NHL Rumor Mill – July 31, 2019
The latest on Jake Gardiner and Chris Kreider plus an update on the Lightning in today’s NHL rumor mill.
DOES GARDINER HAVE A HANDSHAKE DEAL?
TALKNORTH.COM: The Athletic’s Michael Russo speculates Jake Gardiner might already have a “handshake deal” in place with an NHL club. He thinks that unnamed team might be waiting to clear out some salary-cap space to officially sign the 28-year-old defenseman.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: We could be waiting until September before we find out where Gardiner lands. It’s rumored he’s hoping to return to the Toronto Maple Leafs once they get Mitch Marner under contract. That could prove difficult given the Leafs’ limited cap space and the anticipated high cost of re-signing Marner.
Other teams with limited cap space that could perhaps use Gardiner include the Pittsburgh Penguins, Vegas Golden Knights, Florida Panthers, and Edmonton Oilers.
LATEST ON KREIDER
NEW YORK POST’s Larry Brooks yesterday took to Twitter to provide an update on the Rangers. “Cannot say that there is necessarily anything brewing but a couple of industry sources report that “Kreider’s name is out there everywhere.” Rangers’ buyout window closes at 5 PM tomorrow.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Rangers sit over $4.1 million above the $81.5-million salary cap, with restricted free agents Brendan Lemieux and Anthony DeAngelo to re-sign. Brooks has stumped for the Rangers to buy out defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk but there’s no indication they’re going that route.
If they don’t buy out Shattenkirk or anyone else, they could be forced to go the trade route to free up cap space. Kreider has frequently come up in trade chatter this offseason. He’s an unrestricted free agent next summer and carries a $4.625-million cap hit for 2019-20.
LIGHTNING NOT DONE DEALING
THE ATHLETIC: In the wake of yesterday’s swap of Ryan Callahan to Ottawa for Mike Condon, Joe Smith reports Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois isn’t done dealing. There’s a logjam between the pipes, with Andrei Vasilevskiy and Curtis McElhinney as their starter and backup. Condon could be backing up Scott Wedgewood on the Bolts’ AHL affiliate in Syracuse.
That leaves Louis Domingue, last season’s backup, as the odd man out. He’s on the trade block as BriseBois has already spoken with several teams. Smith suggests the Maple Leafs, Columbus Blue Jackets, Florida Panthers, San Jose Sharks, and Colorado Avalanche as possible destinations.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Domingue is on the second season of his two-year contract with an annual salary-cap hit of $1.15 million. He should be enticing to teams seeking an affordable backup. Some of them could be on Smith’s list of possible destinations. It could take until training camp for Domingue to find a new home as clubs will likely take the time to evaluate their goalie depth before deciding on upgrades.