NHL Rumors: Maple Leafs, Sabres, Canucks, More

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, a couple of trusted hockey insiders believe that Zach Hyman’s stint with the Toronto Maple Leafs will be coming to an end. What has changed and why it is more likely he leaves now than stays? The Jack Eichel trade talk continues Thursday and the NHL world is watching closely as a deal feels like it could be right around the corner. Finally, are the Vancouver Canucks interested in pursuing a Sam Reinhart trade?

Hyman Likely Leaving Maple Leafs

As per Sportsnet insider Chris Johnston and The Athletic’s James Mirtle, it now seems extremely unlikely that Hyman is back with the Maple Leafs this coming season. Johnston was guest on The Athletic’s podcast The Leaf Report and noted, “I really believe that it’s highly unlikely that we’ll see Zach Hyman back with the Leafs.” He added that the two parties just aren’t in alignment and that the market will pay more than the Leafs can afford.

Toronto Maple Leafs Zach Hyman
Toronto Maple Leafs Zach Hyman speaks to reporters after a locker clean out at the Scotiabank Arena. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov)

Mirtle writes in his post on the talk of Hyman moving on that the two sides haven’t had any meaningful contract talks at all. He explains:

Unrestricted free agency opens six weeks from today across the NHL. There remains time for the above to be true and for the two sides to meet and work something out. But the more I’ve talked to people around the team in the weeks since the Leafs’ season ended in ugly fashion, the less that feels like where we’re headed.

In fact, it feels downright unlikely anything is going to get done.

source – ‘Mirtle: This appears to be the end for Zach Hyman as a Maple Leaf’ – James Mirtle – The Athletic – 06/16/2021

Mirtle believes that Hyman knows he could make John Anderson-type money on the open market and the Leafs simply can’t and/or aren’t prepared to go there. At a minimum, $6 million per season is a likely given for Hyman’s next deal and over multiple years.

Related: Expansion Draft Poses Serious Concerns for Maple Leafs

Eichel Trade Watch in Full Effect

Elliotte Friedman offered up a few interesting news notes on Jack Eichel while a guest on WGR radio Thursday and noted that a trade to send Eichel to a Western Conference team might not be far off. The Anaheim Ducks are heavily rumored to be in the mix and the Columbus Blue Jackets were mentioned as a potential option.

Friedman noted that there is potentially more an of an appetite to be open to trading draft picks since the teams haven’t gotten to see players this season. “The Sabres don’t seem to be incredibly intimidated about this draft.” He adds that the Sabres feel they know these players before than most teams.

We noted yesterday that Pierre LeBrun said during Wednesday’s TSN Insider segment that talks with the Sabres about Eichel have been getting more “intense and serious” and says the Sabres are expecting to receive a 2021 first-round pick as part of their return. Based on the news coming down today, it sounds like that deal might come sooner than even he expected.

Could the Canucks Go After Sam Reinhart?

Ben Kuzma of The Province asks if the Vancouver Canucks should make a play for Reinhart out of Buffalo. He believes it would be worthwhile to land a versatile forward who can play center or wing, There is chatter Reinhart might want to move west.

Sam Reinhart Buffalo Sabres
Sam Reinhart, Buffalo Sabres (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Kuzma writes:

With one addition providing instant top-six symmetry, it’s worth more than just kicking the tires on Reinhart. He’s a speedy playmaker and Horvat’s line would welcome that element in the proven 6-foot-1, 192 pound veteran. He can also fill in at centre if there’s an injury or need to juggle lines and it would keep J.T. Miller at left wing to assist driving a first-line alignment with Elias Pettersson and Boeser.

source – ‘Canucks: Why there’s buzz to deal ninth-overall pick for Sam Reinhart’ – Ben Kuzma – The Province – 06/16/2021

Jim Parsons is a freelance writer who covers the Edmonton Oilers and news and rumors posts here at The Hockey Writers.

You can also catch him writing at NHLtradetalk.com, The Sportster and hosting weekly video casts, THW News and Rumors Rundown, plus Oilers Overtime.

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