NHL Rumor Mill – May 11, 2019
Check out the latest speculation regarding the Canucks, Canadiens, and Panthers in today’s NHL rumor mill.
TSN: Appearing on Vancouver’s TSN 1040 last week, Ray Ferraro suggested the Ottawa Senators as a possible destination for Canucks winger Loui Eriksson. The 33-year-old winger has three years remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $6 million. Eriksson’s production and play has declined since joining the Canucks. He also recently indicated he and head coach Travis Green “don’t get along 100 percent.”
Eriksson will only be owed $9 million over the remainder of his deal once his $4 million signing bonus is paid on July 1. Ferraro speculated the winger could interest a budget club like the Senators that must reach the salary-cap minimum for 2019-20.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the salary cap projected to reach $83 million, the cap minimum should exceed $60 million. Cap Friendly indicates the Senators have over $45 million invested in 14 players next season. Assuming restricted free agents Cody Ceci, Colin White, and Anthony Duclair are re-signed, the Senators must spend more to reach the cap floor. They might have interest in Eriksson but he’d have to waive his no-trade clause.
SPORTSNET: Iain MacIntyre believes potential moves this summer to address the Canucks defense could depend upon Alexander Edler and Olli Juolevi. Edler could hit this summer’s free-agent market while a knee injury this season slow Juolevi’s development. If Edler re-signs and Juolevi and promising Quinn Hughes are NHL ready, general manager Jim Benning might only need to add one defenseman.
MacIntyre also speculated over potential UFA targets to boost their offense next season. He doesn’t anticipate they’ll pursue big-ticket forwards such as Columbus’ Artemi Panarin or Buffalo’s Jack Skinner. More affordable options could include San Jose’s Gustav Nyquist, Dallas’ Mats Zuccarello, Boston’s Marcus Johansson, or Columbus’ Ryan Dzingel.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Edler’s status will determine what moves Benning makes this summer to shore up the blueline. Someone like Nyquist or Zuccarello could be good short-term fits with the Canucks as their promising youngsters mature. Convincing either guy to join a rebuilding club at this stage of their respective career, however, is another matter.
SPORTSNET: Eric Engels recently examined how the Montreal Canadiens can acquire a top-four left-side defenseman this summer. Toronto’s Jake Gardiner and Vancouver’s Alex Edler are the best options via free agency but they will be expensive.
Engels notes Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin has the assets in draft picks and prospects to acquire a long-term solution via the trade market. He suggested Philadelphia’s Shayne Gostisbehere or Florida’s Mike Matheson as possible options. He also proposed pitching gritty winger Andrew Shaw to the Calgary Flames for T.J. Brodie or to the Colorado Avalanche for Ian Cole. Another option could be the Islanders’ Thomas Hickey if Bergevin offered up winger Joel Armia.
Engels also believes Bergevin will attempt to sign a top-nine right-shot forward via free agency. Columbus’ Artemi Panarin, San Jose’s Joe Pavelski and the Islanders’ Jordan Eberle top that list. Other options could include Buffalo’s Jason Pominville, San Jose’s Joonas Donskoi, Washington’s Brett Connolly or Dallas’ Jason Spezza.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens desperately need a top-four left-side blueliner. If Gardiner or Edler hit the market, Bergevin could come calling.
Gostisbehere surfaced in this season’s rumor mill as a possible trade candidate. If the Flyers part with him, the asking price could be an established scoring forward. I doubt the Panthers will move Matheson, especially as they’re in the market for another blueliner. Brodie would be a good addition, though his power-play numbers are that high. Cole and Hickey won’t help their power play
I don’t think Panarin’s interested in coming to Montreal. Pavelski will likely re-sign with the Sharks. Eberle’s inconsistency is a concern. Connolly could be a good addition for the Habs. Spezza and Pominville are past their primes.
THE ATHLETIC: George Richards looked at which players the Florida Panthers could target via free agency this summer. Their most pressing need is goaltending. Assuming Roberto Luongo returns next season, they’ll have to move James Reimer to make room for a new starting goaltender. GM Dale Tallon also indicated he wants to add a top-four right-shot defenseman. They’re also believed interested in pursuing Columbus left wing Artemi Panarin via free agency.
Columbus’ Sergei Bobrovsky and the Islanders Robin Lehner are among those Richards listed as goalie options. He also suggested Columbus’ Adam McQuaid or Tampa Bay’s Anton Stralman as blueline options.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tallon will be busy this summer. He’s been long rumored interested in Bobrovsky and Panarin. However, I think he should put his focus on his goaltending and defense first.
The Panthers sat ninth last season in goals for per game but possessed the fourth-highest goals-against per game. Panarin could be a luxury they don’t need unless he trades one of his scoring wingers (Jonathan Huberdeau?) for a top-two right-side blueliner.