On top of Johnny Gaudreau opting to get the open market, defenseman Nikita Zadorov will also be doing so, reports Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic (Twitter link). The 27-year-old had a career-high 22 points last season but also averaged a career-low in ice time at 16:55 per game. A veteran of over NHL games 500 games between the regular season and playoffs, Zadorov is a well-known commodity around the league and will have interest from teams looking to shore up the left side of their back end in free agency.
Elsewhere around the NHL:
- Pending UFA forward Evan Rodrigues has changed representation to Darren Ferris of Quartexx, PuckPedia reports (Twitter link). After bouncing around the previous two seasons, the 28-year-old had a breakout year in 2021-22, collecting 43 points in 82 games with Pittsburgh while spending plenty of time in their top six. After being on one-year deals the past three years, Rodrigues should be able to secure a multi-year commitment this time around.
- While Patrik Laine is a year away from being eligible to test unrestricted free agency, Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen told reporters including Brian Hedger of the Columbus Dispatch that there is mutual interest in getting a long-term extension done with the winger. Laine is coming off his first career point per game season, notching 26 goals and 30 assists in 56 games and received his $7.5MM qualifying offer. He’s eligible to file for arbitration if an agreement can’t be worked out in the coming days.
- Canucks president Jim Rutherford told CHEK TV’s Rick Dhaliwal (Twitter link) that the team will not be looking to re-sign pending UFA forwards Alex Chiasson, Brad Richardson, and Brandon Sutter right away but could circle back at some point this summer. Chiasson had 13 goals in 67 games last season, a decent return on a league minimum deal while Richardson won over 58% of his faceoffs in 2021-22. Sutter, meanwhile, missed all of last season with long COVID symptoms and there’s no word yet on whether or not he’ll be able to play in 2022-23.