NHL Rumor Mill – September 12, 2016

by | Sep 12, 2016 | Rumors | 31 comments

The Tampa Bay Lightning still face the prospect of clearing salary-cap room to re-sign Nikita Kucherov.

The Tampa Bay Lightning still face the prospect of clearing salary-cap room to re-sign Nikita Kucherov.

 Updates on free agents Nikita Kucherov, Dmitry Orlov and Dennis Seidenberg in your NHL rumor mill. 

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Joe Smith reports Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman remains hopeful of getting restricted free agent winger Nikita Kucherov re-signed before the start of the upcoming season. Kucherov’s agent declined to comment on the status of his client’s negotiations.

Smith speculates the sticking point could be salary. Kucherov’s performance in recent years could warrant between $6 million to $7.5 million, comparable to recent contracts signed by wingers such as Filip Forsberg of the Nashville Predators and Vladimir Tarasenko of the St. Louis Blues. A report out of Russia claims KHL team CSKA Moscow made an offer to Kucherov, but there’s been no real contract discussions.

Smith notes the Lightning have around $6.2 million in salary-cap space for next season, but that could shrink to $5 million if RFA defenseman Nikita Nesterov is re-signed, or if James Wisniewski (who’s on a tryout contract) makes the team, and if a 14th forward is added. He speculates the Lightning would have to free up salary cap room for Kucherov’s new contract, “whether that’s goalie Ben Bishop ($5.95 million cap hit, partial no-move clause), forward Valtteri Filppula ($5 million cap hit, no-move clause) or defenseman Jason Garrison ($4.6 million, no-trade clause).” Smith points out, however, Yzerman recently said he envisions a scenario in which Bishop remains with the club for the upcoming season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kucherov’s participation with Russia in the World Cup of Hockey is undoubtedly causing further delay in his contract talks. Even if the Lightning manage to get get Kucherov to accept a little less than $6 million per season, they’ll still be squeezed for cap space.

Smith points out Yzerman hoped to re-sign Kucherov and Nesterov before having to free up cap space, as the Lightning are allowed to go over the $73 million cap ceiling by 10 percent in the offseason, but they must be cap compliant when the season begins. Once Kucherov is re-signed, however, Yzerman could be forced to make a cost-cutting move before re-signing Nesterov. It’ll depend upon what Kucherov ultimately receives. I don’t see the Lightning parting ways with Kucherov via trade and I doubt he’ll get an offer sheet from another NHL club at this point. 

THE WASHINGTON POST: Isabelle Khurshudyan reports there’s uncertainty over the future of RFA defenseman Dmitry Orlov as his contract negotiations with the Washington Capitals drag on. In a recent interview, Orlov seemed uncertain where he’ll be playing this season. Currently skating for Team Russia in the World Cup of Hockey, he said he’s putting his focus on that for now.

CSKA Moscow owns Orlov’s KHL rights and GM Sergei Fedorov is interested in signing the blueliner, but said Orlov’s intent is to play in the NHL. Khurshudyan anticipates Orlov will get a one- or two-year contrac with the Capitals. Washington currently has around $3.45 million in cap space.. However, they cannot commit all of it to Orlov, as they’ll need around $875K for a 14th forward and some roster flexibility. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like the Lightning with Kucherov, the World Cup of Hockey tournament and limited salary-cap space is affecting the Capitals contract talks with Orlov. He earned $2 million per season on his last contract and is in line for a pay bump.

And like the Lightning, the Caps could face shedding some salary via trade or demotion to create more room. Unfortunately, there’s not many options here. If they trade or demote a forward such as Daniel Winnik ($2 million), Jay Beagle ($1.75 million), Andre Burakovsky, Brett Connolly or Stanislav Galiev (each earning under $900k), it will affect their depth at forward. Shipping out another defenseman or backup goalie Philipp Grubauer could also weaken the Caps at those positions.

THE BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa reports former Boston Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg is hoping his participation in the World Cup of Hockey with Team Europe will help his efforts to land a new NHL contract. The Bruins bought out Seidenberg earlier this summer, making him an unrestricted free agent. At 35, age is starting to catch up to him. He struggled in Team Europe’s 7-4 loss to the younger, swifter Team North American on Sunday. 


  1. Looks like Stevie Y has spent himself into a corner.

    • buying out Filppula would help.

      • That’s a crazy idea since SY brought Fil to be an example of how things were done in Det.

      • To late for that. TB’s buyout window has closed.

    • @ Ron Jull
      Brilliant assessment there genius.

      • Do you not like Ron Jull?

      • Thanks man, I was impressed I figured it out before Yzerman did.

  2. As Yzerman is learning, handing out NTC and NMC perks to contracts more often then not comes back to bite you in the rear. It was always a bad idea giving a 2nd/3rd liner (and quite replaceable player) like Filppula a NMC. He’s either going to have to trade Bishop, convince either Filppula or Garrison to go to another team and sweeten the deal for the other team in the process, play hardball with Kucherov to lower his demands, or trade a player from the roster who other teams actually would be interested but would weaken his team in that position.

