Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 21, 2017
The cost of re-signing Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, guessing who Mike Babcock is scouting & much more in your Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
EDMONTON SUN: The cost of re-signing Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl topped Jim Matheson’s list of burning offseason questions. McDavid has a year remaining on his entry-level contract but the Oilers can open contract extension talks this July. Draisaitl has completed his entry-level deal and is a restricted free agent this summer.
Matheson suggests an eight-year, $97-million deal ($12.125 million per season) would be “a nice idea” for McDavid but he wonders if the young superstar might accept a little less (around $11 million annually) to give the Oilers some cap space to build up the supporting cast. As for Draisaitl, Matheson wonders if he’ll accept $50 million over eight years.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I realize this isn’t a trade or unrestricted free agent rumor but it does make for interesting speculation over the final weeks of the playoffs.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman wondered if McDavid might agree to a five-year deal, as they could give him the opportunity for an even larger contract by age 25. “Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane and Steven Stamkos all took five years on their second contract before going big with the third one,” he said.
Friedman’s colleague Nick Kypreos doubts we’ll see a huge disparity between McDavid’s and Draisaitl’s contracts. “There’s a lot of talk about McDavid possibly getting $12, $13 million, or even the max. That’s not gonna happen, because you will not see Draisaitl signing a contract that pays him probably four or five million dollars less than McDavid.” He believes there will be a difference of between half-a-million to a million annually, but not a scenario where one gets $14 million annually and the other gets $7 million.
McDavid accepting a five-year deal could be the best way that scenario works. He accepts, say, five years at $8 million per while Draisaitl gets $7 million annually for five-to-seven years. Of course, that depends on McDavid’s willingness to accept that type of deal, rather than going for the max in dollars and term. Both will be re-signed this summer and it’ll be interesting to see what their new deals look like.
Matheson also pondered right wing Jordan Eberle’s future with the Oilers, if they’ll pursue a faceoff man this summer, if they can convince the Vegas Golden Knights to take Benoit Pouliot and his $4 million cap hit off their hands in the expansion draft, if forward Mark Letestu will be exposed in that draft, if they’ll listen to trade offers for center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and how much it could cost to re-sign UFA defenseman Kris Russell.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most of this was previously analyzed, discussed or debate by other pundits in recent weeks. Because McDavid and Draisaitl will be getting significant pay raises, it’s expected the Oilers could move a high-salaried player such as Eberle ($6 million annually), Nugent-Hopkins (also $6 million) or Pouliot this summer to free up some cap space.
SPORTSNET: Luke Fox recently took note of Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock taking in Game 3 of the Anaheim Ducks-Nashville Predators Western Conference Final. Noting the Leafs need a right-shot defenseman and the Ducks’ blueline depth makes them a perfect trade partner, Fox suggests Anaheim’s Sami Vatanen as a perfect fit for Babcock’s defense corps. Brandon Montour and Josh Manson would be cheaper, less-experienced options.
Fox also wondered if perhaps Babcock was scouting Predators center Mike Fisher as a possible free-agent replacement if Brian Boyle departs via the UFA market.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I daresay Babcock was scouting the Ducks and the Predators for possible defense options. Both clubs have considerable blueline depth. Of the two, the Ducks could be more likely to deal as they risk losing a good young blueliner for nothing in the expansion draft.
Babcock might think highly of Mike Fisher, but he’s too entrenched in Nashville to leave. Indeed, I can see the Preds inking their captain, who turns 37 on June 5, to a one-year, bonus-laden contract. And if he retires, he’ll likely get a front-office job with the club.
Elliotte Friedman reports Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill is willing to consider moving his first-round pick (third-overall) in the 2017 NHL draft. To no one’s surprise, the asking price is an established defenseman who could make a difference on their blueline, suggesting clubs such as Anaheim and Minnesota “could probably do it.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I realize this year’s draft isn’t a deep one, but a third-overall pick is still an enticing trade chip. A club in danger of losing a good blueliner in the expansion draft, such as Anaheim or Minnesota, could be tempted, especially if the Stars are willing to toss in a good prospect or a decent young player.