SERAVALLI: Ice Breakers - Rangers the team to watch as NHL trade freeze lifts - Daily Faceoff
|Daily Faceoff 22 Jul 2021 at 10:19|
> Unlike the Vegas Golden Knights, the Seattle Kraken did not make any side Expansion Draft ‘consideration’ trades to lay off drafting a particular player from teams. As GM Ron Francis told reporters after the picturesque Draft: “Last time, general managers were more willing to overpay to protect certain assets.”
> However, the Kraken are believed to have at least one trade in the hopper for when the NHL’s league-wide trade freeze and signing moratorium opens on Thursday afternoon at 1 o’clock p.m. ET. Forward Tyler Pitlick is expected to be flipped to the Calgary Flames. The return is unconfirmed but Seattle could receive a mid-round pick in exchange. Does the extra third-round pick the Flames acquired from Edmonton in the Milan Lucic trade for James Neal make sense?
> Just a hunch, but is Vince Dunn another candidate to flip? He is a pending RFA with arbitration rights. Teams were interested in him in St. Louis but felt the ask from the Blues was too high. Plus, if Mark Giordano, Jamie Oleksiak, Adam Larsson and Carson Soucy are all staying, there doesn’t appear to be much room in the Kraken top four.
Sources said the Kraken were underwhelmed with the options at center presented in the Expansion Draft, so they may pursue bulking up at the position via the trade market. Ryan Strome has been linked to the Kraken. Would Strome make any sense in Vegas, who is also looking for centers?
The Rangers have attempted to move arbitration-eligible RFA Pavel Buchnevich for weeks now.
New York has been seeking a suitor for goaltender Alexandar Georgiev. The ask is believed to be a first-round pick. It’s unlikely Georgiev, who is also seeking a fresh start, will fetch that price.
> All of which has teams wondering: Are the Rangers the leading contender to acquire Jack Eichel? Sources say the Rangers have quietly checked with each of the teams holding a pick inside the Top 10 of Friday’s Draft, inquiring about the price to acquire it. (New York’s first-round pick is No. 16 overall.) The belief is the Rangers would like to package that pick in a transaction for Eichel, as the Sabres are reportedly seeking another lottery-range pick to go with their No. 1 overall selection.
Teams in conversation with the Sabres have said the asking price for Eichel is “astronomical.” Buffalo is looking for a futures-type deal with multiple prospects and picks involved. A team like the Minnesota Wild, for instance, that would be interested in Eichel doesn’t necessarily have the ability to pull off that type of transaction because they would be relying on their prospects and picks in a couple years to help them through their ‘dead cap era’ looming from the buyouts to Ryan Suter and Zach Parise.
> Speaking of the Rangers, would new coach Gerard Gallant have any influence or interest in attempting to pluck one of Jonathan Marchessault or Reilly Smith out of Vegas? Both are available.
> Colleague Jason Gregor reported pending free agent Zach Hyman was in Edmonton on Wednesday to visit with Oiler brass. The Maple Leafs gave permission to Hyman’s camp to speak with interested parties before free agency opens. Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reported a seven-year deal for Hyman in Edmonton would likely be in the $5.5 million range, though they could also make a sign-and-trade with Toronto for Hyman, allowing for an eighth year to match the term Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and push down Hyman’s AAV to around $5 million.
The question is: What’s next for Edmonton after Hyman? They have a hole to fill on the right side of their defense in the wake of Adam Larsson’s departure to Seattle. It’s certainly possible that Tyson Barrie returns to the Y-E-G after leading all defensemen in scoring last season.
But I’m wondering if the Oilers are a sneaky dark horse candidate for Dougie Hamilton. He makes so much sense. Not only can he produce similar to Barrie on the power play, but he would bring an even-strength dynamic to Edmonton’s blue line that the Oilers do not have.
If there is a will, there is a way to make it work cap-wise. The Oilers will almost surely be buying out the contract of James Neal in short order. There are rumblings of interest in Zack Kassian that could further increase cap space. Not entirely sold that Ethan Bear will be in Edmonton for the long haul. Further goaltending clarity, with Mike Smith closing in on a new two-year, $4 million deal, would help. The Oilers could also buyout Mikko Koskinen for $3 million in cap savings this season, going with an inexpensive Smith and Alex Stalock tandem for a total of $4.285 million (including Koskinen’s dead cap space hit).
> With Seattle’s selection of forward Morgan Geekie, the Carolina Hurricanes are working to find a new home for defenseman Jake Bean. A quick peek at the Carolina depth chart will tell you why. There is interest in Bean and forward Warren Foegele, both of whom are seeking more opportunity and ice time, but the deal must be right for the Hurricanes to pull the trigger.
> As the Toronto Maple Leafs navigate their future, word is the door has not closed on a return for Nick Foligno. The Leafs continue to investigate all of their options.
Opening night is Oct. 12 with the Seattle Kraken debuting in Vegas at the Fortress, the second half of a double header that begins with the Tampa Bay Lightning raising their second straight Stanley Cup banner.