NHL Rumors: Patrick Kane, Bo Horvat, David Pastrnak, and Michael Bunting

Today’s NHL Rumors takes a look at some big names that could all be unrestricted free agents come next July.

The Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane, Canucks’ Bo Horvat, Bruins’ David Pastrnak, and Maple Leafs’ Michael Bunting will either be re-signing with their current teams or likely off to a new city come the NHL Trade deadline in March if something can’t be worked out.

Let’s dive in.

NHL Rumors Patrick Kane

One player in this update that almost unanimously everyone feels will be traded is Patrick Kane.

I think there’s a decent chance that he gets dealt before the March 3 trade deadline. The reality is that people were putting the cart before the horse this past summer when they thought he might force a trade after all the Blackhawks roster defections. The reality is that he wasn’t ready to have that conversation. My sense of it is that his agent, Pat Brisson, and Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson have talked and said, “let’s circle back to each other around December and January and see where things stand.”

Pierre LeBrun, TSN Insider Trading

Kane, 33, has one year left on a deal that hits the cap at $10.5 million. He registered 92 points in 76 games last season and will return a haul of picks and prospects when he’s ready to waive his full no-move clause.

LeBrun mentioned that either the New York Rangers or the New York Islanders would be teams to consider when he’s traded.

Elliotte Friedman addressed where he believes Kane will land on his latest 32 Thoughts Podcast.

“Until proven otherwise I thing the Rangers are the most likely destination,” Elliotte Friedman said. “Although there’s a lot of variables. We’ve said for months that Kane is going to sit around and see he’s good. If the Rangers are good I can see them being the team.”

Kane was #1 on our list of Top 20 Free Agents.

NHL Rumors: Bo Horvat

nhl rumors bo horvat
Apr 12, 2022; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks forward Bo Horvat (53) celebrates his goal against the Vegas Golden Knights in the first period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

Horvat, 27, scored a career high 31 goals last season and finished with 52 points in 70 games. He’s entering the final year of his contract with an AAV of $5.5 million. However, the general consensus is his next deal with be in the $7+ million range for max term.

“We’re communicating with his camp,” GM Patrik Allvin said over the summer. “We’ll see if there’s a deal to be done here.”

Although Horvat has openly expressed his desire to remain in Vancouver, he understands that may not shake out that way.

A couple of sources used similar terminology to describe the Bo Horvat contract negotiations: “stalemate.” I try not to get too worked up over this kind of stuff (easier to do that when it’s not your own contract), because there are always highs and lows in this kind of conversation. The most important predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour. Remember this about Vancouver: they spent months saying they wouldn’t do something like seven-times-eight for JT Miller, then they did it. Sometimes, you stare into the abyss and don’t like what you see, especially two key players unsigned heading into their free-agent seasons. Horvat is a born-and-bred Canuck, and until proven otherwise, I believe an extension is what everyone wants. 

Elliotte Friedman, 32 Thoughts

Horvat was #7 on our list of Top 20 Free Agents.

NHL Rumors: David Pastrnak

david pastrnak nhl rumors
May 14, 2022; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88) looks on during the second period against the Carolina Hurricanes in game seven of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Pastrnak, 26, recored 40 goals and 77 points in 72 games last year with the Bruins. He’s entering the final year of a 6-year contract signed in 2017-18 with an AAV of $6.667 million with a desire to stay in Boston.

Friedman recently noted that Pastrnak and the Bruins are willing to negotiate during the season. That’s great news for both sides and Bruins fans. However, the big question remains just how big a monster extension will he get?

“I think both sides are trying to keep it respectful from a public standpoint, so I’ll throw out a recent comparison. I look at Jonathan Huberdeau’s extension with the Calgary Flames at eight years, $84 million, which is a $10.5 million average annual value,” Darren Dreger said on Tuesday. “Now, Pastrnak is younger than Huberdeau so that could be the starting point. It depends on how aggressive or serious the Bruins are about getting extension talks heated up.”

Pastrnak was #2 on our list of Top 20 Free Agents.

NHL Rumors: Michael Bunting

michael bunting
Feb 19, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Michael Bunting (58) pursues the play in front of St. Louis Blues defenseman Colton Parayko (55) in the first period at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Bunting, 27, made quite the impression for the Maple Leafs in 2021-22. Hoping to fill the void left by Zach Hyman, Toronto got that and more as he scored 63 points in 79 games.

He’s in the final year of a 2-year deal signed before last season making $950,000. So his next contract is going to be a big one in comparison.

“I think they’re open to talk about what an eight-year deal would look like to bring down the AAV and bring down the cap hit,” Pierre LeBrun noted on TSN. “At age 27, this will be Bunting’s one big opportunity at free agency, and I think he wants to remain a Maple Leaf.”

On Wednesday, Bunting was asked about his contract and he simply responded with: “I’m a Toronto boy. I love playing here.”