NHL Rumor Mill – October 6, 2016
Updates on Nikita Kucherov, the Ducks stalemate with Hampus Lindholm and Rickard Rakell and a rumor Montreal Canadiens goalie Mike Condon could be on the trade block.
TODAY’S SLAPSHOT: Appearing on TSN 690 yesterday, Bob McKenzie said he doesn’t believe Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman will trade unsigned restricted free agent winger Nikita Kucherov. He said Yzerman still wants to re-sign Kucherov. McKenzie believes Yzerman could move another forward like center Valtteri Filppula, though his value in the trade market obviously isn’t as strong as Kucherov’s.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Joe Smith cites McKenzie’s colleague Craig Button dismissing the notion of Kucherov receiving an offer sheet. Button cites the rarity of offer sheets, noting the last player to be successfully signed away was Dustin Penner, who left the Anaheim Ducks in 2007 to join the Edmonton Oilers. He also notes how few teams have sufficient salary-cap space to pitch Kucherov an offer sheet, plus the likelihood the Lightning would match any offer for the winger.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kucherov must also be willing to accept an offer from a rival club. If he’s put the word out via his agent that he’s not interested in receiving one, it’s pointless for a rival GM to go that route. As for a trade, unless Kucherov follows the lead of Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba and asks to be moved, it’s not going to happen. He’s a valuable member of the Lightning’s future. They want to keep him and he wants to stay.
The problem is Yzerman has to free up sufficient salary-cap space for Kucherov’s new contract, which could come in around $6 million per season on a long-term deal. He’ll get some temporary cap relief by placing sidelined winger Ryan Callahan ($5.7 million) on long-term injury reserve. However, Yzerman will have to free up cap room in late-November when Callahan, who’s recovering from offseason hip surgery, returns to the lineup.
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Eric Stephens reports the contract stalemates continue between the Anaheim Ducks and restricted free agents Hampus Lindholm and Rickard Rackell. He claims long-term deals are desired by both sides, but it’s the money that’s the sticking point.Term lengths as long as eight years for Lindholm and six for Rakell have been discussed.
The Ducks have $7.5 million in salary-cap space, which doesn’t appear enough to re-sign both players. They could get some cap relief by placing Nate Thompson ($1.6 million), who’s sidelined until March, on long-term injury reserve.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lindholm could be seeking $6 million annually, while the Ducks could prefer something around $5.5 million. Regardless, that won’t leave much for Rakell, who could seek around $3 million annually. The Ducks must also ensure they’ve got sufficient wiggle room for additional moves if required over the course of the season. That’s why defenseman Cam Fowler and his $4 million annual cap hit remains a fixture in the trade rumor mill.
SPORTSNET’S Eric Engels reported the following yesterday on Montreal Canadiens goaltender Mike Condon: “From what I’ve heard, there are a couple of Western teams kicking the tires on Condon. Trade is a possibility”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Condon did a decent job last season filling in for the sidelined Carey Price. With Al Montoya signed as Price’s backup this season, it appears Condon could be on his way out. The San Jose Sharks lack an experienced backup, so perhaps they’re one of those two Western Conference clubs with interest in Condon. He’d have to pass through waivers if demoted, where he could be plucked away by a rival club.