NHL Rumor Roundup: Rask doesn’t want trade; More players hit free agency

With the NHL offseason underway we will take a daily look at some of the trade/free agent rumors around the NHL.

Need to catch up on NHL trade and free agent rumors this week?

Big names flew around on Wednesday, from Patrik Laine trade rumors to Taylor Hall free agent talk.

Back on Tuesday, PHT looked at Henrik Lundqvist‘s possible next destination, Steven Stamkos rumbling into the NHL trade rumor mill, and more. Meanwhile, Monday’s roundup featured Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Torey Krug.

Rask hopes Bruins don’t trade him

In most of these roundups, you’ll hear about teams wanting to trade players, and what it would take for certain people to waive no-trade clauses. While Tuukka Rask lacks such a clause, he wants to stick with the Bruins. Ideally, up until he retires.

“I think [Bruins GM Don] Sweeney came out and said that’s not going to happen,” Rask told the Boston Herald’s Steve Conroy. “I don’t want to play for anybody else but the Bruins.”

Of course, there are approximately five bajillion examples of sports teams insisting they won’t trade a player before doing so. And Rask’s lack of an NTC leaves the door open.

Being that Rask is 33 and carries a $7M cap hit, the Bruins might view a robust goalie free agent market as a chance to improve elsewhere and save money in net. All of that said, Rask + Jaroslav Halak has been a fantastic duo for the Bruins. Trading Rask might boil down to the Bruins overthinking things, as even a deep goalie market is unlikely to provide an upgrade.

Rask finished as a Vezina finalist with a .929 save percentage last season, and sports an outstanding .922 save percentage for his career. Rask left the playoff bubble for family reasons.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson situation challenging for Bruins, Canucks

OEL gave the Coyotes a Friday afternoon deadline to trade him, and the pickings are slim between the Canucks and Bruins.

Generally speaking, insiders have bounced back and forth regarding whether the Canucks or Bruins were more likely to trade for Ekman-Larsson. In the latest update, TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that the Bruins currently find the Coyotes asking price too high for OEL.

Considering the challenges both the Bruins and Canucks face, and the well-publicized financial constraints for the Coyotes, it’s not surprising that Arizona’s having trouble asking for the moon.

If they can’t stomach getting a weak trade return for Ekman-Larsson, maybe they should focus on saving money elsewhere? Tough situation, yet that’s why it’s dangerous to assume that you can muscle a player into waiving a no-trade clause.

Scroll for more NHL trade rumors, and free agent rumblings.

Duclair among intriguing free agents after teams balk at qualifying offers

NHL teams searching for free agent bargains could really reap rewards during this off-season. Granted, in many cases, it pays to be patient. The best deals will probably come after the “Free Agent Frenzy,” as they often have in the past.

With costs in mind, some NHL teams balked at qualifying offers, deepening the free agent pool.

Names that stand out include: Anthony Duclair, Dominik Kahun, Nick Cousins, Troy Stecher, Andreas Athanasiou, Vinnie Hinostroza, and Matt Benning.

On one hand, maybe the penny-pinching Senators save money by letting Duclair walk. But did they do it in part just to acquire flawed defenseman Erik Gudbranson?

Between Duclair and Athanasiou, teams can roll the dice on speedy but flawed players. With Kahun, a team could add an intriguing mix of scoring and respectable play-driving. Kahun and Duclair rank as the biggest head-scratchers among this group.

(The Sabres may still try to get Kahun back, for what it’s worth.)

NHL Trade, Free Agent, and Retirement Rumor Roundup

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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