    • @thirstydeer
      Keep in mind that at the time of the Filppula signing, palat, kucherov and Johnson hadn’t emerged as top 6 players and Filppula was a legit 2nd line centre that Tampa did not have. Everyone thought it was a minor over payment but when he had 2 great seasons no one talked about his contract.
      Fast forward and those 3 young guys became studs and all need big raises. Pretty awesome for Tampa and themselves. This isn’t Yzerman making a past mistake but more a pleasant surprise that has put them into a series of hard decisions. You’re wrongfully criticizing Yzerman in this instance

      • Cmac, well said.
        Everyone looks at the present without looking at the past situations when players were signed. Great to see some people out here have perspective and clarity about the dealings GM’s go through … the other part is people saying NTC or NMC are mistakes … those are added to either keep contract cost down a bit or to get the player to sign on the dotted line with some security in his future in place.

  3. Kucherov has arguably been the best Tampa forward the past two seasons. He could out perform Stamkos the rest of their careers(3 years younger). He would be taking a 30% salary cut from Stamkos’ deal @ 6. Cannot blame him for not signing for that much of a hometown discount. Tricky situation.

    • My thoughts exactly, he could be their best forward and around 6 mill(depending) would have him being paid less than Callahan (actual salary is 6.5 I believe) this year nvm Stamkos…at some point someone is goin to have to go.

    • That’s a stretch. Stamkos out scored Kucherov by 14 goals & 7 points in 14-15 & last season Stamkos outscored Kucherov by 6 goals & had 2 less points. By game winning goals which I accept have some flaws, Stamkos had 6 in 14-15 Kucherov 2 & last season Stamkos 8, Kucherov 4. PPG’s in 14-15 Stamkos 13, Kucherov 2, 15-16 Stamkos 14, Kucherov 9. By PP TOI/GP there was virtually no difference in 15-16 & in 14-15 it was a factor.

      I get your meaning though. I had stated I had no concerns should TB have lost Stamkos as Kucherov is a stud & still has more to give. He like Stamkos is just as valuable & given a choice between the 2 players factoring in salary demands I take Kucherov.

      I have no doubts Yzerman will work it all out & regardless of the outcome; player lost now, or next season following expansion etc that TB is a serious cup contender for at least the next 3 possibly 5 years.

      • Asa good as kucherov is stamkos brings so much to the team, I don’t think kucherov does as well in another team as he does in tb the supporting cast helps a lot

  4. 1 dynamic in play is that Callahan is slated to miss the 1st 6 weeks of the season, so depending upon how the hell LTIR works now, that may provide some short term relief. The best scenario for Yzerman seems to be to try & get Kucherov to take a 1 or 2 year deal at 5 to 6 mil depending on the 1 or 2 year term to buy time to solve TB’s cap crunch.

    Also does anyone know how the NTC’s effect players that were already moved well on such. Does the no trade clause follow a player? There have been some discussions here that once traded it doesn’t necessarily follow the player?

    I used to think I had a handle on these issues & at another time of year I would simply go read the CBA on the NHLPA website but simply don’t have time currently. This is 1 of my busiest times of the year.

  5. Bridge Kucherov at a lower salary then long term extension when you are allowed to do so. Not sure how he makes less than $7m on any kind of term.

    • & there is the rub. Yzerman has to sell the bridge deal & team cap issues to Kucherov’s camp promissing the moon & the stars. Ha-ha!

      Not certain Kucherov should or will take the discount today. It would be admirable if he did but not certain I would depending upon the terms of doing so moving forward.

      TB pays him 5 mil on a 1 year deal today & agrees to give him Tarasenko money next summer 7.5 per for 8 years after January 1st as allowed under the CBA?

      • Don’t see kucherov taking a bridge or a discount but we will know soon enough!

      • Giving someone a low ball deal with the Gaurantee of a larger deal after it seems like cap circumventing to me.

        Tampa will have to sell it as, “put up another big year and we will revisit your salary avvordingly” which from a players perspective makes it hard to accept as many things may happened to hinder ones season not to mention a freak accident beyond anyone’s control, resulting in injury.

      • If Kucherov is a team guy he will look at the bridge deal. Yzerman has a way of getting players to agree to friendly deals. 5 mil or so this season and then as you say Tarasenko money after. Works for TB as Bishop is off the books however TB has Palat, Johnson, Sustr,Koko and Drouin to sign next year.Sure doesnt get any easier for Tampa.
        They can use a buyout next year but that ship I believe has sailed for this one.
        Yzerman has to make a deal. Stralman, Garrison, and Coburn all have NTCs but they can still be moved either by agreeing to a trade or waivers. Hate to do it but they do not have NMCs. Callahan and Filppula are anchors. Dont know how Stevie is going to deal with them.
        Somethings gotta give, maybe some action will happen in Toronto.
        Re Siedenberg, he’s definitely worth a look or a PTO.

