Updates on the Bruins, Sabres & Capitals – March 23, 2017

by | Mar 23, 2017 | Rumors | 35 comments

Can the Washington Capitals afford to re-sign T.J. Oshie this summer?

Possible off-season moves by the Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres and wondering if the Washington Capitals can afford to re-sign T.J. Oshie. 

THE WASHINGTON POST: Isabelle Khurshudyan recently observed right wing T.J. Oshie’s been a perfect fit with the Washington Capitals. However, she wondered if they can afford to re-sign the 30-year-old, who’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. General manager Brian MacLellan has spoken to Oshie’s reps, but with 11 players with expiring contracts on the roster, it’s unlikely the winger will be re-signed before season’s end.

Given the expansion draft, it may be wiser for MacLellan to wait until after the draft to start re-signing any UFAs. Oshie’s current annual cap hit is $4.175 million and Khurshudyan speculates it could cost north of $6 million annually to re-sign him. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Khurshudyan also noted Oshie recently reached the 30-goal mark this season for the first time in his career, which will only ensure he gets a lucrative new deal this summer. Whether it’s with the Capitals or another NHL club remains to be seen. She cites Buffalo’s Kyle Okposo (seven years, $42 million) and Boston’s David Backes (five years, $30 million) as possible comparables.

The Caps also have to decide if they’re re-signing pending UFA defenseman Karl Alzner, plus they’ve also got to ink restricted free agents Evgeny Kuznetsov, Andre Burakovsky and Dmitry Orlov. They’ve got over $50 million tied up in 11 players. Expensive raises for Oshie, Kuznetsov and Alzner could cost up to $18 million combined. That won’t leave a lot to re-sign other key players and flesh out the roster depth.

I believe they want to keep Oshie, but that could require MacLellan getting creative. One way could be shedding Brooks Orpik’s $5.5 million annual cap hit. He lacks a no-trade clause and his contract runs through 2018-19. MacLellan, however, could be forced to add a sweetener in the deal in the form of a top prospect to tempt a club into taking on the remainder of Orpik’s contract.

ESPN.COM: Craig Custance recently examined how the Buffalo Sabres can take the next big step forward in their development. Looking at their roster, he wondered where the growth was coming from. He doubted the Sabres will find the necessary upgrade to their defense corps via free agency. “Perhaps there’s a trade to be made, but the Sabres aren’t deep enough at forward to move any of the significant pieces there without hurting the forward group,” writes Custance.  They also need to re-sign goaltender Robin Lehner to a new contract. Ultimately, he believes that improvement will have to come from within. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sabres GM Tim Murray was reportedly interested in defensemen such as Anaheim’s Cam Fowler and Winnipeg’s Jacob Trouba last year. He’ll obviously scour the trade market again in search of blueline help, targeting clubs that could lose a decent-to-good defenseman in the expansion draft (Anaheim, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Vancouver). Whether he finds it, however, is another matter.

Left winger Evander Kane’s been the subject of frequent rumor speculation since last summer. While he’s played well this season, his off-ice issues remains a significant sticking point in any trade discussion.The Sabres could be reluctant to move him now.

Murray could chase Washington Capitals blueliner Kevin Shattenkirk via free agency. However, I don’t think the Sabres will be on his list of preferred destinations. 

 CSNNE.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Joe Haggerty speculated the Boston Bruins could lose either Adam McQuaid or Kevan Miller in the June expansion draft. He doubted unrestricted free agents Drew Stafford, John-Michael Liles and Dominic Moore will be back because of the salary cap and the Bruins trending toward youth. Depending on how things go over the remainder of the season, Haggerty suggested the Bruins could revisit trading winger Matt Beleskey to free up cap room to re-sign guys like David Pastrnak and Ryan Spooner. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Beleskey’s got three more seasons at an annual cap hit of $3.8 million and a modified no-trade remaining on his contract. Injuries contributed to the decline in his production this season. Still, the Bruins will likely find it difficult to move him  summer, especially if the salary cap fails to significantly increase for next season. They could leave Beleskey unprotected in the expansion draft in hopes the Vegas Golden Knights take him off their hands. 



