NHL Rumor Mill – August 23, 2019
Latest on the Wild, Stars, Rangers, and Canucks in today’s NHL rumor mill.
NEW WILD GM GUERIN FACES IMPORTANT DECISIONS
THE HOCKEY NEWS: With Bill Guerin the Minnesota Wild’s new general manager, Jared Clinton believes his first order of business is determining which direction to take the franchise. He could continue to build around the veteran core or use the opportunity to at least undertake a roster reset. He points out the Wild are thin on prospect depth.
Clinton feels Guerin must also decide if Jason Zucker has a future with the Wild. Earlier this year, the 27-year-old winger was nearly traded twice by Guerin’s predecessor. Trading him, however, would hurt their top-six forward depth.
Clinton advocates shopping defenseman Jared Spurgeon, who’s a year away from unrestricted free agent status. He feels Matt Dumba is a ready-made replacement for Spurgeon, who could fetch a significant return.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what Guerin has in store for the Wild. A roster rebuild could be in the cards. Guerin could take this season to evaluate the Wild’s performance before deciding if a significant shakeup is necessary. If an overhaul is required, Zucker and Spurgeon could be his best trade chips.
HONKA IN LIMBO WITH THE STARS
THE ATHLETIC: Sean Shapiro recently reported defenseman Julius Honka doesn’t know if he’ll be playing with the Dallas Stars this season. A restricted free agent, he skated in just 29 games last season and was a frequent healthy scratch.
Stars GM Jim Nill discussed trading the former first-round pick (2014) during this year’s NHL draft. He’s since constructed a blueline that will be almost impossible for Honka to crack.
Shapiro believes Honka could thrive in a third-pairing role with another NHL club. He would also be affordable, costing perhaps less than $1 million annually to sign. However, he remains in limbo until the top unsigned RFAs are signed.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Honka, 23, could be a cost-effective one-year gamble for a club looking for blueline depth. That being said, he could be waiting a while before someone comes calling with an offer.
UPDATE ON THE RANGERS’ REMAINING RFAS
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reported Tony DeAngelo and Brendan Lemieux face limited options in their contract standoffs with the Rangers. If they don’t accept the club’s qualifying offers (one-year, $874K), they could either withhold their services or attempt to attract an offer sheet from a rival club. The two aren’t in prime position to cash in that way but the compensation return for players of their pay grade is light and the Blueshirts have limited salary-cap space.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With both coming off entry-level deals lacking arbitration rights, DeAngelo and Lemieux have little leverage here. A rival club could try signing them to an offer sheet but I don’t consider that likely. The Rangers could attempt to trade one or both if they don’t re-sign. Ultimately, I expect both will accept their qualifying offers.
LATEST ON GOLDOBIN
VANCOUVER SUN: Ben Kuzma reports Canucks forward Nikolay Goldobin is expected to sign a short-term contract extension. He has no leverage, arbitration rights, or even a guaranteed roster spot because of the Canucks glut of wingers. GM Jim Benning expects to get something done soon.
Kuzma suggests they’re “either dangling yet another motivational carrot in front of Goldobin or perhaps they’re pondering a sign-and-trade scenario to free up cap space and a roster spot.” Once winger Antoine Roussel returns in December from knee surgery, Goldobin could be placed on waivers.