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The Rumour Mill: Big offseasons coming for the Hurricanes and Bruins, McDonagh trade pushing Stamkos out of Tampa?

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Photo credit:James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
Tyson Cole
23 days ago
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With the Vancouver Canucks’ season over, we now pivot to offseason coverage as all eliminated teams try to ramp up for next season. We are about a month from the NHL entry draft and free agency, but the rumours of player movement are already starting to swirl. 
So why not dive into what’s going on around the league?

Carolina Hurricanes

The Carolina Hurricanes are set to be one of the most active and changed teams heading into next season. With just over $27M in cap space and 14 free agents looking for a raise, interim general manager Eric Tulsky will have to make some difficult decisions right out of the gate. 
It appears he has his eyes set on two of their free agents early. According to the Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun, the club has begun negotiations with newly acquired winger Jake Guentzel and left-handed defenceman Brady Skjei. 
Guentzel found early chemistry on the top line with Sebastian Aho and Seth Jarvis, scoring eight goals and 25 points in just 17 games. Skjei, who has been with the Hurricanes for the past five seasons, had his best statistical season with 13 goals and 47 points in 80 games. The Hurricanes can only afford to bring one defenceman back, so barring any changes, Brett Pesce looks like the odd man out.
Two other Hurricanes forwards made the headlines this week. 
After a frustrating season from Martin Necas, where he was strapped to the third line and second powerplay unit, he looks to be one of the ones on their way out this offseason. However, any team interested in the forward will need to hork up assets as Carolina still owns his rights. 
Necas had 24 goals and 53 points in 77 games this season.
Jesperi Kotkaniemi, on the other hand, is under contract for the next six seasons. His name came out as more of a cap casualty as his production level compared to his cap hit ($4.82M per season) could clear up some much-needed space to re-sign some of their other more valuable free agents.
Kotkaniemi had 12 goals and 27 points in 79 games this season.
Elliotte Friedman reported that Vancouver has been linked to both Necas and Kotkaniemi.

Ryan McDonagh Trade

Earlier this week, Ryan McDonagh returns to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the team he won two Stanley Cups with. After their first-round exit, McDonagh went to Nashville Predators management and told the club he would prefer to move on if possible. 
McDonagh is coming off his best season since 2018-2019 with 32 points and a +31 rating.
Nashville sent McDonagh ($6.85M per year) and a 2024 fourth-round pick to Tampa Bay in exchange for a 2025 second-round pick and 2024 seventh-round pick. 
This now gives Nashville $26M of available cap space to find offensive help. They have been linked to numerous offensive talents that are set to become available, such as Mitch Marner and Tyler Toffoli.
Tampa Bay, on the other hand, finds themselves in a much trickier situation. Adding the McDonagh money now gives them $5.035M of available cap space, with their captain, Steven Stamkos, still needing a new contract. The Lightning will need to make some extra cap space if they’re going to retain their 10-year-long captain. 
Stamkos is showing no signs of slowing down, with 40 goals and 81 points in his age 34 season. 
Tanner Jeannot’s ($2.655M) name has been mentioned as a potential trade candidate to help free up cap space for Stamkos’ return. 
Jeannot was a healthy scratch at points in the playoffs and played just 55 regular-season games for the Lightning.

Mitch Marner

After yet another disappointing playoff run from Marner, the “core four” forward seems to have fallen out of favour in Toronto. His name appears to be on the chopping block to move if the Maple Leafs are to move one of their expensive forwards.
Marner’s ($10.9M) camp reportedly has no interest in providing a trade list to help facilitate a potential trade as he wants to stay in his home Province. If upper management decides to move in a different direction, this could get ugly for both parties.
Marner had 26 goals and 85 points in 69 games this season. However, in the playoffs, he had one goal and three points in their seven-game series against the Bruins. 

Tyler Toffoli

Toffoli’s services have been very much sought-after as he’s played for five teams in four years since being traded to the Canucks in the 2020 season. But it looks like he’ll be on the move again, as LeBrun reported that Toffoli will not be signing an extension with the Winnipeg Jets.
David Pagnotta of the Fourth Period goes one step further by speculating a return to one of his previous teams, the Los Angeles Kings, New Jersey Devils or the Vancouver Canucks. If Toffoli wants to get paid, the aforementioned Nashville Predators have reported interest. 
Toffoli had 33 goals and 55 points in 79 games this season.

Boston Bruins

The best goaltending duo over the past two seasons could be breaking up, as last season’s Vezina trophy winner may be on the move. The Bruins shopped Linus Ullmark at this year’s trade deadline, but he nixed a potential deal with the Los Angeles Kings with his 16-team no-movement clause. 
Pagnotta speculates that the Kings, Devils, Hurricanes, Edmonton Oilers, Detroit Red Wings, and Ottawa Senators will all be interested in the Bruins goaltender once they make him available.
Ullmark had a 22-10-7 record this season, with a 2.57 GAA and a .915 S%.
The Bruins have been desperate for a top-calibre centreman since both Patrice Bergeron and David Kjreci retired at the end of last season. Boston is expected to make a run at one of the top two centremen available in this year’s free agency market: Elias Lindholm or Chandler Stephenson. 
Lindholm was a target of the Bruins earlier this season before he was traded to Vancouver. Then, when Lindholm was struggling, there were further rumours that Vancouver would send him to Boston. Now, the Bruins have the opportunity to get him for free in the open market on July 1st.
Lindholm had 15 goals and 44 points in 75 games this season.
Stephenson had 16 goals and 51 points in 75 games this season.
More to come next week…
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