      • Its strange when the term ‘team first guy’ comes up. Hockey is a team game and with the exception of a few players out there most play in the same system as a team. Being paid what you are worth isn’t an indication that someone isn’t a team guy. Hockey is a contact sport and if there is an injury (career ending or not) do you think the team is going to give him a contract to sit on the sidelines?

        I don’t have complete clarity over how salary tax + citizenship works as a dynamic but if Stamkos doesn’t pay any tax in Tampa but pays a tax in Toronto then he didn’t quite take a discount. Continuing from that; in case there is a situation where a player pays no tax in Florida but pays a higher tax in Montreal then that doesn’t quite even the playing field. Something that def needs to be looked at by the NHL if that is the case

    • Based on your username silverseven, you are a sens fan. I was pro signing hoffman and ceci to term instead of bridge, but that is the owner and possibly the GM looking at getting steals pre expansion draft.
      For Tampa, its a matter of holding rights and saying “prove you are worth big money and as you know money comes off the books the next 2 years. We will pay”
      Its not cap circumvention, its holding RFA rights and forcing the players had … a la subban. Pay cheap bridge cause no cap space, then pay through the teeth after.

  6. There is no need to wonder about Kucherov. He is RFA and Bishop is UFA. If Yzerman is capable of anything it is the waiting game; Stamkos and Drouin are both examples of this. I would not want to play a staring game with Yzerman. They keep Bishop all year and see what that brings them playoff wise or trade him at the deadline. Neither Garrison or Filpula will bring the return Bishop will. Even if they don’t resign him they can take that money to resign Kucherov. With Vasilieskiy waiting in the wings to take over for Bishop Yzerman is given another option; let him play out the contract. I don’t believe you have to always get something in return for every player. Contracts are contracts and expire when the service is complete. It’s all perspective either you have Bishop after a lengthy playoff run or you have an extra 5.9 million to spend after a lengthy playoff run. I know many would disagree with this opinion; however, Yzerman is patient and may take this gamble as it definitely with Stamkos. Bishop is important to the team but not as important as Stamkos and Yzerman was ready to let him walk! If he signed elsewhere that’s what would have happened allowing that to play out shows Yzerman is under no pressure or feels no pressure to sign Bishop.

    • I agree. The 5.9 savings & the money he will demand on a new deal are now free to be spent else where & in this cap world that has value.

      Rumor is he’s looking for Lundqvist type money& even if he just wants Rinne/Rask type money that’s to much for me for any goalie. I reason I think Calgary looked else where.

      Tying that much money up in a #1 goalie in this goalie market makes no sense to me. With only 30 #1 goalie spots available, soon to be 31, there are enough good goalies you should be able to find a solution suitable in net for no more than 5.

  7. Keeping Bishop Garrison et AL all year does not help free up money to sign Kucherov this year. Your return on Garrison and others may be minimal but your looking for cap relief more then a good return.
    Another scenerio is add a good young stud to a big contract gut to get a deal done. Arizona NJ and Carolina can help.

    • Yes it does. When the year is over Bishop leaves therefore 5.9 million is left to sign others. It’s pretty simple.

      • Yes not this year you are right but he doesn’t have to sign Kucherov this year. He can wait to sign him in his unrestricted year just like he did with Stamkos

  8. too bad Stevie! Maybe you need to trade a few guys! Can’t sign everyone!

    • Other than this years cap issue trying to get Kucherov & Nesterov in under the cap with $6,272,499 in cap space using Capfriendly’s projected roster next season following the expansion draft TB’s cap issues may solve themselves. If Kucherov will take a 1 year bridge with Callahan’s LTIR savings, Yzerman may be able to squeeze in under this year.

      Bishop won’t be returning 1 way or the other. Either through trade or allowed to walk as a UFA. A player will also be lost in the expansion draft & based on the current roster, players that have to be protected due to NMC’s or obvious keepers the player looking to be lost currently is most likely Killorn. If so that free’s up another 4.45 mil.

      You have 3 players currently with NMC’s requiring them to be protected unless they willingly agree to waive but even if they do; Filppula & Callahan, unlikely they are selected regardless. Stamkos, Filppula, Callahan, Johnson, Palat, Kucherov& Drouin. That’s 7 forward keepers, not counting Killorn. The 3 D, Hedman, Stralman & I’m going to assume Koekkoek; don’t think they are giving up this future top 3 Dman, but if you prefer pick Garrison, Coburn or Sustr & in net Vasilevskiy.

      That gives TB over 21 million in cap space next season at the current ceiling of 73 mil. Cap issue solved they can afford everyone else.

      • Or if you prefer, Killorn is protected & TB exposes Palat instead. There is always a chance teams negotiate with Las Vegas to not select specific players but I believe that cost in this round of expansion due to a far better quality of player being exposed due to the far fairer expansion rules to be costly & potentially prohibitive.

  9. Yes all that is fine but this year ??