NHL Rumour Report: Contenders for Karlsson, Konecny, O'Reilly, Hellebuyck + more

Some of the best players in the NHL could be traded in the coming days as teams brace for a flurry of activity ahead of free agency.

- The Connor Hellebuyck sweepstakes continue to heat up, with the Devils emerging as a strong frontrunner and the Kings beginning to fade. The Sabres, Senators and Red Wings are all believed to have some level of interest as well, but it's hard to see a better fit than New Jersey if the money works for both sides.

- The Erik Karlsson sweepstakes are ramping up once again. Karlsson's massive $11.5 million cap hit for four more seasons scared teams away at the deadline, but there will be renewed efforts on the Sharks part to a facilitate a deal this offseason with salary retention.

- Three of the early frontrunners seem to be the Penguins, Oilers and Panthers, though it's worth noting that all three teams already have at least one quality offensive defensemen on their roster. The Maple Leafs kicked tires at the deadline although their current interest is unknown, and there should be more suitors that emerge in the coming days and weeks. 

- Among the teams that are expected to kick tires on recently bought-out defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson are the Bruins and Panthers. Not long ago when the Coyotes were shopping OEL, the Bruins were one of the few teams he was willing to be sent to before he was ultimately sent in a deal with the Canucks.

- Plenty of names surfacing out of Philadelphia. The latest player to get some extra buzz in the rumour mill is scoring winger Travis Konecny, who has already been linked to the Oilers and Red Wings in trade talks. With a fairly thin UFA forward crop, Konecny is expected to generate plenty of interest as the Flyers look to add high draft picks this year and down the road.

- The list of teams expected to be in the mix for Ryan O'Reilly continue to grow, with few other centerman options expected to be available on the free agent market. The Avalanche, Maple Leafs, Blues and Canucks have been linked thus far, but any team looking to compete with a need down the middle will likely kick tires.

- The Blackhawks are expected to look for ways to support incoming first overall pick Connor Bedard with veteran talent. Among the names rumoured to be targets is Max Domi, who was open to signing an extension in Chicago before he was ultimately moved at the trade deadline.

- Still waiting to see if there's much of a market for Ducks netminder John Gibson, but reports have begun to suggest that Gibson's hometown Penguins, who have been linked to him for years, are unlikely to be a fit. Speaking of Pittsburgh, there's a big hole to fill in net there if Tristan Jarry were to leave to free agency. A cheaper option the team is rumoured to be eyeing is Joonas Korpisalo, who is likely to test the market after a disappointing playoffs with Los Angeles.

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References: 1, 2

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