NHL Rumors: Hertl climbing up trade lists, Canes deny offer-sheet shenanigans, Leafs and Campbell extension

The NHL Trade Deadline is still a significant time away (March 21) and there are far too many teams that believe they are still in contention.

One of those teams are the San Jose Sharks, who currently sit one point out of the final wild card spot in the Western Conference. Their odds of making the post-season stands at just 8.9% per MoneyPuck. Which raises the question about what they will do with pending UFA, Tomas Hertl.

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NHL Rumors: Tomas Hertl

Hertl is 28 years-old and in the final year of a deal that has a $5.625M cap hit. Last season, he recorded 43 points in 50 games. This season, he’s keeping a similar scoring pace with 28 points in 35 contests.

“I’m not thinking about what will happen next season, will the Sharks extend me or if they don’t want me there,” Hertl said this summer about his expiring contract. “I’m just going to play my best hockey and help my teammates.”

Per multiple reports, the Sharks told inquiring teams in the offseason that they were still hopeful to work things out. What remains to be seen is if the Sharks will be a contender come the Deadline. If so, the belief is both sides will want to continue the relationship.

The reality is that the Sharks are starting to slip while many other teams rise. That is elevating Hertl to the top of several trade bait lists, including Frank Seravalli of the The Daily Faceoff where he’s ranked #1.

“Hertl has emerged as the likely most in-demand player as we hurdle toward the deadline.. and would provide a significant return for the Sharks’ future,” Seravalli writes. “One team to keep an eye on in the Hertl sweepstakes: the New York Rangers.”

The Rangers are a team that we have linked since the beginning of the season on our trade bait board.

Hurricanes deny offer sheet shenanigans

In a recent feature by Pierre LeBrun for The Athletic, he spoke with Hurricanes GM Don Waddell about the offer-sheet signing of Jesperi Kotkaniemi from the Montreal Canadiens. He specifically asked about the approach of just offering one year to an RFA, instead of multiple seasons and if there was another follow up deal worked out.

“Absolutely false,” Waddell said without hesitation. “When we talked about the offer sheet, we talked initially about a longer-term deal that wasn’t the right play so that’s why we went short. We all knew there was risk on both ends here, more on our end, and we’ll deal with it when the time comes.

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Kotkaniemi, 21, had five goals and 15 assists in 56 games last season. He has 15 points in 31 games for the Canes this year.

Montreal obviously felt that he was not worth the $6.1 million that the Hurricanes offered, which would have caused cap issues. The Habs instead took the compensation and chose to trade for Yotes center Christian Dvorak.

Latest on Maple Leafs and Jack Campbell

jack campbell leafs
Nov 10, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell (36) holds onto the puck as Philadelphia Flyers left wing Joel Farabee (86) looks for a rebound during the third period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

“There have not been negotiations between the two sides since the season has started,” LeBrun reported on Insider Trading. “And what’s interesting about that is that my sense of it is that whatever the number was that Jack Campbell’s camp, led by Kurt Overhardt, would have perhaps settled for before the season when there were some negotiations, that number has gone up since then, there’s no doubt about it.”

This report contradicts a report from early November by Nick Kypreos stating that Maple Leafs and Campbell were working on an extension. One thing is clear, Campbell wants to stay.

“There’s nothing more I’d love than to stay here,” the 29 year-old netminder said. Since joining the Leafs he is 37-10-5 with a .929 SV% and a 2.07 GAA.