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Rumor mill: Timo Meier to stay in New Jersey long enough
Rumor season is in full swing in the NHL right now.

With the Stanley Cup Finals now over, all eyes are on the draft and the opening of the free-agent market, and let’s just say that behind-the-scenes whispers have been popular of late.

Pierre LeBrun has published a text (The Athletic) in which we find the most recent developments concerning a few hot files around the league, and it’s worth talking about them.

Let’s start with Timo Meier.

The Swiss is eligible to sign a new deal, and the Devils have announced that they will go to arbitration to settle the matter.

But Tom Fitzgerald’s ultimate goal is to reach an agreement with his star player on the terms of an eight-year contract before the two sides have to go before an arbitrator.

The Devils’ GM really wants to lock Meier up in New Jersey for the long term, to ensure that the team has an excellent core of forwards for the coming seasons. Remember that yesterday, Jesper Bratt signed an eight-year pact and that Jack Hughes still has seven years left on his contract.

Knowing that Meier, Hughes and Bratt could be “Devils” for a long time to come, the team gives itself a chance to be more than competitive in the years to come. That’s good, because it’s been relatively difficult since the departure of Martin Brodeur.

Ivan Barbashev’s future may not lie in Vegas

One thing is crystal clear. Ivan Barbashev loved his time in Vegas, having been acquired at the last NHL trade deadline.

But, unfortunately for him…

The chances of him staying with the Golden Knights are slim to none. The reason is simple: the Vegas outfit simply doesn’t have enough cap space to sign the player to a contract worth his value.

As of today, the Knights have a current cap space of around $3.5 million. Barbashev, for his part, could command a salary of between $5.5 and $5.75 million per season, according to Pierre LeBrun.

Unless there’s a surprise or the team makes a deal to sign the Russian, Ivan Barbashev will be playing somewhere other than Vegas next year.

And, with the playoffs under his belt, he should be a fairly popular name on the unrestricted free agent market.

Brett Pesce could leave the Hurricanes

We never talk about him because he’s not necessarily a flamboyant player. But Brett Pesce is an excellent field hockey player, and he fulfills his role to perfection.

Known as a two-way defenseman, Pesce will be playing the final year of his current contract next season. However, he would like to initial a new agreement before next season…

And if he’s unable to do so with the Hurricanes, the team could decide to trade him.

Either the Hurricanes extend Pesce, or they trade him this summer. They’re not comfortable letting him start the 2023-24 season with an expiring contract,” explains LeBrun in the article in question.

And, if he really were to be traded, the Sabres and Oilers are currently being talked about as two teams interested in his services.

However, the Oilers would have to work on their payroll to acquire the Hurricanes’ defenseman.

Not surprisingly, Alex Killorn will test the autonomous player market

The subject has been discussed in the past, but now it seems all but confirmed.

The Lightning won’t be fighting to keep the 33-year-old veteran’s services.

Killorn, therefore, will test the free-agent market and could land a nice contract. Last year, he scored a total of 27 goals in Tampa Bay.

Right now, he doesn’t seem to be slowing down (yet)… But you know as well as I do that it’s going to happen pretty quickly. That’s why I’d be reluctant to offer him a long-term contract.

The Flames have a decision to make with Noah Hanifin

Noah Hanifin has one year left on his contract with the Calgary Flames…

But next summer, the defenseman will become a free agent, and all indications are that he wants to leave Alberta. The team’s new GM, Craig Conroy, will therefore have a choice to make:

Either he decides to trade him this summer to get something interesting in return for his services, or he decides to start the year with him and see how the team performs between now and the next NHL trade deadline.

If the Flames aren’t doing well, it’ll be easier to trade the defenseman in case a Stanley Cup contender is interested. But if the Flames perform up to expectations and decide to keep Noah Hanifin…

Chances are they’ll lose him for nothing in the summer of 2024.

Keeping an eye on the Kings in the Connor Hellebuyck dossier

Connor Hellebuyck is one of the NHL’s elite goaltenders. However, he has admitted out loud that he is not interested in being part of a rebuild, which could force Kevin Cheveldayoff to send him elsewhere.

Like Noah Hanifin, the goaltender will become a free agent in the summer of 2024.

IF there is a deal, Pierre LeBrun was keen to point out that the Kings are a team to watch.

The Los Angeles team is looking for a number-one goaltender to give itself a chance of winning the Stanley Cup with the elements already in place, and the idea of going after a goaltender of Hellebuyck’s calibre makes a lot of sense to me.

The Kings, automatically, would become very dangerous on paper… And it could give Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty one last shot at the big time.

Our colleague Félix Forget raised this possibility in a recent article:

Ouf! That’s a lot of stock. And, the rumors aren’t likely to die down in the coming weeks. I love this time of year!

In gusts

– Good point.

– New deal for Zac Jones in New York.

– Come on!

– The American soccer team has found its man.

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