With less than two months until the start of the regular season, NHL rumors are slowly beginning to heat up yet again. The blockbuster signings and moves may have already happened, but several deals can still be made to close out the summer.
Several big names have been floated around in recent weeks, but not much has come to fruition. As contract talks begin to heat up, though, one to watch will be Marc Methot, who is reportedly looking for a long-term extension.
One player hoping to find a new home next season is Paul Bissonnette. The 29-year-old has several suitors, but hasn't decided whom he'll suit up for after five seasons with the Arizona Coyotes.
Here's a look at the latest rumors around the NHL.
Methot, Senators Not Close on Contract Talks
On the heels of his most productive seasons at the NHL level, Methot is looking for a long-term deal with the Ottawa Senators. With the defenseman set to become a free agent at the end of the 2014-15 season, Ottawa has been involved in talks about a new contract.
Unfortunately, talks between the two sides appear to have come to a halt. Ken Warren of the Ottawa Citizen shares the latest on trade talks for Methot:
Negotiations between the Senators and Methot’s agent, Larry Kelly, are at a stalemate as the sides try to work out a deal to prevent the 6-3, 230-pound defenceman from becoming an unrestricted free agent following the 2014-15 season.
... If talks drag on, there’s a possibility the Senators could trade Methot.
Last season, Methot registered a career-high six goals, 23 points and 75 games played. All of those offensive numbers came while he was one of the most consistent defensemen on the ice.
Despite his recent success with the Senators, he is reportedly looking for a more lucrative deal from the team. Warren suggests he will be looking for a similar deal to those of Brooks Orpik and Matt Carle, who both have an average of $5.5 million annual average salary, per CapGeek.com.
While he has expressed an interest in returning to Ottawa, he might find his name on the trading block if the two sides can't agree to terms. It makes sense for the Senators to lock Methot up long-term, but with a wealth of defensemen on the roster, they can afford to look for the best value.
3 Franchises Contending for Bissonnette
He might not quite be the game-changing scorer contending teams are looking for, but Bissonnette is certainly a dependable role player who can contribute.
The former Coyotes player has reportedly whittled his decision down to three franchises to sign with this summer. Craig Morgan of Fox Sports Arizona notes the most recent report on Bissonnette:
NHL source says Caps, Wild & Penguins are all in the running to sign former Coyote @BizNasty2point0. Caps are thought to be leading.— Craig Morgan (@cmorganfoxaz) August 8, 2014
Though the Minnesota Wild and Pittsburgh Penguins made the postseason last year, the Washington Capitals narrowly missed out on a spot. All three franchises have experienced success lately, but Washington might be in the lead thanks to potential playing time.
Mark Guy, Bissonnette's agent, spoke about what his client wanted, via Alex Prewitt of The Washington Post:
Right now he’s just looking for a good organization where he can contribute more than he’s been able to, to date, in the last couple years in Phoenix. He wants to be in a position where he can compete for a solid fourth-line position and be a great team guy. He wants to be in an organization where there’s a chance to win, as most guys do, and looking forward to showing how hard he’s worked to improve his skill level and skating over the last couple years.
Needless to say, the 29-year-old likely wants more consistency than he had with the Coyotes. After playing in just 39 contests with the team last year, he registered two goals and six assists in just 4:45 minutes of ice time per game.
If he can prove that he's made improvements in the last several years, Bissonnette might be a good pickup for whoever lands him. Adding depth to the roster in the form of Bissonnette would likely be a plus for the locker room as well.
Ryan Johansen Has Short-Term Deals on the Table
One of the emerging stars in the NHL, Ryan Johansen put together a career year with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2013-14. As a reward for that production, the 22-year-old is looking for a new deal with the franchise.
There have reportedly been offers made, but nothing solidified at this point. Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch passes along the latest on Johansen:
Told agent for #CBJ C Ryan Johansen has 2- and 4-year proposals on table. Hasn't been much communication between two sides lately.— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) August 7, 2014
#CBJ want nothing to do w a 4-year deal, as that would guide Johansen right up to UFA status. They have 2- and 3-year proposals on table.— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) August 7, 2014
Last season, Johansen put up team highs with 33 goals and 63 points on 237 shots on goal to help lead the franchise to its second playoff appearance. All of this took place in just his third season in the NHL.
Following a career year, Johansen is certainly deserving of a new deal. But after seeing the potential for one season, the Blue Jackets might be waiting to see him replicate the success yet again during 2014-15.
As one of the bright stars of the franchise, it's likely that Columbus will eventually try to find a way to keep him on the ice. But with no arbitration deadlines, the talks could extend all the way until training camp.
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