BS Meter on the Latest 2024 NHL Draft, Trade and Free Agency Rumors (2024)

BS Meter on the Latest 2024 NHL Draft, Trade and Free Agency Rumors

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    BS Meter on the Latest 2024 NHL Draft, Trade and Free Agency Rumors (1)

    Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad (right) and New York Rangers winger Kaapo Kakko. Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

    With the 2024Stanley Cup Final underway, the focus of the hockey world is on theoutcome of this series between the Edmonton Oilers and the FloridaPanthers.

    However, thathasn't stopped the NHL media rumor mill from churning. As the Oilersand Panthers grapple for hockey's holy grail, the league's 30 otherteams are preparing to make their offseason moves through the draft,free agency, and the trade market to better their rosters for nextseason.

    Some of thespeculation concerns what the Panthers might do with defenseman AaronEkblad this summer. Meanwhile, some observers wonder if winger KaapoKakko still has a future with the New York Rangers.

    We're dusting offour trust B/R BS Meter to examine the latest notable NHL draft, trade, and free-agency rumors. Let us know if you agree or disagree with ouranalysis in the app comments below.

Could New York Rangers Winger Kaapo Kakko Become A Trade Candidate?

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    This was adifficult season for Kaapo Kakko. The 23-year-old New York Rangerswinger missed 21 games with a lower-body injury, limiting him to 13goals and 19 points in 61 games. He struggled in the postseason withjust points in 15 games and was a healthy scratch from Game 2 of theEastern Conference Final against the Florida Panthers.

    The second-overallpick in the 2019 NHL Draft, Kakko was projected to become a scoringright winger. He showed signs of a breakout performance in 2022-23with 18 goals and 40 points in 82 games. However, the young Finn failed to move up on the Rangers' depth chart.

    Speculationemerged about Kakko's future even before the Rangers' elimination by the Panthers. He's a restricted free agent with arbitration rightsthis summer. That prompted Sportsnet's Luke Fox on May 28 to suggestcontact negotiations could become tense. He believes rival generalmanagers should look into Kakko's availability.

    The New YorkPost's Ethan Sears felt Kakko still has top-six winger potentialbut moving him could be an obvious fix if they need to savesalary-cap money. The Athletic's Peter Baugh believes the wingerwould have value in the trade market but suggested he might fetch asecond or third-round pick.

    BS Meter: Not BS

    Rangers generalmanager Chris Drury said his club would do all it could to help Kakkoimprove. However, Sears' colleague Larry Brooks believes it might bebest for the player and team if the Rangers traded Kakko this summer, butonly for the right price. He rejected the notion of getting a secondor third-rounder in return.

Will The New Jersey Devils Trade Their First-Round Pick For a Goaltender?

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    BS Meter on the Latest 2024 NHL Draft, Trade and Free Agency Rumors (3)

    New Jersey Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald.Andrew Mordzynski/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Following the March 8 trade deadline, New Jersey Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald indicated his intent to go "big-game hunting" to improve his goaltending and other roster issues. On June 4, he stated his willingness to trade his 2024 first-round pick (10th overall) for a return that helps his team now and in the immediate future.

    Fitzgerald acknowledged he's in the market for a goalie but also wants to improve his forward lines and defense corps. "We'd like to add up front, we'd like to add on the back end, so what are those pieces going to cost us? With the goaltending, what's that going to cost us?"

    The Devils GM admitted he's focused on finding a goalie but wouldn't say which one. The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun cited league sources linking the Devils to the Calgary Flames' Jacob Markström, the Boston Bruins' Linus Ullmark, and the Anaheim Ducks' John Gibson.

    LeBrun followed up on June 6 by reporting the Devils and Flames renewed their trade discussions about Markström. The two sides were close to a deal in February but it fell through in part over the Flames' unwillingness to retain part of Markström's $6 million annual cap hit through 2025-26.

    BS Meter: Not BS

    Fitzgerald sounds like he's keeping his trade options open with this first-rounder. However, that could be the key trade chip in a package offer that lands a reliable starter like Markstrom or Ullmark. Gibson has struggled behind a rebuilding Ducks blue line but could rebound on a deeper club.

Will The Florida Panthers Trade Aaron Ekblad This Summer?

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    BS Meter on the Latest 2024 NHL Draft, Trade and Free Agency Rumors (4)

    Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    The FloridaPanthers are in the midst of their Stanley Cup Final series with theEdmonton Oilers. However, management could face some difficult rosterdecisions during the offseason with 14 active roster players undercontract for 2024-25 and a projected cap space of $19.7 million.

