Big names could sign extensions Monday

Sidney Crosby, Igor Shesterkin, Leon Draisaitl, Mitch Marner, Juuse Saros and Hedman are among many players who are allowed to sign contract extensions starting Monday. Each has one year remaining on his contract.

Saros, it appears, is going to sign an eight-year contract worth $7.74 million annually to remain with the Nashville Predators. Reports of the goalie’s new contract started to come out Thursday. His AAV for next season will be $5 million.

Hedman is also expected to sign a new deal with the Lightning in the coming days.

The Oilers should eventually have an offer to give to Draisaitl to sign a long-term contract that will keep him in Edmonton. They reportedly want to get this ironed out before next season begins. But that doesn’t mean it will. If it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere this offseason, a trade could be in the cards. We’re a long way from that, but it’s possible.

Marner’s situation with the Toronto Maple Leafs is similar. A trade is possible, but he would have to agree to it. An extension is possible, but again, he would have to agree to it. Is Marner willing to move this season? Does he want to work out a new contract with the Maple Leafs? Will his demands be too much for Toronto?

The Rangers should have Shesterkin as a priority considering how much the goalie means to them. The only issue is how much it will cost to sign him, which is why this might not be something that gets finished in the short term.

Crosby’s situation is considered a private matter, Penguins general manager Kyle Dubas said, but he and the team are talking and there’s little doubt that he will re-sign at some point.

In addition, Colorado Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen, Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand, Maple Leafs center John Tavares, Dallas Stars forward Jamie Benn, Hurricanes defenseman Brent Burns and Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad are each entering the last year of his contract.

Rangers plans with Trouba and more

The Rangers cleared $3.64 million in salary cap space when forward Barclay Goodrow, who they put on waivers, was claimed by the San Jose Sharks on June 19. They could clear another $2.4 million if they trade forward Kaapo Kakko, which is a real possibility, if not likely at this point.

They could go big-name hunting on the free-agent market with Guentzel or Marchessault as possibilities. They’re searching for a player who can play with center Mika Zibanejad and left wing Chris Kreider.

Beyond that, there’s questions about Jacob Trouba, New York’s captain for two seasons, and his availability on the trade market.

Trouba has two years remaining on his contract with an $8 million AAV. It’s possible he could be traded.

The Rangers still have to sign restricted free agent defensemen Ryan Lindgren and Braden Schneider. The Shesterkin contract is a priority, as is a new contract for forward Alexis Lafrenière, who has one year remaining on his deal.

New York sees Trouba as a third-pair right-side defenseman with Schneider elevated to the second pair with K’Andre Miller late in the regular season. It’s not easy to stomach an $8 million third-pair defenseman on your cap, but that might be the situation for another year at least.

Devils could look for defense

Trading defenseman John Marino to the Utah Hockey Club for draft picks Saturday does not mean the New Jersey Devils won’t dive into the pool of defensemen that will be available Monday and try to fish one or two of them out.

The Devils could be looking for more of a stalwart on the back end, someone who plays with more bite and physicality than Marino. Maybe that’s Pesce, who will be available if he doesn’t re-sign with the Hurricanes before the market opens.

New Jersey has Dougie Hamilton and Simon Nemec on the right side of its blue line. Pesce would fill out the right side and likely allow the Devils to keep the 20-year-old Nemec on the third pair.

Regardless if it’s Pesce or someone else, look for the Devils to add to their defense group that also features Luke Hughes and Jonas Siegenthaler.

The goal is to keep the puck out of the net at a better rate than they did this season, when they allowed 3.43 goals against per game. A new goaltending tandem of Jacob Markstrom and Jake Allen will help, but the Devils need to help their goalies too.

Toronto, Tanev and more

Chris Tanev could soon sign with the Maple Leafs after they acquired the negotiating rights to the defenseman from the Stars on Saturday. If Tanev doesn’t sign, he will become a UFA, but that seems unlikely if Toronto traded a prospect, forward Max Ellis, and a seventh-round pick in the 2026 NHL Draft to secure his rights.

Tanev will be a huge addition to Toronto’s defense group. The 34-year-old will bring physicality and a first pass to the Maple Leafs back end.

What Toronto does from there, provided Tanev signs, will be interesting.

Looming over the Maple Leafs’ offseason is the situation with Marner, but the hunt for more help on defense and potentially bolstering the goaltending position to have someone to play in tandem with Joseph Woll have to be priorities in the coming days.

Gibson, Zegras, Laine all trade bait

The gates to the trade market opened wide Saturday with a flurry of moves, but the expectation is there is more to come.

Would the Anaheim Ducks trade center Trevor Zegras and goalie John Gibson? They would if the return was right for the rebuilding Ducks.

Zegras, who has two years left on his contract, is a super-skilled 23-year-old, but the question is does he fit Anaheim’s style of play? Gibson, with three years remaining, is a 30-year-old goalie, but the Ducks have Lukas Dostal behind him and may want to get younger and cheaper at the position.

The Columbus Blue Jackets are looking to trade forward Patrik Laine. That much we know from general manager Don Waddell. If they can make it happen, and if they would have to retain salary, is another story.

Laine has two years remaining on his contract ($8.7 million AAV). He is currently in the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program.

Other names to watch on the trade front include Kakko and Trouba from the Rangers, Necas from the Hurricanes, Winnipeg Jets forward Nikolaj Ehlers (one year left, $6 million AAV), Ottawa Senators defenseman Jakob Chychrun (one year left, $4.6 million AAV) and Predators goalie Yaroslav Askarov (one year left, $925,000 AAV) considering Saros’ looming extension.

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