NHL Rumors: Where are the top free agents landing before the frenzy begins today

The opening bell for Free Agent Frenzy is set for 12 PM ET on Wednesday and the NHL Rumors Mill is spinning faster than a jet-engine turbine.

Evgeni Malkin opted to stay with the Pittsburgh Penguins after signing a late deal on Tuesday. Evander Kane waited until the wee hours of the morning to sign his deal with the Edmonton Oilers, but there’s still a ton of intrigue for today.

Let’s breakdown the latest rumors for some of the biggest free agents out there, and also a potential big trade.

NHL Rumors: Claude Giroux

Claude Giroux posted 65 points in 75 games between the Philadelphia Flyers and Florida Panthers. However, he found renewed life with the Cats picking up 23 points in 18 games after the deadline trade and then added 8 more points in 10 playoff contests.

In the days leading up to Free Agent Frenzy, Pierre LeBrun had the Edmonton Oilers and Carolina Hurricanes in on him. With the Oilers keeping Kane and rumored to be signing Jack Campbell they are the least likely destination.

Giroux was reportedly investigating the Ottawa Senators, which is closer to home for the veteran. Now that they’ve acquired Alex DeBrincat and Cam Talbot, LeBrun has them as a front runner.

NHL Rumors: Johnny Gaudreau

Nov 6, 2021; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames left wing Johnny Gaudreau (13) celebrates his goal with teammates against the New York Rangers during the third period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Late on Tuesday, Johnny Gaudreau told the Calgary Flames he is moving on and testing free agency.

Gaudreau, 28, just completed his 9th season in the NHL, all with the Flames. In 2021-2022, he had a career year posting 115 points (40 G – 75A) in 82 games.

Primarily two teams close to his hometown of Salem, New Jersey will be in the mx. Both the Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils could be heavily involved in a bidding war come tomorrow at noon. Another team that is believed to be interested in acquiring him are the New York Islanders

If I had to gander a guess, his destination of choice are the Flyers. That’s where his good friend Kevin Hayes is probably anxiously waiting. Philadelphia will have to clear cap space to fit him and there’s rumors they are looking to move James Van Riemsdyk.

NHL Rumors: Goalie Carousel

Jack Campbell Maple Leafs
May 14, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Jack Campbell (36) makes a glove save against the Tampa Bay Lightning in game seven of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

As mentioned previously, the Edmonton Oilers are set to sign UFA goaltender Jack Campbell to a 5 year deal with an approximate AAV of $5M. This is a huge move in the right direction for the Oilers, who have struggled with goaltending for years.

Campbell, 30, was 31-9-6 with a 2.64 GAA and a .914 SV% this past season for the Leafs.

Meanwhile, the Washington Capitals are set to sign Stanley Cup Champion Darcy Kuemper to man their nets. Earlier this week the Caps traded away Vitek Vanecek and did not qualify Ilya Samsonov in order to make room for the signing.

Kuemper, 32, enjoyed a career season during his first season with the Avalanche in 2021-22. He posted a 37-12-4 record with five shutouts, a 2.54 goals-against average and .921 save percentage.

NHL Rumors: Andrew Copp, Vincent Trocheck, and more

nhl rumors andrew copp
May 24, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers center Andrew Copp (18) is acknowledged as the first star of a 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in game four of the second round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Andrew Copp appears to be heading home. The Michigan native is rumored to be signing with the Detroit Red Wings.

Copp, 28, recorded 53 points in 72 games this past season with the Winnipeg Jets and New York Rangers. It was his playoff run with the Blueshirts that certainly raised his profile as he notched 14 points in 20 games.

Meanwhile, the Rangers now need to fill their hole at 2C and Vincent Trocheck could be the target.

With Malkin back to Pittsburgh, look for Vincent Trocheck in Manhattan. That appears to be his best fit.

Elliotte Friedman

Trocheck, 29, registered 21 goals and 51 points with the Carolina Hurricanes last season. He is a two-way player regarded as Brad Marchand lite. Rangers GM Chris Drury absolutely loves players that are hard to play against making Trocheck an obvious target.

When it comes to top UFA defenseman John Klingberg, it is believe the Seattle Kraken and Carolina Hurricanes are the top two teams for his services.

Klingberg, 29, had 47 points in 74 games this past season and is looking for a new deal in the neighborhood of 8 years and $8M per season.

A Brent Burns trade?

The San Jose Sharks are about to go into full rebuild mode and it can start today if new GM Mike Grier trades Brent Burns.

Burns, 37, has three years remaining on a deal that hits the cap at $8M. Per CapFriendly, he had to submit a three-team list on July 1. This past season, Burns recorded 54 points in 82 games.