NHL Rumors: Maple Leafs, Blue Jackets, Senators, Avalanche

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Toronto Maple Leafs realize they need to do more with their roster and will look to the trade market. Meanwhile, the Columbus Blue Jackets know they need to clear cap space if their intention is still to keep Patrik Laine on the team.

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The Ottawa Senators might be in on defenseman John Klingberg and could Nazem Kadri return to the Colorado Avalanche?

Maple Leafs Will Try to Find Trade Deals for Forwards

As per Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun, Kyle Dubas has added a number of defensemen but will look to find depth at forward with what money he has left or via trade this summer. He said that the type of players he’ll be looking for are guys who see the team’s situation and say ‘I can go there for a year or two on relatively low dollars and the group would be a fit for me to have success and parlay that into something greater.”

Kyle Dubas Toronto Maple Leafs
Kyle Dubas, Toronto Maple Leafs (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Koshan writes:

As well as concentrating on signing restricted free agents Rasmus Sandin and Pierre Engvall in the near future, Dubas referred to the trade market as being “wide open” from his perspective and that his attention will start to increase on making possible moves via swaps.

source – ‘Dubas says he isn’t done putting finishing touches on Leafs roster, which is a good thing’ – Terry Koshan – Toronto Sun – 07/13/2022

Blue Jackets Need to Clear Cap Space

With the signing of Johnny Gaudreau, and if the Blue Jackets re-sign Patrik Laine at around $8.5 million, the team will be $4 million over the salary cap ceiling. That means they’re going to need to clear some cap space in the next few weeks.

Related: 3 Most Logical Destinations for Nazem Kadri in Free Agency

As per Aaron Portzline of The Athletic GM Jarmo Kekelainen said he accounted for that when they signed Gaudreau and explained:

“We thought about it long and hard. We’re confident we can make it all work. This doesn’t change our position on Laine at all. We’re going to approach (negotiations with Laine) like it’s a work in progress, but we have plans to keep ’em both.”

source – ‘Johnny Gaudreau explains why he stunned the NHL world and chose the Blue Jackets’ – Aaron Portzline – The Athletic – 07/13/2022

Portzline wonders if the franchise will try to move Oliver Bjorkstrand or Gustav Nyquist?

Are Senators In on Klingberg?

Nazem Kadri and defenseman John Klingberg are among the most notable names still out there on the free agency market. Kadri is mulling over teams — including possibly returning to the Avalanche — but Klingberg is rumored to be either heading to the Seattle Kraken or the Ottawa Senators.

John Klingberg of the Dallas Stars
John Klingberg of the Dallas Stars (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

There is some chatter that the Senators are looking at Klingberg and some rumblings that he might do a one-year deal, but that seems unlikely. The Senators have been rumored to be in the market for a top-four defenseman, which is one of the reasons they traded Connor Brown, in an effort to create the cap space to acquire someone for their blue line.

Will Avs Make Space for Kadri?

Meanwhile, if the Avalanche sign Kadri, they’ll likely have to make a salary cap move, possibly sending someone from their blue line out. The Denver Post’s Mark Kiszla suggests trading defenseman Samuel Girard and his $5 million annual salary-cap hit to free up the necessary space to sign Kadri or a suitable replacement as their second-line center. 

Kiszla writes:

Girard is a sweet, puck-moving defenseman with dangerous offensive ability. But those skills are not as essential to the Avalanche’s defense of the Cup as what Kadri or another legit No. 2 center could provide this team in its quest to repeat.

source – ‘Kiszla: In quest for legit No. 2 center, Avs should consider trading Sam Girard’ – Mark Kiszla – Denver Post – 07/14/2022