NHL market buzz: Latest on Flyers, Senators, what's next for Malkin

Elliotte Friedman joins Ken Reid on Sportsnet Central to talk about the Toronto Maple Leafs acquiring Matt Murray from the Ottawa Senators, how Matthew Tkachuk factors into the Calgary Flames signing Johnny Gaudreau, and more.

Stuff we’re looking into with 24 hours to free agency:

• Will Philadelphia be busy? If the Flyers are to position themselves for a run at Johnny Gaudreau, they must clear space. Oskar Lindblom is not yet 26, so if bought out, there’s a $3.33M cap saving for 2022-23. (It’s a tough thing to consider. Hard not to root for Lindblom, who overcame Ewing’s sarcoma to resume his NHL career.)

The Flyers have also been considering another move, although they could go in several directions. GM Chuck Fletcher wouldn’t say much about his plans for James van Riemsdyk, but anyone who scores 24 goals has real value. Philadelphia may have to attach a sweetener to do it, but $1M of his $5M cash salary will already be paid via a bonus. Arizona, Buffalo and Seattle have been linked to the winger. 

• No one thinks Ottawa is finished. In fact, we’re all waiting for another move now that Matt Murray is a Maple Leaf. One potential target: Florida’s MacKenzie Weegar. It is expected the Panthers will get an extension done with Jonathan Huberdeau, and therefore may not have the room to do similar with Weegar. Florida’s been asked about him, and the Senators are able to do the kind of sparkly picks and prospects package to get it done. This, of course, would allow the Panthers flexibility to do some other things. (Florida and Ottawa are also believed to be competing for Claude Giroux, with Carolina among those peering over their shoulders.)

• The biggest news Monday was Evgeni Malkin announcing he will test free agency. It appears as if talks broke down with the final formal proposals being the player asking for a three-year contract in the $7Ms, and the Penguins offering three years in the $6Ms. I do think a four-year, $6.1M idea was conceptually discussed, but Malkin, frustrated with the entire process, ended things before it went anywhere. 

There’s always a chance he could return, but the Penguins can’t afford a massive hole behind Sidney Crosby. (It is believed Vincent Trocheck is one of their targets. I’d thought the possibility of Boston for Trocheck, but impending returns of Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci make the Rangers and Penguins more likely.) 

Malkin’s impact on the market is enormous. There are some very good centres out there — Andrew Copp, Nazem Kadri, Trocheck et al — now this Hall-of-Famer is in the mix. Where does he wish to go? What contract does he want? How much will emotion play into his decisions? Any Cup contender looking for a centre has to consider him. That would include longtime rivals, a thought that must make Penguins fans want to vomit. Because he is over 35, he can consider a one-year contract with massive bonuses — that would be attractive to teams, but does it appeal to him?  

• Toronto will look for another goalie and try to sign Rasmus Sandin with their remaining cap room. One team indicated that even 1B or No. 2 goalies could still do very well in this market, so it won’t be as easy as it sounds. One potential depth target for the Maple Leafs: forechecker extraordinaire Zach Aston-Reese. They could also bring back Denis Malgin from Switzerland.

• San Jose GM Mike Grier admitted Monday the Sharks will try to accommodate a Brent Burns move if the defenceman wishes. Burns has a lot of control on this. He’s got a permanent residence in Texas, and it's believed Dallas is a preferred destination. It would take some cap gymnastics, however. I’d also heard Nashville as somewhere he’d like, but the Predators have made their moves.

• Offer sheets? Marek roots for the chaos, but no idea if we actually get one. But one agent (not Nic Hague’s) pointed out anything from $2,100,742 to $4,201,488 only requires second-round draft-pick compensation. He wondered if anyone would try that for the Vegas defender. 

• Apropos of nothing, I loved watching Rickey Henderson. One of my favourite players. If you’re looking for a summer read, Howard Bryant’s biography is very good. 

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