Alex Killorn, Auston Matthews, Edmonton Oilers, Evan Bouchard, Ivan Barbashev, NHL Rumors, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vegas Golden Knights

NHL Rumors: Oilers, Lightning, Maple Leafs, Golden Knights

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, should the Edmonton Oilers really be worried about the threat of an offer sheet for Evan Bouchard? Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Lightning face major challenges getting everything done this offseason and the GM knows it. The Toronto Maple Leafs have met with Auston Matthews about a contract extension and the Vegas Golden Knights are trying to sign Ivan Barbashev to a long-term deal.

Oilers Likely Won’t Lose Bouchard to an Offer Sheet

According to Kurt Leavins of The Edmonton Journal, rest assured, the concerns and speculations surrounding the possibility of an offer sheet for Evan Bouchard can be put to rest. He firmly believes that such a scenario will not materialize.

Mattias Ekholm Evan Bouchard Edmonton Oilers
Mattias Ekholm and Evan Bouchard, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Bouchard himself recognizes the invaluable position he holds as a key member of Edmonton’s top-ranked Power Play unit. His agent, Jeff Jackson, is well aware that Edmonton provides the ideal environment for his client’s growth and success. Moreover, General Manager Ken Holland enjoys a profound level of respect among his counterparts in the league. There is no intention among any General Managers to catch him off guard or make a surprise move.

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The key to remember in any offer sheet is that the player needs to agree to sign it. It is worth questioning the likelihood of Bouchard signing with any other teams when many of the clubs who will be making an offer don’t align as perfectly with his style of play as the Oilers. In terms of immediate prospects for success, few, if any of those teams can offer a better opportunity than Edmonton. And, when you consider a one-year extension in Edmonton could be followed by an eight-year deal, Bouchard stands to make more over the nine years with the Oilers than any team could offer him now.

Lightning in For a Rough Off-Season

The Tampa Bay Lightning face a critical challenge in securing a favorable contract extension for Alex Killorn this summer and they risk losing him to higher-priced offers from other teams. This could be just the start of their player losses as uncertain contract situations of pending unrestricted free agents Corey Perry, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, and Ian Cole, as well as restricted free agents Ross Colton and Tanner Jeannot will factor into their potential troubles. It is evident that the upcoming offseason will be a demanding one for the Lightning organization.

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Eduardo A. Encina of the Tampa Bay Times quoted the GM Julien BriseBois when he wrote: 

“This is probably the worst offseason we’ve had. Just the number of roster spots we have to fill and the cap space available to us is probably the most limited we’ve ever had it.”

source – ‘Lightning’s salary cap obstacles appear daunting’ – Tampa Bay Times – Eduard Encina – 06/16/2023

Currently, the Lightning have 17 players under contract with 64% of their salary cap going to six players. They will get $6.875 million in Long-Term Injured Reserve (LTIR) space once the season commences, but they’ll be in tight to get everything done they need to.

Maple Leafs Will Likely Get Matthews Signed

According to a report by Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, it is believed that Auston Matthews will ultimately re-sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs. New Leafs GM Brad Treliving met with Matthews in Arizona last week and the team is expected to make an effort to secure him to a maximum eight-year extension, although the likelihood of Matthews agreeing to such a lengthy term remains uncertain.

Related: Buyout Rule Ruins Odds Oilers Retain Salary in Campbell Trade

Friedman suggests that the Leafs feel a sense of urgency in finalizing the contract negotiations as soon as possible. By avoiding prolonged discussions throughout the summer, the team aims to prevent any potential disruption to their long-term plans. He writes:

“The one thing that everybody here is well aware of, is that this is not something that can wait a long time. If nobody was sure that Matthews wanted to stay, I think we’d have a real problem here. But I think everybody, including Matthews’ people, recognizes that he wants to stay. So I think now becomes the question of, how quickly can this get done? And what are we looking at, so Toronto can do their other business.”

Golden Knights Trying to Sign Barbashev

Friedman also reports that the Vegas Golden Knights have already tried to lock in Ivan Barbashev on a long-term contract extension. Early indications are that both sides are “too far apart” but he believes Vegas will take another swing at locking him up.

Ivan Barbashev Vegas Golden Knights
Ivan Barbashev, Vegas Golden Knights (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)

Friedman writes, “It won’t be easy. For starters, Barbashev has earned himself an enormous raise — gone are the days of his bargain $2.25-million cap hit, which should more than double in size with his next deal. With the Golden Knights approaching another off-season of cap gymnastics, the math will be hard to manage.”

There will also be plenty of competition for the forward’s services as his post-season performance caught a lot of attention around the NHL. He potted seven goals and 18 points during the playoffs and has quickly become the most eligible UFA on the market.

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