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Jake Guentzel linked to the Lightning
Credit: Getty Images

The 2024 draft is officially over! To revisit the Canadiens’ picks, check out my colleague Marc-Olivier Cook’s excellent articles on the site.

Now, the league turns its attention to another high-profile event: the opening of the free agent market.

The rumour mill is now more active than ever.

Earlier in the day, Julien BriseBois made another monster deal and another major move. He sent Mikhail Sergachev and Tanner Jeannot elsewhere. These transactions mean one thing: the GM wanted to free up money under the salary cap.

After all, he has Steven Stamkos to sign, and a $3 million-a-year contract isn’t going to entice him to stay.

It’s worth noting that BriseBois hasn’t made Stamkos a new offer despite his new salary package, that said. That’s probably because he’s saving the money for something else.

But this afternoon, Elliotte Friedman linked Jake Guentzel’s name to the club. According to the tipster, he should be the Lightning’s number-one target, starting Monday. According to several sources, the forward wants an eight-year contract (if he can sign eight years) at $8 million annually. Carolina is ready to offer him such a contract, but the more the days go by, the more the player and his agent want to test the market. And they have every right to do so.

In any case, Friedman raised the possibility that his rights could be traded by Monday, much like Tanev.

Speaking of Tanev, at the very end of the draft, the unrestricted free agent was traded to the Leafs. At least, his rights have changed. The Leafs will be able to talk to him about 42 hours before the other 30 teams. I guess the Stars abandoned the project…

You’d think the two camps would get together very soon, because as defenseman Wade Arnott’s agent confirmed, they haven’t talked yet. But according to Darren Dreger (Insider Trading), the chances of Tanev signing in the Queen City are high.

In addition to the former Flames and Stars star, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Nikita Zadorov are also said to be on Toronto’s radar.

Yaroslav Askarov is another player who is attracting a lot of interest from all over the league. The Preds goaltender will be the talk of the town soon, as Juuse Saros will sign for another eight years, and the Russian’s future is clearly not in Nashville.

Barry Trotz isn’t in a hurry to trade him, but you’d think a deal could happen at the draft.

In the end, it didn’t happen, but that’s not because teams aren’t calling. According to Friedman, the GM received several calls.

We know that Kent Hughes also received a lot of calls for his fifth pick, and it’s logical to wonder if Trotz was one of them. After all, Trotz wanted a top-5 pick.

Martin Necas and Rutger McGroarty, who won’t be at the Jets’ development camp, are other players to keep an eye on.


– It’s confirmed.

– Lots of movement.

– Logan Thompson had asked for a trade.

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