Latest NHL Buzz
1. The year of what will John Tavares do?Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"
It’s going to be one of the top storylines for the 2017-2018 and is one of the closest situations a number of General Managers have their eyes glued on.
The New York Islanders’ star center is best friends with Steven Stamkos and the talk has been out there for years that if Tavares left New York, it would be to team up with Stamkos, wherever he’d be playing.
Whether that comes to fruition next July remains to be seen but what multiple NHL executives believe what Tavares will likely do is not sign an extension with the Islanders this season and take the Steven Stamkos route of going into the free agent interview period and then deciding what to do.
Stamkos met with Toronto, Buffalo and San Jose during the free agent interview period in June 2016 before deciding to resign with Tampa Bay prior to July 1.
Franchise players don’t hit the free agent market and not often the caliber of a player such as Tavares would ever hit the trade block.
General Managers who believe they could be a destination that interests Tavares intend to be very cautious with their cap space this season to not close any doors on Tavares becoming a target, were he to become available by the deadline or in the summer.
Montreal is one of those clubs and there are a number of others.
Chatter in league circles is the San Jose Sharks are a club that is confident they will be one of the select clubs Tavares will be open to playing for if he tests the market and are a strong possibility to get a seat at the table during the interview process if Tavares takes the expected Stamkos route and meets with teams next June before deciding his Islanders future.
There are a lot of if’s on the Tavares situation, who wouldn’t be leaving the Islanders because of money, and even the defending Stanley Cup champion Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"
2. Biggest test for Sabres GM Jason Botterill in Year one?
Getting Jack Eichel locked up to a new extension for under $10 million a season. Rival executives have put the over-under at $10.5 million, where the thinking around the league seems to be it will be a big win for first year GM if he can get Eichel to sign for a deal that’s under $10 million.
It’s not that a lot of hockey folks believe Eichel is a $10 million + a year player, but The Eichel camp has put a $10.5-$11 million a year asking price on Eichel since talks began in July.
Buffalo is more in the $8.5 million neighborhood.
At the end of the day, the sense around the league is even by over-paying, Botterill has to get this done.
2. The Phoenix Coyotes addition of Jason Demers this month has first year Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet in position to ice a pretty good d-corps with Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Demers, Alex Goligoski, Nick Hjalmarsson, Luke Scheen, Jakob Chychrun.
Tocchet isn’t going into a dire situation and what many had been wondering with Arizona before opening night is whether Jaromir Jagr would be wearing a Coyotes jersey.
The Jagr camp has had deep talks with the Coyotes this month and the Coyotes are one of three teams the agent Petr Svoboda has tried to strike a deal with but the momentum now looks back to Calgary or nobody for Jagr as the Flames and Jagr are getting there and could have a deal done by Tuesday.
4. As one league sources puts it, the Penguins have told other clubs the ‘ship has sailed’ on them trying to get in the mix for center Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"
5. The Penguins view their second line left winger situation as one of what will be a revolving door.
There is an appetite to still appease Evgeni Malkin and bring in someone he wants to play with.
It had the Penguins giving strong thought to signing Danis Zaripov this month.
Another name to watch as the season progresses.
New York’s Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"