NHL Rumors: Blackhawks, Lightning, Blues and Predators

NHL Rumors: Blackhawks, Lightning, Blues and Predators

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The Tampa Bay Lightning could look to move Jonathan Drouin

On the Chicago Blackhawks …

Mark Lazerus: GM Stan Bowman isn’t worrying about their offseason. There will be some challenges, same as always: “Not anticipating huge changes. There will be some.”

Mark Lazerus: Bowman said they already know which players they will be protecting in the expansion draft: “I could tell you, but I won’t.”

On the Tampa Bay Lightning …

Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times: When asked if he thinks they can afford to sign pending restricted free agent Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Jonathan Drouin.

“I think we can sign all the players we need to sign,” GM Steve Yzerman said.

[Smith] notes it’s hard to see how they will be able to sign all three players to long-terms with them still need to add a backup goalie and a top-four defenseman.

Victor Hedman‘s contract kicks in next year and it’s almost doubled what it was this season. They also need to think about what Nikita Kucherov‘s next deal will look like when it’s done in two years.

GM Steve Yzerman could create some cap room by moving a contract like Jason Garrison‘s at the expansion or amateur draft.

Shouldn’t be a surprise if Palat is the first to sign.

Johnson will be a looking for a long-term deal. [Smith] thinks the Lightning will try to do a deal, but Brayden Point gives the Lightning a backup plan if they can’t get a deal with Johnson that they are comfortable with.

[Smith] thinks that despite his skill set, the Lightning could shop Drouin leading up to the draft. There was the rumor that the Lightning were offering Drouin to the St. Louis Blues for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, but he nixed the deal. The Nashville Predators were another team that was looking at Drouin at the trade deadline.

[Smith] doesn’t like the idea of trading Drouin, but what else do they have that would net them a top, right handed defenseman?

Bob McKenzie has reported that Drouin could be looking for a five to seven year deal at over $6 million a season.