Latest on the Penguins, Bruins and Red Wings in your NHL rumor mill.
Penguins and Bruins
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa reports the Pittsburgh Penguins still need to shed some salary. They’re currently over $2 million above the $73 million salary-cap ceiling and have until the start of 2016-17 to become cap compliant. Shinzawa speculates a rival club could benefit from the Penguins requirement to cut some cap payroll, noting that’s what the New York Islanders did two years ago when they acquired defensemen Johnny Boychuk from the Boston Bruins and Nick Leddy from the Chicago Blackhawks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins will likely place winger Pascal Dupuiso n long-term injured reserve. His playing career was cut short last season due to blood clots, He’s due to earn a cap hit of $3.75 million.
Still, it’s possible GM Jim Rutherford could attempt to ship out a salary via trade.The most obvious trade candidate is goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who lost his starter’s job to Matt Murray in the playoffs. However, there currently isn’t much of a market for goalies. That could change during training camp or preseason. Fleury’s partial no-trade clause is also a factor, along with his $5.75 million annual cap hit through 2018-19.
Shinzawa also notes the Bruins currently have around $66 million invested in their 2016-17 payroll, suggesting they have to build in space for a possible signing of pending unrestricted free agent college winger Jimmy Vesey. He’ll get a base salary of $925K wherever he signs, but could also have up to $2.85 million in bonuses.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vesey has also been linked to the Toronto Maple Leafs, Buffalo Sabres and New York Rangers. Those clubs also have the cap space to sign Vesey. The Leafs will free up room by placing all-but-retired Nathan Horton on LTIR.
Update on Howard
DETROIT FREE PRESS: Helene St. James recently reported efforts by the Red Wings to trade goaltender Jimmy Howard were unsuccessful. If they should trade Howard at some point, she believes the Wings must replace him with a reliable veteran netminder, as it remains to be seen if Petr Mrazek can handle a full NHL season. She believes it’s possible the Wings could move Howard this season if a rival club loses a goalie to injury, plus they could leave him exposed in next year’s expansion draft.