NHL Rumor Mill – March 18, 2019
Latest on the New Jersey Devils and Vancouver Canucks in today’s NHL rumor mill.
DEVILS OFFSEASON KEYS
ESPN.COM (subscription required): Emily Kaplan lists re-signing Taylor Hall, spending to bolster the blueline and scoring depth, and resolving the goaltending as her three offseason keys for the New Jersey Devils.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hall has one year remaining on his current contract and is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July. Bolstering the roster depth this summer could go a long way toward ensuring Hall signs a contract extension.
Cap Friendly indicates the Devils have over $50.2 million invested in 17 players. Kaplan feels that’s more than enough to re-sign Hall and invest in this summer’s free-agent market. That depends on ownership’s willingness to spend toward the cap ceiling, which could reach $83 million. Even then, that might not be easy. Rebuilding teams like the Devils usually aren’t preferred destinations for top free-agent talent.
A lack of quality goaltending depth in the free agent and trade markets could force general manager Ray Shero stick with veteran Cory Schneider and promising Mackenzie Blackwood. Schneider’s been hampered by injuries this season but has improved in recent weeks, suggesting perhaps those injury woes are behind him.
I believe we can expect Shero to be busy this summer trying to boost his roster and get them back on the right track. Whatever he does could determine Hall’s future in New Jersey.
LATEST CANUCKS OFFSEASON SPECULATION
THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): In a recent mailbag segment, JD Burke was asked if the Canucks will be big players in this summer’s free-agent market. He expects they’ll attempt to pursue “support pieces”, such as Winnipeg Jets defenseman Tyler Myers.
SPORTSNET’s Iain MacIntyre recently took to Twitter to point out the Canucks will only have $9 million left to pay out to winger Loui Eriksson over the remaining three years of his contract after his $4 million bonus is paid on July 1. He feels that could be tradeable if the Canucks retained part of his cap hit, though Eriksson full no-trade clause lasts for one more season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Cap Friendly, the Canucks have over $51.4 million tied up in 17 players, with Alexander Edler, Brock Boeser, and Ben Hutton among their noteworthy free agents. If ownership is willing to spend close to the cap, they should have enough to re-sign their key FAs and to bolster their roster via trades or free agency. As Burke suggests, they’ll likely try to add affordable support players for their promising youngsters.
While Eriksson’s actual salary will drop after his $4 million bonus is paid on July 1, his annual cap hit will remain $6 million. That could make him attractive to a rebuilding club (like the Ottawa Senators) in need of reaching next season’s salary-cap minimum. Still, that depends on Eriksson’s willingness to waive his no-trade, how much of his cap hit the Canucks will have to retain, and what kind of sweetener (draft pick, prospect) they’ll have to include in the deal.