Around The League: Guentzel to Tampa Bay, Stamkos linked to Nashville, Zadorov on the way out

Photo credit:John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Seney
13 days ago
The NHL’s 2024 offseason is in full flight as it’s been a wild and wacky week from Vegas. The Sphere turned out to be a fantastic venue for the NHL Draft and it seemed to be a comfortable setting for general managers to dig in and make some transactions.
There’s already been a flurry of trades throughout the entire league and now all the attention turns to free agency opening up on Monday. Here’s the very latest buzz from around the league:

Lightning acquire Jake Guentzel’s rights

After the Lightning traded both Tanner Jeannot and Mikhail Sergachev in separate trades on Saturday, many felt their extra cap space was going to be allocated for increasing their contract offer to Steven Stamkos. Not so fast! The Lightning have since acquired the signing rights to Jake Guentzel from the Carolina Hurricanes and will now dig in on getting the veteran forward signed to a long-term contract extension.
According to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, Guentzel turned down an eight-by-eight offer from the Hurricanes and once Carolina realized it wasn’t going to get an extension done, put Guentzel’s rights on the trade block. The Lightning have swooped in and it’s very likely a deal is announced at some point over the course of the next couple of days.

Steven Stamkos hits the open market

The latest buzz around Stamkos is that he turned down a long-term contract offer from the Lightning at around the $3-4 million average annual value mark, but that wasn’t good enough. Lighting general manager Julien BriseBois then confirmed that Stamkos is set to hit the open market on July 1.
The early favourite appears to be the Nashville Predators. The Predators are looking to balance out their offense this summer as they relied heavily on their top line of Ryan O’Reilly, Filip Forsberg and Gustav Nyquist last season. GM Barry Trotz has $26.3 million to work with in cap space. Trotz also has the fact Nashville is appealing weather and doesn’t have state income tax, two things Stamkos is very familiar with from his days in Tampa Bay.
If the Predators can’t get a deal done, look for the Detroit Red Wings to lean on his relationship with Steve Yzerman to try and get a contract completed, as well as the Boston Bruins and perhaps the Maple Leafs, depending on things go with upgrading their blue line.

Nikita Zadorov is leaving the Canucks

Canucks GM Patrik Allvin confirmed Nikita Zadorov is hitting the open market on Monday.
While TSN’s Darren Dreger confirmed the Leafs will have interest in the towering blue liner, there’s a number of teams who will be lining up to make contract offers. Zadorov is known for being very tough to play against, and his mean streak is something the Leafs could use much more of next season and beyond. Treliving had shown trade interest in Zadorov throughout last season, so it makes sense for the Leafs to at least make initial contact once free agency opens.
If the Maple Leafs can’t make a deal happen, some teams to consider as targets include the Seattle Kraken, Detroit Red Wings, Nashville Predators and New Jersey Devils.

Matt Duchene is staying in Dallas

The Dallas Stars traded Chris Tanev to Toronto on Saturday and they’ve also been busy trying to re-sign some of their pending free agents, including Matt Duchene. The veteran forward is coming off a bounce-back year in Big D, and is now likely to sign a multi-year deal to stay with the Stars.
Friedman reported over the weekend the two sides were very close to an extension.

Buyout market will be busy

After the Buffalo Sabres announced that they were buying out the remainder of Jeff Skinner’s contract there’s also been reports of Adam Boqvist being bought out by the Columbus Blue Jackets and Jack Campbell being bought out by the Edmonton Oilers.
More buyouts are expected on Sunday as team’s look to build as much cap space as possible for Monday when the free-agent window opens. As it stands right now, it doesn’t appear the Maple Leafs have anyone on their roster they are interested in buying out.

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