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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    Islanders agree to terms with Mathew Barzal on 8-year extension

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    Mathew Barzal has agreed to terms with the New York Islanders on an eight-year extension, a move that keeps the franchise’s top forward under contract for the balance of his prime.

    The deal is worth $73.2 million with an annual salary cap hit of $9.15 million, according to a person with knowledge of the contract. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team did not announce terms.

    Barzal has led the team in scoring, or been tied for the lead, every season since he became a full-time NHL player in 2017-18. He has 349 points in 411 regular-season and playoff games for the defensively stingy Islanders, who qualified for the postseason three consecutive times before an injury- and virus-altered last year.

    “We feel recharged,” Barzal said recently. “We feel like everybody had good summers and worked hard, and we got that excitement back.”

    Barzal, now 25, is coming off putting up 59 points in 75 games. The offensive star will now be asked to round out his game.

    “I’m a fan because Mat has the ability to raise his game and to be a special player,” general manager Lou Lamoriello told reporters at the team’s practice facility on Long Island. “And now, with this contract and our faith in him, (it) puts that responsibility on him. We’re trusting that. It’s up to him to respond to that.”

    Senators goaltender Cam Talbot out 5-7 weeks with injury

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    OTTAWA, Ontario — Ottawa Senators goaltender Cam Talbot is expected to be out five to seven weeks with what the team called an upper-body injury.

    The Senators initially called Talbot day to day with what they hoped was a minor injury. Instead he’s now expected to miss at least the first month of the NHL season.

    Ottawa claimed goalie Magnus Hellberg off waivers from the Seattle Kraken upon announcing Talbot’s expected absence. Hellberg, who played for Sweden at the Beijing Olympics could split time with countryman Anton Forsberg while Talbot is out.

    The Senators acquired Talbot from Minnesota during the offseason to make him their starter after the Wild opted against bringing him back along with Marc-Andre Fleury. Talbot, 35, had a 2.76 goals-against average and .911 save percentage this season.

    Losing Talbot is a blow to the Senators, who also acquired winger Alex DeBrincat from Chicago and signed longtime Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux as part of a move toward contending and ending their playoff drought.

    Blackhawks’ Boris Katchouk sidelined by ankle sprain

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    CHICAGO — Blackhawks forward Boris Katchouk will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a left ankle sprain, the team announced.

    The 24-year-old Katchouk played almost 12 minutes during a 3-0 preseason loss to Detroit on Saturday night. He was acquired in a multiplayer trade with Tampa Bay in March.

    The Blackhawks open the season on Oct. 12 at Colorado.

    The team also said forward Jujhar Khaira is day to day with a right ankle injury.

    Ducks’ Urho Vaakanainen crashes into boards, leaves on stretcher

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    ANAHEIM, Calif. — Ducks defenseman Urho Vaakanainen was taken off the Honda Center ice on a stretcher after he crashed into the end boards in the first period of Anaheim’s preseason game against the San Jose Sharks.

    The Finnish defenseman was conscious and alert with full movement in his extremities at UCI Medical Center, the Ducks said.

    The frightening incident occurred midway through the opening period when Vaakanainen smashed into the boards at a dangerous speed behind the Sharks’ net. Vaakanainen appeared to be concentrating on the pass he had just made to Derek Grant, who scored the Ducks’ opening goal on the assist.

    Vaakanainen’s teammates came onto the ice and gathered around him as he was taken away on the stretcher.

    The Ducks acquired the 23-year-old Vaakanainen from Boston last March in the deal that sent longtime Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm to the Bruins. After recording two assists in 14 games for the Ducks last season, Vaakanainen is attempting to win a top-six role on Anaheim’s defense this fall.