NHL Rumors: Bruins, Rangers, and Wild
Today’s NHL Rumors takes us around the league from Boston to Minnesota, with a stop in New York as well.
As the Boston Bruins wait for Patrice Bergeron to make a decision on his future, they will need to have a plan in place should he not return. The loss of not only their top center but a perennial Selke Trophy Finalist, is a lot to try and replace.
NHL Rumors: Boston Bruins
Bergeron, 36, is coming off an 8 year-deal with a cap hit of $6.75 million. He finished this past season with 65 points in 73 games.
“I’m going to need time to think about a lot of things and come up with the best decision for myself and my family,” he said at season’s end.
President Cam Neely is hoping that his star center decides to give it a go for one more year.
“I hope that he feels good about his game still because he had a pretty damn good year,” Neely said on Thursday. “Hopefully, he does come back but if he doesn’t, we’ve got to go to work.”
The good news for Neely and the Bruins fans is that it’s Boston or retirement for their captain.
“I’ve been here my whole career and it’s a special place for me,” Bergeron said.
The Bruins are said to be looking to extend head coach Bruce Cassidy as he enters the final year of his deal.
One player that Boston will likely be reconsidering their stance on is Jake DeBrusk. He had asked for a trade out of the organization this season, but if Bergeron doesn’t return, keeping him will be imperative.
NHL Rumors: New York Rangers
The New York Rangers will have a busy offseason, whenever it comes.
They have to sign RFA Kaapo Kakko as one of their top priorities. However, the real work for President and GM Chris Drury is what to do with pending UFA’s like Ryan Strome, Andrew Copp, and Frank Vatrano?
Considering the team’s cap crunch, it will be impossible to keep all three. Some believe the Rangers have already made re-signing Copp a priority.
Another one of their deadline acquisitions is generating high praise in the organization and is very likely going to be re-signed.
Tyler Motte was acquired from the Vancouver Canucks late in the season but suffered a shoulder injury after playing only 9 games. When he made his return late in the series against the Penguins, it had an immediate impact to the team’s fourth line and fortunes.
Drury will try to sign the 27 year-old as the 4th line center for next season. He currently makes $1.225M AAV. That will likely mean not re-signing current fourth line center Kevin Rooney. Other potential fourth line players include Ryan Reaves and Dryden Hunt, who both have one year remaining on their contracts.
NHL Rumors: Minnesota Wild
Kevin Fiala’s future with the Minnesota Wild is not looking good at the moment.
“There’s uncertainty,” Wild GM Bill Guerin said this week via The Athletic. “I mean, we’d love to have Kevin back. I don’t know if it’s going to be possible.”
The truth is, unless Guerin can unload some salary, I’m not sure how he can pay Fiala at least $6 million and field a complete team. According to CapFriendly, the Wild have about $7 million in space and need to re-sign not only Fiala but also Marc-Andre Fleury (plus another forward).
There’s a lot of talk that the pending RFA with arbitration rights could be moved at the NHL Draft to the NJ Devils. Not only do they have interest and the cap space to pay him, they are willing to trade their first round pick which is #2 overall.
Fiala, 25, scored 85 points in 82 games this season and is wrapping up a one-year deal worth $5.1M. Last season, he was looking for an arbitration award around $6.25M.