NHL Rumor Mill – September 12, 2017
Updates on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and David Pastrnak plus the latest on the Canadiens in your NHL rumor mill.
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cited TSN’s Bob McKenzie’s recent preseason interview with Edmonton Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli where they touched upon center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ future with the club.
Nugent-Hopkins’ $6 million per season salary has given rise to speculation he’s a luxury the Oilers can’t afford down the road. Chiarelli seems to suggest, however, that Nugent-Hopkins could skate in the second-line center role with Leon Draisaitl on the wing.
The Oilers GM still considers the 24-year-old a key part of his roster and has spoken to the center about his value to the club. He told McKenzie his message to Nugent-Hopkins is he isn’t going anywhere but declined to speculate over how long he’ll be with the Oilers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt Chiarelli wants to keep Nugent-Hopkins but salary-cap constraints beyond this season will make it difficult to do so. They have over $60 million invested in 13 players for 2018-19. Assuming another $2 million increase in the cap, they’ll have around $17 million to re-sign or replace free agents such as Patrick Maroon, Ryan Strome and Darnell Nurse, as well as address other roster needs as required.
The Oilers shipped out Jordan Eberle last June in a cost-cutting move so it’s natural to assume they’ll do the same with Nugent-Hopkins. If Chiarelli wants to retain RNH, he’ll have to get creative. Otherwise, he’ll have to move him out next summer to free up cap room for next season.
CSNNE.COM: Joe Haggerty cites KHL reporter Alvin Kalnins reporting Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak has several offers from KHL teams on the table if he can’t reach agreement on a new contract with the Bruins. The Bruins made two offers of six- and seven-year deal worth $6 million per season each, but the Pastrnak camp has reportedly countered with an eight-year deal worth close to $8 million annually.
Haggerty believes there’s middle ground here for a new deal worth between $7 – $7.5 million but so far there’s little budging by both sides. Meanwhile, Bruins stars Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron said they have no problem with Pastrnak potentially earning more than they do. Marchand’s annual cap hit is just over $6.1 million while Bergeron’s is just over $6.8 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like Pastrnak’s representatives are attempting to leverage those KHL offers into a better deal with the Bruins. However, I think that’l have little effect upon Boston management, as they know Pastrnak’s preference is to stay in the NHL. I expect the two sides will get a deal hammered out within the next two weeks, probably seven years and $7 million annually.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Pat Hickey reports the Canadiens have over $8.5 million in salary cap space for the upcoming season, but don’t expect GM Marc Bergevin to go shopping. While Bergevin acknowledged it’s nice to have that much room, he said there isn’t much talent available to invest in right now.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sounds like Bergevin intends to evaluate his roster in the coming weeks to determine his potential moves as the season progresses. He doesn’t have to use that cap space now but I wouldn’t be surprised if he takes advantage of it later on, perhaps near the Feb. 26 trade deadline.