NHL Rumors: Evgeny Kuznetsov trade possibility, Capitals goalie search, and Nick Foligno on the Maple Leafs?

evgeny kuznetsov rumors
Feb 23, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov (92) passes the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Today’s NHL Rumors Mill updates may require a few posts today as there’s plenty of buzz around the league. The Trade Deadline is five weeks away, and due to quarantine concerns some deals could go down soon.

NHL Rumors: Evgeny Kuznetsov trade possibility

The Capitals are a real intriguing team. Let’s be clear about who they are right now – a Stanley Cup contender. If anything, they will be buyers at this deadline. However, if they fail to make the postseason or get eliminated early then management’s views could change.

In a recent Mailbag article on NBC Sports Washington, J.J. Regan was asked about Kuznetsov. “If you trade away Kuznetsov during the season for anything other than a top-line center, you are punting on this season,” he wrote.

Then Regan followed up with a comment on the Caps future. “Whether the team considers a move like this after the season will largely be dependent on the direction the franchise wants to go,” he continued. “If MacLellan still believes Washington has another kick at the can, then no, I don’t think Kuznetsov gets traded. If it’s a fire sale for a rebuild, then yes.”

After speaking with a well place source recently, the list of potential centers this offseason could very well include Kuznetsov. The 28 year-old pivot has three years remaining at $7.8 million AAV.

NHL Rumors: Capitals looking at goalies for insurance

Washington had it all set in goal this offseason when they signed Henrik Lundqvist to backup Ilya Samsonov. Sadly, Lundqvist needed open-heart surgery and was removed from the mix. Samsonov on the other hand has struggled and although Vitek Vanecek has played well, the Caps could look to Arizona for some help.

I think either Antti Raanta or Darcy Kuemper out of Arizona would be good targets, especially Raanta as his contract expires in 2021, but the first thing the Caps would need to ask is for the Coyotes to retain a fair bit of his $4.25 million cap hit, probably the full 50% allowed, just to get to a point where a deal is even possible.

NBC Sports Washington

NHL Rumors: Nick Foligno on the Maple Leafs?

nhl trade rumors maple leafs
Mar 6, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger (29) makes a pad save on a shot by Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Nick Foligno (71) during the third period at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

I’ll give it to Steve Simmons and the Toronto Sun – when it comes to the Leafs they are an interesting read for sure.

The Leafs have next to no salary cap room. In order to acquire anyone — the name Nick Foligno keeps popping up — they would have to move other assets and money, certainly Alex Kerfoot for example, maybe one of the young defencemen Rasmus Sandin or Timothy Liljegren, maybe the young sniper Nick Robertson, maybe an early-round draft pick.

Toronto Sun

Let’s start off with the fact that Nick Foligno’s name hasn’t been out there in the rumor mill much this season. He is a UFA this summer and I can understand trading him might make some sense. The captain of the Blue Jackets makes $5.5 million AAV and also has trade protection, so it will be on his terms. He loves Columbus and being the Captain of the team.

There certainly is a scenario where I can see the Jackets trading his rights to acquire players like Alex Kerfoot and then resigning him in free agency. So while this one feels like it’s out of left field, it’s one to monitor.