NHL Rumor Mill – July 6, 2017
Latest on John Tavares, Evander Kane, Cody Franson, Andrei Markov & more in your NHL rumor mill.
NEWSDAY: Arthur Staple reports there are several reasons why John Tavares hasn’t signed a contract extension yet with the New York Islanders. Tavares is eligible next July for unrestricted free agency.
A possible new arena for the Isles, the club’s front office (he’s close to general manager Garth Snow) and Connor McDavid’s new eight-year, $100 million contract are among the possible factors that could affect his contract negotiations with the club.
TSN: Craig Button also weighed in on the Tavares situation, suggesting Los Angeles Kings’ center Anze Kopitar’s contract ($10 million annual average value) as a comparable. If Tavares doesn’t re-sign with the Isles, he lists the New York Rangers, Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs as possible destinations.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The recent spate of notable contract signings, including yesterday’s announcement of McDavid’s new deal, has overshadowed Tavares’ situation. The longer he goes this summer without a new deal, the more speculation will arise over his future with the Islanders.
It’s far too early to ruminate over where he could end up if he and the Isles fail to reach agreement on a new contract. It appears Tavares is playing it cool, waiting to see what shakes out regarding several of those issues noted by Staple.
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites Darren Dreger’s appearance yesterday on Winnipeg’s TSN 1290 discussing Buffalo Sabres winger Evander Kane. While Dreger acknowledges it’s looking more likely Kane will open the 2017-18 season with the Sabres, he suggests there’s still time for a time in “win-now” mode to take a chance on him.
He said it was his understanding the teams that expressed interest in the Sabres winger were in that “win-now” mindset, though he didn’t know who they were. He suggests the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks as two examples of clubs in the mode.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s possible Kane could be dealt before the start of the season, but I believe if he was going to be moved, it would’ve happened by now. His long-term future, whether it’s in Buffalo or elsewhere, will be determined by his performance in 2017-18 and how much he’ll seek to re-sign with the Sabres before he becomes eligible next July for unrestricted free agency.
Dreger also believes the Winnipeg Jets aren’t done making moves this summer. He thinks they’re in the market for another forward, preferably a center.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The pickings are decidedly slim in the UFA market. Mike Fisher, Matt Cullen, Daniel Winnik and Brandon Pirri are the best of the bunch. Fisher will either re-sign with the Preds or retire and Cullen is reportedly leaning toward retirement.
NORTH JERSEY.COM’s Andrew Gross, replying to a reader’s question about unrestricted free agent Cody Franson as a fit with the New Jersey Devils, believes Franson seeks more than a one- or two-year contract. He doesn’t think the Devils would go for that.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Franson had to wait until September 2015 to sign his previous contract. Looks like he could be waiting a while this summer if he wants a lengthy new deal.
PHILLY.COM: Sam Donnellon reports Flyers GM Ron Hextall dismissed a report out of Montreal earlier this week linking his club to unrestricted free agent defenseman Andrei Markov. “Don’t believe everything you read or hear,’’ Hextall said, addressing Monday’s report from a Montreal radio station. “I haven’t talked to Andrei Markov.’’