NHL Free Agency Patrik Laine Columbus Blue Jackets

Ahead of the NHL Draft on July 7 and the opening of free agency on July 13, TSN.ca keeps you up to date with all the latest rumours and speculation from around the NHL beat.


Locking in Line

Patrik Laine is set for restricted free agency again this year after accepting his one-year, $7.5 million qualifying offer last summer.

Aaron Portzline of The Athletic reports that the Blue Jackets have discussed multiple terms with Laine, but the bigger challenge will be finding a cap hit both sides can agree on.

Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen told Portzline there would need to be “compromise” in order to get a deal done.

“They have their thoughts, and we have our thoughts,” Kekalainen said. “Our main thought is we want to make everything fit so that we can build a championship team.

“We believe in fair contracts, but the guys have to understand that they want to have a better team around them, too. That’s where there needs to be a little bit of a compromise.”

Laine, 24, bounced from a slow start with the Blue Jackets last year, posting 26 goals and 56 points in 56 games this season. He had 12 goals and 24 points in 46 games in 2020-21.

Selected second overall in the 2016 NHL Draft, Laine scored a career-high 44 goals with the Winnipeg Jets in 2017-18, but has reached the 30-goal mark just once since. He was traded along with Jack Roslovic to the Blue Jackets in exchange for Pierre-Luc Dubois and a 2022 third-round pick.

Columbus has just over $21 million in cap space this summer, per CapFriendly, after signing Roslovic to a two-year, $8 million extension last week.


Copp Watch

The New York Rangers paid a steep price to acquire Andrew Copp From the Winnipeg Jets at the trade deadline, but keeping the 27-year-old on Broadway could prove to be a difficult task.

Ethan Sears of the New York Post writes that it’s unlikely the Rangers, who have a projected $11.9 million in cap space (per CapFriendly), will be able to keep both Ryan Strome and Andrew Copp off the free-agent market next month.

Sears notes that Rangers general manager Chris Drury will also have to be aware of the cap space needed next year to re-sign Alexis Lafreniere, Filip Chitil and K’Andre Miller as all three are scheduled for restricted free agency at that time. He added that Copp has stated a preference to playing center after working on the wing with the Rangers and the Ann Arbor, Mich. native could potentially opt to sign with his hometown Detroit Red Wings, who have no shortage of cap space this summer.

“It’s gonna be taking everything in about the situation, where the team is going, the special teams, the coach, the systems, everything comes into play,” Copp said of his looming free-agent decision after the season. “Not to mention city, way of life, all those kinds of things.”

Acquired from the Jets for forward Morgan Barronfirst-round pick, a second-round pick and a fifth-round pick, Copp had a career-best 21 goals and 53 points in 72 games split between the two teams.

A fourth-round pick (104th overall) by Winnipeg at the 2013 NHL Draft, Copp spent seven seasons the Winnipeg prior to the trade. He is coming off a one-year, $3.6 million contract.


Kane Update

TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun joined TSN Radio 1260 Edmonton on Monday to update the where talks stand between the Oilers and pending unrestricted free agent Evander Kane.

LeBrun reports that the two sides do have mutual interest in reaching a deal and more clarity is expected within the coming days.

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The 30-year-old Kane had 22 goals and 39 points in 43 games with the Oilers this season. He added 13 goals and 17 points in 15 games as Edmonton reached the Western Conference Final.

The fourth overall pick by the Atlanta Thrashers at the 2009 NHL Draft, Kane has had NHL stints with the Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets, Buffalo Sabres, San Jose Sharks and Oilers.

He signed a pro-rated one-year, $2.1 million contract to join the Oilers in January after his seven-year deal with the San Jose Sharks was terminated by the team.

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