When Alex Edler asked Vancouver not to move him at the NHL Trade Deadline, many assumed it was precursor to an extension between the long-time Canuck and his team. Yet, as the weeks have passed and no resolution has emerged, that expectation grew less and less certain. Now, after a month or so of reports that term and expansion protection were coming between the two sides, it seems the deal is dead and Edler will hit the open market. Sportsnet’s Rick Dhaliwal reports that it does not sound like the Canucks and Edler will get a deal done by July 1st. This does not entirely rule out a return to Vancouver, but it will be substantially harder to convince him to come back after he’s tested the waters and likely found teams willing to give him the desired term and No-Movement Clause. This especially rings true today, as Erik Karlsson’s extension leaves a thin defense market even weaker and D-needy teams will have little choice but to meet the demands of Edler and fellow top free agents like Jake Gardiner and Tyler Myers. It would not be surprise to now see Vancouver make a hard push for one of those two as well, as they seek an upgrade on the blue line but were not willing to give the 33-year-old Edler a long-term deal or risk losing young players to protect an aging veteran in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft.
- It’s been a roller coaster of reports on Kevin Hayes since the moment his negotiating rights were acquired by the Philadelphia Flyers from the Winnipeg Jets. The Flyers obviously became the favorite to sign the free agent center given their early access, but there have since been reports followed by other conflicting reports about how talks have been going between the two sides. Finally, trusted Flyers source Frank Seravalli of TSN has chimed in and he has only good news for Philly fans. Seravalli reports that the two sides have made good progress and that talks are trending toward a contract. He stops short of guaranteeing a deal gets done, but believes that it will. This would remove yet another major name from the free agent market, following Karlsson, Jeff Skinner, and Jordan Eberle. And like those three, reports of a deal being close have so far been proven true this off-season.
- The sheer magnitude of Karlsson’s new contract with the Sharks has surprised many and has reinforced the narrative that San Jose will have to lose other key free agents to re-sign the talented defenseman. While he wouldn’t speak specifically about talks with those players, GM Doug Wilson did warn not to make assumptions when asked about Joe Pavelski, per The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz. Wilson says that nothing has been ruled out, making a Pavelski return a possibility. He also spoke to the importance of getting Karlsson under contract “well before July 1st”, specifically so that the team can plan around their new salary cap paradigm. It still remains a long-shot barring trades to remove salary from the current roster, but until Pavelski, a career Shark, puts pen to paper elsewhere, he remains a possibility for San Jose.
- Boston defenseman Torey Krug will not be a free agent until next summer, but he has already proven that he is worth a significant raise in his next contract. The Bruins’ power play magician is fifth among all NHL defensemen in regular season scoring over the past three years and second only to Erik Karlsson in playoff scoring. Karlsson’s new extension, along with the contracts of players like John Carlson and Victor Hedman, raise the bar for what Krug might be looking for in his next deal. Even though he has some struggles defensively, it is fair to assume that his current $5.25MM cap hit will not cut it. This leaves the Bruins in a difficult spot, as they must first re-sign elite young defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo this summer. Those moves will leave Boston with little cap space this off-season and not much more the following year when Krug needs a new contract. Yet, speaking with the media today, GM Don Sweeney made it clear that his intent is not to trade the mobile defender, nor to let him leave after next season:
If somebody blew us away (with a trade offer for Krug), every player has to be looked at in that way. When you’re an organization, you just have to, you’re doing a disservice if you don’t. But it would take a pretty unique opportunity for us to part with Torey. We think he’s a big part of the fabric of our group. He’s kind of that next wave of leadership that we talk about.