We're just over a week away from the opening of NHL free agency, and there are tonnes of rumors flying around the hockey world. With some superstars set for big paydays in the prime of their careers, and celebrated veterans looking for one last shot at the Cup, the anticipation is building towards July 13.
Here's the latest talk around town.
What's taking so long with Forsberg?
Nashville Predators star forward Filip Forsberg is due for a big raise from the six-year, $36-million deal that is set to expire when NHL free agency opens next week. Forsberg, 27, is coming off a stellar season, registering 42 goals and 42 assists for 84 points, all career-highs. According to The Athletic's Pierre Lebrun, the Predators and their top goalscorer have strong mutual interest in staying together on an eight-year extension, but the two camps seem to be at an impasse on salary demands. LeBrun reports that Forsberg is looking for annual dollar figure in the high eight-million range, while Nashville GM David Poile prefers to settle at about half a million dollars cheaper.
The longer these negotiations drag on, the more realistic the possibility of Forsberg hitting the open market becomes, where he would be arguably the most coveted free-agent forward available — depending on whether or not Johnny Gaudreau re-signs in Calgary.
Will Giroux settle in Florida?
LeBrun also reported that impending free agent Claude Giroux and the Florida Panthers, who he was traded to ahead of the deadline, have mutual interest in a deal keeping the 34-year-old in the Sunshine State. But because of the Panthers' tight cap situation, an agreement with the veteran forward may be out of reach.
According to LeBrun, the Edmonton Oilers are a team monitoring Giroux, in case they can't keep playoff standout Evander Kane. Another option would be the Ottawa Senators, a city where Giroux has family ties and where he spends his summers. The key to any negotiation with the former Philadelphia Flyers captain is term, as Giroux is likely looking for a multi-year deal, LeBrun reports. Having never won a Stanley Cup, he may also prefer to sign with a team that is currently in contention for a championship.
Kadri is going to get PAID
On Monday's episode of the "Real Kyper and Bourne" podcast, Nick Kypreos said that Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri will be looking for a minimum of $8 million per season on his next deal, but that number could go as high as $10 million. Kadri registered a career-high 87 points last season, and put up 15 points in 16 games in the playoffs en route to a Stanley Cup victory.
Kypreos on Kadri: "The number I hear is it starts at 8 and it could go as high as $10M, the teams that I'm hearing out there, two teams that can stroke that cheque right now are Seattle and the Boston Bruins".
— NHL Watcher (@NHL_Watcher) July 4, 2022
While the Avalanche may be priced out of the Kadri sweepstakes, the 31-year-old will have plenty of suitors around the league. Kypreos said that the Seattle Kraken and Boston Bruins would be good fits for Kadri, while also adding that the Arizona Coyotes could be a dark horse in the race to secure his services.
Podcast guest and Sportsnet hockey insider Elliotte Friedman added that he sees the Washington Capitals as an option as well, considering veteran center Nicklas Backstrom is likely out for the entirety of the 2022-23 campaign after undergoing hip surgery in June.
All quiet on the Campbell front
On the "32 Thoughts" podcast, Elliotte Friedman reported that "there's nothing going on" between the Toronto Maple Leafs and goaltender Jack Campbell. Friedman also mentioned that the New Jersey Devils and Edmonton Oilers are the current frontrunners to secure the 30-year-old's services.
Podcast host Jeff Marek added that Campbell is reportedly looking for, at minimum, a four-year, $20-million deal.
Campbell posted a record of 31-9-6, with a 2.64 goals against average and a .914 save percentage last season with the Leafs.
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