It’s time for another round of NHL rumours. We’re into the month of January and closing in on two months until the March 8 trade deadline. Teams are busy doing plenty of things while they await that day. Some clubs are trying to lock up some key assets. However, others may make some moves to shake things up. Today’s NHL rumours is a Battle of Ontario-centric edition. We have items on the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators.
All NHL rumours come from the original source and are subject to change.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Rumour: Elliotte Friedman gave an update on the William Nylander contract talks during the latest edition of Headlines on Hockey Night in Canada.
“I do believe the AAV for Nylander is going to be around $11.5M.”
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) January 7, 2024
Analysis: Friedman said the two sides are closing in on a new deal and it could be signed very soon. The Sportnet insider said the Swedish playmaker could get an eight-year deal worth $11.5 million. This deal would take one of the coveted pieces in the July 2024 free agent market off the board.
Nylander is having one heck of a season in already getting 20-plus goals and over the 50-point mark before the All-Star Break. Auston Matthews and Nylander have been carrying the load for the Toronto offence in the first-half of the season. There’s no doubt that Nylander’s play has been giving him the the leverage he needed for a big payday.
Two of the Leafs’ core four are now signed with Matthews and Nylander having their new deals kick in next season. It’s a big commitment with Matthews getting $13.5 million, but both could be worth every penny if they keep putting up points.
However, a possible deal could leave the fates of Mitch Marner and John Tavares up in the air. Both deals are up at the end of the 2024-25 season and both are making at or near $11 million per season. Could the end of the road be near for Tavares, the lifelong Leafs fan? What will it take to keep Marner beyond next season?
Other questions will surround general manager Brad Treliving about fielding the rest of the team around the core players. The cap number going up the next few years should help, but questions surround the defence, depth forwards and defence. However, signing Nylander is a big step in solidifying a the top of the lineup.
Rumour: TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that new general manager Steve Staios is going to be active at the trade deadline.
Big test for @Senators tonight in Edmonton. Nothing close, but Sens GM Steve Staios has definitely let it be known he wants to be aggressive on the trade front. Makeup of the team needs to be changed. Won’t involve Ottawa’s young talent. Staios is in a lot of conversations.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) January 6, 2024
Analysis: This was also backed up by Friedman during the Headlines segment on CBC and other media outlets. Dreger said that the Senators will try to make some deals and added that the makeup of the team needs to be changed. Many of the veterans that aren’t part of the young core could be moved at the deadline.
Staios doesn’t want to give up younger players that are likely to be a part of the team’s foundation. Ottawa has some good players that they’ve drafted, but the team hasn’t been able to put things together. The new ownership group has already made a change in general manager and coach, but now it’s time for the club to take the next step forward.
Friedman added that the team wants to add “pros” and that means veteran players that are ready to plug into the lineup. The statement also means players that can handle themselves and that can play properly.
One wonders if a player like a Vladimir Tarasenko or Dominik Kubalik could be moved since both are in contract years. A contending team could come calling and maybe pry a veteran away. Staios doesn’t want to deal away one of the team’s young players.
Main photo by: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
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