We’re here with another edition of NHL rumours ready to go for the early part of the week. Teams are figuring out what to do with their players. General managers have to ask whether or not to sign some of them or trade them. There were a number of clubs that had expectations placed on them. However, a pair of Atlantic Division squads have missed the mark so far this campaign. There was hope that these teams would take the next step, but both have struggled. Today’s NHL rumours focuses on the Ottawa Senators and Buffalo Sabres.
All NHL rumours come from the original source and are subject to change.
Rumour: Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet had an update on Shane Pinto and his current contract situation. This was during Saturday night’s Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada.
Saturday Headlines/32: Nylander, Bedard/Hughes, Senators, Flames/Hanifin, boarding & visors.https://t.co/WOn7wDoqtc
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) January 7, 2024
Analysis: Friedman said that there’s a locker room stall waiting for Pinto and a contract as well. The Sportsnet insider that Pinto should be ready to return on January 21 against the Philadelphia Flyers. Pinto is allowed to practice 10 days prior to the 21st and is allowed to be near the team. A deal for this season would be pro-rated, which will aid the Senators salary cap situation, should Pinto sign it.
However, there could be a new wrinkle added into the mix. The change in ownership has meant a possible change in course for Pinto and his future in the Canadian capital. Friedman mentioned on the 32 Thoughts podcast that the new owners and the former University of North Dakota product are discussing a longer-term deal. It seems that Pinto is going to be part of the Senators core group going forward.
In a previous edition of NHL rumours, new General Manager Steve Staios was looking to acquire veteran players that are “pros.” These players are NHL ready, but can also handle themselves without much supervision. Whatever the case may be, Staios is going to be busy. However, Pinto seems to be part of the group going forward.
Rumour: The Athletic’s Matthew Fairburn had a recent mailbag that asked the status of certain veteran players at the March 8 trade deadline.
Analysis: Things have not gone well for the Sabres much like the Senators. There’s an exciting young core of players and Buffalo has some tantalizing prospects in the pipeline that could make an impact. However, General Manager Kevyn Adams may want to clear some room out to make a run at free agents or stockpile more picks that could help or be used as capital.
There are a number of veteran players like Erik Johnson, Zemgus Girgensons and Kyle Okposo that could be useful to a contending team. It could also be a chance to do right by some of the veterans that would love a shot at playoff hockey. Girgensons and Okposo have never appeared in the post-season and could get a chance to experience the bright lights of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
There are also a share of younger players that are restricted free agents that could fetch a decent return for Buffalo. Henri Jokiharju, Peyton Krebs and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen are all RFAs and could be intriguing to a team according to Fairburn. Adams could want to change the makeup of his team and these players may get some NHL-level talents back. This is the path in the Sabres decide to sell at the deadline.
However, a winning streak may force Adams into a much more difficult choice. Buffalo’s general manager has been patient this entire rebuild, but it may be time to push his chips in the middle to give the Sabres a jolt they need. Adams may roll the dice and try to get a player with term if one becomes available.
Main photo by: Marc DesRosiers – USA TODAY Sports