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NHL Rumor Roundup: Trade rumblings for Laine, Fleury; Taylor Hall free agency

Pierre McGuire, Bob McKenzie, Craig Button analyze the biggest storylines going into NHL free agency, including where Henrik Lundqvist and Alex Pietrangelo will end up.

With the NHL offseason underway we will take a daily look at some of the rumors around the NHL. Patrik Laine and Marc-Andre Fleury rank among NHL trade rumors, while Taylor Hall talk crops up heading into the “Free Agent Frenzy.”

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

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.

Jets ponder tricky proposition of trading Patrik Laine?

If you were expecting the Patrik Laine trade rumors to die down with free agency approaching, you’re out of luck. Most of us will look on with fascination at the possibility of the Jets trading Laine, though.

On Tuesday night, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that the Jets are “trying” to do so, although such matters could be “complicated.”

TSN’s Frank Seravalli provided further details, and they’re intriguing.

Being that the Jets want to trade Laine while improving in other areas, the return is important. Seravalli reports that the Flyers rank among top candidates (lately?), in part because they’d be willing to part with a defenseman to make it happen. Seravalli also reports that the Flyers aren’t interested in pursuing Alex Pietrangelo, even after Matt Niskanen’s looming retirement takes money off their books.

Both from a trade and just a player perspective, Patrik Laine presents a tricky value proposition. On one hand, he’s just 22, and has already shown a knack for scoring. On the other hand, his overall value is up for debate thanks in part to shabby defense, and he’ll need a new contract after his $6.75M cap hit expires after 2020-21.

A potential Laine trade partner must consider how much it will cost to land the winger, and also how much an extension/next contract will cost. Hence, as Friedman notes, it could be “complicated.”

Taylor Hall free agent market rumblings

By trading Nick Bonino and saving money with buyouts, the Predators could be in the Taylor Hall free agent mix. But it doesn’t seem like they’ll be the only bidders.

The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun went into detail on Taylor Hall free agent possibilities on Wednesday (sub required). According to LeBrun:

  • Despite clearing space, the Predators’ pitch may not be to “outbid” other free agent suitors for Taylor Hall. Instead, LeBrun believes Nashville will sell “fit” and the allure of their market.
  • The Predators rank among teams who might try to sell Hall on a short-term deal.
  • That’s where the Blue Jackets might come in. By way of Aaron Portzline, LeBrun believes that Columbus may be best suited to dangle a long-term deal for Taylor Hall.

LeBrun indicates that Hall may prefer a bunch of Zoom meetings to discuss his free agent options with teams. If that happens, it might take a while for Hall to make his decision. Considering these circumstances, it would be tough to blame Hall for practicing due diligence.

(His head must be spinning right now.)

(Keep scrolling for other NHL trade rumors and free agent rumblings.)

Trading Marc-Andre Fleury one of busy Golden Knights’ goals

I must say, seeing the Golden Knights commit $2.75M per year in cap space to a supporting cast player -- a good one, but a supporting cast player -- in Chandler Stephenson was a little be surprising. After all, aren’t the Golden Knights already squeezing up against the salary cap ceiling?

Either way, it behooves the Golden Knights to trade Marc-Andre Fleury after signing Robin Lehner to a $25M extension. (And the whole, uh, “sword’ thing ...)

Actually pulling off a Marc-Andre Fleury trade might require some creativity.

The Athletic’s Craig Custance recently wondered (sub required) if the Golden Knights might use one of their two second-round picks in 2021 to sweeten the deal. Both Custance and LeBrun mention a scenario where one team absorbs half of MAF’s $7M cap hit, while a third team takes on the rest.

One could see such a situation working for a rebuilding team. If you’re going to struggle, maybe gain some more futures, and add Fleury’s grinning presence to help guide fans through troubled times?

Anyway, Vegas figures to be busy. If you want to reinforce that thought, consider that Custance states that the Golden Knights “check all the right boxes” for ... Steven Stamkos? (More on Stamkos here, and in Custance’s collection.)

Other NHL trade rumors and free agent notes

  • Both Friedman and LeBrun point out that, if the Canucks don’t re-sign Jacob Markstrom, a rival like the Flames or Oilers could pounce.
  • After shedding Nick Bonino and Kyle Turris, maybe Nashville’s work is done. But it’s worth noting that Custance did bring up Matt Duchene’s name recently. Never a dull off-season with the Predators, right?
  • Earlier, LeBrun noted ($) that Wayne Simmonds could make sense for teams like the Canadiens and Maple Leafs.
  • While Panthers forwards Evgenii Dadonov and Mike Hoffman are expected to become free agents, Florida may try to bring one of them back, according to Custance.
  • On Tuesday, Friedman indicated that the Calgary Flames are among the busiest teams, exploring multiple avenues. That includes eyeing plenty of goalies, even with the possibility that Cam Talbot wins that round of musical chairs.
  • There’s been a lot of movement during the 2020 NHL Draft (click here for the picks). To follow NHL Free Agency, PHT has a tracker. We also have you covered regarding each big trade that ends up being more than mere rumors.

Hold on tight, hockey fans, this could be a wild ride.

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