Carolina makes Guentzel available, Devils willing to trade 10th pick for goalie, and so much more: Around the League

Jake Guentzel rumours with the Vancouver Canucks
Photo credit:James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
Tyson Cole
1 month ago
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Welcome back to Around the League — the column here at CanucksArmy where we deliver you news and notes from around the National Hockey League — oftentimes through a Vancouver Canucks-tinted lens!
Today was a big news day around the National Hockey League. With today being the eve of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals and just three weeks away from the NHL entry draft, general managers around the league ramped up their discussions on how to improve their respective teams.

Guentzel available for trade?

At the trade deadline this year, the Carolina Hurricanes made a significant move, one that deviated from their usual strategy: they acquired a pending unrestricted free agent (UFA). And not just any UFA, but the biggest fish on the market: Jake Guentzel.
During his tenure with the Hurricanes, Guentzel was a key player on the top line alongside Sebastian Aho and Seth Jarvis. His performance was nothing short of impressive, with eight goals, 17 assists for 25 points, and a +16 rating in just 17 games.
After being eliminated in six games by the New York Rangers, the Hurricanes made Guentzel their number-one priority this offseason. So much so that the Hurricanes started actively shopping their home-grown product, Martin Necas.
And everything was looking great for Guentzel’s return to Carolina; however, that all changed this past week.
At first, it came out that he would test the market, but the door for a return was still wide open. However, after comments from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman today on 32 Thoughts – The Podcast, the situation has changed:
“It sounds like he’s available for a mid-round pick. I believe Carolina has let everybody know that if you want to trade for his rights for a chance to sign him, it’s possible for a mid-round pick,” Friedman explained.
I’m not sure what changed, but this seems like a little bit of a plan to minimize their losses. Now, conflicting reports say that the Hurricanes are telling teams that Martin Necas may not be available after all, and they’re comfortable moving forward with him.
Maybe they found out Guentzel’s real intentions and now don’t want to trade Necas and lose two top-six forwards in one offseason, so now they’re trying to repair their relationship with Necas.
This is all getting messy for the Hurricanes now, and they’re in trouble of losing both.
Let’s put our Vancouver Canucks glasses on now.
At this year’s trade deadline, the Canucks were hot in the rumours to acquire the former Pittsburgh Penguins forward. Now that his rights are available for a mid-round pick, you have to think the Canucks are going to at least circle back on the player.
Jim Rutherford and Patrik Allvin have ties to Guentzel through the Penguins organization. There could be potential mutual interest in signing in Vancouver. Also, if the Canucks were in talks with the Hurricanes about Necas, who comes at a much higher price tag if management thinks they can convince Guentzel to join the team, why not give it a try?
Vancouver has a third and fourth-round pick as “mid-round picks”, which they can bargain with to acquire Guentzel if they decide to do so.

New Jersey Devils to make splash for Goaltender

The New Jersey Devils have long sought a reliable goaltender since 2014, when Martin Brodeur retired. Sure, they got a few good years from former Canucks, Cory Schneider, but they still weren’t successful Devils seasons.
You have to think that Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald is ready to make that big splash and acquire the next goaltender in New Jersey. Fitzgerald spoke with NHL.com and had this to say regarding his activity in the goalie market:
“I’m in the goalie market talking to teams, but there’s a ‘but’ and the ‘but’ is how do we want to build our team?” Fitzgerald said. “We’d like to add up front, we’d like to add on the back end, so what are those pieces going to cost us? With the goaltending, what’s that going to cost us?
“Does the No. 10 pick get you that type of player that you can add to the group? It’s easy to say, ‘Go get so-and-so and then you build from there.’ But there are some guys who have different contracts, so how are those players going to reprice at? There’s a lot to it, but yes, the focus is on finding that goaltender.”
There may not have been a better year to acquire a goaltender. There are three goaltenders who all have budding stars waiting to take control of the starters crease: Linus Ullmark, 30, one year remaining at $6M per; Juuse Saros, 29, one year remaining at $5M per; and Jacob Markstrom, 34, two years remaining at $6M per.
According to the Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun, the Devils have circled back on Jacob Markstrom. At this year’s trade deadline, the Jacob Markstrom trade talks went far enough that the Calgary Flames asked him if he would waive his no-move-clause. The trade never went through, and Markstrom wasn’t pleased. So, it’s no surprise that these two are circling back now. The Flames are entering their re-tool faze and would have back-to-back picks if they acquired New Jersey’s 10th overall pick.
The Devils franchise is not afraid of trading top-10 picks for a goaltender. The aforementioned Cory Schneider was acquired in exchange for the 9th overall pick in the 2013 draft — the pick that landed Vancouver Bo Horvat.

Buffalo Sabres’ First-Round pick is available

The Buffalo Sabres have extended their longest-active playoff drought this past season, missing for the 13th straight season. Enough is enough for this organization.
Elliotte Friedman reported on the 32 Thoughts Podcast that the Sabres are willing to use this pick in a variety of ways, but sticking at 11 doesn’t seem to be one of them:
“I think Buffalo’s 11th pick is available. They said if you’re really interested in that pick and it’s something that will help us, we’ll do it. And they haven’t limited to, ‘we want this,’ they’re willing to move down, get more assets, they’re willing to get a player for it.”
“I think they’re really interested in another top-six forward. One of the things that Buffalo has indicated is they’ve got a lot of guys signed, obviously, but they have the next wave of players coming, and eventually, they’re going to sign those guys, too. And they don’t want to walk themselves into cap problems. But if there’s an impactful top-six forward out there, they’re looking.”
And where might that top-six forward come from? The only two top-six calibre forwards that are available for trade would be Martin Necas and Nikolaj Ehlers. We discussed earlier that Necas may potentially be off the market, but Ehlers could be an exciting addition.
David Pagnotta of the Fourth Period reported that Ehlers is not interested in signing a contract extension with the Winnipeg Jets and believes he needs a change of scenery. Ehlers is a speedy, skilled winger who consistently produces 60-point seasons. He might be the perfect addition alongside Sabres sniper Tage Thompson and power forward Alex Tuch.

Utah Down to Final Six Names

The Utah Hockey Club is still deciding on its team name. At first, Utah owner Ryan Smith offered 20 options for fans to vote on for their favourite team name. And now, they’ve narrowed it down to six selections.
The options are Utah Blizzard, Utah Hockey Club (Utah HC), Utah Mammoth, Utah Outlaws, Utah Venom and Utah Yeti.
The former Arizona Coyotes’ inaugural season in Utah will be played under the name Utah Hockey Club. It’s been speculated that this is the logo and colour scheme they will use for the 2024-2025 season, with plans subject to change once they finalize a team name and logo.
What do you think, Canucks fans? What team name would you like to see for Utah? And would you trade a mid-round pick for Jake Guentzel’s rights?
We’ll be back next week with more up-to-date news from this upcoming week around the league.

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