Bargain Bin: Jets, Senators, Panthers, Free Agency

The 2023 NHL Entry Draft in Nashville is just around the corner. There’s a ton of speculation surrounding around where certain players will be drafted. After the third overall pick, there’s no certainty about where players will be drafted. The draft is flooded with high-end talent, though there’s a ton of high-end talent available via free agency and trades. There may be a ton of buzz surrounding trades heading into the draft. Let’s look at the news and rumors for Saturday, June 17th.

Winnipeg Jets

It’s no secret that the Winnipeg Jets are going to look different next year. It’s time for a new core and a strong identity on the ice. Off the ice, there may be some changes made, but that has yet to be seen.

Pierre-Luc Dubois

Pierre-Luc Dubois’ agent Pat Brisson has informed the Winnipeg Jets that Dubois will not sign an extension with the Jets. This isn’t new and shouldn’t be surprising to any Jets fan. However, even though Montreal is Dubois’ preferred destination, the LA Kings have entered the conversation to potentially acquire Dubois and possibly more.

“I think Montreal’s so much the number one destination that I’m shy to say there’s a number two that he (Dubois) is interested in… I wonder about the New York Rangers with PLD, I wonder about the Minnesota Wild, Tampa Bay, Dallas, and Carolina.” – Jeff Marek

“Someone threw out LA to me, but it definetely depends on Anze Kopitar. You have to convince me that there’s someone else than Montreal, but LA has the pieces.” – Elliotte Friedman

Elliotte Friedman & Jeff Marek – 32 Thoughts: The Podcast – We’ve Got A Series, 31:10

When there’s smoke, there’s fire, and Elliotte Friedman doubled down again about the Pierre-Luc Dubois situation. Friedman and Marek both mentioned how it may boil down to a bidding war during the episode on Friday, June 16th. Los Angeles has made it clear that they want PLD, but how badly PLD wants to play outside of Montreal is the burning question now.

Connor Hellebuyck

It has been recently reported that Connor Hellebuyck has informed the Winnipeg Jets that he is not interested in signing a contract extension with the team. The Vezina-winning goaltender has never shown signs of slowing down. Hellebuyck could bring back a massive haul for the Winnipeg Jets, especially if they move him to a contending team.

The unfortunate reality is the fact that goaltenders are hit-and-miss come playoffs, Connor Hellebuyck isn’t in that same realm. Hellebuyck has been a rock in the net for Winnipeg and has proved that a good goaltender can’t cover up a weak defense.

There’s speculation that Connor Hellebuyck might be packaged with Pierre-Luc Dubois to LA or Mark Scheifele to Boston. However, it is purely speculation at this point.

Ottawa Senators/Patrick Roy

There is speculation that Patrick Roy will triumphantly return to the NHL as a head coach, who knows where he’ll go, but there has been word that he’s interested in coaching Ottawa.

After Patrick Roy successfully coached and managed the Quebec Remparts to a Memorial Cup win, he would step down as head coach and GM. Finally, with the sale of the Ottawa Senators being finalized, new owners are ready to arrive. There’s no guarantee that D.J. Smith will keep his job with the new owners.

For six years straight, the Senators have missed the NHL playoffs, and this might put D.J. Smith’s in question. As reported by TSN insider Darren Dreger, the new owners of the Ottawa Senators are huge fans of the possibility of hiring Patrick Roy as head coach.

Florida Panthers

It feels like every single year, whenever a team is eliminated from the playoffs, the laundry list of injuries is released. However, the Florida Panthers took it to an entirely new level this year.

Some players were either injured in the Bruins series, according to head coach Paul Maurice, or they were injured in the finals against Vegas.

Eetu Luostarinen

Luostarinen had suffered a broken tibia in the fourth game of the Eastern Conference Finals, causing him to miss the entire Stanley Cup Finals.

Aaron Ekblad

Ekblad went through some of the most gruesome injuries that you could potentially imagine. Breaking his foot in two places, tearing his oblique, and completely tearing his shoulder. Ekblad will rehabilitate his injuries and is expected to miss part of training camp.

Matthew Tkachuk

Suffering a broken sternum during the first period in game three of the Stanley Cup Finals, Tkachuk would finish game three in full and score the game-winning goal. Tkachuk would also suit up for game four and play limited minutes, however, Tkachuk’s injury would be too much heading into game five as he’d be out due to injury.

Other Panthers Injuries

Radko Gudas and Sam Bennet are out with undisclosed injuries as of Friday, June 16th. Once these injuries are updated, they will be posted during a future bargain bin release.

Free Agency

There are 12 big-name free agents that will certainly receive offers from many teams. The following 12 free agents are purely contract projections and speculation around which team will sign them.

Dmitry Orlov

Dmitry Orlov is seeking a big pay raise come July 1st, putting him at the top of the list for available free agents. Orlov played 23 regular season games with the Bruins and 43 with the Capitals before Boston acquired him via trade. In Orlov’s triumphant season, he put up three goals and 16 assists for 19 points with Washington and four goals and 13 assists for 17 points with Boston. Additionally, Orlov would post eight assists and points in seven playoff games with Boston. This incredibly strong showing will certainly make Orlov an interesting free-agency pickup.

Contract Projection: $7.8 million annually for seven years with the Detroit Red Wings.

Ryan O’Reilly

Brad Treliving certainly has a lot to consider when it comes to the Toronto Maple Leafs roster. The decision to keep Ryan O’Reilly or not is definitely a large task. O’Reilly brought intensity and necessary leadership to the Toronto Maple Leafs, especially in the playoffs. At 32 years old, O’Reilly has slowed down in his playstyle, but his impact is just as good as it was in his prime years. O’Reilly may or may not stay in Toronto, and that has yet to be seen. July 1st is set to be a highly interesting day.

