Latest on Evgeni Malkin, Dougie Hamilton, Brandon Saad, Ryan O’Reilly and much more.
Malkin unhappy in Pittsburgh?
SPORTSNET: During an appearance on Sportsnet 960 The Fan in Calgary, Elliotte Friedman claimed there were rumblings Evgeni Malkin has had growing frustration with the Pittsburgh Penguins. However, Friedman said the club’s logical course of action was to build around Malkin and captain Sidney Crosby.
THE SCORE: Josh Gold-Smith had more on Friedman’s Malkin remarks. “There have been rumors about Malkin’s happiness,” Friedman said. “About whether or not he wants to stay,” going on to say he believes team president David Morehouse’s playing-ending remarks about Malkin, Crosby, coach Mike Johnson and GM Jim Rutherford returning next season “were directed exactly” at the Malkin rumors. “I have no idea if the Penguins are going to trade Malkin. I would suspect no until a sale gets done. But I can tell you this – there are people around the league who have been saying they’ve been hearing rumors that Malkin is not happy and would welcome a change of scenery.”
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE’s Dave Molinari spoke with Malkin’s agent J.P. Barry regarding Friedman’s comments. “”I don’t know where this is coming from. Not from me or Geno. I’m trying to ignore it.”
DK ON PITTSBURGH SPORTS: Dejan Kovacevic reported the following on Twitter: “Guys, Malkin isn’t happy to be with
@Penguins. He’s THRILLED. One Canadian reporter repeated a dated Pittsburgh LIE on live radio. That’s it.” He went on to cite season-ending remarks from Malkin claiming he wants to stay in Pittsburgh.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman’s among the most reliable and knowledgeable of NHL insiders, but Malkin’s agent was quick to dismiss the rumors. I agree that such a significant move wouldn’t occur until after the club is sold to new ownership. Even then, there’s no guarantee Malkin gets dealt. Assuming the Penguins want to move him, and even Friedman admits he doesn’t know if they do, Malkin has to agree to it. He’s got a full no-movement. If he insists on staying in Pittsburgh, there’s nothing they can do about it.
Offer sheet possibilities.
TODAY’S SLAPSHOT: Chris Nichols cited Friedman’s comments on Sportsnet 960 regarding the possibility of Boston’s Dougie Hamilton and Chicago’s Brandon Saad receiving offer sheets. Friedman doubts Hamilton will get $7 million annually or anything comparable to Los Angeles’ Drew Doughty or St. Louis’ Alex Pietrangelo as he’s not at their level. He believes the Blackhawks will match an offer sheet for Saad but suspects Marcus Kruger could be pried away.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This could be a good summer for clubs to try and pry away a good young player from a rival club via offer sheet. The salary cap is projected to increase marginally over the current ceiling of $69 million (perhaps by only $1-$2 million) and several clubs are pressed for cap space this summer. Forcing a club to match an offer sheet could definitely create havoc for one of those teams.
Update on Ryan O’Reilly’s contract talks.
KUKLA’S KORNER: cites tweets from TSN’s Bob McKenzie regarding contract talks between the Colorado Avalanche and center Ryan O’Reilly, who next summer becomes eligible for unrestricted free agency. McKenzie claims there’s been no substantive contract discussions between the two sides. Given the Avs need for defense, McKenzie said he’s always assumed they might shop O’Reilly for help on their blueline but that’s only his opinion and not based on fact.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was an unsubstantiated rumor recently floating around claiming the Avs and O’Reilly were discussing a seven-year, $50 million deal. Until we hear differently from reliable Avalanche sources, go with McKenzie’s take.
Which teams could trade a goaltender?
SPORTSNET: Scott Lewis lists the Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, Dallas Stars, Ottawa Senators, Vancouver Canucks and Winnipeg Jets as six clubs that could move a goalie this summer. It’s been speculated the Ducks could get calls on John Gibson. Unless a team is willing to acquire Jonas Hiller from the Flames, Lewis believes he’ll return with Calgary next season. Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen could be had at a discount, but Lewis points out potential issues like his contract (three years remaining at $5.9 million per season) and below-average play this season. The Ottawa Senators could move Craig Anderson or Robin Lehner. Lewis notes the emergence of Eddie Lack and lingering questions about Jacob Markstrom’s viability as an NHL goalie have “dampered” Ryan Miller’s status as the Canucks’ starter. He wonders if someone is willing to take Ondrej Pavelec off the Jets’ hands.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of the teams listed, the Senators are the most likely to move a netminder. As Lewis suggests, it’ll depend upon which one (Anderson or Lehner) can fetch the best return. The Canucks could move a goalie, though much of the speculation is about Lack or Markstrom. Miller has a limited no-trade clause in which he provides a list of five teams he’ll accept being dealt to. The Jets aren’t moving Pavelec. If the Stars hope to move Lehtonen, they’ll have to find a club on his list of acceptable trade destinations, plus they’ll probably have to pick up part of his salary. I don’t expect there’s any serious interest around the league in Hiller and I believe the Ducks will return with Gibson backing up Andersen next season. .