  1. All this chatter about who might be willing to part with a D in the off-season has ignored the one team that has given up the 4th fewest goals in the East this year – the Sens. Much to my consternation, Borowiecki (I was ready to toss him overboard in October) has played a rock-steady 3rd pairing D with Wideman all year, ably assisted when necessary by Claesson who never looked out of place when called upon while contributing 2 goals and 7 assists in 21 games. And next season Chabot joins the ranks so, unless Vegas picks off a D in the expansion draft, they will have a glut on thew back end and could deal one of them.

    • Is that more about the system George or the skills of the players in question.

      Not being that guy its just I don’t follow them as you do.

      • Tough to say. They really are a system team, with the D’s stepping up every time – being obvious to everyone. But some teams have shredded it with speed (Montreal last Saturday) Boro is like a young Carkner. you get what you get. It’s unfortunate we’ll lose someone in that draft. Or be forced to trade one of them. Ryan is the whipping boy of late and that contract is dreadful. Maybe if we attach one of the D to Ryan as a sweetener we can get someone to bite.

      • From what I have seen it’s been equal parts system good goaltending and as George stated steady play. The system can only take a team so far if the guys playing it are not capable, full marks to the Sens for the improvement this year.

      • The thought of a two line D combo with Chabot and then Karlsson is scary. Chabot looked like the best player on the Team Canada World Junior team and his skating is already solid along with his offensive side. Ottawa might have something there….

      • Speaking of someone I was ready to toss overboard – I said much the same about Gardiner of the Leafs – back then. I take it all back – this guy has really found the right balance between D and offensive spurts. They are looking good. wouldn’t it be something to see the 3 eastern Canadian teams finish 1,2,3 in the division.

        Now if only they had arranged that cockamamy playoff system better we might have seen 2 at least go to a 2nd round.

      • Probably a combination – but Borowiecki does lead the league in hits (311) by a country mile and has tossed in 77 blocked shots.

  2. Oshie is worth every penny in comparison to Okposo and Backes…. Why not trade Orpik to Boston for Belesky and bank 1.7 M or maybe to the Sabres for prospects or someone like Kulikov. He would fit in Washington with
    the Russian flavour on that squad.

    • Because Boston wouldn’t make that trade. Trying to get rid of drift wood not add.

      • Belesky is as bad as drift wood can get. At least Opik can play some minutes on the back end and maybe kill a penalty. Belesky has been a healthy scratch a few times this year and a typical one good year signing. Washington makes that deal for money reasons only because he wouldn’t play there either

  3. What happened to Buffalo this year? Before the season all I kept reading was stuff about how much further ahead they were then Toronto. Now they don’t have enough forward depth to get a defenseman? Toronto has been lucky the way all the rookies have worked out, Buffalo I guess has been less fortunate. I’m a Toronto fan who lives in Hamilton so I can’t pretend that I don’t get some happiness out of this.

    On a side note I hope Dominic Moore gets picked up somewhere, I’ve always thought he is a good third or fourth line guy.

    • What happened to Buffalo this year is simple: TIM MURRAY. This team was stocked with draft picks, and prospects and had a bright future. Murray for some reason felt he needed to rush the rebuild and made a series of bad trades. 4 1st rounders gone. Now we have a slow skating, weak D team. Prospects? We have Nylander, Pu, Guehle… but every team has that level of prospects.
      The lehner trade was bad and it makes me sick to think Colin White could have been ours if we kept that pick. E.Kane trade: When you have a troubled player you do not get true value on a trade, and when he’s hurt you take what you can get. He gave The Jets too much.
      Pysyk for Kulakov what a nightmare.
      Sabres could have had a D like this: Risto, Zadorov, Myers, McNabb, McCabe, Pysyk.
      Free agent signing: Gionta & Moulson – Slow and slower. Both with contracts that tie the team hands.
      So, where do they go from here? I’d resign Kane at this point. He one of the few players with speed and grit on this team. Maybe look to trade a forward for a D-man. Maybe Reinhardt would get the best return. Unload Moulson & Gionta.

