In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Vancouver Canucks and Ottawa Senators are both open to moving their respective first-round draft picks in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. What do they want in return? Meanwhile, Wayne Simmonds of the Toronto Maple Leafs comments on the possibility of returning to the team next season, while GM Kyle Dubas comments on the future of Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews. Finally, the Colorado Avalanche are holding off on talks with goaltender Philipp Grubauer but there’s talk about how much of a discount he’s willing to take to stay with the team.
Canucks to Shop No. 9 Pick
Postmedia sports writer Ben Kuzman noted on Twitter that Canucks GM Jim Benning said he’d be open to trading the No. 9 pick in the 2021 NHL draft. Benning was quoted as saying: “We’re going to look at everything. We’re going to call other teams.”
While the Canucks are confident they’ll get a good player should they keep the pick, they are interested to see if there is more they can grab on the open market by making that selection available. He added, “I know we’re going to get a real good player in the draft. We’re going to have to get a young player who we feel is worth trading the pick. We’re keeping options open.”
Senators Not Steadfast in Selecting at No. 10
Like the Canucks, the Senators are willing to look at all options when it comes to the No. 10 overall pick they got as part of the NHL Draft Lottery this year. TSN’s Shawn Simpson writes: “My sources tell me the Sens are willing to move up or down, or even move the pick. If they move it, they want a player that can make an impact now. They are also confident Mann will get a great player at 10. They will not draft for need, but will take the best available player.”
Simpson took a little ribbing at the hands of Twitter users who said his tweet didn’t really offer much information and it wasn’t a wildly informative take, covering every base. That said, some teams aren’t willing to move first-round selections and want to keep their spot in the Top 10. The Senators are apparently not thinking that way.
As a rebuilding team with cap space and room to make moves, this tweet suggests the Senators will be active at the NHL Draft.
Related: 2021 Calder Trophy Finalists
Simmonds Would Like to Return, Not Sure What Maple Leafs Want
Speaking with the media following a disappointing exit from the playoffs for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Wayne Simmonds says he’s like to return to the team next season if the organization wants him back. As a pending UFA who plays a bottom-six role, his future with the team is not set in stone.
There will be changes to the roster in Toronto and if the core four are not moved, one has to wonder if the depth players that were brought in this offseason will be back. Simmonds understands he might be among the casualties. When asked about returning, he noted:
“I got no clue to be honest with you. Like I said, I thoroughly enjoyed my time this year playing for the Leafs. Although it is a sport we play, you know we love the game we play, it is a business though. … We didn’t get past that Game 7 threshold so I honestly don’t know what management’s thought process is, how the coaching staff feels about the support pieces on the team.
I’d definitely be open to coming back, that’s for sure. But like I said, it is a business and only time will tell.”
Other Leafs News
The Maple Leafs have signed Pontus Holmberg to an entry-level contract. He was a sixth-round pick of theirs in 2018. Holmberg will be loaned back to Vaxjo in Sweden for 2021-22.
Kyle Dubas also noted that he is not open to trading either Mitch Marner or Auston Matthews, despite their lack of playoff production. He said, “I have tremendous belief in both of them, and I think they’ve shown to everybody what they’re capable of over time. The story will be different for them in the future in terms of the way people speak about them.”
Avalanche Contract Talks with Philipp Grubauer
There have been no contract extension talks between the Colorado Avalanche and goaltender Philipp Grubauer. The two sides have elected to wait until the team’s playoff run has come to an end, which could be a bit of a gamble for the Avalanche.
Grubauer had a dominant 2020-21 season, posting a 1.95 GAA along with a .922 SV% in 40 games. It was good enough to earn himself a Vezina Trophy nomination. He is in a good spot considering he is going to be an unrestricted free agent.
Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic notes that the netminder might be willing to take a sizeable discount to stay in Colorado. He writes:
While Roy declined to elaborate, again stressing that his client’s focus is solely on the playoffs right now, I think it’s going to come down to how much less they can live with compared to what other teams — foaming at the mouth in search of a No. 1 goaltender — would be ready to pay July 28 on the first day of free agency.
Grubauer is in the final season of a three-year, $10 million contract and could potentially double that on the open market this summer.
Jim Parsons is a freelance writer who covers the Edmonton Oilers and news and rumors posts here at The Hockey Writers.
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