NHL Rumors: Erik Karlsson, Patrick Kane, and William Nylander

Today’s NHL Rumors looks at the latest regarding three of the NHL’s biggest stars: Erik Karlsson, Patrick Kane, and William Nylander.

Although we are in the early stages of the offseason with the bulk of free agents signed on July 1st, there’s still plenty of speculation around the league to examine.

NHL Rumors: Erik Karlsson

Karlsson, 33, posted a staggering 101 points in 82 games this past season and by doing so became the first defenseman to hit the 100 point mark since Brian Leetch during the 1991-92 campaign. This incredible feat earned him a third Norris Trophy this summer.

Trade talk regarding Karlsson has dated back months but things have escalated with him publicly expressing a desire to play for a contender. According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, he believes that the Pittsburgh Penguins and Carolina Hurricanes are the front-runners to land Karlsson in a deal. Other reports indicate that the reigning Norris winner would prefer to play with Sidney Crosby in Pittsburgh.

Of course, any trade is going to take a lot of work thanks to Karlsson’s contract which has four years remaining with a heavy AAV of $11.5 million and a full no-move clause. Per CapFriendly, the Pens are currently at -$2.3 million in cap space giving the Hurricanes the upper hand as they have $2.5 million.

At the end of the day, it looks like either team will need the Sharks to retain salary and take back players with sizable AAVs. It would also not be surprising if a third team is required to facilitate the trade.

NHL Rumors: Patrick Kane

NHL rumors
Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Kane, 34, registered 57 points in 73 games split between the Chicago Blackhawks and New York Rangers in 2022-23. He added 6 points (1 goal, 5 assists) in 7 postseason contests for the Rangers mostly playing with a bad wheel.

In June, Kane underwent hip resurfacing surgery and will be out 4-6 months to recover. One thing is clear, he still wants to keep playing.

Pat Brisson, Kane’s agent, recently spoke with ESPN and provided an update on the unrestricted free agent.

“There’s no rush. This is one I’m very comfortable with. I’m very calm,” Brisson said. “You could offer me a one-year deal or a two-year deal right now at $7 million or so. I don’t even know if I want to entertain it, because it’s not what he needs. We’ll see, at the right time, how he feels, where he’s at, and then we’ll take it from there.”

That comment is open to interpretation, but if the ask is $7 million it’ll take out many contenders. The other possibility is that Kane could be amicable to a one-year deal with a low-AAV and performance bonuses. Considering the salary cap ceiling is expected to go up by at least $4 million in 2024-25, he could bank on himself for a bigger deal the following season.

It should be noted that Kane would only waive his full no-move clause to play for the Rangers at the trade deadline. They still remain a possible destination if money isn’t the motivating factor.

NHL Rumors: William Nylander

The Toronto Maple Leafs finally won a playoff series, but still fell well short of their goal to win the Stanley Cup.

General Manager Kyle Dubas is now leading the charge for the Pittsburgh Penguins with Brad Treliving bouncing from the Calgary Flames to the Leafs. As there’s a lot of focus on extending Auston Matthews, another forward could possibly be on the move.

William Nylander is considered one of the top players for Toronto and will be a UFA next summer. The 27 year-old set career-highs this past season for goals (40), assists (47), and points (87) in 82 matches.

When the next trade deadline rolls around, it’s expected Nylander could very well be one of the top rentals if an extension isn’t in place.

There’s also the possibility that the Leafs take a huge risk and have him play out the season. Of course, letting a top-player walk for nothing in free agency will not sit well with the fans should they not reach an agreement.

Per CapFriendly, Toronto is at -$8.8 million in cap space and will have 10 pending UFAs. They include forwards Auston Matthews, William Nylander, Tyler Bertuzzi, Max Domi, Sam Lafferty, and Dylan Gambrell. In addition, defensemen TJ Brodie, John Klingberg, and Mark Giordano along with goalie Matt Murray will be set to go to market.

It looks like things are shaping up for a wild season for the Leafs.