      • Nothing good has happened with Sabres this year, started with Eichel’s high ankle sprain the night before the season opener. Better luck next season. Leafs have been more fortunate and frankly, have just played better.

        Sabres need to and sign Karl Alzner to play with Risto.

    • Outside of Ristolainen, Buffalo’s D is a rumour. The only prospects with a reasonable chance of cracking the line-up full time are Ruhwedel and Guhle – and they’re a few seasons away. Murray has his work cut out for him.

      • Bogosian & McCabe are both top 4 Dman.

      • In your book maybe – but not in mine nor most other observers. Top 4 by default.

      • Ruhwedal is on the Penguins now.

      • Yeah – forgot about that deal. Should have said William Borgen once he leaves St. Cloud State.

      • Fa signing George

      • Ruhwedel is in Pittsburgh now playing minutes cuz he couldn’t make it in Buffalo

      • George…Ruhwedel is now with Pittsburgh. Guhle is it and maybe Borgen in 2 yrs. There was talk a week or two ago of signing a Russian kid out of the KHL. GMTM has dug himself a big hole with some questionable moves. Drafting Nylander over a D-man was not smart IMO considering how thin they are in the prospect pool and that is nothing against Nylander.

  4. Jacob Trouba will be interesting to watch. 1yr left on his contract at $2.8 and will be an rfa. Trouba got everything he asked more top minutes and right side and he has delivered in all 3 zone, as of now he’s Winnipeg number 1 dman; Maurice has referred to him and Josh Morrissey as the teams number one pairing. We can remember Trouba demanded a trade, one of the reason stated was he didn’t want to play on the left side. Whether you agree with his stance or not, full credit to Trouba for coming back and proving his point of why he should be in the right side. We’ll soon know if this was just a ploy or not; he recently stated he wasn’t interested in signing a new contract this summer because he feels he has things to improve on. If he doesn’t sign and goes to an arbitrator in 2018, he could get a massive two year deal from the arbitrator then become a ufa at 26. The jets need Trouba signed on a contract for 8yrs if they can get it. This team is on the rise and due to the way they play the game (coach’s responsibility) this team should’ve been a playoff team this year. Their PP and PK and lack of attention to the dzone with any kind of structure are the reason they’re not.
    We’ll know soon enough what Trouba true intentions are, for now I’ll take him at his word and hope he wasn’t just blowing smoke. He’ll only be traded for another dman, therefore I don’t know if Buffalo wants to trade RR for Trouba?

    • Caper, it will be interesting, especially as Myers will be back so 3 Right shot D again. The D for D trade could be difficult for WPG to pull off. I seem to remember Chevvy saying that he wanted a “similar D-Man” in return.
      So your RR comparison is a good example, but why make that deal if you are Buffalo or anybody else if you don’t have long term contract done with Trouba?
      To your point if Trouba goes the arbitration route, WPG loses even more leverage, so if they do know his true intentions, and it is to play in the US, I would be looking to move him before that becomes a reality and the world knows it.
      Trouba is exactly what so many teams need, but if you have to trade your own top pairing, 22 year old d-man back, you are in the same position but without a long term deal done.
      Just seems like his return would be better if Chevvy had some flexibility with regards to position. You could fetch a Number 1C for him, and make another deal if necessary for a replacement.
      As a B’s fan do you trade McAvoy for Trouba?
      I do if you can get an extension done, as we still don’t know what he will be. WPG only does it if they think Trouba wants to leave.
      He can help the right now with an older core up front and make another true push for a cup, and young enough to build the future around.

      • Ray without a doubt i trade Charlie for Jacob. I was advocating for the Carlo deal for Trouba not sure what else Boston would’ve to give to go with Carlo. My opinion of Trouba is extremely high. I thought he was the best dman in the world jr, with the like of Seth Jones and Dougie Hamilton in the same tournament.

