NHL Rumour Report: Latest pre-free agency rumours around the NHL

Fireworks are expected around the NHL as free agency approaches.

- Here we go. With NHL free agency set to open on Saturday, rumours continue swirl.

- The Alex DeBrincat sweepstakes seem to have taken a new turn, with the long-presumed frontrunner Red Wings appearing to fall out of the mix. The new group of frontrunners for the RFA sniper seems to be the Capitals, Islanders, Ducks and Stars, while the Hurricanes, Blues, Golden Knights and Panthers are lurking in the weeds. There's also the possibility Ottawa holds onto DeBrincat and either uses him as an own-rental or flips him at the deadline.

- The Penguins are considering reworking their goaltending mix entirely, with both Tristan Jarry and Casey DeSmith potentially out the door. Among their rumoured targets are the Sharks' Kaapo Kahkonen and pending Kings UFA Joonas Korpisalo.

- Pending UFA winger Connor Brown has long appeared destined for Edmonton, but the Leafs are expected to give them a run for their money when the markets open up tomorrow.

- With the trade market for Connor Hellebuyck and Mark Scheifele unexpectedly soft, there is some chatter that the Jets might try to hold onto these players and try to convince them to stay. If the team is out of the playoff mix next February, there is the option of flipping one or both at the trade deadline. And there's always a chance a team that strikes out in free agency tomorrow circles back.

- Rumours suggest the Devils are now only moderately interested in acquiring Hellebuyck, much less signing him to the whopper extension many believe he demands. The Devils are reportedly looking at other options in net such as pending free agent Semyon Varlamov, who the Islanders are still trying to retain.

- The window to trade Erik Karlsson is quickly closing for GM Mike Greer. Unwilling to retain more than a pittance of his remaining salary and demanding assets in return, it's possible Karlsson is stuck in San Jose for the time being (there's worse places to be stuck). Let's see if this game of chicken takes another turn; there are some who strongly believe the Panthers end up with Karlsson at some point this summer.

- William Nylander Watch continues, with the Leafs and Nylander's camp reportedly miles apart in negotiations. Equally far apart appears to be the value the Leafs place on the player and what's being offered in trade talks. This wouldn't be the first hard negotiation these two sides have had, so it'll be interesting to see if something gets done or if the Leafs cut bait later on this summer.

- Although expectations remain that Auston Matthews will extend, there is a belief it likely won't happen this week and could drag out well into the summer. Both sides appear to be comfortable letting talks extend up until training camp.

- Enjoy the free agent frenzy, and for those in Canada, enjoy Canada Day as well. Lots more to come in the days and weeks ahead, but thank you all for tuning in this season.

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