NHL Rumors: Senators, Devils, Jets, Kovalchuk, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, the Ottawa Senators are close to signing another low-cost forward to a deal and there’s talk about them losing interest in another free agent. In New Jersey, as per a source, the Devils are seriously considering an offer sheet this offseason. In Winnipeg, there were rumors of a trade request. Are they true? Finally, what’s the status on forward Ilya Kovalchuk? Is he close to signing anywhere?

Devils Looking at Signing Offer Sheet

Sonny Sachdeva of Sportsnet is reporting that the New Jersey Devils could be a team willing and eager to sign a player to an offer sheet. While it seems unlikely any team goes that route in this NHL financial climate, former Los Angeles Kings assistant GM Michael Futa said he knows for certain the Devils were or are contemplating such a move.

Mathew Barzal New York Islanders
Mathew Barzal, New York Islanders (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Futa noted:

“I think they’re another team that’s primed for an offer sheet,” Futa said during that early October broadcast. “And I can tell you that because I did not get the job as general manager there and it was a big part of the interview, talking about how much they wanted to give out an offer sheet.”

That interview was a couple of weeks ago, but teams that are susceptible to offer sheets are still in financial trouble, namely the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders.

Related: Koivu’s Departure Leaves a Big Void to Fill for Wild

News on Senators Signings

According to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, the Ottawa Senators are close to signing Alex Galchenyuk. As per Bruce Garrioch, the deal is expected to be worth one year at $1.05 million.

In other Senators news, as per Shawn Simpson of TSN, the Senators have no interest in bringing back Anthony Duclair now. He notes, “If the reports are right, and Ottawa used what was offered to Duclair to sign Evgenii Dadanov. How lucky and happy they should be. It’s not even close on overall game, and Dadanov makes others better.”

Jets Defenseman Niku Hasn’t Asked for a Trade

As per a report by TSN, the rumors that Winnipeg Jets restricted free agent defenseman Sami Niku has asked for a trade aren’t accurate. Niku’s name has been in the rumor mill and with limited space on the Jets salary cap, talk of him being moved have surfaced.

Sami Niku
MONTREAL, QC – APRIL 03: Sami Niku #83 of the Winnipeg Jets skates against the Montreal Canadiens during the NHL game at the Bell Centre on April 3, 2018 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Winnipeg Jets defeated the Montreal Canadiens 5-4 in overtime. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

Niku’s agent, Mike Curran, told the Winnipeg Free Press in a phone interview Sunday that they’ve heard the rumors but denied it originated from their end. “It’s been out there mentioned. But it didn’t come from us,” he said.

He added:

“I wouldn’t comment on that normally. But no, we haven’t (asked the Jets for a trade).

“(Niku) has set up shop there. For a kid not to go back to Finland during this whole pandemic process, that should say a lot about his desire to be there.”

source – ‘Trade winds blow but Niku wants to stay put’ – Winnipeg Free Press – Jason Bell – 10/25/2020

Related: Blackhawks News & Rumors: Saarela, Ristolainen, & More

Kovalchuk Ready to Sign Discount NHL Deal

During a chat with The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun, veteran NHL forward Ilya Kovalchuk made it clear that his next deal in the league (if he’s offered one) isn’t about money. The forward says he’s waiting on the right fit and wants to play with a contender who is interested in adding him.

Ilya Kovalchuk Montreal Canadiens
Ilya Kovalchuk, Montreal Canadiens (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Kovalchuk told LeBrun he’s has some interest from teams but is not in a rush to sign a deal. He knows that some teams are strapped for cash and he’s just trying to keep himself in shape until the season begins.

LeBrun added that Kovalchuk is prepared to sign a bargain basement deal and he’ll only come back “if it’s right.” He added:

“Yeah, it’s all about the right place and the right time. Like I said, I’m not in a rush. We talk to Pat all the time. He said right now the market is slow because teams don’t know what to expect. Everyone is waiting to see the results on the season and everything.  So I’m not in a rush, either.’’

source – ‘LeBrun: Ilya Kovalchuk awaiting right place, right time for NHL return’ – Pierre LeBrun – The Athletic – 10/27/2020

It sounds like Kovalchuk is ruling out the idea of going to KHL just to prep for an NHL return. If he goes to the KHL, he’ll likely stay there.

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