NHL Rumors: Rangers, Sharks, and Red Wings

Today’s NHL Rumors takes a look at the latest regarding the New York Rangers, San Jose Sharks and Detroit Red Wings.

Also, don’t forget to check out our latest NHL Trade Bait Tracker looking at the top 25 trade candidates here.

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NHL Rumors: New York Rangers

There’s been a lot of buzz surrounding Alexis Lafreniere after the 2020 first round pick was scratched for one game in late December. That of course prompted teams to pick up the phone and call the Rangers to see if he was available with one of them being the Vancouver Canucks.

“Predictably, there were teams that checked in with the Rangers last week after his healthy scratch,” Pierre LeBrun said via TSN’s Insider Trading. “The reality is the Rangers told those teams, ‘We still believe in this young man,’ and the Rangers have told the same to Lafreniere himself. They hope this is a good reset and they very much believe in his longterm potential. So for now he’s certainly a Ranger.”

Lafreniere, 21, has 17 points in 38 games this season with the Rangers and will be an RFA at season’s end.

In other news, the Rangers announced they’ve signed forward Jimmy Vesey to a 2-year contract extension on Wednesday worth $800,000 per season.

Vesey, 29, has registered 12 points in 38 games this season and earned this extension after signing with the Blueshirts on a PTO.

With the Rangers up against the cap next season and needing to re-sign RFA’s Lafreniere, K’Andre Miller, and Filip Chytil, one wonders if locking up Vesey is to ease the blow of trading a player like Barclay Goodrow.

Goodrow makes $3.64M AAV against the cap, and only has a limited no-trade clause (15 teams) to protect him.

NHL Rumors: Detroit Red Wings

Jakub Vrana NHL RUMORS
Apr 29, 2021; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Detroit Red Wings forward Jakub Vrana (15) skates with the puck against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Jakub Vrana has had a tough season for the Detroit Red Wings. Enough so that he was placed on waivers Tuesday. If he goes unclaimed, it will be interesting to see what his future holds.

“A source close to Vrana told me he’s fit and ready to play now. He’s ready to resume his career and get going,” Chris Johnston said. “The reason this happened at this point in time is the Red Wings are facing a squeeze with their roster. They have Robby Fabbri returning from injury. Tyler Bertuzzi isn’t too far off. But I think this is someone [who] will get a long look from other teams for a waiver claim. Has a big price tag – $5.25 million through next season – but he has a strong history of production.”

Vrana, 26, haș only played in two games this season with two points (1G -1A). He recently returned from the NHL and NHLPA’s Player Assistance Program on December 16th and is currently on an AHL conditioning stint.

So what happens if Vrana pass waivers? Looks like the Red Wings may be making a trade soon.

Update: Vrana clears waivers

NHL Rumors: San Jose Sharks

On Tuesday, reports surfaced that the San Jose Sharks are looking to honor a trade request made by defenseman Ryan Merkley.

The 22 year-old was selected in the first round of the 2018 draft and has played in just 39 games last season collecting five points. This season, he’s been unable to crack the lineup and is stuck in the AHL.

The Sharks can’t expect too much since his value is low, but a swap with another struggling first round pick is a possibility.