NHL Rumors Roundup: Latest on Brady Tkachuk contract; Jack Eichel; Phil Kessel; and Kevin Fiala
NHL Rumors Roundup is our weekly Sunday feature at The Daily Goal Horn. Bringing you the top rumors of the week and the latest buzz of the day. Our goal is to have the most comprehensive update available.
In this edition, we start with some news out of Ottawa and Brady Tkachuk.
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NHL Rumors Roundup: Brady Tkachuk
The Ottawa Senators are trying to build their team around Brady Tkachuk. In three seasons with the Sens, the 21 year-old forward has 125 points in 198 games. Of course, Ottawa knows he is just scraping the surface of his potential.
He is currently a RFA without arbitration rights, but the Senators want to lock him up long-term. Tkachuk on the other hand, is being very cautious and wants to see what Ottawa has planned regards to building a winner.
TSN’s Shawn Simpson is reporting that there’s no progress to speak of towards a new deal. “What was told to me by someone close to the Tkachuk camp, is that Brady loves the crew in Ottawa,” he explains. “But he’s totally waiting to see if ownership is willing to spend what it takes to deliver a Cup team.”
“It was made very clear that [Tkachuk] would be all in long term if ownership does the same,” Simpson continued. “At the same time they know the business and won’t be playing any games.”
There’s no doubt that a deal will get done before the start of camp. Tkachuk has no leverage, but he could opt to sign a shorter-term deal.
Jack Eichel, nowhere close to be trading?
Eyebrows went up around the league when Jack Eichel created a Twitter account. So far, all he’s tweeted is that the account belongs to him.
Of course, the real story is that he’s still a member of the Sabres with no trade on the horizon. The one team many thought was still interested and probably most likely to land him are the New York Rangers. Or are they?
A tweet by MSG Analyst, Steve Valiquette caught the attention of NY Post reporter Larry Brooks. “Curiously, Drury has been telling agents this week that Rangers have never been seriously interested in Eichel,” he responded.
Is this gamesmanship by GM Chris Drury, or are the Rangers really not interested. I find that hard to believe considering the Rangers are the only known team to have made a legit offer. However, this is the way contract and trade negotiations are played. Where information changes from day-to-day and even hour-to-hour.
Phil Kessel wants to go to Vegas
The 33 year-old winger can still produce and would give any offensively challenged team a boost. Last season, he scored 20 goals and 43 points in 56 games for the Yotes.
Arizona paid out his $5M bonus on July 1st. That means he’s only owed $1 million in actual salary which could be perfect for some teams with cap space, but are also looking to be fiscally sound. His cap hit without any cap retention would be $6.8M of his total $8M thanks to the Leafs. They kept some of his cap hit when they traded him.
So where could Kessel land?
Per Craig Morgan via Spector’s Hockey, Kessel’s agents asked the Coyotes to trade him before the season starts. It’s also being reported that he would like to play in Vegas but as of right now the Golden Knights are not interested. Most likely due to their limited cap space.
Some other teams that might look to deal for Kessel are the Seattle Kraken, Florida Panthers, Philadelphia Flyers, and Minnesota Wild.
Latest on Kevin Fiala
In a rare move, the Minnesota Wild opted to exercise their club option for salary arbitration with Kevin Fiala.
While GM Bill Guerin tries to get Kirill Kaprizov under a new deal; he still has to make sure he can retain Fiala. The 24 year-old RFA had an excellent season for Minnesota. In 50 games, he scored 20 goals and 20 assists for 40 points that included 5 game-winning goals.
For his career, Fiala has registered 198 points in 337 games between Nashville and Minnesota.
So why did the Wild opt to file when the player did not? With the uncertainty on Kaprizov, this will at least ensure that Fiala will be under contract for the start of camp and not a hold out.
You can expect the Wild to submit a minor increase from his current $3M to the arbitrator and Fiala’s camp will then come in with a number in the $6M range. Due to it being club elected, after the arbitrator’s award, Fiala can pick the term, which would likely be two years so he can become a UFA.
Of course, the two sides could come hammer out a contract prior to it ever going that far. However, should it happen the Wild may opt to trade Fiala knowing that he will most likely walk away at the end of the deal.