There may not be half a billion dollars flying around, but the NHL rumor mill is still going strong for those who take the time to investigate.
While most of the major ordeals were sorted out in the infamous first few days of free agency, there are still players out on the market who have yet to find homes, franchises looking to trade away pieces and some free agents who might just get shipped around after putting ink to paper.
Big locales such as Arizona, Edmonton and Chicago top the list in regard to must-see offseason action at this point, for better or worse.
Now is the time of year front offices quietly round out Stanley Cup-worthy rosters, so it's not a dull stretch many make it out to be. With that in mind, here is the latest batch of rumors served up hot from the mill.
Keith Yandle on the Move?
A younger, offensive-savvy player is always one who will draw interest on the trade market, and Arizona's Keith Yandle is no exception to this rule.
Last season, the 27-year-old defenseman scored 53 points on eight goals and 45 assists, rounding out what has been rather quality production throughout his eight seasons in the league as recent numbers show:
With a cap hit of $5.25 million in each of the next two seasons, per Spotrac, Yandle's name has been rather active on the market until late, according to Jimmy Murphy of XNsports:
An old adage may certainly apply here—there can be quiet before the storm, especially in what is the lull of the offseason.
Yandle is intriguing to any team, including those that Murphy lists, because of what can mostly be hailed as superb offensive play. His problems, though, as he even admits, come on the defensive end of the ice.
"I felt like I took good strides defensively, but it's one of those things you gotta get better every year," Yandle said, per Sarah McLellan of The Arizona Republic. "For me, you gotta work harder with it every year."
For his part, Coyotes general manger Don Maloney is accustomed to the trade rumblings, as captured by Craig Morgan of Fox Sports Arizona:
As Maloney understands, this saga won't simply go away anytime soon. Whether it plays out any differently than in prior offseasons will be quite the interesting storyline to monitor.
Johnny Oduya, the Costly Defenseman
It is the Chicago Blackhawks that are most impacted by the $69 million cap, and in turn, it is 32-year-old Johnny Oduya who may have to relocate as a result.
Coincidentally enough, it is Oduya's name that has been most often brought up in buzz. Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times provided one of the most notable early reports this offseason:
Only the Philadelphia Flyers are already over the cap like the Hawks are. And it likely means someone has to go. Maybe more than one someone. A source said the Hawks would like to shed Johnny Oduya's $3.375 million salary. ... But the Hawks are listening to offers, and their close call in the Kesler sweepstakes is proof that they're not necessarily standing pat — whether it's addition or subtraction.
After a 46–21–15 campaign and hit with impending violations for not being under the cap, the Blackhawks don't have a lot of wiggle room.
With major free agents such as Matt Niskanen off the market, the rumblings around Oduya will only continue to increase, which makes sense for a veteran who tallied 13 goals in 77 games last year and has plenty to offer on both ends of the ice.
The front office may not like it, but Oduya appears to be their most movable piece in a bad situation.
Jeff Petry's Tumultuous Offseason
Poor Jeff Petry.
At 26 years of age and coming off a season in which he was one of the more intriguing right-handed defensemen in the league with seven goals and 10 assists, he scored on a one-year deal with the Edmonton Oilers.
So that's good news. What's the problem, then?
He could still be traded.
That is, according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet:
"It's part of the business. But I don't read too much into them," he told Joanne Ireland of the Edmonton Journal. "You just don't even know where they are coming from, so I won't worry about it unless something happens."
After finishing in seventh in the Pacific Division a season ago at 29–44–9, Edmonton needs all the help it can get in order to build for the future. Petry is one of the most attractive assets on the roster at this juncture, so a bit of a delayed sign-and-trade maneuver is certainly a possibility.
As Jonathan Willis of the Edmonton Journal illustrates, the one-year agreement has certainly left things open for interpretation:
But by only managing to reach an agreement on a one-year deal, Petry and the Oilers have rather complicated the long-term picture. The Oilers now have one year to either reach a long-term agreement with Petry, trade him to another NHL team, or see him potentially walk away for nothing in free agency.
Sooner rather than later to build the talent base at the lower levels of the organization seems the operative move, but if that's how the front office proceeds is anyone's guess.
Either way, how Petry's next few months of the offseason unfold will say much about the organization's plans.
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