Arizona Coyotes, Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes, Guy Boucher, Ilya Samsonov, Key Post, Matt Dumba, NHL Rumors, Sebastian Aho, Toronto Maple Leafs

NHL Rumors: Hurricanes, Maple Leafs, Coyotes, Sabres

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Carolina Hurricanes are working on a Sebastian Aho contract, while struggling to get anywhere close on a few other players. Meanwhile, the Toronto Maple Leafs have hired new assistant coaches. Is anyone a candidate to take over for Sheldon Keefe? The Arizona Coyotes are the favorites to acquire Matt Dumba and there are seven names that could potentially be moved by the Buffalo Sabres.

Hurricanes Getting Close On Sebastian Aho Contract, Not Others

Several Hurricanes players, including forward Sebastian Aho, are entering the final year of their contracts, eligible for extensions. GM Don Waddell stated they’re making good progress on a new deal for the 25-year-old, whose offer sheet with Montreal was matched. Speaking with’s Tom Gulitti, he explained, “We’re working on it, getting close. Not there yet, but we are talking on a regular basis, almost daily, so I’m hoping that we can get this to the finish line here in the next week or so.”

Sebastian Aho Carolina Hurricanes
Sebastian Aho, Carolina Hurricanes (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Unfortunately, the Hurricanes aren’t close on deals for Brett Pesce, Tuevo Teravainen, or Brady Skjei. He noted:

We’ve had talks, but nothing close. We’ve reached out to all of the different agents just to tell them our interest. You try to go a year early, which is always tough. But I look at it two ways: it’s protection for us but also for them not having to worry about playing out a year. Injuries and all those things come into factor. So, we’re trying to find medium ground that works both for the player and the team.

Is Boucher the Maple Leafs Backup Option for Head Coach?

On Thursday, the Toronto Maple Leafs announced the hiring of Guy Boucher and Mike Van Ryn as assistant coaches, joining head coach Sheldon Keefe’s staff. They will be working alongside holdover assistants Dean Chynoweth and Manny Malhotra, video coaches Sam Kim and Jordan Bean, and goalie coach Curtis Sanford.

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Interestingly, Boucher’s arrival in Toronto comes eight years after narrowly missing out on the Maple Leafs’ head coaching position, which ultimately went to Mike Babcock in 2015. Jona Siegel of The Athletic suggests this might not be a coincidence. He notes:

That would seem to suggest that team president Brendan Shanahan, who made the Babcock hire (the Leafs were without a GM at the time), is a Boucher fan. It’s hard not to connect the dots then and wonder if Boucher is the front office’s fallback option for Keefe in the event that things don’t go well next season. Which feels dicey for the Leafs given the way Boucher’s two NHL coaching jobs have ended.

source – ‘Guy Boucher and Mike Van Ryn join Maple Leafs’ staff. What does it mean for Sheldon Keefe?’ – Jonas Siegel – The Athletic – 07/20/2023

As for Sheldon Keefe, his contract is set to expire after the upcoming season. The team is considering an extension, though the length of the potential deal remains uncertain, possibly leaning towards a shorter term.

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In other Maple Leafs news, David Alter reports, “I’m hearing Ilya Samsonov and the #Leafs went ahead with the hearing. There is no more negotiating and an arbitrator will rule on his salary.”

Coyotes Still Likeliest Landing Spot for Dumba

According to Sportsnet’s Luke Fox, the Arizona Coyotes have emerged as the frontrunners for Matt Dumba’s signature, boasting the necessary salary cap space to meet his contract demands in free agency. He was the sole right-shooting defenseman who logs an average of 21 minutes per game and is under 30 years old and while a few teams – the Toronto Maple Leafs, Buffalo Sabres, and Dallas Stars — showed interest only the Coyotes and San Jose Sharks are really showing interest now.

Possible Trade Candidates Out of Buffalo

Matthew Fairburn took a look at seven players who could be on the move out of Buffalo this season. His list includes Victor Olofsson, Henri Jokiharju, Eric Comrie or Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, Ilya Lyubushkin, Jacob Bryson, and Riley Stillman. Perhaps the most attractive piece of these seven would be Jokihaju.

Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Samsonov, Acciari, Robertson & Murray

Fairburn writes:

Buffalo’s defensive surplus makes Henri Jokiharju expendable. Of the Sabres’ extra defensemen, Jokiharju would be most appealing to other NHL teams. He’s a right shot, just turned 24 years old and has a reasonable $2.5 million cap hit. Adams might be able to fetch a third-round pick for Jokiharju or package him with a prospect in a bigger deal. The fact that he has some value is what makes him the most realistic trade candidate before the start of the season.

source – ‘Buffalo Sabres trade candidates: 7 players who could be moved before the season’ – Matthew Fairburn – The Athletic – 07/19/2023

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