NHL Rumors: Hertl on free agency; Hughes and Pettersson still negotiating; and Sabres talked to Kings about Eichel?

A new batch of NHL rumors.

nhl rumors
Oct 12, 2017; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns (88) and center Tomas Hertl (48) attempt to defend against Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (15) in the third period at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL media tour took place this past week as players make their way back in preparation for the 2021-22 season. There have been a great number of interviews conducted with excellent insights into some of the top storylines.

Let’s begin with the San Jose Sharks charismatic center, Tomas Hertl.

NHL Rumors: Hertl on his contract

“We’ll see when I get there for camp and stuff, we’ll see if we get some talks. If not, I’m not worried,” Hertl told NHL.com. “For me, it doesn’t matter because I think I’ve proven I can be a good player, I’ve shown I can be a leader and I just want to do that and not think about my next deal.”

Hertl likely caused more noise with his comments in a recent Czech interview than was needed.

“I wonder if San Jose will want to re-sign me and if I’ll want to stay there,” Hertl said as translated by Kevin Kurz. “I don’t want to think about it so it doesn’t negatively affect me. I’ll start the season and see how it turns out.”

Hertl will be 28 years-old when his current deal with a $5.625M cap hit expires. Last season, he recorded 43 points in 50 games. For his NHL career he’s registered 323 points in 503 contests.

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

Canucks still working on Hughes and Pettersson

elias pettersson quinn hughes
Feb 16, 2020; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks defensemman Quinn Hughes (43) and forward Brandon Sutter (20) and forward Bo Horvat (53) and forward Elias Pettersson (40) celebrate Pettersson’s goal against the Anaheim Ducks in the second period during a game at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

Per CapFriendly, they have $10.6M in space with 24 players signed. That puts them one over the 23 man limit, so if they move three players off to make room for Pettersson and Hughes, that numbers is around $12.5M.

Hughes, 21, scored 41 points in 56 games last season. Pettersson, 22, registered 21 points in 26 games after an early slump where he scored only 2 points in his first 8 contests. Both players are the cornerstone pieces to the Canucks future but at this rate, could at least miss the start of camp.

However, when it comes to the negotiations, GM Jim Benning says things are cordial and moving forward.

“We have a good relationship. There’s no angry sides. We’re just trying to work through it to figure out how to make everybody happy,” Benning told Sportsnet. “We’re in constant communication with Pat Brisson and his group. The communication’s good and we’re just trying to figure out how to get to some common ground from their perspective and our perspective.”

Apparently, the two sides talk frequently and their goal is to get a deal done before camp starts next week. Could we see two bridge deals? Or will Vancouver make a trade to free up cap space for longer term contracts? We will find out soon.

Did the Sabres and Kings talk trade?

Elliotte Friedman reported that the Sabres spoke with one team about a trade recently, but nothing came of it. Could that team be the L.A. Kings?

According to Jim Murphy of Boston Hockey Now, his source believes so.

I looked around online to see if any reputable NHL media had reported anything on this latest Eichel NHL trade rumor and couldn’t find a thing. Just to be safe though, I checked with an NHL source familiar with NHL trade discussions involving Eichel and he basically laughed at it and had this to say: “That return [from the Kings] would be a lot more than we’ve discussed.”

BHN

Currently, the big outstanding question is if Eichel will be getting surgery. Rumblings indicate that an answer to that question may come this weekend.