Boston Bruins, Edmonton Oilers, Filip Gustavsson, Minnesota Wild, NHL Rumors, Patrice Bergeron, Ryan McLeod

NHL Rumors: Bruins, Wild, Oilers

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, Patrice Bergeron has announced his retirement from the NHL. Not only is this a huge loss for the game, it’s a huge loss for the Boston Bruins who will immediately start looking for ways to replace his production at center. Meanwhile, Bill Guerin got a promotion with the Minnesota Wild and it appears the team and goaltender Filip Gustavsson might be headed to an arbitration hearing. Speaking of arbitration, does a recent award for Philipp Kurashev essentially guarantee that Ryan McLeod gets $2 million or more with the Edmonton Oilers?

BerBergeron Retires from NHL, What Next for the Bruins?

Patrice Bergeron, the esteemed center of the Boston Bruins, bid farewell to the NHL in a heartfelt letter addressed to the city and fans on Tuesday. Throughout his illustrious 19-season career, he became known as the ultimate Bruin, a six-time Selke Award winner, and one of the most well-respected players the league has ever seen.

Patrice Bergeron Boston Bruins Boone Jenner Columbus Blue Jackets
Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins and Boone Jenner of the Columbus Blue Jackets (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Bruins, who are already in the midst of making big roster changes this off-season, will now have to find a way to replace his production in the lineup. That won’t be easy to do.

Related: Bruins News & Rumors: Star Trade Targets, DeBrusk & Bergeron

Fluto Shinzawa of The Athletic writes:

Bergeron’s exit, coupled with Krejci’s uncertain future, leaves the Bruins short-handed at center. At the same time, the Bruins must carry a $4.5 million overage penalty in 2023-24 because of Bergeron’s and Krejci’s performance bonuses. Pavel Zacha will most likely be the top-line center, with David Pastrnak as his right wing. Charlie Coyle and Trent Frederic should also expect more shifts in the middle.

source – ‘Bruins’ Patrice Bergeron retires: Why did the captain choose to leave?’ – Fluto Shinzawa – The Athletic – 07/25/2023

As for who replaces Bergeron as captain, at 27 years old, Pastrnak and 25-year-old Charlie McAvoy lead the Bruins toward whatever their future holds. Brad Marchand, aged 35, stands as the prime candidate to eventually take the “C”. Serving as the No. 1 alternate captain since the 2020-21 season, the left wing, with two years left on his contract, is poised to step into a leadership role.

Wild and Gustavsson Going to Arbitration?

According to a report by Joe Smith from The Athletic, there’s a possibility of the Minnesota Wild and goaltender Filip Gustavsson heading to arbitration to settle their contract matter. At 25 years old, Gustavsson recently completed a two-year contract with an average annual value (AAV) of $787,500. He has filed for arbitration, and the hearing is scheduled for August 4th.

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Smith writes:

The $3.55 million contract award for fellow arb-eligible goalie Ilya Samsonov gives the Wild and Gustavsson’s camp a clearer and fresh comparable, and Jeremy Swayman’s July 30 hearing (or an agreement reached before) could bring even more clarity. But it’d be hard to imagine this being more than a $3.5 million average annual value on a one- or two-year deal.

source – ‘Ten thoughts on the Wild offseason, from Gustavsson to Dumba to Maroon’ – Joe Smith – The Athletic – 07/24/2023

In other Wild-related news, Bill Guerin has been promoted. The general manager will now assume the role of president of hockey operations, as reported by The Athletic. Owner Craig Leipold made the official announcement on Tuesday morning, which also included several other notable promotions within the organization’s business side. It won’t do anything when it comes to who is the general manager. Guerin will still assume the title and traditional role of GM, meaning nobody is about to be hired or promoted to be between him and assistant GM Chris O’Hearn.

Could Ryan McLeod Cost the Oilers More Than $2 Million?

Ryan McLeod is scheduled for an arbitration hearing on August 4th, and after witnessing Philipp Kurashev’s recent contract award, it’s understandable why McLeod’s camp would pursue the same process. Kurashev received a two-year deal with a $2.25 million AAV from the Chicago Blackhawks. McLeod’s camp could be pleased with this precedent, but it may not sit well with the Edmonton Oilers.

Ryan McLeod Edmonton Oilers
Ryan McLeod, Edmonton Oilers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

While McLeod might consider a lower AAV to stay with the Oilers, his past financial constraints due to the team’s cap situation could lead him to explore arbitration for a fair outcome, considering his comparable stats to Kurashev. And, if that happens, it could mean that Evan Bouchard gets squeezed on his next contract. How that will sit isn’t clear and while Bouchard doesn’t have much leverage in a bridge deal, it’s the kind of thing a player remembers when it comes time to sign a long-term extension down the road.

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