NHL Rumor Mill – September 15, 2016
Latest on the Penguins goalie situation plus an updated status of currently unsigned restricted free agent stars in your NHL rumor mill.
TSN 690 (VIA TODAY’S SLAPSHOT): Bob McKenzie was questioned Wednesday about how the goaltending situation between veteran Marc-Andre Fleury and young Matt Murray plays out in the coming season. Citing Fleury’s no-movement clause and Murray’s rise to prominence as a No. 1 goalie, McKenzie believes the Penguins want a little more time for things to shake out.
Depending upon how things go over the course of the season with injuries and overall team performance, one of them could be moved before the trade deadline. While the Penguins at some point could approach Fleury about waiving his movement clause and going to a team where he’ll be the starter, McKenzie doubts that’ll happen before the start of this season. He believes it could take a couple of months, perhaps even up to the trade deadline for this to sort itself out.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As McKenzie points out, the Penguins also like the insurance of having two capable starters. However, if Murray continues playing well and sees the bulk of the starts this season, I think it’s only a matter of time until Fleury gets dealt. If not at the trade deadline, he could be traded before the expansion draft in June.
Teams can only protect one goalie, and players with no-movement clauses must be protected unless they agree to waive their clause. Fleury can list 18 teams he’ll accept being dealt to, which gives the Penguins some flexibility with his trade status. If they do decide to move him, they’ll obviously try to move him where he’ll want to go.
SPORTSNET: Luke Fox provided an updated status listing of 10 key unsigned restricted free agents.
Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman remains hopeful of re-signing winger Nikita Kucherov before the start of the season. The Calgary Flames and winger Johnny Gaudreau are reportedly $1.5 million apart in contract talks. The Gaudreau camp seeks up to $8 million per season.
The Winnipeg Jets and defenseman Jacob Trouba’s camp are keeping mum on the status of their contract talks, while negotiations between the Buffalo Sabres and blueliner Rasmus Ristolainen have reportedly ground to a halt.
Nothing new on contract talks between the Anaheim Ducks and d-man Hampus Lindholm, while illness has knocked forward Rickard Rakell out of the World Cup of Hockey.
Washington Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov sounded uncertain about the possibility of being re-signed before the start of the season. Dallas Stars RFA winger Valeri Nichushkin was reportedly in talks with his former KHL club Traktor Chelyabinsk, but Moscow Dynamo owns his KHL rights and set too steep a price for Chelyabinsk to buy back his rights.
The Arizona Coyotes continue playing hardball with forward Tobias Rieder. The New York Islanders have a rule that players who aren’t signed by the start of training camp will sit out the season. That could affect RFA forward Ryan Strome.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not really much new here, other than Nichushkin’s talks with his old KHL team and the reminder of the Isles rule about unsigned RFAs at the start of training camp. Otherwise, still a lot of staredowns going on. In most cases, the late start of training camps and the participation of some players in the World Cup of Hockey are likely why these negotiations are dragging on. Most of the World Cup participants (Kucherov, Gaudreau, Ristolainen, Lindholm, Orlov, Trouba) probably won’t be re-signed until after that tournament is over.