It’s time for another edition of NHL rumours. We’re close to the regular season picking back up and games resuming. However, general managers haven’t had much time to relax. They’ve got plenty of decisions to make with the March 8 trade deadline looming. There are several players with expiring deals and some choices need to be made. Some teams are out of contention and may sell at the deadline. Today’s NHL rumours focus on the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Buffalo Sabres.
Here’s the latest on what I’m hearing about Jake Guentzel, Mike Sullivan, Todd Reirden, Erik Karlsson, the Penguins’ woeful power play and more. Click here to read about it and to sign up to The Athletic: https://t.co/gLEbqXa2hZ
— Josh Yohe (@JoshYohe_PGH) February 1, 2024
Analysis: The Omaha, Nebraska native is in the final year of a five-year contract that has him making $6 million. He will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Guentzel also has a modified 12-team no-trade clause for this season. The Pens forward has been one of the bright spots on an underperforming team. Team president and general manager Kyle Dubas recognizes Guentzel’s greatness and that the forward has great chemistry with team captain Sidney Crosby.
The unnamed official said the future of Guentzel in the Steel City is whether or not he takes a team-friendly deal. Things will be a bit easier in the future with the salary cap, but there are other deals that are coming up soon for the Pens.
However, Dubas’ hand may be forced due to salary cap constraints. There are some big contracts on the books like Erik Karlsson, Evgeni Malkin and Crosby. The latter’s deal will be up at the end of the next season. However, Crosby’s predilection for taking $8.7 million in his contracts could save the team a bit of money.
Pittsburgh didn’t make a bunch of moves only to move pieces out and start rebuilding. Dubas would love to re-sign the former University of Nebraska-Omaha product. However, he’s not afraid to make a trade if the two sides can’t make a deal work.
The NHL trade deadline already has a blockbuster deal. The Sabres are in an odd position as the deadline approaches, so should Kevyn Adams buy, sell or hold? Let’s look at his options https://t.co/CCjbeHP6tS
— Matthew Fairburn (@MatthewFairburn) February 1, 2024
Analysis: It’s been another winter of discontent in the Queen City. Buffalo is looking at another season of missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs. This means that Adams might have to do some more re-tooling at the deadline.
Fairburn first lists that the Sabres may trade to flip players who are UFAs at the upcoming deadline. Players like Erik Johnson, Kyle Okposo, Victor Olofsson, Eric Robinson, Eric Comrie and others could be flipped for more assets and players. Comrie might not have much trade value since he already passed through waivers and was sent down to AHL Rochester. Okposo would need to waive his no-trade clause in order to get moved.
Olofsson has struggled to recapture the goal-scoring form from last season. However, he could get a shot on a team that’s struggling on the power play. Zemgus Girgensons could be a solid bottom-six forward who could bring energy to the bottom of the lineup.
Adams could possibly explore the trade value of some of the restricted free agents. Players like Casey Mittelstadt, Peyton Krebs, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen or Henri Jokiharju are RFAs. Adams could try to get some players with term in return for these younger players. It may be necessary to change the makeup of this Buffalo roster.
Buffalo’s GM could also do nothing and stand pat at the deadline. He could wait for the right deals and keep assets if nothing good comes along.
The Sabres could also be a buyer, but this seems like the most remote possibility. However, last year’s sell-off didn’t prevent the team from getting Jordan Greenway. They could luck into another future cornerstone this deadline.
Main photo by: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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