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Many summer questions, like who plays goal for Leafs and Oilers?

June 28, 2022, 3:25 PM ET [3 Comments]
Kevin Allen
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General managers go into the offseason looking for answers. The Florida Panthers need to fix their defensive game. The Philadelphia Flyers must figure out how to produce more goals. The Buffalo Sabres should be on a quest to find the right goalie.

But this will be a summer of questions. Good questions. These are questions that we want answered and some won't be answered quickly enough. Here is what we want to know:

1. Who will be in the Edmonton Oilers' net in 2022-23?

Jack Campbell seems to be the name circulating. He can be a UFA this summer. But that talk seems premature. The Oilers must sort out how much it will cost them to keep Evander Kane. We also have to know whether the Minnesota Wild will re-sign Marc-Andre Fleury. Darcy Kuemper must also decide whether he is staying in Colorado. Are the Islanders going to move Semyon Varlamov? Plenty of variables are in play. All we know for sure: the Oilers need a different look in net.

2. Is potential unrestricted free agent Evgeni Malkin leaving the Pittsburgh Penguins after 16 seasons?

It's looking that way. Multiple reports say the two sides are not close on a dollar amount. Malkin would probably have some desirable options, particularly with the Washington Capitals looking at the possibility Nicklas Backstrom (hip surgery) will be sidelined for an extended period. Would the Colorado Avalanche try to lure Malkin if they lose Nazem Kadri? The Penguins are still trying to re-sign Kris Letang and could use Malkin's money to strengthen their defense.

3. Do the Vegas Golden Knights have a goaltending controversy?

Robin Lehner wasn't as sharp in 2021-22 as he was the previous season. The Golden Knights appreciated how Logan Thompson stepped up when Lehner was injured. The Golden Knights don't have to do anything. Having two strong goalies is beneficial in this era. But shouldn't GM Kelly McCrimmon listen if a rival team asks about Lehner?

4. What's Carey Price's NHL future?

Nobody seems to have a good handle on Price's health or his plans for the future. Price is 34 and has four seasons left on a contract paying him an average of $10.5 million per season. He only played five games last season. The uncertainty of Price's future is difficult for a team that needs to push the reset button on its roster.

5. Are the Arizona Coyotes still trying to peddle defenseman Jakob Chychrun?

Sure seems like it will happen, maybe around the NHL draft. Teams like the fact that he is locked into another three seasons at $4.6 million. The Coyotes haven't lowered their asking price. They want a significant return.

6. Will the San Jose Sharks trade Evander Kane back to the Edmonton Oilers if his original contract is reinstated?

That would make sense. The Oilers want Evander Kane back. Connor McDavid really wants Kane back. The Sharks don't want Kane and his contract and that could easily happen. Many around the NHL believe the arbitrator will rule that the Sharks had no grounds to terminate. The Oilers will have to move some contracts to afford Kane. The likely suspects include Zack Kassian, Jesse Puljujarvi and Tyson Barrie.

7. Who is going to be in the Toronto Maple Leafs' net in 2022-23?

Sure seems like the Maple Leafs are moving away from Jack Campbell. Not sure where the Maple Leafs are heading. Do they inquire about Robin Lehner? Varlamov? Would guess they will talk to Fleury if he tests the market.

8. Could the Florida Panthers persuade a team to take Sergei Bobrovsky?

Don't see it unless they are willing to retain $4 million of his salary. He still has four seasons left at a $10 million cap hit. If a team could get Bobrovsky at $6 million per season over four seasons, you might generate interest. He posted a 2.67 goals-against average and an above average .913 save percentage last season.

9. Would the Montreal Canadiens bypass Shane Wright with their No. 1 pick?
TSN Draft expert Bob McKenzie's Final 2022 draft list has moved Juraj Slafkovsky ahead of Wright as the No. 1 prospect. McKenzie says it's close. But I still believe the Canadiens will take the center Wright. He was the No. 1 prospect all season. Scouts tell me Wright is the most complete player in the draft and Slafkovsky is a 225-pound scorer. Most GMs won't pass on a potential No. 1 center. Montreal won't either.

10. Can the Tampa Bay Lightning fiit a new contract for Ondrej Palat under their salary cap? Don't know how general manager Julien BriseBois will do it. The Lightning are already over next season's salary cap. But would be comfortable predicting BriseBois will find the cap space necessary to keep Palat. First, Brisebois is adept at cap maneuvering to retain players. Second, the Lightning understand Palat's value and appreciate his contributions. He's versatile enough to slide up and down the forward lines. Plus, he raises his level of play in the postseason. The Lightning do have the Brent Seabrook long-term injured reserve card to play. But that won't be enough to cover Palat. Here's the kicker: BriseBois said today he is already working on signing Nick Paul and Jan Rutta as well. This will require managerial magic.
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