  5. Gardner is just approaching 400 NHL regular season games played. The best is yet to come. I projected 12 to 15 goals & 40 to 45 points this year. Going to come up just short on the goals but he should hit the points only needing 4 more in the next 10 games.

    I didn’t see Zaitsev eating up as much power play time as he has, I assumed Gardner would lead the team in PP TOI/GP by a significant margin over all other Dman & lead the team overall. He does just not as significantly as I assumed for Dman.

    The plus 24 is a shock having to carry Carrick & others but Reilly & Zaitsev have seen tougher competition. Still impressive though.

  6. Lyle….this may seem like an incredibly naïve idea but..can teams re-negotiate existing contracts in the middle of an existing one? And if so, could a general manager (lets say Pierre Dorion) offer to renegotiate a player’s contract (lets say Dion Phaneof) to circumvent the expansion draft? We want him to wave his NMC and be unprotected. Dorion offers him a million (added to his existing deal to do it) They renegotiate his current deal. Add the same years, the full NMC and spread the million out over the remaining 4 years. He waves his NMC as agreed to – Vegas has even less incentive to take him with additional monies owed. Sens protect more. And everyone is happy/compensated.

    • NHL contracts cannot be renegotiated.

    • Yeah, you can’t do that unfortunately. What I have always thought I’m not sure if you could work this under the rules is this: What if you could sign a star player for a hometown discount, for example say Tampa signed Stamkos for the deal he got, $8 million per year. But in his contract could you specify that if he is traded his salary goes up to 10 million a year? If you could do that then a team could more easily keep their core together as well as giving the players the security of knowing that they don’t give a discount and then get traded. If they do get traded they will get the money they would have gotten on the open market. I’m sure you can’t do that under the current agreement or somebody would have done it. Unless it is a more stupid idea than I thought.

  7. The salary-cap problems of the Washington Capitals are reminiscent of the “Spector’s Hockey” story of some weeks ago about the inevitable decline of even great players like Ovechkin and Crosby. The Capitals knew they would never have another chance of winning their first Stanley Cup with their present group when they paid what they did to rent Shattenkirk. Like great players, great teams must fade away.

    • Crosby is in decline? He’s never been better and more well rounded. The Capitals have a ton of grea young talent and the best goalie in the league. There is definitely a next year for them. The Caps got Shattenkirk to help them beat the Penguins but if the Penguins injury situation doesn’t improve they will be DOA just like they were 2 years ago. But when healthy they have a ton of great young talent as well, they should be competitive even after Crosby, Malkin, and Letang decline a few years from now.

      • Perhaps you missed reading the word “inevitable.’” It means “unavoidable,” not “ongoing.” Alsp, the term “present group” is not incllusive of the players the Caps won’t be able to sign for next season. If Oshie is one of them, a possibility mentioned in the topic story, he wou’t be readily replaced be a prosprcst.

      • The system is designed distribute talent to prevent dynasties but a well run team can be in the run for decades. Pitt is set up for that kinda run. Good owner spends to the cap. Good drafting. Caps… well….

    • Frank; I’ve been a caps fan for a few years now due too Ovi, but this year sure seems like the last “make it or break it” for them. Their are just too many “team friendly” contracts (not that the players can’t feed their familys for six generations) but you know, the Kuz, Oshie and Alzner deals are way below normal if you look around the league.
      Alzner is one of the best defensive dmen with awesome timing and takes few penelties. He could probably get well-paid if he wants to. I don’t think the rest of the squad is as crisp if you loose Oshie, Williams and Alzner.
      Also Carlson has a good contract, Burakovsky aswell and next year and the year after that they will be more expensive and Ovi will likly be less of a goalscorer so yeah.. I think if they don’t get it this year – no cup for Ovi in a caps uniform.

      • Your response is appreciated and instructive. it obviously comes from someone who thinks about what he writes.

      • Caps have some key UFAS and not enough dough to sign them. Better go for it.