NHL Rumour Report: Kuznetsov, Matthews/Dubas future, Gibson + more

A lot is on the line for teams like the Maple Leafs this playoffs, while those on the sidelines plot a course back to relevance.

- Start up the John Gibson trade rumours once again. Both Gibson and the Ducks have been eager to part ways for a number of years as the team bottoms out in its lengthy rebuild. Among the teams that have kicked tires are the Ottawa Senators, who are likely looking for a stabilizing presence after years of turbulence in the crease. 

- Rumblings last summer suggested Gibson was unwilling to entertain the idea of being traded to the Maple Leafs, so it's hard to imagine him leaping up at the chance to play for another Canadian team in the Senators. Gibson's stats have taken a beating in recent seasons, but is still generally viewed as a talented goalie around the league. With four years left at over $6 million a year, he will be too risky an addition for many teams. Other than Ottawa, the Penguins have long been rumoured as potential landing spot for the Pittsburgh native.

- If Ottawa is in on Gibson, that all but confirms that the team is parting ways with pending UFA Cam Talbot. More notably, it means one of Anton Forsberg or Mads Sogaard is on the way out if a veteran is on the way in.

- The Ducks are also expected to field offers on Adam Henrique, who has had a nice career turnaround the past few seasons. As a veteran who can chip in and win faceoffs, he'll be highly coveted at the 2024 NHL trade deadline, if not sooner. 

- Lots of rumours about the future of GM Kyle Dubas in Toronto. Is his job truly on the line with this first round series or would ownership ultimately balk and keep their young GM regardless? According to some reports, his job absolutely is on the line here. Dubas has a desire to continue as the man in charge past this season, but it's not likely he'll get that chance if his team can't get over this first round hurdle.

- It's well known around the league that Auston Matthews (who is UFA eligible in 2024) and his camp have a very close relationship with Dubas. If the latter is sent packing this spring, that'll stir up the Matthews rumours once again. It's believed Matthews is willing to entertain an extension in Toronto, but perhaps not long term, and definitely at a very high price. Would a front office upheaval change his calculus? Not necessarily. But some see it as a very risky move at this point. 

- Evgeny Kuznetsov trade rumours are swirling once again. It sounds as if the Capitals are not just willing, but eager to make this trade in the offseason. 'Kuzya' makes a hefty $7.8 million per season but has only two years left on the deal. This could be a draft day trade as Washington continues to build up their draft capital.

- They are reportedly eager to move on from Anthony Mantha as well, a player who hasn't worked out since coming in from a trade with the Red Wings two seasons ago. Mantha will be a pending UFA next summer, making him a potential trade deadline asset.

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