NHL Rumors: Rangers interested in Reilly Smith; Christian Dvorak a wanted man; and Darnell Nurse ready to cash in with Oilers

Keep your ears open for the name Christian Dvorak from the Arizona Coyotes. As they continue to rebuild and move out some of their “older” players, he is quickly becoming one of the hotter names in the rumor mill.

NHL Rumors: Christian Dvorak a wanted man

Dvorak is a 25 year-old center and has a current cap hit of $4.45 million for the next 4 seasons. He scored 31 points in 56 games for the Yotes during the 2020-21 campaign.

As of right now, plenty of teams are starting to gravitate to the 6-2 and 195 lb pivot. In his five year NHL career he’s recorded 146 points in 302 contests with a face-off winning percentage of 51.5. Many teams believe he has a lot more upside offensively that has yet to come out playing in the desert.

There are a number of teams interested in trying to acquire Dvorak. The Bruins have been rumored as well as the San Jose Sharks, and the New York Rangers. Other teams that could be keeping a close eye on him, depending on how other things pan out are the Minnesota Wild and Montreal Canadiens. Here’s another team I’d also think might make a move – the New Jersey Devils.

Rangers interested in Reilly Smith

nhl rumors reilly smith
Oct 31, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Vegas Golden Knights right wing Reilly Smith (19) skates during the second period against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

In his latest podcast, Elliotte Friedman sounded like he was spitballing, but if you ask me, I would qualify it as calculated speculation.

“One of the reasons Reilly Smith’s name is all over the rumor mill is because Gerard Gallant loves him too,” Friedman noted.

So why mention Golden Knights forward Reilly Smith? A long track record of success with new head coach Gerard Gallant in both Florida and Vegas. And why wouldn’t he make this connection after the Rangers traded for another former Gallant favorite in Ryan Reaves and then extended him for a season.

Reilly is a right wing. Hmmm, did the Rangers just not trade one of those away in Pavel Buchnevich? If the Blueshirts trade for Jack Eichel and indeed move Vitali Kravtsov or Kaapo Kakko in the deal, Smith may be manning the right side on one of the top two lines.

The 30 year-old with an affordable cap hit of $5M notched 14 goals and 25 points in 53 games last season. While his regular season numbers won’t WOW you, his playoff stats shows he can score when it counts. He has 65 points in 84 post season games. In Vegas’ Stanley Cup run in 2018 he notched 22 points in 20 games. He will be a UFA next summer so the price shouldn’t be too high if Vegas moves him.

Darnell Nurse about to cash in

darnell nurse contract
Apr 26, 2021; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Edmonton Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse (25) puck juggles in warm up before a game against the Winnipeg Jets at Bell MTS Place. Mandatory Credit: James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports

Edmonton Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse is about to cash in big time. The 26 year-old put up some great numbers last season with 36 points in 56 games while playing top pair minutes. He has one more year on his deal at $5.6 million before he hits UFA status. The Oilers are said to be working very hard on extending him.

“Earlier in the week I’d reported that they were looking at a 4 year extension for Nurse,” Elliotte Friedman said. “I think that has changed. I think they are looking at an 8 year term, and it is going to be around the 8x$9M range.”

Nurse has certainly earned this big contract. He’s right up there with guys like Seth Jones and Dougie Hamilton who just cashed in on mega-deals themselves.