NHL Rumor Mill – October 10, 2016
Latest on Nikita Kucherov, Johnny Gaudreau, Jacob Trouba and more in your NHL rumor mill.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes agent Scott Greenspun, who represents Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov, has met with at least one team regarding an offer sheet for his client. Friedman cautions there’s a big difference between talking about it and a team actually doing it.
Friedman notes Greenspun declined to comment about his client’s contract negotiations. He speculates it doesn’t appear as though there’s much movement in those talks. Given the Lightning’s limited salary-cap space, Friedman thinks they’re trying to get Kucherov to follow the lead of teammates Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman to accept less money. It’s also believed Kucherov’s preference is to stay in Tampa Bay.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Kucherov was to get an offer sheet, I believe he would’ve gotten it well before now. Only eight teams (Calgary Flames, Buffalo Sabres, Anaheim Ducks, Edmonton Oilers, Winnipeg Jets, Florida Panthers, New Jersey Devils and Carolina Hurricanes have sufficient cap space (over $7 million) to pitch an offer sheet to Kucherov.
Of those clubs, the Flames, Sabres, Ducks and Jets have RFAs of their own to re-sign. The Oilers must think ahead about retaining sufficient cap space to re-sign Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl within the next two years. The Panthers are already loaded with young forwards. The Devils and Hurricanes certainly could use Kucherov, but I have my doubts they’ll go the offer sheet route.
Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving recently met with Johnny Gaudreau’s agent and the Gaudreau family. Friedman believes they’re grinding toward trying to close a deal.
Friedman believes ” Arizona, Buffalo, Boston, Colorado, Detroit and the Rangers” are in on Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba, and guesses “Dallas and Tampa Bay” could be lurking. He claims a couple of sources doubt Montreal is interested, while Florida’s offseason moves likely takes them out of the picture. Friedman believes the asking price is high, saying he wouldn’t be surprised , for example, if the Jets asked for Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen. The Trouba camp also told the Jets they weren’t interested in signing if the status quo on the right side of defense remains status quo. With some of the interested teams lacking the assets to meet the Jets’ asking price, some of them are trying to get third parties involved.
It sounds like the Anaheim Ducks are closer toward a new contract with RFA forward Rickard Rakell than they are with defenseman Hampus Lindholm, but Friedman cautions that doesn’t mean a deal is imminent. As the Ducks don’t wish to lose defenseman Cam Fowler to next year’s expansion draft, Friedman wonders if Fowler could help another team land Trouba.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It would be interesting to see one of those clubs with interest in Trouba try to bring in another team like the Ducks to get a deal done. Three-way trades are quite rare but they do occasionally take place. I’ve previously written (here and here) about what it could cost most of these teams to get Trouba.
Given the Lightning’s efforts to re-sign Kucherov, I don’t see them being a serious suitor. I don’t believe the Stars have that left-shooting defenseman of comparable age and skill the Jets reportedly seek as a return for Trouba. Further complicating things for any team interested in Trouba is signing him to a new contract. It could cost over $5 million per season – perhaps more – on a long-term deal to do so.
Friedman says he’s hearing there’s not much movement on the Sabres contract talks with Ristolainen. Speaking of the Sabres, Friedman noted they placed Evander Kane with Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart. He wonders if Kane will be there to stay or if the move was made as an attempt to raise his trade value.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think the Sabres understand they’re stuck with Kane this season. Given his off-ice issues and $5.25 million cap hit, I don’t believe there’s much of a market for him right now. Maybe that changes over the course of the season if he cleans up his act on and off the ice.
OTTAWA SUN: Ken Warren speculates over who will take the concussed Clarke MacArthur’s spot on the Senators roster. They could look to within by considering Ryan Dzingel, Zack Smith, Phil Varone and Matt Puempel. Warren also claims Sens GM Pierre Dorion spent this weekend looking at trade options and the waiver wire.