NHL Rumors Roundup: Fox extension; Eichel trade destinations; Islanders; and Predators

Adam Fox extension
May 6, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox (23) during the first period against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL regular season will finally begin this week, and it does so with plenty of juicy rumors swirling around.

Jack Eichel is certainly at the center of it all, but there’s plenty to digest from last week. Let’s start in New York with the latest update on the Rangers.

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NHL Rumors: Adam Fox extension

Adam Fox and his agent Matt Keator have to be smiling from ear-to-ear all summer. The 23 year-old won the Norris Trophy in just his second season and young defensemen like Cale Makar and Miro Heiskanen all signed lucrative deals.

Fox finished second overall in scoring for blue-liners with 47 points last season. His 42 assists were the most by an NHL defenseman and he was seventh for total ice time. With all the talk around the Rangers as a possible destination for Jack Eichel, I spoke with a knowledgeable source if there was a possibility that Fox might take a bridge deal to save some cap space for the team.

That idea was squashed pretty quickly. “His agent isn’t known for discounts,” the source responded. “Why would he, since he just won the Norris and seeing what everyone else is making.”

So what will Fox next deal come in at? “At least nine,” I was told.

Back in June, I asked Fox’s agent if would sign an extension this summer. The response was “no rush.” That was before Cale Makar inked his 6 year deal worth $9M a season.

There is no word on any current negotiations, but the two sides are expected to get something done before he becomes an RFA.

Potential Jack Eichel Trade Destinations

eichel neck trade destinations
Mar 7, 2021; Uniondale, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (9) reacts after a goal by the New York Islanders during the second period at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Jack Eichel is expected to be traded at some point during the 2021-22 season. There is still a stalemate on his surgery and there’s talks that some teams are amicable to trading for him before before a procedure. Any team that does must be willing to let Eichel get his preferred Artificial Disc Replacement Surgery. That is why there seems to be movement from Buffalo to accept conditions in any trade that happens prior to a procedure.

Many teams who were rumored to be in this summer have already been ruled out in Minnesota, Vegas, Montreal, and Boston. So what are the likely landing spots?

New York Rangers: A lot of my reporting over this past week has been backed up by the likes of Elliotte Friedman and Larry Brooks. On October 7th, a source told me the Rangers will be in on Eichel up until they sign Mika Zibanejad. Late yesterday, Brooks wrote the same in his Slap Shots column.

But here is one truth: if the Rangers do become active bidders for Eichel, it won’t necessarily be because they prefer the Sabres’ excommunicated ex-captain to Mika Zibanejad, but because they know they won’t be able to sign No. 93 to a contract extension.

NY POST

Calgary Flames: On a recent appearance on The Jeff Marek Show, Elliotte Friedman revealed that the Calgary Flames tried hard to acquire Eichel in the offseason. He also added that Eichel never said he wouldn’t want to play there. Would the Flames be willing to include Connor Zary in a deal, and is Buffalo interested in him? That obviously won’t be enough, but it would have to be a starting point. Then Calgary has to clear cap space to fit Eichel in eventually, which spells the end of Johnny Gaudreau as a Flame and likely Sean Monahan.

Anaheim Ducks: This is the team that makes the most sense. They have the cap space and the prospects to get a deal done. Anaheim is also not ready to win now, which means not having Eichel play a majority of this season should not impact them. If Buffalo is willing to do a deal without Trevor Zegras and Jamie Drysdale involved, this could be a match.

Islanders not finished assembling the roster

Yesterday, Islanders coach Barry Trotz told the media that GM Lou Lamoriello isn’t finished assembling the roster. According to Arthur Staple, he believes that Lou may be looking to deal some of his extras before having to finalize his roster on Monday at 5 PM ET.

The Isles place Thomas Hickey on waivers and he’s likely a top trade candidate.

Mattias Ekholm won’t talk deal past camp

The Predators Mattias Ekholm was at the top of the NHL Trade Bait list last season, but Nashville opted to hold onto to him. Ekholm, 31, registered 23 points in 48 games and earns just $3.75M against the cap.

“They have talked all off-season long about an extension and have not been able to get one done yet but here is the wrinkle,” LeBrun explained. “I’m told that agent Kurt Overhardt and Ekholm have told general manager David Poile and the Predators that if he is not signed by the start of the season we want to shelve talks. We don’t want to negotiate during the year.”

Certainly an interesting twist. If the two sides can’t work out a deal, Ekholm will be a prime rental at the deadline.