After locking up Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to a long-term deal earlier today, the Edmonton Oilers will next turn their attention to reaching a new deal with defenseman Adam Larsson. According to TSN’s Darren Dreger in the latest edition of “Insider Trading“, that is more of a “when” than an “if” at the is point. Dreger states that the two sides are already close to a new deal and “in the final stretch” of negotiations. He expects that an extension will be reached soon. For Expansion Draft purposes, soon may not be until later next month, but a handshake agreement will do in the meantime. Larsson, 28, is one of the more stable defensemen in the NHL. If the defensive-minded right-shooter hit the open market, he would draw plenty of attention, but like Nugent-Hopkins, Larsson appears willing to settle on a deal to keep him in Edmonton with reigning Hart Trophy winners Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. So really, with RNH signed and Larsson not far behind, the Oilers may actually be focusing on external negotiations already, as Dreger notes they must add a goalie and complementary scoring forwards this summer.
- It may come as a surprise following a career-worst season, but there is mutual interest in an extension between the Toronto Maple Leafs and goaltender Frederik Andersen. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that agent Claude Lemieux recently met with the Maple Leafs’ brass and both sides expressed interest in a new deal, perhaps to the surprise of both. Andersen is likely not keen to enter the open market after a down year (and really many years of slow decline) when he could instead stay in familiar territory in Toronto. The Leafs also need a netminder this off-season and may be content to stick with Andersen, despite his struggles, given the play of Jack Campbell this season. LeBrun does point out that Toronto has told Andersen’s camp that he would be sharing the net with Campbell, potentially even starting out at less than 50% of starts, but Andersen is reportedly open to that arrangement.
- Every year there is the threat of offer sheets and every year it never happens, but LeBrun notes that rumblings around the league are that Colorado Avalanche star Cale Makar could be the prime candidate this summer. With the Avalanche needing to extend the First Team All-Star as well as captain Gabriel Landeskog, starting goaltender Philipp Grubauer, and top-six forward Brandon Saad, all while saving room to extend superstar Nathan MacKinnon and replace several impending UFA’s next summer, cap space is tight in Denver. If another team swooped in with an offer that Makar couldn’t refuse, it might just be too much of a handicap for the Avs. Doubtful, but possible. Colorado can eliminate the risk of an offer sheet to their young phenom if they can lock Makar up before the market opens on July 28.
- The Vancouver Canucks are already hard at work on extension for arguably their two most important players, defenseman Quinn Hughes and center Elias Pettersson. The pair of restricted free agents are centerpiece players for the Canucks and the team will whatever it takes to keep them around as long as possible. Dreger notes that GM Jim Benning and company are meeting again this week with agents from CAA Sports, who represent both young stars. A number of possibilities are on the table for both players, including a three-year bridge deal for Pettersson in the same vein as the recent contracts of Mathew Barzal and Brayden Point. However, it seems like long-term is the ideal goal. Pettersson is reportedly open to a long-term deal like that of Mikko Rantanen, while Hughes has explored contracts with terms between four and six years.