In today’s NHL rumors rundown, Evgeni Malkin is headed to free agency while the Pittsburgh Penguins have invested heavily in a different forward. Meanwhile, David Perron seems to be heading to market too as the St. Louis Blues have elected not to make him a priority.
Jack Campbell seems like all but a lock to the Edmonton Oilers and the Toronto Maple Leafs traded for Matt Murray. Are they done looking for a goalie? Finally, why did the Washington Capitals elect not to qualify Ilya Samsonov?
Malkin to Test the Free Agency Market
After reports suggested the Penguins and Malkin’s reps were trying to find common ground and the two sides might be creeping closer to a possible extension, reports surfaced on Monday that Malkin was going to test free agency. Darren Dreger of TSN reported, “Sources say Evgeni Malkin has decided to go to the open market on Wednesday. Malkin has never been a free agent before and wants to see what his options are.”
There was a lot of chatter that things were moving closer to a deal, not farther away. The fact that the Penguins have invested six seasons in an extension for Rickard Rakell at $5 million per season has shocked a few people considering the team refused to offer a fourth season on a Malkin extension. Rob Rossi of The Athletic reports, “The Penguins NEVER offered 4 years to Evgeni Malkin. His camp reportedly tried to get there with GM Ron Hextall, and the closest they got was “what it could look like.” The 4-year contract was NOT on table from Penguins.”
Perron to Hit the Free Agent Market Too
Not only is Malkin unexpectedly going to market, but so is David Perron, who many believed would get signed in St. Louis on an extension. Frank Seravalli reports, “Hearing David Perron plans to go to market on Wednesday. Lines of communication remain open with #stlblues, and talks have been cordial, but I’m told STL doesn’t have the cap space to make a proper offer at this time.”
Andy Strickland added, “David Perron looking like another flat cap casualty, told agreeing to an extension with St. Louis looks unlikely. Perron will go down as an all-time #stlblues player. Has had an amazing run with St. Louis.” Finally, Jeremy Rutherford reports, that the Blues would have to clear some space before Wednesday to make this deal with Perron work and that is “if” they want to, to which there is no indication they do.
Campbell to Oilers a Done Deal?
While the Oilers and Jack Campbell‘s camp can’t technically talk contract, it sounds like a done deal that the goaltender will be joining Edmonton on Wednesday in free agency. Elliotte Friedman reports, “We would all be surprised if Jack Campbell isn’t an Edmonton Oiler.” The deal is rumored to be around five years and $5 million per season and the trade that saw the Toronto Maple Leafs acquire Matt Murray from the Ottawa Senators pretty much seals the deal on Campbell not coming back to the Leafs.
In other Oilers news, it sounds like the Oilers offered Evander Kane four years and $4.75 million, which he declined. He’ll test the market and could perhaps circle back to the Oilers if there’s room after the Oilers do other business, including Campbell.
Leafs Not Done With Murray Deal
After adding Murray via trade, a report from Pierre LeBrun of TSN suggests that the Leafs aren’t done looking for a solution in goal. He reports, “Leafs will keep looking for another goalie option as well. Someone with a reasonable price tag.”
This is probably not a bad idea considering Murray’s recent history of poor play. As for how much the Leafs are willing to spend and who is out there, perhaps someone like Ilya Samsonov, who the Washington Capitals did not qualify and will become an unrestricted free agent could be of interest. LeBrun made sure to note that just because the Maple Leafs will look for another goalie doesn’t mean they’ll get one.
Capitals Made a Financial Decision on Samsonov
The Capitals not qualifying Samsonov was a bit of a surprise on Monday, but reports are that it was strictly a financial decision by the Caps. Tarik El-Bashir of The Athletic reports, “The decision not to qualify Samsonov was a financial decision. As an RFA (with arbitration rights), the #Caps projected that he’d come in at $3-$3.5 million per, which, in their view, was too much for a backup and not justified based on his performance to date.”
There’s a lot of talk they know they have Darcy Kuemper in the bag, thus they’ve been willing to move on from their current goaltenders.
Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”