NHL Rumour Report: NHL rumour mill heating up with offseason on horizon

There's plenty of hockey still to be played, but NHL rumours have started to swirl again.

- For more than half of the teams in the NHL, the offseason has already begun. In another week or so, the vast majority of teams will be in offseason mode and gearing up for a busy summer. Let's set the stage.
- Trade winds have continued to swirl in Vancouver after a rumour-filled but ultimately quiet lead-up to the March trade deadline. JT Miller, Brock Boeser, Conor Garland have figured heavily into those rumours. But it sounds like new management is doing its best to keep those three in town, and has turned its attention to another possible trade chip: Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

- "OEL" was serviceable, but not great, in his first year as a Canuck. There is a belief that the team has begun exploring the trade market for the veteran blueliner and his onerous contract which runs through 2027. For his part, Ekman-Larsson has complete control over any trade. It has long been speculated that the Bruins were a preferred landing spot dating back to his time in Arizona, but that may have changed since the report originally surfaced.
- Expect a ton of rumours around the future of Johnny Gaudreau. The pending UFA winger has been dynamite for the Flames this year, and there's mutual interest in an extension. But there's a strong expectation that teams in the northeast United States - where Gaudreau is from - will be lining up with mega-contracts. Among the teams ready to take big swings are the Philadelphia Flyers, who could use Kevin Hayes, a friend of Gaudreau's, as a recruiter.
- If the Flyers strike out on Gaudreau, or if Gaudreau doesn't become available, the Flyers are likely to aggressively pursue pending UFA Avalanche pivot Nazem Kadri.

- Another name to keep an eye on this offseason: pending RFA Kevin Fiala, who the Wild would like to keep but who has been in the rumour mill for a while now. The Ottawa Senators are among the teams rumoured to be interested.

- Speaking of the Sens, expect them to be aggressive. Other than Fiala, pending UFA Claude Giroux is an option. Giroux, who resides in Ottawa for part of the offseason, has at least explored the possibility. The Panthers will try to retain the services of Giroux, who has fit in nicely.

- Still keeping an eye on the Patrick Kane rumours, but he sure sounds like a player who wants to stick around in Chicago through the rebuild. We'll see if the 2023 UFA feels differently this offseason or at the next trade deadline.

- Wouldn't be a league-wide rumour post without mentioning Mark Scheifele, who has been in the rumour mill for months. Based on his own statements expressing uncertainty over his future in Winnipeg the other week, he's another player who is more likely than not to be on the move at some point before the end of his deal.

- Plenty more to come. We are steadily exiting the post-trade deadline lul in trade talks around the league. With just over two months to go before free agency and the NHL draft looming, activity is expected to heat up significantly.
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