    Eleven players will become unrestricted free agents on July 1, including57-goal winger Sam Reinhart and puck-moving defenseman BrandonMontour. Both will seek hefty raises that could eat up most of the Panthers' cap room. Meanwhile, two-way center Anton Lundell is a restrictedfree agent in line for a pay bump this summer.

    On June 2, theToronto Sun's Steve Simmons claimed the Panthers wanted to re-signReinhart and Montour. To do so, he believes they'll trade defensemanAaron Ekblad and use the salary cap savings to keep Montour in the fold. He also thinks Reinhart will accept less thanmarket value because of Florida's lack of a state tax.

    Ekblad, 28, wasthe first-overall pick by the Panthers in the 2014 NHL Draft. Thefollowing season, he took home the Calder Memorial Trophy, becoming the linchpin of the Panthers' defense corps. He has a yearleft on his contract with a cap hit of $7.5 million and a no-movementclause that becomes a 12-team no-trade list on July 1.

    BS Meter: It's BS

    Ekblad is theheart and soul of the Panthers' blue line so he's going anywhere. On May 31, Sportsnet's Luke Fox observed the Panthersprioritized re-signing defenseman Gustav Forsling rather thanMontour, suggesting the latter could be playing his final games inFlorida.

Could The Ottawa Senators Shop Brady Tkachuk?

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    BS Meter on the Latest 2024 NHL Draft, Trade and Free Agency Rumors (5)

    Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Expectations werehigh for the Ottawa Senators entering this season. Under newownership and led by young captain Brady Tkachuk, the Senators hopedto emerge from their long rebuilding process to become a playoffcontender this season.

    Instead, theSenators missed the postseason cut for the seventh straight year. OnFeb. 28, general manager Steve Staios told The Athletic's PierreLeBrun there was no truth to a rumor suggesting the club might bewilling to trade Tkachuk.

    Staios recently hadto shoot down similar conjecture. On May 27, The Hockey News' SteveWarne cited a report out of St. Louis speculating whether Tkachuk was available, why such a big move wouldn't be out ofthe question, and what kind of haul the Senators could get in return.

    "Complete BS," Staios told LeBrun the same day. "We are building this team around Brady. His leadership and unique skill set are rare." He concluded by stating there was "no validity" to the speculation.

    BS Meter: It's BS...for now.

    Tkachuk has fouryears left on his contract. Warne believes any trade discussion only becomes valid if the Senators haven't improved before thefinal year of his deal. The Toronto Star's Nick Kypreos andSportsnet's Wayne Scanlan share that view. If the Senators keep missingthe playoffs, there will be more speculation about Tkachuk's futurein Ottawa.

Could The San Jose Sharks Sign Jake Guentzel?

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    BS Meter on the Latest 2024 NHL Draft, Trade and Free Agency Rumors (6)

    Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    CarolinaHurricanes winger Jake Guentzel will become an unrestricted freeagent on July 1. A two-time 40-goal scorer and winner of the StanleyCup with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016-17, the 29-year-old iscompleting a five-year contract with an average annual value of $6million.

    A reliable scoringwinger, Guentzel was acquired from thePenguins by the Hurricanes before the March trade deadline. He playedwell for his new club with 25 points in 17 regular-season games andnine points in 11 playoff contests. The Athletic's Pierre LeBrunreported on June 3 that he could test the market while keeping the Hurricanes as anoption.

    Guentzel will draw considerable attention if he hits the open market on July 1. On June 6,San Jose Hockey Now's Sheng Peng cited Sportsnet's Jeff Marek makingan admittedly wild prediction that the San Jose Sharks could sign theveteran winger. Marek believes the rebuilding Sharks must surroundtheir promising young players with veteran talent.

    Peng admittedstranger things have happened. He noted the Sharks have plenty ofsalary-cap space for next season and are motivated to shore up theirroster depth. However, he doesn't see Guentzel signing with arebuilding club, suggesting he could prefer spending his 30s playingwith a contending club.

    BS Meter: It's BS

    Marek's colleagueElliotte Friedman subsequently reported the Hurricanes were shoppingGuentzel's rights. However, it's doubtful the Sharks will attempt toacquire him. The veteran winger will likely entertain contractoffers from contenders (including the Hurricanes) and sign with oneof them soon after free agency begins on July 1.

    Stats via and salary information via Cap Friendly.

BS Meter on the Latest 2024 NHL Draft, Trade and Free Agency Rumors (2024)
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