NHL Rumour Report: Karlsson, DeBrincat, Tarasenko sweepstakes intensify + more

There's still a lot cooking on the NHL trade and free agent front as we enter the heart of the offseason.

- The list of contenders for Karlsson was short to begin with, but it sounds as though only two teams remain in the mix.

- With the Panthers and Kraken reportedly falling out of the Karlsson sweepstakes in recent weeks, all eyes have turned to the Penguins and Hurricanes as the new frontrunners.

- It's believe Pittsburgh has been working on the parameters of a multiple-player swap with San Jose since the draft. One of the stumbling blocks appears to be the number of no-trade clauses on the Pens. If I had to guess, I would imagine Jeff Petry is one of the players Pittsburgh is hoping to jettison in the deal. And there sounds to be an ongoing back and forth as to how much of Karlsson's $11.5 million will be retained.

- Carolina, as of this moment, appear to have a slight edge over Pittsburgh. Not only do they have more cap space, but they may have the kinds of assets the Sharks are after in a deal. Among the players that could be part of a package are defensemen Brett Pesce and Brady Skjei.

- We're all waiting on the Alex DeBrincat sweepstakes to get wrapped up, and it still feels like the frontrunner is Detroit. Trailing just behind are the Islanders, but the Ducks and Capitals are keeping a close eye on the situation as well. Among the other teams that have been linked to DeBrincat in the past (but may be out of the mix now) are the Stars, Blues, Golden Knights and Panthers. Update: the Red Wings have acquired DeBrincat

- The Vladimir Tarasenko bidding war seemed to hit a snag this past week, but has been slowly getting back on track after the player switched agencies. The teams to watch here are the Hurricanes, Sharks, Predators and Senators. The DeBrincat trade could be holding things up here to some extent.

- One of the bigger names that hasn't gotten much traction on the trade front is the Capitals' Evgeny Kuznetsov. He's a player many teams covet but would struggle to fit his $7.8 million cap hit into their salary system. Among the teams that have been linked to Kuznetsov in the past are the Predators. The Capitals want to move on from the player for a variety of reasons, but it may take some time to find a taker.

- I don't necessarily believe this is on the frontburner for the Rangers, but the Alexis Lafreniere rumours are swirling out there once again. Reports suggest this could be a make-or-break season for the first overall pick in 2020, who has struggled to stand out on a crowded Blueshirts roster.

- Although a lot of attention is being paid to the contract negotiations of William Nylander and Auston Matthews, we're also waiting to see what the team does to resolve its goaltending contracts. With Ilya Samsonov scheduled for arbitration, there's a growing sense that there's a trade in the hopper for Matt Murray, whose onerous contract could pose a problem for the team's ambitions this season. Unless he's injured to the point of needing to be placed on LTIR, the team must find a way to shed it. A second buyout window will available later on in the summer if no trade can be worked out.

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References: 1, 2

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