NHL Rumors: Barkov extension expected today; Sabres amicable to conditions in Eichel trade; and Ekholm wants new deal now

The speculation on the Florida Panthers and Aleksander Barkov working out a new extension can seemingly come to an end. This morning, Elliotte Friedman is reporting that the two sides are expected to announce a deal later today.

Barkov is a pending UFA for the summer of 2022. He would easily be a $10 million dollar player if he hits the market. The Panthers want to head that possibility off as soon as possible, and a recent report indicated that GM Bill Zito was confident he’d get it done before the start of the season. Looks like it’s going to be taken care of.

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NHL Rumors: Barkov to sign extension with Panthers

Barkov, 25, became the fifth player in league annals to win both the Selke and Lady Byng awards in his career. The eight-year veteran posted a team-high 26 goals along with 32 assists for 58 points, second on the Panthers, in 50 games this season. This marked his sixth straight season scoring 20 or more goals. He led the Panthers in scoring in 2018-19, his best season, with 96 points (35 goals, 61 assists).

NHL Rumors: Sabres willing to make an Eichel deal with conditions

jack Eichel trade
Jan 28, 2021; Buffalo, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (9) warms up before a game against the New York Rangers at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

There’s finally forward movement on the Jack Eichel trade front. TSN Insider Darren Dreger recently reported that a there’s some hope. “Sources say the Eichel saga may be shifting,” he tweeted. “Ongoing discussions and additional access to Jack Eichel’s medical file has helped teams with trade interest clearly see his situation. Both sides are hopeful something can be worked out soon with one of the clubs in the mix.”

“Teams that have circled back to Kevyn Adams and Adams has circled back to teams. What has happened in those discussions, I’m told, is that teams are saying we have to have a conditional component to any potential trade,” Pierre LeBrun said on the latest Insider Trading. “Because we don’t know what Jack Eichel is going to be like when he comes back. We don’t know when exactly he’ll be back, although that surgery suggests four months. And so what the Sabres have said is yes, we’re going to have to have a conditional part to that trade. That’s a big deal. That’s a big development because teams can now feel a little more safely in entering the next phase in trade talks.”

LeBrun also mentioned that no deal is imminent. As to who is involved remains to be seen. The Rangers are confirmed in the mix, and speculation that Anaheim and L.A. are also out there.

Mattias Ekholm won’t talk deal past camp

The Predators Mattias Ekholm was at the top of the NHL Trade Bait list last season, but Nashville opted to hold onto to him. Ekholm, 31, registered 23 points in 48 games and earns just $3.75M against the cap.

“They have talked all off-season long about an extension and have not been able to get one done yet but here is the wrinkle,” LeBrun explained. “I’m told that agent Kurt Overhardt and Ekholm have told general manager David Poile and the Predators that if he is not signed by the start of the season we want to shelve talks. We don’t want to negotiate during the year.”

Certainly an interesting twist. If the two sides can’t work out a deal, Ekholm will be a prime rental at the deadline.