Contract Projection: $5 million annually for three years with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Patrick Kane

Patrick Kane has a lot to consider, especially as a free agent in 2023. The 34-year-old isn’t what he used to be, but he’s still a solid player for whoever has him on their team. Kane won three Stanley Cups with the Chicago Blackhawks before being traded to the New York Rangers at the 2023 trade deadline. Either a young and up-and-coming team will be able to sign him, or Kane will sign for cheap with a Stanley Cup-contending team.

Contract Projection: $5.125 million annually for two years with the Buffalo Sabres.

Matt Dumba

Matt Dumba is a free agent who won’t get the big pay raise that he’s looking for. Dumba is now five seasons removed from his career-high 50-point season in 2017-18, which netted his five-year, $6 million annual contract. However, I think Dumba isn’t going to get a big pay raise, he will be lucky to receive a pay raise come free agency.

Contract Projection: $5.5 million annually for seven years with the Carolina Hurricanes.

Tyler Bertuzzi

I can certainly see the Bruins and Don Sweeney making sure that Tyler Bertuzzi remains a Boston Bruin until his retirement. Bertuzzi was a massive impact on the Bruins, especially during the playoffs. Bertuzzi provided stability and a necessary balance in his middle-six role in Boston. If Boston is unable to sign him, it’s certainly a letdown, however, Tyler Bertuzzi should be getting a ton of calls on July 1st.

Contract Projection: $6.75 million annually for eight years with the Boston Bruins.

Michael Bunting

Michael Bunting is a journeyman in the National Hockey League. One of the best free agent signings in recent memory, Michael Bunting, was signed by Kyle Dubas to a two-year, $900,000 annual average value contract. Bunting exceeded the expectations placed on him and posted a career-high 23 goals and 40 assists for 63 points in 79 games. Bunting followed up his career-high 2021-22 season with an 82-game campaign in the 2022-23 season posting 23 goals and 26 assists for 49 points. Bunting has fit so well into Toronto’s system that I don’t see him taking a huge pay raise to stay in Toronto, though I do see another team snapping him up for a hefty pay raise.

Contract Projection: $5.25 million annually for six years with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Max Domi

Domi, drafted 12th overall in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, has found himself on six different teams by the age of 28 years old. This offseason, I think Domi will make it seven, and for good reason too. Max Domi will want to be in the spotlight that his father, Tie Domi, was once in with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Max Domi is one of those players who plays with infectious energy and leaves it all on the ice. Each and every team values having sandpaper players who can also score come the playoffs, Domi fits that bill to a tee. Max Domi will have an incredibly interesting July 1st, as he should expect to receive a ton of calls from multiple teams.

Contract Projection: $4.5 million for two years with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Tristan Jarry

Tristan Jarry has provided incredible stability in the net for the Pittsburgh Penguins, though I don’t see him staying long-term in Pittsburgh. The free agent market is lucrative to many players, and Jarry is most likely interested in what is out there for him. There will be a team trying to win now that will take a gamble by signing Jarry to a hefty contract and needs a goaltender trying to prove himself for the long term.

Contract Projection: $6.25 million annually for five years with the Ottawa Senators.

Adin Hill

Adin Hill has an incredibly unique story, from being stuck with a team and going nowhere to being traded to San Jose and having some hope to being traded to Vegas for added insurance. Hill would win a Stanley Cup in his first season with the Vegas Golden Knights. Teams will look at Adin Hill and wonder if he can soar into a full-time starting goaltender role, and Adin Hill has won a cup, so he may consider going to a team that needs a starting goaltender.

Contract Projection: $6 million annually for four years with the Winnipeg Jets.

John Klingberg

For the second straight season, John Klingberg will be on the free-agent market. John Klingberg is a defenseman who’s looking to get a significant pay raise from what he previously was paid. I don’t think Klingberg will receive said pay raise, but I do see him signing with the team that drafted him. However, Dallas has other priority signings, and they would need to dump cap space in order to consider bringing Klingberg back.

Contract Projection: $6.5 million annually for seven years with the Seattle Kraken.

Alex Killorn

Killorn certainly still has a few more great seasons left in the tank, that is for certain. Coming off of a career-high 64-point season, there will be one team that is willing to give Killorn a bit of extra cash for his playoff experience and his tendency to improve as he ages. Although, Killorn has been incredibly loyal to the Tampa Bay Lightning, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he took less to keep the team competitive in the long term.

Contract Projection: $7 million annually for four years with the New Jersey Devils.

Ivan Barbashev

Ivan Barbashev was by far the best deadline acquisition that any team could have made at the 2023 NHL trade deadline. With six goals and 10 assists for 16 points in 23 regular season games, Barbashev proved to be great early on. When playoffs came around, Barbashev excelled beyond what was expected of him. Barbashev posted seven goals and 11 assists for 18 points in 22 games, helping Vegas win the Stanley Cup. Barbashev’s strong showing will certainly be a massive asset to his free agent stock, especially being just one season removed from his career-high 60-point campaign.

Contract Projection: $7.125 million annually for seven years with the Detroit Red Wings.

Conrad Jack

Conrad Jack is a lifelong hockey fan who is now actively writing for Inside The Rink covering primarily the Winnipeg Jets and the entire NHL second. He also covers the latest NHL News & Rumors, the NHL Entry Draft, and so much more for Inside The Rink.

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