When July 1 comes around, the circus of rumors that fill the NHL offseason will take off in full-swing. Though the news accompanying the NHL Draft is certainly worth discussing, the biggest rumored deals will be going down when all 30 teams have access to every unrestricted free agent.
Big names including Zach Parise, Ryan Suter and Alexander Semin will draw the most attention. Additional popular pieces include Jaromir Jagr, Dennis Wideman and Shane Doan. Several teams have been related to different players, though some combinations are more likely to occur than others.
This one is a good fit for both teams. The Wild scored the lowest number of goals in the NHL last season and Parise is a quality point-producer.
The New Jersey Devils captain is expected to demand a high salary and the Wild have plenty of cap space to spare.
It also helps that Parise was born in Minnesota.
According to Islanders Hockey Blog, Parenteau’s agent denied rumors that the forward wanted to sign with Montreal and said he was focused on staying with the Islanders.
According to nhl.com, Flyers GM Paul Holmgren said the chance of Jagr returning was “50/50,” but the fact that he has not re-signed yet is not promising for those who want No. 68 to stay in Philadelphia.
In addition to the Penguins and Red Wings, the Habs were one of the teams rumored to have interest in Jagr last season, before Jagr went to Philadelphia. If Jagr wants more power-play time, it is likely he could find it on Montreal.
Reported by Jeremy Rutherford, the Blues have a rumored interest in the 27-year-old free agent defenseman from Florida, who posted a career-high of 33 points this past season.
Just as Pittsburgh cleared cap space in an apparent run for Suter, the Flyers can clear cap space to make a run at Parise.
If Jaromir Jagr and Matt Carle leave via free agency, the Flyers might be able to afford the U.S. star. The recent trade of James van Riemsdyk would indicate this a realistic possibility.
Detroit has a ton of cap space and a need for defense with the retirement of Nicklas Lidstrom and San Jose’s signing of Brad Stuart. It is almost too perfect a fit—contending team that needs defense and has the cap space?
Unless someone ridiculously overpays Suter, expect him in a Red Wings uni next year.
Even with the signing of Suter, Detroit would still have the money and resources necessary to sign Zach Parise.
If the team can successfully sign them both, the package deal would certainly make the Red Wings an instant Stanley Cup contender.
One rumor reported by Michael Russo on KFAN (h/t Chuck Schwartz of SB Nation) connects Justin Schultz to the Maple Leafs, even suggesting that Anaheim might file “tampering charges” because of possible illegal procedures.
The trading of Luke Schenn to Philadelphia opens up this possibility.
Cristobal Huet is a free agent this summer and wants to return to the NHL, according to Andy Strickland. Still, the 36-year-old netminder would likely only find time as a backup.
The Flyers, who traded their backup Sergei Bobrovsky to the Columbus Blue Jackets on draft day, will be in need of another NHL-level goalie (unless they plan to re-sign 2010 Stanley Cup Final goat Michael "Beachball" Leighton as a backup).
The Hurricanes are attempting to be a contender once again with the acquisition of Jordan Staal from Pittsburgh.
In addition to two of the Staal brothers, Carolina has a lot of cap space to use. A rumor from Luke DeCock of The Charlotte News-Observer connecting them to Parise could hold more water after this trade.
Jagr reportedly turned down a $2.5 million offer from Detroit last season, according to The Detroit Free Press, before taking a one-year, $3.3 million contract in Philadelphia.
They might pay more for Jagr this season knowing he is still competent at the NHL level, especially if they are unable to land a bigger fish and Jiri Hudler signs elsewhere.
It rarely hurts to have a legend on the roster.
Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun suggested Bryan Allen as a top target for the Senators.
It makes sense, as Ottawa has two aging defenseman in Sergei Gonchar and Filip Kuba, the latter of which may leave through free agency.
The young Oilers need to add defense.
Carle is not old at age 27 and could provide the back-end support Edmonton needs. He would also be closer to his home in Alaska.
Flyers GM Paul Holmgren refused to comment on Schultz to avoid tampering charges, but some hopeful thinking produces this situation.
Philadelphia has yet to re-sign 27-year-old Matt Carle, who is expected to receive an average salary of around $5 million in his new contract, and there is a quality young defenseman on the market.
The Flyers did not use either of their first two 2012 NHL draft choices on a defenseman.
Holmgren could be after Schultz.
Minnesota needs offense, especially in the form of a point-producing defenseman who can help run the power play. Wideman is the best free-agent option for them there.
The enforcer who had his career temporarily ended by a Montreal buyout wants to come back and has said he would sign anywhere for a minimum salary contract, according to The Edmonton Journal.
Laraque worked under Montreal’s new head coach Michel Therrien in Pittsburgh, and was used regularly for the Penguins.
The toughness-lacking Canadiens could go after Brandon Prust for the same reason they might entertain the notion of Laraque.
Prust is not a guarantee to be in New York next year, as the New York Post reports, and is just the type of player Coach Therrien likes.
If Detroit fails to get Suter and/or Parise, they could look to add Semin.
The Russian winger has not been linked to many teams, but is expected to ask for a lot of money coming off a $6.7 million contract year.
Not many teams will be looking to pay that high unless they feel the investment is worth a run at the Stanley Cup.