NHL Rumor Mill – September 14, 2016
Updates on Jacob Trouba and Tomas Fleischmann, plus the latest on the Detroit Red Wings goaltending.
WINNIPEG SUN: Ken Wiebe recently examined the ongoing contract negotiations between the Winnipeg Jets and defenseman Jacob Trouba. While both sides have kept their talks out of the media, the fact Trouba remains unsigned with the start of the World Cup of Hockey and NHL training camp fast approaching has become an issue. Wiebe believes it’s become a staredown between the two sides, though neither one has drawn a line in the sand. While there’s still time to get a deal done, a holdout by Trouba becomes a real possibility if he’s still unsigned by October and the Jets season opener on Oct. 13.
Wiebe downplays the notion a strong showing by Trouba in the World Cup of Hockey with Team North America will bolster his bargaining power. He believes the young defenseman will have to accept a bridge contract now if he hopes to one day land a lucrative long-term deal. Since it’s taken this long to get a deal done, Wiebe feel Trouba isn’t interested in a bridge contract. He thinks that, at most, Trouba’s new deal could be close to the $5.75 million AAV of Calgary Flames blueliner Dougie Hamilton, but not the $6.125 million of teammate Mark Scheifele.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trouba has undeniable promise, but over the last three seasons he hasn’t reached his full potential. That’s why the Jets are presently reluctant to invest big money in him on a long-term deal. A compromise could see Trouba receive a five-year deal worth up to $5 million AAV. Staging a holdout won’t do him any good at this point in his career, and he’s not getting an offer sheet from a rival club. I expect he’ll be re-signed before the Jets season opener.
DETROIT FREE PRESS: Helene St. James recently reported former Detroit Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood believes it’s worthwhile for the club to keep its current goaltending tandem of Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek intact for the upcoming season. He points out the necessity of having two quality netminders in today’s game, citing how the duo could spell off each other whenever one of them struggled.
The Wings had explored trading Howard, but his contract (three years remaining, $5.3 million AAV) is difficult to move, plus there’s no one in their system who could adequately replace him. St. James expects the Wings will stick with their current tandem and expose Howard in next June’s NHL expansion draft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Howard’s contract and his inconsistency over the last three years means there’s no market for him right now. Maybe that changes over the course of the season. Like St. James, I expect the Wings will stick with their current tandem this season and expose Howard in next June’s expansion draft.