The Rumour Mill: Hurricanes remain busy, Marchessault’s phone isn’t ringing, insight on Utah’s offseason plans, and more

Jake Guentzel rumours with the Vancouver Canucks
Photo credit:James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
Tyson Cole
12 days ago
The Rumour Mill continues to turn with a significant team in the Eastern Conference, who has been making headlines this past week. Another successful team in the Western Conference finally shines some light on how they plan to move forward with their sub $900K of remaining salary and seven free agents to sign.
Let’s dive right in.

Carolina Hurricanes

In last week’s edition of the Rumour Mill, we started with the Carolina Hurricanes, and they’ve been busy enough to highlight our first segment again this week.
David Pagnotta of the Fourth Period reported today that the Hurricanes newest forward, Jake Guentzel, isn’t ready to commit long-term and is expected to test the waters come July 1st. Pagnotta further comments that the door isn’t fully shut for a return in Raleigh, but he’s likely to exercise his right to field outside offers.
The Hurricanes would have loved to get a decision on his future in Carolina. They have seven other unrestricted free agents to decide on, and the $8M per year they would likely give to Guentzel could help them re-sign more of their guys. The Hurricanes are still waiting on a decision from Teuvo Teravainen and his future with the club, and it’s believed that Brett Pesce and Brady Skjei are among the top priorities on the Hurricanes’ long list among their pending free agents.
Now, to their restricted free agent. The one that’s really been causing some buzz around the hockey world, Martin Necas. On the DFO Rundown, Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli had this to say about the trade rumours and Martin Necas.
Seravalli further listed the three teams he’s keeping an eye on in these Necas rumours: The Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames and Columbus Blue Jackets. We’ve discussed the Necas to Vancouver rumours before, but seeing the Blue Jackets on this list is interesting.
Columbus just hired the former Hurricanes general manager (GM) Don Waddell. However, in his exit interviews, it didn’t seem like they had the greatest relationship with some of Waddell’s answers. But if Necas wants a significant raise and an elevated role in the lineup, Columbus would make perfect sense.
Pagnotta also mentions the Nashville Predators, Seattle Kraken, Philadelphia Flyers, and Montreal Canadiens as teams that’ve shown interest in Necas. The young winger projects to make upwards of $7M-$7.5M per season with whoever acquires his rights.

Vegas Golden Knights

In true Vegas fashion, the Golden Knights went all-in but came up short and now have a difficult offseason to maneuver themselves out of. They have seven free agents to sign and $897K to do it. However, they do have their get-out-of-jail-free card with the ability to put Robin Lehner’s $5M on the long-term injured reserve (LTIR) – something the Golden Knights are all too familiar with already.
This new cap space still doesn’t project to be enough to bring back one of the original misfits, Jonathan Marchessault. According to AFP Analytics, Marchessault is projected to make $6.285M on his next contract.
Vegas will need to make further room outside of Lehner’s LTIR cap to make room for Marchessault.
Last week, Marchessault had this to say about his contract negotiations: “We don’t have a call yet or anything. They said they were interested to sign me. They have until June 30th to do so.” It seems odd not to have even begun discussions with one of your longest veterans on the team, who had a career year scoring 42 goals and 69 points this season.
Chandler Stephenson is the next highest-profile player to need a new contract in Vegas. Although his camp intends to meet with the Golden Knights sometime this week, he projects to be the second-best available centre on the market this summer. And given their current cap situation, he will likely be too expensive for Vegas to return.
Four other of their pending free agents have been informed that they will not be returning to the Golden Knights next season: Michael Amadio, Anthony Mantha, William Carrier and Alec Martinez.

New York Rangers

After being eliminated in the Eastern Conference Finals by the Florida Panthers in six games, they have a lot of looking in the mirror to do. They have $11.3M to work with this offseason, with only Ryan Lindgren to re-sign and a top-six right-winger to play on Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad’s line to add on the docket.
However, come July 1st, they have two massive contract extensions to work out: Igor Shesterkin and Alexis Lafreniére.
On the 32 Thoughts Podcast, Elliotte Friedman discussed his thoughts on how the Rangers need to handle this delicate situation. “The Rangers part of this negotiation is going to be, ‘Igor, you deserve whatever you can get. However, how can we do this in a way that we can still win around you? Where we can reward you, but we can build a team around you.'”
Friedman then goes on to say that the Rangers would be fortunate if it was as low as Sergei Bobrovsky’s 7-year contract by $10M per year. He then says he would be shocked if this wasn’t the number one goaltender contract in the league.
Regarding Lafreniére, Friedman says this may be put on the back burner for another year. He speculates that both sides might want to wait: the Rangers because they want to see him perform at this level for more than just one season before they commit long-term, and Lafreniére because he wants to bet on himself and prove that he’s worth even more than what he projects to make now.
Lafreniére was one of the Rangers’ most impactful skaters at 5-on-5 in the Eastern Conference finals, scoring three important goals. It’s not a question of if, but when they do, work something out with the former first-overall pick.

Tyler Bertuzzi

It seems like the Toronto Maple Leafs have made Tyler Bertuzzi their in-house number-one target. Pagnotta reported that the Maple Leafs and Bertuzzi are mutually interested in an extension, and the two sides began talks at some point last week. Bertuzzi had a successful first season with the Maple Leafs, recording 21 goals and 43 points in 80 games and is projected to make $5.273M on a contract extension, according to AFP Analytics.

Arthur Kaliyev

We discussed Arthur Kaliyev as being a potential Vancouver Canucks trade target this offseason, and that only is becoming more of a possibility after his meeting with Rob Blake this past week.
When Kaliyev met with Blake, he formally submitted a trade request, which Blake plans to oblige. The pending restricted free agent is looking for a change of scenery after being a healthy scratch at the end of the season and in all five of the Los Angeles Kings’ playoff games.

Utah C̶o̶y̶o̶t̶e̶s̶ Hockey Club

This is an interesting story out of Utah about their plans on how to use their league-high $43M cap space this offseason. In an article done by the Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun, he quoted Utah GM Bill Armstrong saying this about their pending offseason:
“Just because you have all that cap money doesn’t mean you have to make bad decisions and fill up your cap and all of sudden five years from now when you need the space, you don’t have it. So it’s really important, good decisions, healthy decisions, that can help this group grow and improve the team without sacrificing the future.”
LeBrun digs into this quote and finds the true meaning of what Armstrong was saying.
By all accounts, Utah sounds like it will be active with its salary cap space. However, they will likely overpay players to come in on a shorter-term deal, which allows them to have more cap flexibility when their young stars come up and need extensions.
This strategy is much better than the franchise’s usual method of trading for LTIR money, gaining draft picks to meet the cap floor. Now, they’ll put their money to good use and help their younger players actually develop.
We’ll be back next week to update you further on the Rumour Mill around the league.

Check out these posts...