? Pettersson? Something to consider.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) July 21, 2022
It looks like the Penguins will be forced to buy out either forward Jason Zucker or defenseman Marcus Pettersson. Both players have been disappointing and the Pens are currently $480,175 over the salary cap limit. They do have time to fix that since teams are allowed to be up to 10 percent over the cap limit up until the season begins. Zucker is their only second-line left wing but certainly hasn’t impressed. He only had eight goals and nine assists in 41 games last season. It may be difficult to move him with his overpriced $5.5 million contract for one more season.
Pettersson may see more ice time since the team dealt Mike Matheson to the Montreal Canadiens. He did however average about 15:38 minutes of ice time last season. His cap hit comes in at $4.03 million for three more seasons. That leaves general manager Ron Hextall with some decisions to make concerning his roster. Not having any cap space limits what he can do to improve the team. The Penguins are not getting any younger and seem to be falling out of contention for another Cup. Evgeni Malkin is 35, Sidney Crosby is 34, Jeff Carter is 37, and newly signed Kris Letang is 35. Stay in touch with Full Press Hockey’s NHL rumors to see what Hextall does.
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Ottawa Senators – Jakob Chychrun
Rumor: Per Mark Easson – nhlrumors.com. Ottawa Senators need to improve their blueline. Would Jakob Chychrun help?
Included in the Sens top four is Travis Hamonic, Nikita Zaitsev and Nick Holden. Erik Brannstrom did not have a great 2021-22 season with no goals and 14 assists in 53 games. He didn’t add any physical play with only 39 hits, but did block 59 shots last season. They have been rumored to want to move on from Nikita Zaitsev and his $4.5 million contract. Of course, if they pursue Chychrun, he comes with a $4.6 million cap hit through 2024-25. But, when you compare what the Sens are getting with Zaitsev to what a 24-year-old Chychrun can provide, it gets interesting.
Could Zaitsev be a piece along with a prospect or two with a draft choice to go back to Arizona? It seems that the general manager of the Coyotes, Bill Armstrong may have overvalued Chychrun’s return in a trade.
One thing is certain, the Senators are moving upward, and have added a couple of forwards in Alex DeBrincat and Claude Giroux who can turn up the offense. Now, if they could add a player like Chychrun to that mix, the likelihood of being a playoff team would increase significantly.
That concludes this edition of NHL rumors. Be sure to catch our next article!
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