NHL Rumors: Coyotes, Playoffs, Penguins, Flyers, Blackhawks, Maple Leafs, and Senators
The Pittsburgh Penguins tested the market for Phil Kessel.
31 Thoughts rumor roundup

Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet: Quebec City and Houston have shown interest in having an NHL team. The NHL has met with the Palletta family of Burlington, Ontario – who wouldn’t mind bringing another team to Southwestern Ontario (referring to the Palletta’s).

It’s believed that an Arizona Coyotes sale is brewing.

Many teams like the idea of expanding the playoffs – Gary Bettman doesn’t.

Multiple sources have said that the Pittsburgh Penguins have “tested the market” for winger Phil Kessel. The Penguins appear to be holding off for now, but could revisit later. They were last in the East a couple weeks ago but are now back in the playoff race.

Penguins GM Jim Rutherford is looking to make more moves but doesn’t have a lot of options aside from making a big change. Kessel has a partial no-trade clause.

Several sources said former GM Ron Hextall wasn’t willing to commit to pending UFA winger Wayne Simmonds. Some think that Hextall had been shopping Simmonds, others say no.

The Chicago Blackhawks have been out scouting heavily. Their ‘Cap-ologist’ traveled with them on their last road trip. GM Stan Bowman scouted the Coyotes-Kings, two scouts watched Kings-Canucks, three at Stars-Flames, and two watched Kings-Oilers.

The Blackhawks might have some interest in Vancouver Canucks Sam Gagner.

Though the odds are long, the Toronto Maple Leafs are going to try and re-sign pending UFA defenseman Jake Gardiner. It would take creative bonuses and structure to fill in for signing for less money.

On younger players signing big contracts earlier than in the past.

“The mentality is changing,” one GM said last week. “The best players are aiming higher, especially with the possibility of contract rules changing in the next CBA.”

“The guys making ‘middle money’ will be squeezed out or traded,” another said.

The Ottawa Senators have pending UFAs in Matt Duchene and Mark Stone. They can extend the NHL’s highest-scoring defenseman this season come July – Thomas Chabot.