NHL Rumors: Blackhawks, Penguins, Oilers, Red Wings

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In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Chicago Blackhawks have announced the official signing of Connor Bedard’s NHL entry-level contract. Why did they wait until today? Meanwhile, are the Pittsburgh Penguins calling the bluff of the San Jose Sharks? Are the Edmonton Oilers interested in Brett Pesce, and are the Detroit Red Wings looking at locking up either Moritz Seider or Lucas Raymond this summer?

Connor Bedard Signs NHL Entry-Level Deal

Connor Bedard officially signed his NHL entry-level deal with the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday. The team released the news and shared a video of him and his family going through that process together.

His three-year entry-level deal comes with the following financial terms: Maximum ELC: $950k cap hit with a possible $4.45 million annual average. Breakdown each season: NHL Salary: $855k Signing Bonus: $95k Type ‘A’ Perf Bonus: $1M Type ‘B’ Perf Bonus: $2.5M.

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As Scott Powers of The Athletic writes:

There wasn’t a doubt whether Bedard would sign his entry-level contract with the Blackhawks, but it was a question of when. Since neither the Blackhawks nor Bedard was in any rush, they decided to wait until Bedard officially turned 18 to finalize the contract.

source – ‘Connor Bedard, Blackhawks agree to NHL entry-level contract: Sources’ – Scott Powers- The Athletic – 07/17/2023

Penguins Prepared to Call Sharks’ Bluff

The Pittsburgh Penguins are strategically eyeing a potential trade for Erik Karlsson from the San Jose Sharks, as reported by Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey Now. Kingerski also reports the Penguins are willing to test Sharks’ GM Mike Grier’s resolve by waiting for a reduced asking price or increased salary retention. In other words, Dubas is calling what he believes is Grier’s bluff as this approach aims to make the acquisition of Karlsson more financially viable for Pittsburgh.

Erik Karlsson San Jose Sharks
Erik Karlsson, San Jose Sharks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The Penguins believe that they have an advantage over other potential suitors, as they perceive San Jose’s urgency to move Karlsson outweighs their own need to add him to the roster. Considering the Sharks don’t need Karlsson, this is the time to sell, and there are few other suitors who can realistically fit Karlsson onto their roster, Grier finds himself in a relatively weak bargaining position, according to Kingerski.

While Grier may attempt to hold out for a high price, akin to Arizona Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong’s strategy with Jakob Chychrun, it is widely anticipated that he will eventually yield to the Penguins’ patient approach.

Some Chatter Surrounding the Oilers and Brett Pesce

Both The Hockey News and The Athletic recently had authors write that the Edmonton Oilers would be a team that makes sense to try and acquire Brett Pesce from the Carolina Hurricanes. Rumored to be a player on the market — because of uncertainty surrounding his contract and the Hurricanes possibly being interested in Erik Karlsson — the Hurricanes potentially offloading Pesce is still something insiders are watching closely.

Related: Maple Leafs Might Take Calculated Risk with Nylander’s Contract

For the Oilers, Pesce would be an upgrade, and with the recent addition of Connor Brown, the Edmonton Oilers’ forward group appears to be in a strong position. To help alleviate some of the pressure on a shakeable tandem of Jack Campbell and Stuart Skinner in goal, the best bet might be to get strong defenders patrolling the blue line.

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As Shayna Goldman of The Athletic writes:

The problem more than anything is cap space. Bouchard isn’t even signed yet, and he’s in for a big raise this summer. The space, especially with retention, could probably be found for Pesce this upcoming year. Anything after that would take work from management, though. But maybe that’s a problem to punt to another day. Like Toronto, the pressure is on now and the Oilers probably shouldn’t run it back with the same defensive group. So, this is a short-term bet that can help this upcoming season, with the potential for more depending on how the year proceeds and the cap gets worked out.

source – ‘Brett Pesce trade destinations: 5 teams that could (or should) be interested’ – Shayna Goldman – The Athletic – 07/17/2023

Goldman also listed the Dallas Stars, Buffalo Sabres, Toronto Maple Leafs and Nashville Predators as teams that might have an interest in Pesce.

No Extensions Imminent for Raymond or Seider of the Red Wings

When asked in a mailbag question if there was any chance either of Lucas Raymond or Moritz Seider signing a long-term (or medium-term) extension this summer with the Red Wings, Max Bultman of The Athletic wrote, “I haven’t heard any rumblings of an imminent extension with either, so we’ll see where it goes. But I agree that Seider is more likely than Raymond.”

He noted that it might make sense to try and sign both before the salary cap jumps, but in the case of Seider, the defenseman has little motivation to sign now Bultman explains:

And from Seider’s perspective, well, what more can he really prove in the next year? Barring a top-10 Norris-type season, which would likely take a 60-point outburst in addition to strong defense, he’s already proven himself to be a No. 1 defenseman worthy of $8 million or more on the market. And who knows if it’s him or Gostisbehere getting the PP1 looks next season?

source – ‘Which Red Wings linemates maximize Alex DeBrincat?: Mailbag, part 1’ – Max Bultman – The Athletic – 07/17/2023

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